Jay Gruden occasionally has to remind people his team is in 6-3 and in first place.“That’s a heck of deal after nine games [url=http://www.Texansjerseyproshop.com/max-scharping-jersey/]Max Scharping Jersey Womens[/url] ,” the Washington Redskins‘ coach said. “But I’m also excited with the fact that we have not played our best yet, and I think the best is yet to come.”It wasn’t been a flawless ride, but when the roller-coaster Redskins host the rolling Houston Texans on Sunday, it’ll be a showdown between two surprising division leaders. Washington has gotten into first place in the NFC East alternating strong and weak performances, and Houston has won six in a row to also reach 6-3 and sit atop the AFC South.Led by veterans Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson, the Redskins come into the matchup motivated by a lack of respect. Second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson and the Texans are full of confidence after digging out of an 0-3 hole.“Winning helps,” Houston coach Bill O’Brien said. “Everybody has confidence in their ability to go out there and play well, but I also think our team understands that this is a very humbling league. This is a league, it’s a short walk. It’s a short walk from where you are right now to where you were when you were 0-3.”It’s a very short walk for the Redskins from their best to their worst. A three-game October winning streak and last week’s victory at Tampa Bay didn’t show their best.So there’s reason why, despite leading the division by two games, Washington isn’t getting the same buzz as other playoff contenders. Players are just fine with that.“Nobody’s really looking at the Redskins or anything,” middle linebacker Zach Brown said. “For us, we’re just going to keep trying to stack up the wins and see where we can take it. For us, we just need an invite to the dance because you never know what might happen.”Peterson figures it’s too early to think playoffs, but said: “You can definitely have it in the back of your mind and understand how important each and every game is.”Coming off their bye week [url=http://www.thetexansclub.com/max-scharping-jersey/]Max Scharping Houston Texans Jersey[/url] , the Texans fully understand the value of every game to their chances of winning a third division title in four seasons.“We have to win against the Redskins to even keep conversations like that alive,” defensive end J.J. Watt said. “If you start to look that far ahead and you start to think about things like that, that’s when you get blindsided.”Some things to watch when the Texans visit the Redskins:WHAT A COMEBACKWatt and Peterson are top candidates for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year award after turning in strong performances in their return from two straight seasons that were cut short by injuries.Watt played just eight games in the previous two seasons because of back surgeries and a broken leg. Peterson missed 19 games in the 2016 and 2017 seasons combined because of knee surgery and a neck injury.Watt is tied for third in the NFL with nine sacks and tied for first by forcing four fumbles. He also has 16 quarterback hits, 11 tackles for losses and has swatted down two passes.Peterson is tied for fifth in the league with 672 yards rushing and has scored four touchdowns.Watt raved about Peterson’s comeback.“He’s obviously one of the great running backs of the game,” Watt said. “What he’s been able to do in his career, but then to be able to come back the way he has and have the type of season he’s having — obviously, I know how difficult it is from firsthand experience to come back from injuries, so I’m extremely impressed by what he’s been able to do. I have a ton of respect for his game. It’s always a good challenge to play against him and I enjoy the competition.”SWEARINGER REVENGE GAMERedskins safety D.J. Swearinger, who was drafted by the Texans in the second round in 2013 and cut after the 2014 season, has not been shy to rip O’Brien. He posted on Instagram this week about “unprofessional actions” by O’Brien that led to his release, which his former coach responded to by saying he didn’t know what Swearinger was talking about.“D.J. made a lot of plays for us here,” O’Brien said. “He’s a very instinctive, tough, competitive player. He’s obviously gone on to Arizona and now in Washington and I think he’s a captain there and he’s (second in) the league in interceptions, doing a great job [url=http://www.thetexansclub.com/max-scharping-jersey/]Max Scharping Jersey 2019[/url] , has got excellent ball skills, good tackler, tough, competitive guy.”WATSON DOWNOnly the Giants‘ Eli Manning and Cowboys‘ Dak Prescott have been sacked more this season than Watson. The Texans quarterback said he tries to get back as close to the line of scrimmage as possible so as not to lose yardage on his 30 sacks.Brown has noticed on film that defenses can force sacks on Watson when they lock down on coverage because the young QB holds on to the ball so long trying to make something happen.“I think he’s just trying to make plays,” Brown said. “He’s still young. Eventually he’ll get that clock ticking in his head.” The NFL is getting roughed up over its amplified enforcement of roughing-the-passer penalties that has generated head-scratching calls 鈥?and a season-ending injury to a defender trying to comply with the league's mandate not to land fully on the quarterback.In the offseason, NFL owners asked the league's competition committee to better protect their prized quarterbacks after Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr broke Packers star Aaron Rodgers' collarbone in 2017.So the league dusted off a rarely invoked 24-year-old rule that outlaws defenders from landing on the quarterback with more than half of their body weight."It helps me out because I'm a quarterback," said Deshaun Watson of the Texans. "But some of the calls are just kind of crazy."So inconsistent, in fact, that Packers linebacker Clay Matthews , whose been whistled three times, suggested the league has gone soft. He argued that what constitutes a clean hit is anybody's guess nowadays.Defenders who are only allowed to target a strike zone basically consisting of the torso now must also concern themselves with breaking the quarterback's fall. Or at least doing a "gator roll" where they spin the QB as they tumble to the turf.The gator roll is "an unnatural move when you are trying to tackle a big guy" like Ben Roethlisberger or Andrew Luck, said Bengals defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. "They will shrug you off."Broncos linebacker Shane Ray said the gator roll isn't even an option much of the time."Sometimes you're at an awkward angle or you might be pushed into him," Ray said. "It's chaotic in there when you've got all these bodies flying around."Trying to keep the quarterback safe can also be dangerous to a defender, as it was Sunday when Dolphins DE William Hayes tore his right ACL trying to avoid landing on Raiders QB Derek Carr."They don't care about the rest of us getting hurt. Long as the QB is safe," fumed 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman when he retweeted a video clip of Hayes getting hurt ."Let's keep it honest [url=http://www.thetexansclub.com/max-scharping-jersey/]Max Scharping Jersey Mens[/url] , that rule is a tough rule to gauge," Dolphins defensive tackle Akeem Spence said. "Will is going to make a play, trying to sack the quarterback and then roll off at the end, not trying to put all of his weight and get a sack taken away. He ended up being hurt, and it sucks, because he's trying to protect the quarterback while still trying to make a play."There have been 34 roughing-the-passer calls so far. While that works out to just one flag for every 100 pass attempts, it represents a massive increase over previous years. There were 16 such penalties through three weeks last season and 20 the year before that.The lack of consistency and clarity is why "I don't like the rule," said Fox's Troy Aikman, whose Hall of Fame career was cut short by the battering he took during a 12-year stint as Cowboys quarterback."I think the league overreacted, and I think they will continue to look at it with the controversy that's been created," Aikman said, adding the strict interpretation of the 1995 rule "changes the outcome of games and ultimately will cost some coaches their jobs."There's only been a handful of flags, meanwhile, for players lowering their helmet, another point of emphasis [url=http://www.thetexansclub.com/max-scharping-jersey/]Youth Max Scharping Jersey[/url] , showing that players, coaches and officials have all adjusted accordingly to that rule change.Two people with knowledge of the agenda told The Associated Press that in the regularly scheduled competition committee conference call next week, the roughing-the-passer calls will be discussed. While neither anticipates a change in the rules themselves, it's possible a de-emphasizing of the "full weight" portion of the rule could occur.That point of emphasis this year has led to all kinds of contentious calls, none more prominent than Matthews' seemingly legal hit in Week 2 that wiped out a clinching interception of Kirk Cousins, who subsequently rallied the Vikings to a 29-29 tie."Roughing the Passer calls are absolutely out of control," Texans star defender J.J. Watt tweeted during the Steelers-Buccaneers Monday night game that featured four such flags.Although Matthews' hit on Cousins wasn't deemed a body weight violation, the league's emphasis on roughing calls clearly played a role in referee Tony Corrente ruling that when Matthews "hit the quarterback, he lifted him and drove him into the ground."Many critics didn't buy that explanation nor the justifications for the other calls."I love the NFL - but it's crazy the (numbers) being put up by QBs & WRs due to fact that D can't hit them anymore & can't lay hands on them downfield," tweeted Hall of Famer Kurt Warner , the architect of the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf.""Everyone is running free the entire game (or it's a penalty)! Don't get me wrong I LOVE Offense, but better when it's a fair fight."The last two men who served as the NFL's head of officiating 鈥?Mike Pereira and Dan Blandino 鈥?said the league went too far in emphasizing roughing the quarterback and will back off soon because officials are throwing too many flags on plays where the QB isn't even in danger of getting hurt."I think we all have felt like it has gone a little too far," said Pereira, now an analyst for Fox Sports.Pereira said the NFL could tamp down the furor over the rule by having officials only throw flags when defenders lift the quarterback and drive him into the ground 鈥?although he disagrees that's what Matthews did to Cousins."We all are pretty much in agreement the Clay Matthews hit on Kirk Cousins really shouldn't be a foul, and I believe that's what the competition committee believes [url=http://www.thetexansclub.com/max-scharping-jersey/]White Max Scharping Jersey[/url] ," Pereira said. "How literal do we need to interpret a rule?"Former NFL referee Terry McAulay, now an analyst for NBC, notes the focal point needs to be on whether the defender's hit included "unnecessary" actions. He refers to a graphic of the rule used on Sunday night's Patriots-Lions telecast."We've highlighted a couple of words. One is the word 'unnecessarily,' and it says a defender should not unnecessarily land on the quarterback," McAulay explained. "There is nothing about this play (by Matthews on Alex Smith) that is unnecessary. He's coming off a block and he makes a legal form tackle, and he just happens to end up on top of the quarterback."The graphic also notes "strive to wrap up.""That tells me that it needs to be avoidable. Well, there's nothing unavoidable about this play," McAulay said. "It just shouldn't be a foul. I understand technically that it is by rule."Broncos star Von Miller , who leads the league with 87 1-2 sacks since his rookie year in 2011, said he's not sure how he's supposed to tackle the quarterback anymore, so he'll just stick with his signature move."I like going for the ball," said Miller.Because going for the sack is becoming as perilous for the pass rusher as it is for the quarterback.