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Brooks Reed brings new look to D vs. Patriots


The Texans are glad 'Brocks' will be with them in the game Sunday at New England.

That's the nickname nose tackle Shaun Cody uses for outside linebacker Brooks Reed, who missed last month's loss to the Patriots with a groin injury. After pulling up lame in the Thanksgiving victory at Detroit, Reed was out of commission for four of the final five contests in the 2012 regular season. Saturday against the Bengals, though, he tallied a sack and three tackles and was a welcome sight to his coaches and teammates.

"He's a big part of what we do," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "I think he balances us up in our pass rush in what we do, so it's great to have him back."

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips took it a step further after being asked what the second-year defender means to the "Bulls on Parade."

"Brooks is a force on the field," Phillps said. "He's a physical force. He's obviously a good player, but I think just his physicality really helps us as far as our mental toughness overall as a defensive unit."

Reed now has 4.5 sacks in three career playoff games, tied with defensive end J.J. Watt for the NFL lead over the past two postseasons. He helped the Texans' defense limit Cincinnati to just 118 passing yards on Saturday and was a presence in a run defense that allowed 80 yards.

Reed played in Week 16 against the Vikings but was held out of the season finale at Indianapolis. He's healthy and ready to go for Sunday in Foxborough, and having that worry out of his mind is a big positive.

"It was great coming out of the game and having no setbacks and feeling really good," Reed said. "I'm full-go this week, just like I was last week, so nothing has really changed. It feels good to be back."

Watching the Texans struggle last month in the 42-14 loss at Gillette Stadium was unpleasant. But watching it from afar and not being able to play in the game was even harder for Reed.

"Pretty difficult," Reed said. "It's tough watching your guys go out there and play their hearts out and you're stuck here nursing a groin injury. But now it's a little bit different, so I'll be out there and try to make plays of my own."

Watt, who entered the NFL in 2011 with Reed, has lit up in both of the last two weeks when talking about Reed. Their combined nine sacks in three postseason games has gone a long way toward helping the defense allow just an average of 14.3 points per game in playoff action.

"Obviously, him and I work together on some pass-rush schemes and things like that," Watt said. "It's nice to have him back. It's always a welcome sight to see 58."

Plus, the two are trying to match each other sack-for-sack. And according to Watt, there's nothing wrong with that.

"Of course, there is always competition going on," Watt said. "That's good competition. It's great, and hopefully we get many more."

To do that, it'll start against a quarterback in Tom Brady who was dropped just once for a sack in Week 14, when outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus blasted him in the third quarter. Reed knows the three-time Super Bowl champion will be slippery.

"He rarely gets sacked, just like (Peyton) Manning," Reed said. "I wasn't there last time, but it's going to be challenging, and I'm sure they're going to be prepared for blitzes and all that."

Brady and the Patriots also are going to have to be prepared for Reed. As Cody remarked on Thursday, that's not an enviable task.

"He's a physical animal," Cody said. "He's just a beast in there. I wouldn't want to go against him. He's just unstoppable, with his hair... and technique."

Brady won't likely be intimidated by Reed's hair, but he will have to account for the extra dimension and force Reed brings to the Texans' defense.


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