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Antonio Smith brings postseason experience to Houston Texans

Oklahoma State, John Marshall product thinks he's a part of something special in Houston this season.
BY MIKE BALDWIN Published: September 29, 2012
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photo - Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith (94) puts his hand over his heart during the National Anthem before a wild card playoff NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel) ORG XMIT: HTT111
Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith (94) puts his hand over his heart during the National Anthem before a wild card playoff NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel) ORG XMIT: HTT111

“But it's a new year. We have to make a name for ourselves. When we came into training camp this year, one of our goals was to try to be the No. 1 defense. We don't want to just be in the top five. Our goal is to be No. 1.”

In his ninth season, Smith compiled a career best 6½ sacks last year and played in the Pro Bowl.

A fifth-round pick in 2004, Smith has been durable. He leads all active NFL defensive ends with 111 consecutive games played.

“It's just mastering what you do,” Smith said. “Last year I had a move that was working, and then you face a couple of good offensive lines that game plan to take away that No. 1 move. You have to go to the drawing board to counter what they're doing. It's part of growing.”

Smith hasn't attended a game at Boone Pickens Stadium in a few years, since the Cowboys have been on the road during Houston's bye week. But this year, Smith plans to attend OSU's Oct. 27 game against TCU during the Texans' off week.

“It's a lot different than when I was there,” Smith said. “It's a state of the art stadium. Last year I thought they should have been in the national championship game. They've set the standards where they should be a top contender year after year.”

Houston is viewed as a top contender. But safety Danieal Manning is the only other player on Houston's roster other than Smith that's played in a Super Bowl. Manning played for Chicago his rookie season, when the Bears lost to Indianapolis.

Can Houston (3-0) earn homefield advantage in the AFC?

“The goal is to win as many games as we can,” Smith said. “Sometimes in the past, I've frowned upon having homefield advantage because there's been a trend where teams with a first-round bye lose in the first round of the playoffs. But I think that's more superstition in people's heads.

“If you get homefield advantage and get a bye, you only have to win two games to get to the Super Bowl. I'm confident we have the team that can get there.”