But tonight, they get a chance to show the nation they are for real. Houston will play host tonight to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It's the first Monday Night Football game ever for the Texans.
You can watch the Texans make their Monday night debut on ABC-13 at 7:30pm. Plus at 7pm, we'll have a Texans special to get you ready for the game.
GAME PREVIEW FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jacksonville enters Monday night's matchup with the Houston Texans as a team in disarray.
Fred Taylor doesn't know what the problem is, but the 11-year veteran called this team the worst he's ever been on. This season's 4-7 start has been a shocking turnaround from last year's 11-5 regular season finish and trip to the second round of the playoffs.
"It has to be something," Taylor said. "Right now the chemistry, it's not good ... the team, the (team) concept more so than our franchise. The chemistry is bad. The chemistry, the mix isn't ... something's not right."
The Jaguars prepare for their AFC South rival Houston after losing four of the last five, including last week's embarrassing and error-filled loss to the Vikings.
"We went out and we made certain moves in the offseason and we expect to do better," Taylor said. "Expectations are always high. That was just across the board from players in the locker room to the people up front. When the production isn't where it should be on the field, when the success isn't here yet, we haven't been real."
The problems for Jacksonville began before the season opener when backup tackle Richard Collier was shot and critically injured. With center Brad Meester already out for the start of the season, the Jaguars lost both their starting guards to season-ending injuries in the opener.
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio refused to point to injuries on the offensive line as a reason for the struggles of his team.
"Well, I think certainly everything adds up," he said. "I think trying to pin it on any one thing is not going to be entirely accurate."
David Garrard has already been sacked 30 times after being taken down 21 times last year. Meester has been back for five games, but the protection hasn't improved much with his return. Garrard has been sacked four times in each of the last two games.
Though Garrard isn't looking for excuses, he acknowledged the difficulties Jacksonville has endured in the wake of the injuries.
"I know offensively it's definitely taken a toll on us, but we've got to get over that and stop talking about that, and we should have done that," he said. "But whenever you lose two starters and your top backup, that is going to be tough on your offense.
"Especially when your offense is built a certain way and those guys were key guys in us being able to run the ball effectively. And we really haven't had very many games where we've been able to do that, so it's been tough."
Jacksonville's rushing production has plummeted after the Jaguars were second in the NFL with more than 149 yards a game last year. Despite the combination of Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew they're currently 17th in the league with just more than 110 yards a game on the ground.
Now they'll face a Houston team also in the midst of a disappointing season, but coming off its best defensive performance of the year in a 16-6 win over Cleveland.
The Texans are looking forward to their first Monday night appearance in franchise history.
"It means a lot to have an opportunity to play on a stage like that," said 2006 top pick Mario Williams. "A lot of people don't even know about us still or who we have on the team. So for us to finally showcase our stuff this year is really important."
Though the Jaguars have been in plenty of Monday night games, Del Rio said it's still special.
"It is a big deal," he said. "I think it's a lot of fun. They don't just put anybody on Monday night, so if they're putting you on Monday night then they think you're going to have a good season, they think you're going to be a good team."
It hasn't turned out that way for either club, but Del Rio still thinks it will be a good game.
"I think they're two talented teams that maybe haven't had the kind of years that either one of us envisioned when we started," he said. "But we'll still have good players and good coaches and both teams are still working really hard at it."
Despite flirting with the idea earlier this week that Matt Schaub could return for Monday's game, coach Gary Kubiak said Friday that Sage Rosenfels will start. Schaub could be the backup, but Kubiak said he'd continue to evaluate his health before making that decision.
Kubiak is looking for more consistency from Rosenfels in his fifth start of the season. He has five touchdowns and nine interceptions.
"He's done some very good things and at times he hasn't been very sound with the football," Kubiak said. "For him to reach the next level as a player he has to get more ... accountable with the ball, keeping his team out of harm's way from a turnover standpoint. But Sage makes as many plays as anybody. We just have to eliminate the bad ones."
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