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Old 06-23-2009   #1
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Default Kill or be killed

Texans Counting on Top Draft Picks To Give Them Killer Instinct

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They’ve got the players.

They’ve got the battle plan.

Now, the only thing the Houston Texans need to become a force in the National Football League is a killer instinct.

It’s the one intangible of the NFL which separates a playoff team, especially a Super Bowl team, from the rest of the pack.

Lack of a killer instinct is what destroyed fan support for the Oilers and led to Bud Adams taking his team to Tennessee. Development of killer instinct is what later put that team into the Super Bowl.

You have to be able to put opponents away when you get them down.

You have to be able to walk on crappy opponents.

You have to be able to at least hold your own with foes who are as talented as you are.

The Texans don’t have a real good track record when it comes to delivering the coup de grace.

Houston started the 2008 season 0-4, including losses to the Jaguars and the Colts in games the Texans should have won—had they been able to close things out after getting a lead.

They had to struggle to beat the Dolphins and Lions in games they should have easily won.

They finally demonstrated a little killer instinct in a 35-6 rout of the Bengals Oct. 26, prompting the Chronicle’s John McClain to gush:

“The Texans got a weaker opponent on the ground, put their foot on Cincinnati's throat and twisted…”

Then Houston embarked on a three-game losing streak, later losing to the lowly Raiders to cost them a shot at a winning season.

The fans know the Texans need that ruthlessness. They still remember the city’s greatest humiliation, that 1993 playoff game against the Bills when the Oilers ran up a 28-3 halftime lead only to lose it 41-38.

As one fan, coytexan, observed on a bulletin board at the team’s website:

“Until we get that killer instinct we will never see our full potential.”

Offensive lineman Chester Pitts expressed his concern after the Texans ran up a 21-0 lead in the first quarter against the Lions, then had to hang on to win it 28-21:

“It’s a matter of everybody having the confidence that we can go out and set a team down,” he told USAToday.

Offenses get you leads; defenses make them stand up. Developing a killer instinct requires a defense that maintains its intensity even when the final score doesn’t look like it will be in doubt.
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This piece generated a lot of questions for me which I have not pondered in depth in the past. Where does the "KILLER INSTINCT" originate? The players, the coaching staff? Can it be taught? How is it propogated? Can you have it without having all the "pieces in place?" Can you have it without being one of the best? Can you be a "winner" without it? And, is there ANY excuse, at any level, for not having it?
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Old 06-23-2009   #2
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Default Re: Kill or be killed

Killer instinct is just the cool cliche for winning while playing a focused game. It makes it sound like better teams really put it to a lesser team when really, if it takes a step-on-their-throat approach to win a game you SHOULD win on talent alone...I'm not down for that train of thought. We beat the Bengals because we were (are) a better team. We're the better team because we have talented players believing in themselves, their teammates, their coaches and their organization (fans too) and it's that confidence that spreads and generates the will to win. That mental toughness translates to less mistakes and mental errors (the downfall of any team, even great ones) and turns 53 players and a few coaches into the entities that some teams rise to. When you face the Patriots, you face more than simply Brady/Moss/Belichick the humans, you face Brady/Moss/Belichick and the mental monsters contained within.

Taught? You can be told but surely, it's something that is earned, 60 minutes at a time.
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Old 06-23-2009   #3
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Default Re: Kill or be killed

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Originally Posted by TimeKiller View Post
Killer instinct is just the cool cliche for winning while playing a focused game. It makes it sound like better teams really put it to a lesser team when really, if it takes a step-on-their-throat approach to win a game you SHOULD win on talent alone...I'm not down for that train of thought. We beat the Bengals because we were (are) a better team. We're the better team because we have talented players believing in themselves, their teammates, their coaches and their organization (fans too) and it's that confidence that spreads and generates the will to win. That mental toughness translates to less mistakes and mental errors (the downfall of any team, even great ones) and turns 53 players and a few coaches into the entities that some teams rise to. When you face the Patriots, you face more than simply Brady/Moss/Belichick the humans, you face Brady/Moss/Belichick and the mental monsters contained within.

Taught? You can be told but surely, it's something that is earned, 60 minutes at a time.
I agree TK. When I was reading the thread, confidence is the word that kept coming up for me. Remember the Rockets 2nd winning season 1995, I believe? If it was 10 minutes to go in the game and Rockets were behind by 10, I just knew we had the other team where we wanted them. Someone would make a play.

I want the Texans to be confident that they can score TDs in seconds no matter who ther opponent is. Remember Elway? Staubach? These guys just knew they were going to win and pull a loss up into a win. No panic. No gee, coach what is the next play? Texans need to be so assure of their game plan and each other that the job will just get done.

We have the coaches. We now have the players at most positions. This is the year for it all to come together. I fear no team!
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Old 06-23-2009   #4
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Default Re: Kill or be killed

I agree with what's been said in response. IMO, the "killer instinct" comes from the results of past performance and the trust you have in your teammates- and those things go back to having more talent. Usually, the more talented team will win. The Texans have amassed a good deal of talent on the offensive side, and it looks like they've improved defensively this offseason. Looking at the schedule, there is not a game that does not look winnable. Not saying they'll win every game, or even 11 or more, but they have the talent now to go out with confidence every week. I don't know that there has been a year before now where we could have said that.
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Old 06-23-2009   #5
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Default Re: Kill or be killed

I think it's a combination of confidence, focus and intensity. Someone on the staff or team needs to bring a piece of it to the team. I think this team grew in confidence last year and is now focused on taking it to a playoff level. What concerns me is prior to this season is I've felt a lack of intensity from this team.

I think it's very possible one of best things our top three picks are going to bring in some intesnity to the squad on both sides of the ball.
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Old 06-23-2009   #6
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Default Re: Kill or be killed

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimeKiller View Post
Killer instinct is just the cool cliche for winning while playing a focused game. It makes it sound like better teams really put it to a lesser team when really, if it takes a step-on-their-throat approach to win a game you SHOULD win on talent alone...I'm not down for that train of thought. We beat the Bengals because we were (are) a better team. We're the better team because we have talented players believing in themselves, their teammates, their coaches and their organization (fans too) and it's that confidence that spreads and generates the will to win. That mental toughness translates to less mistakes and mental errors (the downfall of any team, even great ones) and turns 53 players and a few coaches into the entities that some teams rise to. When you face the Patriots, you face more than simply Brady/Moss/Belichick the humans, you face Brady/Moss/Belichick and the mental monsters contained within.

Taught? You can be told but surely, it's something that is earned, 60 minutes at a time.
Nice!
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Old 06-23-2009   #7
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Default Re: Kill or be killed

i've always said that some of out worst losses in the past 2 years could turn out to be the most important games of our short history. It was the ability to bounce back from those games that has given the Texans the "keep fighting" "unity" "team" sort of thing. I think that's the hardest part to achive. Confidence has been gained by producing. I don't think this aspect of the magic ingredience has been fully realized yet but it's well on it's way. A quick start could be all they need to finally realize that. I think the "loosing culture" has died out mostly due to those guys being upset when they loose and expecting to win and being surprised when they dont win the ones they should.
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Old 06-23-2009   #8
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Default Re: Kill or be killed

I agree that the Texans don't have the killer instinct attitude yet. They have games once in a while where they perform like they should. I think drafting Brian Cushing is going to go a long way to solving this attitude problem. I know he's just one player but you can just see the intensity in Cushing's face. I can't wait to see him knock someone out.
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