Cracks showing again for Houston Texans
The Texans were feeling pretty confident after a 3-1 start.
Now, Andre Johnson and Mario Williams are out with injuries,
Matt Schaub missed practice Wednesday and the snake-bitten
franchise must fight off the sense that another season is on the
brink of falling apart.
Johnson is expected to sit out Sunday when the Texans (3-2) play
at Baltimore (3-1) after hurting his right hamstring in the Texans’
17-10 win over Pittsburgh in Week 4. Williams, the Texans’ career
sacks leader, is out for the season after tearing a pectoral muscle
Sunday in a 25-20 loss to Oakland.
Schaub sat out practice because of a sore throwing shoulder, but
says he’ll be ready to go by Sunday. The Texans acquired veteran
Derrick Mason from the New York Jets to boost the receiving corps
Dealing with injuries to key players is nothing new to the
Johnson missed seven games in 2007 and tight end Owen Daniels
sat out the last half of the 2009 season with a knee injuries. Last
year, Houston lost middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans to a torn left
Achilles tendon after a 4-2 start and dropped eight of its last 10
By now, the Texans say they’ve learned how to overcome that kind
”We just feel like that can’t stop us,” left tackle Duane
Brown said. ”Everyone is here for a reason, and now other guys
just have the opportunity to step in and make plays.
”Yeah, we have great individuals. But now, we also feel like we
have a great team, and we feel confident in all facets of our game,
and that we can win from week to week. The loss of one or two
players won’t stop us from doing that.”
Linebacker Brian Cushing says playing without Williams will be
easier to absorb than the absence of Ryans did.
”Losing DeMeco is like losing a quarterback,” Cushing said.
”Losing Mario is more like losing a big-time receiver. DeMeco,
he’s absolutely the main captain of this team, with his leadership
role and how smart a player he is. He gets guys lined up, he’s
really the general out there.
”Both those guys, obviously, you want them both next to you,”
Cushing said. ”But it’s football. Injuries are part of the game,
other guys are going to have to step up and we’re completely fine
Second-round draft pick Brooks Reed will take Williams’ spot at
outside linebacker. Reed played about 50 snaps in Sunday’s
”I’m going to contribute the best I can,” Reed said. ”I know
no one is expecting me to produce as much as Mario, but I think it
will be a collective effort. Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure.
I’m a rookie, stepping in and playing for a Pro Bowler. There’s
pressure, but I like that and I think I’ll respond.”
Mason played in all five games this season for the Jets, but
started only two. He played the previous six seasons with the
Ravens, starting all but two regular-season games in that span.
He’s had 1,000 yards receiving in eight of his previous 10 seasons
Mason met with coach Gary Kubiak on Wednesday and says he’s
ready to contribute immediately.
”A breath of fresh air, to come to a situation where they want
you, and they believe in what you can do,” Mason said.
Schaub certainly missed Johnson on Sunday, especially on the
final play, when Houston had the ball at the Oakland 5 with seven
seconds left. Schaub flipped a pass to Jacoby Jones in the end
zone, but Michael Huff stepped in front of Jones and intercepted
it, ending the game.
The Texans say they’re only looking ahead now.
”You just go to the next down, the next game and you just keep
playing,” Schaub said. ”Obviously, we didn’t finish the one the
way we wanted to last week, but the more you think about them, the
more you dwell on it, the more you’re hurting yourself for this
week. We’ve got to continue on and go to the next play.”
Notes: The Texans waived RB Chris Ogbonnaya and WR David
Anderson, and signed LB Thaddeus Gibson and WR Juaquin Iglesias to
the practice squad. Ogbonnaya was Houston’s leading rusher in the
preseason, but had only three carries for six yards in the regular
season. Anderson had one catch for nine yards since the Texans
signed him in mid-September. … Houston also recalled LB Jesse
Nading from the practice squad and re-signed WR Trindon Holliday,
who was placed on the practice squad after training camp and then
cut last week. … Kubiak said FB James Casey is ”day to day”
with a strained pectoral muscle and may be a game-time decision for