Practice report: Demps doubtful

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The Texans wrapped up their last practice before hosting the Colts in the Oct. 5 home opener at Reliant Stadium. Houston will enter the game a little shorthanded in the secondary but excited to return home after three games on the road.

Demps doubtful against Colts: Free safety Will Demps missed a third straight day of practice with a hamstring injury and is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Colts.

Without Demps in the lineup, the Texans will be forced to start two backups at safety. Starting strong safety C.C. Brown went on injured reserve earlier this week with a fractured forearm.

Head coach Gary Kubiak plans to start 10th-year pro Nick Ferguson and Brandon Harrison, with rookie Dominique Barber providing support off the bench. Eugene Wilson could also make his debut as a Texan. Wilson was signed as a cornerback earlier this season but played safety for the New England Patriots.

"Well, that was one of our deepest positions going into camp, one of our deepest positions," Kubiak said. "We're getting tested and tested at a very opportunistic time, a tough time, the team we're playing. But Nick's played a lot of football. Brandon's been very, very encouraging. I'm excited to see those guys play, excited to see those guys step up and see Eugene. That's why we brought him here."
Red zone becomes a defensive issue: Houston's offense was 2-for-3 in the red zone against the Jaguars, which was a drastic improvement from the team's showing in Tennessee where the unit went 1-for-6.

{QUOTE}Now, it's the defense that is dealing with red zone woes. The Texans are 0-for-11 on attempted stops inside the 20 and they are about to face one of the best red zone quarterbacks in Peyton Manning.

"Obviously, we've got problems in the red zone defensively and on third downs and hopefully we can get that reversed," Kubiak said.

"Football is that way for every position. You can be struggling at one spot, and all of the sudden you go out one day and have a great day and your confidence just lifts and goes forward. It doesn't matter whether you're a d-line, a quarterback, a receiver, things aren't going good for you, just keep plugging. They're working hard. We've tried some different combinations, trying to create some things, but we need them to play well this weekend."

A huge part of the problem has been missed tackles. The Texans know they can't afford to let running back Joseph Addai slip by them and they have to keep the pressure on Manning.

"We have to tackle well against the running back," linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "If we can get some hits on Peyton, that would be great. If we could shake him up, get some hits on him, put him on the ground. You see him on the ground a lot you know we're doing a good job."

Injury notes: Chris Taylor rode the exercise bike Friday as the team worked out and probably will miss Sunday's game with a deep thigh bruise.

DeMeco Ryans let his ankle rest during practice but expects to be ready for the Colts.

For the official injury report, click here.

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