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Demps adds depth to Texans' secondary


Safety Will Demps brings speed and starting experience to the Texans' secondary.

NFL coaches always say consistency is crucial to getting respect in the league. One game does turn a team into ESPN darlings.
The Texans' secondary unit began the season with that notion in mind. They wanted consistency in the defensive backfield, respect in the league and double digits in the win column. What they got was a slew of injuries at the safety position.

Starting safety Glenn Earl suffered a season-ending Lisfranc injury to his foot in the Texans' first preseason game against the Chicago Bears. Rookie reserve Brandon Harrison's left hamstring troubles have kept him on the injured reserve list. And during his first career start in the Texans' home opener against Kansas City, safety Jason Simmons ruptured his left knee patella tendon, sidelining him for the year.

The depleted Texans' secondary looked like it would be a lost cause in 2007. Well, that unit has a new look with the newest safety to sign with the team, Will Demps.

Demps, who had been released from the New York Giants after dislocating his elbow during training camp, signed with the Texans on Sept. 11. The six-year veteran spent six days in Houston, learning the playbook and practicing with the team before traveling to North Carolina.

Despite the quick introduction, Demps felt he was ready to play against the Panthers and their Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith.

"I guess starting my whole career gave me an advantage of understanding the defenses," Demps said. "I was mentally sharp during the game, but I did have to shake the rust off when tackling. Coming from an injury, I still have to work to get back."

{QUOTE}Demps may not have performed at full speed, but he did register a tackle, proving that he has found his role in the Texans defensive system.

"Being the type of player I am, I just want to make everything perfect and not let the teammates down by missing tackles," Demps said. "I did have a good play, which was the positive. And we won."

Having one good play, however, will not be good enough for Demps and his teammates when the Texans take on the Indianapolis Colts. The reigning Super Bowl Champions boast one of the NFL's most dominant passing games with the triumvirate of seven-time Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning and wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.

"These guys are Pro Bowl caliber receivers with a Pro Bowl quarterback and they are the World Champions, but you can't look at it like that," Demps said. "We've got to understand they're going to make some plays. We've got to focus and keep our composure. We've got to play 60 minutes in this game because any one play can beat you."

And the Texans' secondary is determined not to let that happen. So far this season, they've been able to control the defensive backfield, contributing to the team's two consecutive wins. But to get the respect they are striving for, Demps believes they have to dominate with consistency.

"I don't think we can just say, 'We're 2-0 and that's franchise history,'" Demps said. "We have to understand that in order to take the defense to the next level, we have to limit the yards and limit the touchdowns and cause more turnovers. When you're consistent in the league, people are going to recognize you defense. Limiting the big plays and causing turnovers is contagious. Turnovers are contagious. Guys feed off each other, and it's something we all get excited about."

Aside from shutting down the Colts' receivers, Demps is also excited about all the culture his new home has to offer.

"I love Texas," Demps said. "I love the barbeque, the sweet tea. I'm a West Coaster at heart, but I've fallen in love with Texas. It's a great environment, great city and great fans. You hear a lot about Texas football, so I'm very excited to be a part of that."

Of course, he would be thrilled for an ESPN Monday Night performance, but Demps and the Texans' secondary are taking the season one game at a time.

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