Texans-Rams: Five matchups to watch

Texans-Rams: Five matchups to watch
October 12, 2013, 10:00 am
Share This Post

The Texans (2-3) host the Rams (2-3) at Reliant Stadium on Sunday afternoon in Houston.

Here are five important matchups within the game to watch:

Matt Schaub vs. Matt Schaub
Well, this is a first. But Schaub is going to need to get out of his own head to find success this week. Gary Kubiak said it was a “real tough” decision to start Schaub over T.J. Yates this week. Schaub has thrown nine interceptions in five games and four of them have been returned for touchdowns.

“Not one bit,” Schaub said when asked if his confidence has been shaken. “I’m supremely confident in my abilities and what I can do out on the football field. We just have to back to being conscious of the details and being technique-sound and what got us here as players individually and a team. That’s what we’re doing. We’re focusing on the details and we’ll be fine.”

But for a 10-year veteran who all of a sudden can’t seem to stop thrown touchdowns to the other team, it has to be in his mind. Yates said he and the other folks in the QB room this week did their best to make everything seem as normal as possible. For Schaub, he’ll need to make sure he doesn’t beat himself on Sunday.

Brice McCain vs. Tavon Austin
Austin was the first receiver taken in the most recent draft. DeAndre Hopkins was the second. And so far, it looks like those two should have been flipped.

Austin’s rookie season has been pretty bumpy so far. He has 23 receptions for 123 yards and two touchdowns but he's second in the league with five dropped passes.

“I wouldn’t say he’s struggling,” Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said in a conference call with Houston reporters. “I think last week, it was more on our game plan, the things that we thought we could use to take advantage of Jacksonville and that was playing in more two and three tight end sets where Tavon’s role is fairly limited. I think that was more by design last week than anything.”

Austin lines up as the Rams’ slot receiver, which is McCain’s territory.

Andre Johnson vs. Janoris Jenkins
It’s a shame that Cortland Finnegan likely won’t play on Sunday. The Rams’ cornerback didn’t practice this week and is doubtful. He has a history with Johnson. The two got into an on-field fight in 2010. Johnson said he didn’t care if Finnegan plays but it would have been the clear-cut matchup to watch if Finnegan was healthy.

But the more important football matchup will be Johnson against Jenkins. Johnson is listed as questionable but he said he’s playing on Friday. Without Owen Daniels, the Texans’ leading receiver, Johnson, will need to play a big role.

Duane Brown vs. Robert Quinn
After missing two weeks with a toe injury, Brown was back last week against the 49ers and had a good game. He’ll have a tough task on Sunday, going against Quinn one-on-one.

Quinn, 23, has five sacks through five games this season after having 10.5 in 2012. Since the beginning of last year, he’s tied for 10th in the NFL in sacks. He’s the only Ram with more than 1.5 this season.

Danieal Manning vs. Jared Cook
Cook had a monster opener with the Rams, his new team, this season. He had seven catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns against the Cardinals in the opener. Since then, he has 13 catches for 125 yards and zero touchdowns. But that first game showed the kind of potential he has and Manning will be the guy who is charged with covering him most often.

When rookie D.J. Swearinger is out there, he'll have to cover him too. Swearinger has had some trouble with tight ends this season and Cook is a good one. 

Texans - Team News
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue (ankle) remained limited in Thursday's practice. Arian Foster's caddie is in no danger of missing Week 9.
Oct 30 3:41PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) returned to Texans practice Thursday, getting in a limited session. Johnson was never in any danger of missing Sunday's game against the Eagles. With six teams on bye for Week 9, Johnson is a WR1.
Oct 30 3:40PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (knee) returned to Texans practice Thursday, getting in a limited session. The Texans are just managing their superstar back's reps. With DeMarco Murray facing the Cardinals' elite run defense, there's a case to be made for Foster as Week 9's No. 1...
Oct 30 3:39PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue (ankle) was limited in Wednesday's practice. Blue got first-team reps with Arian Foster (knee) not practicing. The Texans also held out Andre Johnson (ankle) on Wednesday.
Oct 29 5:15PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. The Texans are limiting Johnson's reps for rest purposes. He didn't suffer any setbacks last week and should be fine for Sunday's game against the Eagles.
Oct 29 3:43PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (knee) did not practice Wednesday. It's a new injury for Foster. Coming off his three-touchdown performance, it's possible the Texans are getting him some rest. Foster will be a top-three running back in Week...
Oct 29 3:18PM Read More
Zac Diles - LB
Texans signed LB Zac Diles. CB Elbert Mack was waived in a corresponding roster move. Diles' addition is a sign the Texans aren't expecting Brian Cushing (knee) back for Week 9.
Oct 28 4:04PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham was held without a catch in the Texans' Week 8 win over Tennessee. Graham was targeted just one time on the day, a seam shot from Ryan Fitzpatrick that predictably fell incomplete. Graham has been a very minor part of the offense, making...
Oct 26 4:53PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson caught seven passes for 55 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Johnson saw a team-high dozen targets. He was followed by Titans top CB Jason McCourty for much of the afternoon, leaving DeAndre Hopkins to work on sophomore Blidi...
Oct 26 4:44PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins caught five passes for 95 yards in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Hopkins was targeted 11 times compared to 12 for Andre Johnson. Hopkins picked up chunk yards on all of his grabs, and was stopped at the five-yard line on one grab where...
Oct 26 4:24PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue rushed for 42 yards on 14 carries in the Texans' Week 8 win over the Titans. Blue added a 22-yard catch. With the Texans clobbering the Titans late and Arian Foster having already piled up 173 yards and three touchdowns, Blue got plenty of run late...
Oct 26 4:11PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed just 19-of-35 passes for 227 yards, one touchdown, and zero... Fitzpatrick was pretty bad for most of the day, begging to be picked off, but the Texans rode Arian Foster's legs to victory. Fitzpatrick's lone touchdown went to Foster on...
Oct 26 3:45PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the Texans' 30-16, Week 8... Foster managed just 36 yards on his first 10 carries, but broke a 34-yard touchdown and had no trouble finding holes in the Tennessee defense from there on. Foster caught a...
Oct 26 3:21PM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is active for Week 8 against the Titans. Clowney will play on a "pitch count," likely in pass-rushing and third-down situations. Good luck with Clowney and J.J. Watt, Zach Mettenberger. Inactive for the...
Oct 26 10:34AM Read More
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) is likely to play against the Titans, but will be on a... "I thought what he did what he had to do this week," coach Bill O’Brien said. "I think he’s got a good shot to play on Sunday." Clowney has been...
Oct 25 9:13AM Read More

More Team Talk