The NFL’s official stat packet covers 19 different defensive categories. The Texans rank 10th or better in 12 of them. Take out three punting categories and their lowest mark is 17th.
The first thing defensive coordinator Wade Phillips credited for the solid standing was, of course, the offense.
“I think a lot of it’s certainly our offense controlling the ball helps us play good defense,” he said in comments distributed by the team. “We play great defense when we’re watching on the sideline. That’s part of it and I think we’ve played well. We’re starting to improve. Our expectations are always high. All our goals this year were to be in the top 10 in everything. I didn’t think they were unrealistic and maybe they’re not…”
“I think our secondary is playing tremendously well. You look at the yards per attempt (6.21). I look at that. I look at the completion percentage against us (50.8), turnovers (14), interceptions (10). We’re high in all those categories. That means we’re playing well in all those categories.”
The Texans have talked a lot about a new defensive swagger, and that’s been instilled by Phillips.
Midseason All-Pro Teams and awards are coming out this week and next. I think it would be hard to make a case for any assistant having a bigger impact to this point on his team’s season than Phillips has in Houston.