Texans defense preps for Raiders' rookie QB

The Texans will face a bit of the unknown when they square off against Connor Cook and the Raiders Saturday at NRG Stadium.

The rookie quarterback will make his first start as a professional, and it'll be the only time in NFL history a rookie's debut has come in a playoff game.

"It's obviously not ideal," Oakland head coach Jack Del Rio said. "That's why it's never happened where a rookie gets his first start in a playoff game. But he played well last week and he's the healthiest option, so it makes it really an obvious choice."

Game tape at the NFL level is limited to just over one half of football in last Sunday's loss to the Broncos, 56 pass attempts spread over four preseason games, and a strong college career at Michigan State from 2012

to 2015.

"I think you have to look, number one, at the Raiders," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said. "What do they do? What have they been doing all year? I think you have to study some of his tape from Michigan State and some of his preseason tape. Then what he did in the Denver game."

O'Brien, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and the assistants won't "leave any stone unturned" in preparation for the rookie, and the Texans defenders said they'll need to make him uncomfortable.

"That's great, I hope we blitz him all game," defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said. "We just have to put a lot of pressure on him, make him throw some bad balls, force some turnovers and try to get our offense in good field position."

Cook completed 14-of-21 passes for 150 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked twice in Denver, and will face the League's top-rated defense in yards allowed per game. But linebacker Brian Cushing said Cook will also get a dose of the NRG Stadium crowd.

"He hasn't started and obviously played in an environment like this," Cushing said. "Even a regular season game, never mind a playoff game, so there's going to be a lot of communication and things that he's going to have to get done and we're going to try to limit it as best as we can."

For Cook, he said he'll keep it simple in his first start under center.

"I'm going to go out there and have fun, and just let it all hang out," Cook said. "I'll obviously prepare my butt off and do what I've been doing all season long."

The Texans host the Raiders at 3:35 p.m. CT Saturday inside NRG Stadium.

The Houston Texans roster in photos.

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