Houston's secondary has been helped by the solid play up front. Phillips inherited a pass defense that allowed an NFL-worst 267.5 yards passing per game in 2010. Last year, the group gave up the third fewest at just 189.7 yards a game.
They're currently in third again by allowing 196 yards passing a game.
Cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who along with Phillips sparked the transformation of the secondary last season, is focused on being the best defense. But he noted that the statistics aren't the top priority.
"We always want to be known as the best defense and the best team," he said. "But in our minds it's all about helping the team win games by playing dominate defense and being the top defense. What's most important is winning ball games."
The Texans have done a lot of that this season. They're off to the best start in franchise history and tied for the NFL's best record at 8-1. Joseph has been impressed that they've been able to remain one of the top defenses for a second straight season.
"Going out and doing it every week (is) probably the hardest part about having a great defense," he said. "You see teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore that did it for five, 10 years-plus. To go out and do it this last year and this year and keep up the same style of defense is something that you can build on and look toward the future."
Houston plays Jacksonville on Sunday in a rematch of a Week 2 win by the Texans. Houston's defense starred in that 27-7 victory by allowing Jacksonville to gain just nine first downs and 117 yards.
The Texans are guarding against a letdown this week against the Jaguars (1-8).
"There's always room for improvement, but right now it's just about going out and being better than we were the week before," Joseph said.
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