Texans prepare for Collins-led Titans

September 18, 2008 3:40:45 AM PDT
The Houston Texans get back to football after Hurricane Ike this week against the Tennessee Titans. They'll prepare for different challenges than they've faced in most of their last few meetings as Kerry Collins has taken over for the injured Vince Young. The 35-year-old Collins is far less mobile than Young. In fact, the comparisons of Young's rushing yards to those of Collins are staggering. In just two full seasons in the NFL, Young has 325 more yards rushing than Collins has in his 13.

Linebacker DeMeco Ryans thinks facing Collins instead of Young simplifies things a bit for the defense.

"We know Kerry is not a runner, so that makes it easier when we don't have to worry about a quarterback that can run the (bootlegs) and have the option of throwing and running," Ryans said. "Kerry's going to be in the pocket. He's not a mobile. We know we can get after him with some pressure and maybe make him make some bad decisions."

Collins was 14-of-21 for 128 yards and one touchdown in Tennessee's 24-7 win over Cincinnati last week. It's unclear how long Young will be out dealing with a sprained knee and questions about his emotional well-being.

Coach Gary Kubiak knows that, mobile or not, the Texans can't underestimate Collins. He said he faced him often while working as offensive coordinator of the Broncos.

"He can sit there and make every throw you possibly can make in the book," Kubiak said. "I have a lot of respect for this guy and what he brings to this team and what he's done in this league."

Collins is just shy of 35,000 yards passing for his career and has thrown 175 touchdowns.

Cornerback Fred Bennett said it doesn't really matter to him who's at quarterback for Tennessee, but he was impressed with Collins' performance last week.

"He's a well-respected quarterback around the league," Bennett said. "He's been in the league for a long time and I watched him on film and he does some real good things. He's got a real strong arm and he believes in his arm."

Fisher said his game plan doesn't change with Collins at quarterback.

"There are obviously some things that Kerry's not going to do that Vince does, but as far as the run game, the drop back passing game, no it doesn't," he said.

Young has started three of the four times the Titans have played Houston since he was drafted in 2006. Collins started their first game against Houston last season and threw for 280 yards in the 38-36 win.

Rob Bironas set an NFL record with eight field goals in that game. Ryans remembers Collins' performance in that game.

"We did a good job," he said. "We made them kick a lot of field goals. This time we really have to focus on shutting the run game down and stopping them and making them turn the ball over and punt the ball."

Notes: Ahman Green did not practice on Wednesday. He hasn't practiced since injuring his ankle against the Steelers. Kubiak said his status remains day-to-day. ... TE Mark Bruener missed practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury. ... Houston signed TE Clark Harris to its practice squad and released LB Kevis Coley from the unit.

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