Tag:Kevin Walter
Posted on: January 15, 2012 2:43 pm

Texans recover in second quarter to tighten game

J. Jones had a rough first half (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

The Texans looked so good, so calm in their first playoff game last week in Houston, casually knocking off the Bengals in the wild card round. The running game was successful, the defense was strong and quarterback T.J. Yates managed the game nicely.

But in the first quarter of their first road playoff game in franchise history, they looked like they didn’t belong, falling behind by two touchdowns to a hungry, rested Ravens squad at home. But thanks to Arian Foster, whose 95 yards on 15 first-half carries is the most Baltimore has ever allowed in a playoff game (an entire playoff game, that is) and a Texans offensive line that bullied the Ravens defensive line, the Texans head into halftime losing only 17-13.

Considering how the Texans played in the first quarter, they’re lucky to be in the game. While Yates, who looked terrible, tried to get the ball to Andre Johnson, Ray Lewis should have intercepted his third-down pass, and on the next series, with Yates trying to hit the same target, Lardarius Webb picked him in Texans territory.

Jacoby Jones didn’t exactly help his squad, muffing two punts, including one that the Ravens recovered on the 2-yard line, and in the first quarter, Texans receiver Kevin Walter dropped a perfect pass on an out route that could have given his team the first down.

Yates didn’t look good, but then again, neither did anybody else on the Houston squad.

And though the Texans fell behind 17-3, they continued running the ball, and Foster rewarded them with some explosive runs and a fantastic one-handed catch. Behind 17-6 and with a third and goal on the 1-yard line in which Houston needed a touchdown to stay close, Foster went off right end, made a nice cut and barreled his way into the end zone.

“At this point,” CBS analyst Dan Dierdorf said when Houston was behind by two touchdowns, “T.J. Yates must feel like an inexperienced quarterback.”

Thanks to Foster, Yates probably feels a little differently right now.

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 1:10 pm
Edited on: November 13, 2011 11:27 am

Walter on Finnegan: He pushes people, runs away

Walter thinks 'it would be pretty cool' to have a guy like Finnegan on his team...but he still doesn't like him. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

The Texans and Titans hate each other. This isn't uncommon for division rivals. Exacerbating things: Tennessee cornerback Cortland Finnegan who redefines what it means to instigate on-field fighting, usually after a cheap shot of some description.

Last November, Finnegan and Houston wideout Andre Johnson threw down in the middle of the game, and were promptly ejected. (They were later fined $25,000 each though neither was suspended. Thank god they weren't wearing yellow shoes, which the league deems one-fifth as bad as trying to knock somebody's head off.)

On Sunday, the rivalry is renewed, when the Titans host the Texans. Appearing Friday morning on Sports Talk 790, Houston wide receiver Kevin Walter talked about the importance of this matchup (you can listen to the entire 10-minutes segment here, via Clay Travis).

"We have to approach this game like a playoff game," he said. "This is, you know, a big-time game and we all realize it. In the past, we've had games like this and hadn't won them but this is different. This is a different year. … We can still do a lot of good things and it's going to start this week."

And then, about five and a half minutes in, the conversation turned to Finnegan (transcribed below for your convenience):
Q: If punches have to be thrown who do you anticipate taking the first swing at Finnegan this time?

Walter: I might, I might to tell you the truth. (Laughing)

Q: How is he on the field? What's he really like? Because, obviously, for you to get under Andre's skin, you've got to be a real creep.

Walter: Exactly. Even before last year, before the whole fight with him and Andre -- years before that -- he's been pushing people around, he's pushed me in the back after a play. But you know what? He runs away. He'll run away from it. And then you'll talk to him and he'll hide by his guys.

And then after the game, he talks to you like nothing's going on. 'Hey, man, how you doing?' Seems like a nice guy after the game but, you know what, he's the type of guy, you see him on the field and you're like 'What is he doing? Why is he playing like that?' But I always say, it would be pretty cool to have a guy like that on your team because he's busting his tail every time.

I'm not saying I like the guy, but he's going out there giving his effort, giving his all. He can be a prick here and there, you know, but that's how he plays.

This Sunday, Matt Schaub and the Houston Texans will travel to LP Field to take on Matt Hasselbeck and the Tennessee Titans. Jason Horowitz is joined by NFL.com's Pat Kirwan to preview this matchup. Watch the game on CBS at 1 PM ET. Also: don't forget to check out the Pregame: Texans-Titans edition.

The thing is: nobody disagrees with Walter. Finnegan is a huge nuisance, which in part makes him so good. But he's also a guy you'd love to have on your team. It's just too bad Andre Johnson won't be healthy enough to play Sunday.

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Posted on: April 11, 2011 1:07 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 12:37 pm

Offseason Checkup: Houston Texans

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Eye on Football's playing doctor for every NFL team with our Offseason Check-ups . Also, check out our checkup podcast:

When the Texans beat the Colts 34-24 in the 2010 season-opener, Houston was well on its way to winning the AFC South and the first-ever playoff appearance for the club. Matt Schaub was going to continue emerging as one of the top QBs in the game, Andre Johnson was going to cement his place as the top receiver in the NFL, RB Arian Foster was going to build on his first-game performance (231 yards and four total TDs on 33 carries) and Houston’s secondary was going to be just fine without Dunta Robinson.

That’s what we thought anyway.

Then, the Texans, sitting at 4-2, lost eight of their next nine games to kill their season. Foster still went on to win the rushing title, and Schaub had a pretty good season. But Johnson didn’t have one of his better years (though to be fair, he WAS dealing with a painful ankle injury that he played through), and the secondary, to be kind, was absolutely horrid. Overall, in fact, the defense was terrible. Yet, coach Gary Kubiak has been retained for another season, and the Texans continue to be slightly worse than mediocre.

But something must change …

New defensive system

That something might be new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. While Phillips’ reign as Cowboys head coach ended in disaster in the middle of last season, he’s still well-respected as a defensive coordinator. In 2011, though, he’s got a big job in front of him.

1. Um, the secondary
Yes, the Texans will need to rethink their entire defensive back roster, because it repeatedly got torched last season. After saying goodbye to Robinson, who went on to a so-so season with the Falcons, the secondary (Kareem Jackson, Glover Quin, Bernard Pollard and Eugene Wilson) were just tremendously bad. If the Texans can’t get this fixed, it doesn’t matter who’s coordinating the defense, because Houston simply won’t win.

2. Nose Tackle
Houston hasn’t had to worry much about this position in the past because of the 4-3 scheme it used to play, but now that the Texans will go to the 3-4, they need to find a massive NT to eat up blockers and allow his linebackers behind him to make plays. Maybe Shaun Cody is that guy, but he might not be good enough and he certainly hasn’t been an impact player thus far in his career.

3. Second Wide Receiver
It looked for a time like Kevin Walter might be that guy, but he was little more than solid last year. Jacoby Jones is fine on kickoff returns, but he drops the ball too much as a receiver. Though the Texans obviously have much bigger problems, it wouldn’t be a huge shock if the Texans went after Julio Jones in the first round of the draft.

It’s hard to be confident that a Kubiak-led team will ever make the playoffs, but the Texans better accomplish that this year if they want to keep him around. Defense, like we’ve pounded in your head over and over in this checkup, is the true test, and there is plenty of talent in the front seven on that side of the ball. If Phillips can help get that unit in gear, the AFC South is ripe for the taking.

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 4:10 pm

Texans' WRs Johnson, Jones game-time decisions?

Posted by Will Brinson

Andre Johnson sat last week and the Texans still won -- thank you very much, Arian Foster. And NFL schedulemakers. And the Oakland Raiders.

But it seems like having to play without both Johnson and Jacoby Jones, who was banged up against Oakland, versus the Giants could be a slightly bigger nightmare -- however, that's a distinct possibility, as according to the Houston Chronicle , both could be "game-time decisions."

"Andre didn't take any steps backward," Kubiak said about Johnson on Monday. "He's feeling a little better today. We'll continue to take him through the same routine we did last week. It will probably be Thursday before he works.

"Jacoby's got a pretty good calf issue. We'll probably know more about him on Wednesday."

The Texans still have Kevin Walter, David Anderson and Owen Daniels, though, so not all is lost. And, no, that trio is not mind-blowingly elite, but considering they're who's left after the top two receiving options are removed, that's a pretty solid set of players.

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Posted on: September 24, 2010 9:39 am
Edited on: October 1, 2010 2:35 pm

Five Questions (or more) with Kevin Walter

K. Walter has made a big impact on the Houston receiving corps (AP). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Kevin Walter might be one of the more underrated receivers in the NFL. Perhaps it’s because he was an afterthought in the 2003 Draft when the Giants took him in the seventh round and promptly released him. Perhaps it’s because, though he was solid in special teams with the Bengals, he never caught more than 19 passes a season during his three years in Cincinnati.

But after he left for Houston, Walter has showcased his potential. In the past three full seasons, he’s combined for 178 catches, and he showed how important he is last Sunday in the Texans overtime come-from-behind victory vs. the Redskins when QB Matt Schaub turned to him when Andre Johnson went out temporarily with an injury. He finished with 11 catches for 144 yards and a TD and was a big reason the Texans beat Washington.

We talked to him this week about his career and about how much his older brother beating him up affected his football career.

Previous Five Questions (or more) With …:

Sept. 17: John Thornton

Sept. 11: Leon Washington

1. CBSSports.com: Going into the season, there had been so much talk about Houston’s 1-15 record against the Colts. How big a game was that for you guys, and how do you not let one game overshadow the rest of the season when you’re actually preparing for the season?

Kevin Walter: No matter who it was against, it was going to be a big game, because it was the opening game and it was at our place. It was a huge game against Indy because they had owned the division the past few years. During our offseason, we talked about why can’t it be us, instead of the Colts or Tennessee or Jacksonville? Why can’t it be us? We knew it started with us executing and getting the job done.

CBS: Now that you’ve actually won, did that dispel some of the doubts that maybe you had? Or the doubts that other people had about whether you could pull that off?

Walter: People are going to doubt us all year. We haven’t been to the playoffs the whole time we’ve been here.  People will still doubt us. People will think these first two wins were flukes. That’s OK. We don’t care what people think. We care what people in this organization think. We’re doing a heck of a job.

2. CBS: So, what about Washington? You guys fell behind 27-10, and in the past, that seems like a game where you don’t come back and you just lose. I think people would have doubted you again if you had lost that game. But you guys did come back and you actually won the game.

In previous years, we would have found a way to lose the game. This year, we’re finding ways to win that game. This is a new year. We stress that. We’re out there for 60 minutes, and we never give up. We were down 17 points, and we were fighting back all game. No one probably believed we were going to win that game, but we weren’t bummed out. We knew the offense was getting the ball in the second half.

CBS: How much does Gary Kubiak play in it? Every year he’s on the hot seat, because every year, you guys don’t make the playoffs. How much would it mean to you guys to get him to the playoffs?

You want to play for Coach. We told Coach we were there to play for this organization, but he’s the type of coach you want to go out and bust your tail for. He takes care of us. He’s been in the Super Bowl. He’s been in the league for a long time. We’re out there playing for him.

Walter 3. CBS:
Speaking of never giving up, the same could be applied to you. I was working for the Cincinnati Post when you were with the Bengals, and you didn’t play a significant role on offense. But now you’re a 60-catch-a-year guy. Why did it take five years into your career for that ability to show up?

Walter: When I got the in league, I was a seventh-round pick by the Giants. I was cut, and I got to Cincinnati and I was on the practice squad for five weeks and then I played 11 games my rookie year. We had some great receivers in Cincinnati. Peter Warrick was there at the time, and Chad (Ochocinco) was there, and (T.J.) Houshmandzadeh was there. We had some guys. My niche was doing whatever role they wanted me to do. I played all four phases on special teams. But it was also about working on your craft. I was OK with that. I knew my role, but it was about getting better for each of the roles you had.

But you must have thought that on another team, you could have a different role. Did you think you would ever showcase the potential you must have known that you had?

When you’re in the league, you want to play. If you’re a receiver, you want to start. You go make plays and do the things you know you can do. But since I was a late-round pick, that shows you that you have to get your foot in the door. You have to know your role. I knew I wasn’t going to catch 60 balls my first three years. But when you’re the fourth receiver and then you get the opportunity to start, you better take advantage of it.

CBS: Andre Johnson overshadows every other WR in the league, not just on his team. But last week, after he went out with an injury, the coaches turned to you. How great was that for you to show that you could carry the load when the top receiver isn’t in there?

I’m ready for as many opportunities as they want to give to me. Whether it’s one catch a game or 11 catches, like it was last week. They know I’m ready to help out. When ‘Dre went down, we all needed to pick it up. He leaves a big void out there if he’s not there. We need him out there. But everyone made plays. We all made mistakes, but you know what? Everyone that made mistakes also made plays. That’s all that counts.

4. CBS: I read somewhere that when Ochocinco did his stunt after one of his touchdown catches a few years ago – the one where he putted the ball with the end zone pylon – that was your idea. That true?

Yeah, I told Chad about that. We were sitting in the receiver's room, and I had mentioned that. We’d always sit in that room and talk about what he could do for celebrations. That was one of the ideas. And he did that the next week, I think.

CBS: What was your reaction?

Walter: I laughed. It was a lot of fun to see that. People might think he’s a showboat, but he backs everything up and he works so hard in practice.

5. CBS:
OK, I know you have an older brother. How much did that influence your athletic career because I assume you were constantly getting picked on and because, compared to him, you were a runt? Did that impact your career?

Walter: It challenged me a lot. He’s six years older than me, and him and his buddies always picked on me when I was younger. We played football in the snow in Chicago. He was bigger than I was, and he took it to me pretty good.

CBS: Do you beat him in things now?

Oh yeah. He was a golf pro for many years in Chicago and Jacksonville, I play golf all the time in the offseason. He was a real good golfer, but I beat him in golf all the time now. And he hates that. Hey, if he wants to challenge me to a fight … well, he doesn’t want to do that anymore.

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Posted on: September 19, 2010 6:27 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2010 6:55 pm

Andre Johnson leaves HOU-WAS game

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Houston star WR Andre Johnson limped off the field with an apparent foot injury in the third quarter of the Texans game vs. Washington, and he has not returned to the game.

Johnson was battling with Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall along the sideline, and a pass from Matt Schaub thrown toward Johnson fell incomplete. That’s apparently when Johnson hurt himself, and he gingerly walked off the field.

After a TD catch by Kevin Walter, CBS cameras showed Houston trainers examining Johnson's right foot, and a few minutes later, trainers were retaping his ankle as he put back on his shoe.

But then early in the fourth quarter, Johnson walked to the locker room. So, it’s not looking good for the Texans. 

Johnson returned to the game midway through the fourth quarter. He ran two plays but wasn't targeted by Schaub before the Texans punted.

I guess Johnson is healthy. He outleapt Washington's Reed Doughty for the game-tying 34-yard TD with 2:03 to go in the game.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com