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Texans: facing Marcus Mariota "a challenge"

On Sunday, the Texans will face Marcus Mariota for the first time.

As a rookie in 2015, the Tennessee quarterback was on the sideline with injuries in the pair of Houston wins.

The Texans defense gets a look at the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner this Sunday at NRG Stadium and knows his running skills complement his passing skills.

"Dual-threat quarterback," outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus said. "A guy who can hurt you with his feet. Can do a lot of quarterback runs, things like that."

Mariota's run nine times for 52 yards in three games this season, and scored on an 87-yard scamper in 2015. His ability to get loose is absolutely on the minds of the Texans defense.

"It's a challenge," cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. "I think anytime you have a dual threat guy like him, who is able to go out there and create plays with his legs and make plays with his arm. That's going to always put a challenge on you as a defense."


While Bill O'Brien acknowledged Mariota's threat as a runner, the head coach said not to discount Mariota's arm.

"He's excellent," O'Brien said. "He's a really good thrower. Everybody knows he can run, but he's smart, he gets them into the right play. When he escapes out of the pocket or when he runs some of the quarterback run plays that they have, it's very dangerous."

O'Brien said the Texans must "play very disciplined defense" against Mariota and the Titans.

Tennessee is 1-2 in 2016, and fell 17-10 to Oakland on Sunday.


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