Beat Up Texans Prepare for Ravens

The well rested 3-1 Baltimore Ravens, coming off their bye week, host the banged up Houston Texans this weekend.  The Texans have been busy trying to restructure their roster just to field a full team.

The Texans are sitting at 3-2, but have lost linebacker Mario Williams for the year, wide receiver Andre Johnson has been out with a hamstring injury, quarterback Matt Schaub didn’t practice on Wednesday with a shoulder injury and running back Ben Tate has been nursing a groin injury.

This isn’t the way you want to go into a game against the Ravens, who pounded the Steelers in the opener, and easily handled the Jets before the bye.

The Texans traded for wide receiver Derrick Mason this week to bolster their receiving corps while Johnson is out.  They also signed wide receiver Trindon Holliday and outside linebacker Jesse Nading.

On the Mason signing, Texans coach Gary Kubiak said, “We’ve played maybe two-and-a-half games with three healthy wide receivers, so it’s really been scary from that standpoint.”

“We had a chance to go get a guy that still runs very well even though he’s played a long time in this league. He’s been very effective in this league. We feel like we can catch him up real fast, so that was a big key.”

Nading is expected to contribute on special teams right away, and be used on the defense as well.

“Jesse’s going to play big for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano),” Kubiak said. “He’ll play everything on special teams. He will be a backup to Connor (Barwin) on the strongside, so he’ll get some reps there.”

If Schaub isn’t ready to go, Matt Leinart is listed as the backup. Kubiak said, “Matt [Schaub] did not practice today [Wednesday] and obviously Andre [Johnson] didn’t practice. Matt’s just got a sore shoulder and a banged up thigh, so we’ll give him today. Hopefully he’ll be back out here tomorrow. We gave lefty [Matt Leinart] and the young kid [T.J. Yates] all the reps.”

With Johnson out, Schaub and Tate banged up, and the two new receivers still learning the offense, the offensive load is going to be on the shoulders of last seasons rushing lead Arian Foster.  That’s a tall order against a Ravens defense that is second in the league against the run, giving up just 72 yards per game.

Foster commented on the Ravens defense this week, “They present so [many] challenges. They do everything very well. They know each other very well and on top of that, they’re some of the best athletes in our game today, so it just makes it that much more difficult.”

“The NFL life is injuries. They happen and you have to adjust. Guys have to step up and make plays. Everybody has to bring up their level of play that much more.”

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