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Practice Insider - Thursday


Titans quarterback Vince Young may be questionable for Sunday's game, but the Texans are still preparing to stop him from running the ball.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak told the media after practice Thursday that tackle Charles Spencer, who broke his leg in 2006, will miss the remainder of the season to continue rehabbing the injury. The head coach expects Spencer to be ready to play in 2008.

About Andre: Wide receiver Andre Johnson has been running, cutting and going through catching drills after practice, but the Pro Bowler is still not sure when he will return to the starting lineup.

Johnson has been anxious to play. Meanwhile, the Texans medical team has been reminding the five-year veteran that he is two weeks shy of the six weeks needed to recover from a knee sprain.

"I just wish I was playing," Johnson said. "That's about it. Every day, I'm in here rehabbing, doing what I need to do to try to get myself better."

Johnson's knee has improved to the point that the team is listing him as day-to-day, but the wideout isn't moving at full speed.

"My leg's still not strong," Johnson said. "I'm still trying to get my range of motion and things like that, so that's just the biggest thing."

The injury has been especially frustrating for Johnson because he had begun developing chemistry with quarterback Matt Schaub, especially in long yardage situations.

"It doesn't matter how many games it is left in the season, but I just want to get out there and just play with Matt, it being his first year here, and it's hopefully something that we can have around for a long time," Johnson said.

Big play Schaub: The Texans signal caller ranks as one of the league's top quarterbacks in long range situations, averaging 8.3 yards per attempt this season. Schaub has turned in several big play performances where he has connected on at least 10 explosive plays in a game.

"For us, 12 yards or plus- we consider that an explosive play," Kubiak said. "If we can go out and we're able to make seven 12-plus yard plays a game, we feel like we're going to be moving the football. We've made a lot of improvement in that area. I think we were almost dead last last year as far as getting the ball down the field. It was a big point of emphasis and we've been able to do that.

"You have to be able to make big plays in this business and get on and off the field quick. We've been making those plays. We have to finish the back end, finish the short end."

The short-yardage offense has been especially ineffective in the red zone, the Texans' version of the Bermuda Triangle. Kubiak said despite the team's struggle to get into the end zone, he likes what he has been seeing from his young receivers and tight ends.

"Like I tell them, it's exciting what we're doing moving the ball and imagine if we fix these couple other things we have, we should only get better," Kubiak said. "And it's a lot of young players doing it, so it's encouraging for the future."

Titanic Defense: Throwing long bombs, running for uphill…really any offensive play will be difficult to execute against Tennessee.

The Titans defense ranks No. 1 in the NFL against the run, allowing 63.8 yards rushing this season. They are also sixth in total defense, yielding only 281.4 yards. They held Tampa Bay to 30 yards rushing last Sunday.

The line is led by defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who has been racking up the sacks this season, and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, who has been stuffing rusher after rusher.

"He's (Haynesworth) as good as any inside player I've ever seen in football right now," Kubiak said. "He's just so dominating. I turned the film on the first play of the game against Tampa last week. He's making statements week in and week out."

Studdard sidelined: Rookie guard Kasey Studdard had been hoping to be play Sunday against the Titans. The University of Texas product, who played alongside quarterback Vince Young, knew Kubiak was considering getting him into the active rotation as part of the coach's plan to get the rookies more reps.

Studdard, however, suffered a setback Wednesday when he strained his groin.

"Studdard has a little groin issue," Kubiak said. "He did not practice today, further evaluations on him today, but it looks like he's going to miss a little time. I don't know how much.

"He's a tough guy. If he can make it back, he'll get back pretty quick, but I think this week's a big reach."

Suiting Stuudard would mean pulling an offensive player and taking playing time away from guards Chester Pitts and Fred Weary.

Injury Report: For the Texans official injury report, please **click here**.

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