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Stopping run, rattling Flacco keys for Texans


The Texans' defense is committed to stopping the run against a physical Ravens team, as they did in the Liberty White home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs last season.

The Texans aren't concentrating too much on creating a horror show on Monday for Ravens rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. They're more interested in overcoming their own nightmare from Pittsburgh last weekend.

More than rattling Flacco, the Texans want to rally themselves.

Sure, they'll try to aggravate Flacco, starting his second pro game, with some movement and tricks. But it all comes down to looking in the mirror and correcting the mistakes that cost them an embarrassing 38-17 loss to the Steelers.

"You have to have amnesia," safety Will Demps said. "We have to understand ourselves. We've got to correct the things we did wrong last week. We know they have a young quarterback, but they're real sound. They beat a good Cincinnati team. They held the ball a long time. We understand that."

Flacco, the Ravens' first-round pick from the University of Delaware, made a solid pro debut in Baltimore's 17-10 victory over Cincinnati. He completed 15 of 29 passes for 129 yards. Flacco didn't throw a touchdown pass but he didn't throw an interception, either, and he ran 38 yards for a touchdown.

"You have to give him different movements, different looks, so that you could actually get him off his game a little bit," linebacker Morlon Greenwood said. "One of the biggest things is to shut down the run and make them one-dimensional. That's our plan every week."

Greenwood sees a bright future for Flacco.

{QUOTE}"I think for his first outing, he controlled the ball well," Greenwood said. "He did a good job of not holding the ball when he was in trouble. When you run the ball that well, the offensive coordinator can do whatever he wants to do to make him comfortable for play calling."

The Ravens pounded Cincinnati with 229 yards rushing. They intend on doing the same to the Texans and every other opponent. The Texans think they can rattle Flacco most by stopping the Baltimore running attack.

"We've got to correct our things, and we've got that on the right track after watching film," Demps said. "We have to play with passion and understand the mistakes we made last week are correctible. If we do the things we have to do right, it doesn't matter if we face a rookie quarterback or veteran quarterback.

"We should rattle him and get to the ball and get off on third down and make some turnovers."

That was the plan against the Steelers, who rely heavily on their running game and never relented in that commitment against the Texans.

"(The Ravens) put (Flacco) in positions to make plays and not have him thinking too much," cornerback DeMarcus Faggins said. "We can bring pressure, but at the same time, they've got a nice running game, so we've got to worry about the running game. He could pop up and throw the pass. He's got a strong arm, and just because he's a young quarterback doesn't mean he doesn't have the talent and can't make plays.

"You've just got to limit him on what he can do."

Keeping it simple worked for the Ravens' offense last week.

"He did well for them last week," Demps said. "The coach isn't going to give him too much in the playbook to understand. He doesn't have to win with his arm. They've got one of the best defenses in Baltimore, so tell the rookie to hold the ball make key decisions and make sure the defense wins the game for them."

The Ravens beat the Bengals with unknowns. Starting running back Willis McGahee missed the game with injury, leaving rookies Flacco and running back Ray Rice and second-year fullback Le'Ron McClain to carry the load.

"It's not about the names, it's about execution," defensive tackle Amobi Okoye said. "If you go out there and execute the way you're supposed to and tackle, things are going to work right, and that's what we didn't do last week."

Okoye expects Flacco to be a factor.

"I see a rookie who is showing a lot of non-rookie syndromes," he said. "I see a lot of good things in him, but no doubt we've got to go after him. We want to win, too. We try to concentrate on us. We can't worry too much about the other people. We have to worry about what we do."

Linebacker DeMeco Ryans says the best way to pressure Flacco is to attack the Ravens' running game.

"We have to show him some different looks and make it difficult on him, maybe move around a little bit to make it confusing on him," Ryans said. "The way they ran the ball in their first game makes it easy on any quarterback. It's easier to manage a game when you run the ball that well so you don't have to make any big plays.

"Stopping the run is a big thing for us this week, especially after what happened last week. That's our main focus this week. We've got to step up and stop the run."

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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