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Defense turning the page


The Texans' defenders aren't quite sure what hit them Sunday. They know they gave up a lot of yards and they need to get that fixed soon because look who's coming to town.

Vince Young, feared even when hurt, and the Titans can be very dangerous too, maybe even more so than the Jaguars, who pounded the Texans' defense black and blue.

The Jaguars rolled to a 37-17 victory in a rare lopsided series victory. They allowed Jacksonville to gain 9.4 yards per rush, a dubious Texans record.

"I think we pressed a little," defensive end Anthony Weaver said. "People were going out there and trying to do too much and we missed assignments. That enabled them to go out and make big plays and that's what happened."

{QUOTE}What will Vince do if he plays?

"We have to be especially alert for Vince, who gets out on third down and makes plays with his feet," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "Other than that, we have to stop the running game and make Vince beat us passing the ball."

Against Jacksonville, third down was a sad story for the Texans. The offense managed only 2-for-10 on third down and the Jags were 5-for-10.

"It's not lack of effort," defensive end N.D. Kalu said. "Even as bad as we got beat, you look at the film and there are guys running around busting their butts trying to make plays."

The Texans started the season strong against the run. That certainly wasn't the case against Jacksonville. The Jags' 244 rushing yards was the third most ever allowed by a Texans' defense.

"Guys were out there playing hard," Weaver said. "It's just that when we did make a mistake, they went out and found them. It's one of those cases where they capitalized on every mistake we made and that's what happened in the run game."

Fred Taylor ripped off a 76-yard run in the first quarter, establishing the Jags' ground game. Kalu took the blame for that one.

"After that we just couldn't stop the run," Kalu said. "You've got to start fast in terms of stopping the run. It just got uglier and uglier. We've just got to be more technique sound and gap sound, especially against the great running team we have coming in."

Young may or not play with a quadriceps injury, but the Texans are preparing for him to be active.

"Nah, he'll be out there, especially since it's his hometown and he feels he got passed up in the draft," Kalu said. "He'll do whatever he has to do to get out there, so we're expecting to see him play."

The 2006 Rookie of the Year ran for a 39-yard touchdown in overtime to beat the Texans last December.

"He's one of those guys who's just a winner," Kalu said. "You can throw the stat sheet out the window when you talk about Vince Young. All he does is win. It's going to be a huge challenge for us to rush him and make sure we keep our lane integrity.

"If we're out of place, he's going to find it and run 10-15 yards."

Kalu remembers Young's winning touchdown run last year.

"If you don't (remember), you weren't at that game," Kalu said. "That's all you remember from that game. I remember it as clear as day. We've got to make sure it's not that close so he can't make that spectacular play again."

Weaver expects the Texans to take aim at stopping Young.

"It all starts with the quarterback," Weaver said. "He's capable of making the big play every play he's out there. We've got to account for him and we know they're going to try to run and ball and rely on their defense, which has been playing well."

The Texans need to mend some areas if they expect to contain the Titans' running game. That means stopping them on third down.

"The last couple of games we've had trouble on third down," Weaver said. "I think it's assignments, knowing down and distance and executing the calls. If we do that, we can get off the field. We'll be all right."

Rookie Amobi Okoye says the Texans' defense needs to return to fundamental tackling.

"We had terrible tackling (against Jacksonville)," Okoye said. "We've got to get back to the fundamentals. You start thinking about scheming so much you miss the fundamentals. We thrive on big hits, so a lot of the guys want to get the big hits and don't wrap up when going against the really good backs."

What might really help is if Young doesn't play at all and the less-mobile Kerry Collins starts at quarterback.

"That would be huge," Weaver said. "Then, you've got a guy back there who's not very mobile. You can pin your ears back on pass situations and try to go after him. That's something you can't do with Vince.

"You saw what happened last year when we pinned our ears back, he goes and runs for a touchdown. If Kerry Collins is back there it's huge for us."

Linebacker Danny Clark wants to forget Jacksonville for now.

"We're going to treat this game as one game only and have the 24-hour rule where we will lick our wounds, correct our mistakes and get prepared for Tennessee," Clark said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Michael A. Lutz worked for The Associated Press for 38 years covering news and sports in Louisville, Ky. Dallas and Houston. Most of that time was spent in Houston covering the Oilers, Astros, Texans and other college and pro sports.

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