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Mathis and Johnson Told to Shape Up or Ship Out

Coach gets tough

 A couple of Texans are fighting for their football lives, and if they don’t believe it, all they have to do is listen to their head coach, who Thursday in so many words told them so.  The two players are Travis Johnson and Jerome Mathis, who were both called in for sessions with head coach Gary Kubiak.  The 2nd year coach basically said that their future with the team was not set, and that it was time to pick it up a notch.

“I wanted them to know, ‘Look, you’re not a conditioned player, either one of you. You’re talented, but you don’t work the way we think you’ve got to work to be a pro player.’ I explained to them that we think if you do all these things, you’re going to be a heck of a player. You’ve never done ’em before. Go do ’em, and then let’s see what happens. They listened. It’s a time of the year when coaches try to get away. There was nobody jumping them every day. Neither missed a day, and both of them have been out here every day. It’s about being committed to being a football player.”

Both players were selected in the 2005 draft, and Mathis has made the Pro Bowl once, as a returner, but not much has been seen of him since.  He has been the victim of injuries.  As for Johnson, the knock on him all along is that he just doesn’t work hard enough to make heads turn like he should.  “You’ve got to give them credit,” Kubiak said. “When I called them in, it was, ‘OK, listen, we’ve got to do something different.’ One of ’em we wanted more from (Johnson); the other we wanted to get on the field more (Mathis).”

It will be a matter of time before Kubiak sees if the task of talking to both players work or not.  If not, don’t be shocked to see them looking for other zip codes to play in at some point in 2007.
           


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