Skip to main content

Texans ready for Young or Collins


Texans defenders don't think it's even worth discussing whether injured Vince Young or veteran Kerry Collins will start at quarterback when the Titans come marching into Reliant Stadium on Sunday.

They already know.

Of course, they'd rather go against pocket-passer Collins. They at least know where he'll be. The Texans have learned painfully they can't depend on Young staying put.

So Young has a little quadriceps injury. Texans players' attitudes are `so what?' He'll play in his home town. Duh.

"He's going to have 20,000 people cheering for him," defensive end N.D. Kalu said. "The only way he wouldn't play is if he had two cut off legs because of the competitor he is. We know he has a little injury, but we know that's not going to keep him from playing."

Told that Young said he didn't know if he'd play, Kalu smiled.

"That's what he's supposed to say," Kalu said. "He's being politically correct. He's going to play."

{QUOTE}Young has plenty of reasons to play, and Kalu thinks the Texans can use the local legend as motivation.

"He's been a star in Houston since junior high, so you know he's going to be a little amped," Kalu said. "As a defensive player, you want to spoil his homecoming. He's the best quarterback to come out of here in a long time.

"That's our incentive, to stop a great player who's going to be great in this league for a long time, but you know he's going to come with a little extra juice."

Linebacker Danny Clark prefers to face the more anchored Collins. That doesn't mean he doesn't respect the veteran Collins, who played for the Giants in the 2000 Super Bowl.

"I played with Collins in Oakland, so I understand what kind of quarterback we're dealing with," Clark said. "He's more of a stationary guy. He has a very strong arm. Vince is a guy who can make plays with his arm and legs.

"We'd like a guy back there with less credentials, but at the end of the day, we're ready to play whoever lines up."

The Texans know how much Young likes to play in his hometown. They're already 0-2 against the former Houston schoolboy and University of Texas star.

Young ran 39 yards in overtime to beat the Texans last December at Reliant Stadium.

After his touchdown run, Young was showered with cheers from his supporters.

"We're not worried about that," Clark said. "This is still our stadium and that won't ever change. Right now, we want to win at home and that's our ultimate goal, to win all our games at home and that won't change."

Collins started the first three games last season for the Titans before Young took charge and has been at quarterback since, earning 2006 Rookie of the Year honors.

There won't be any new strategy for the Texans this time.

"We have to understand the guy we're dealing with and keep him in the backfield throwing the ball," Clark said. "That's something we have to focus on. That's the Texans' problem that we need to fix as far as tackling."

The Texans' defense has taken its lumps in recent games. Having to deal with the Vince factor is just an added challenge.

"He's going to play," defensive tackle Travis Johnson said of Young. "You just have to prepare for him. He has IT. You can't say he's the greatest quarterback, you can't say he's the greatest running back, or he's the greatest receiver.

"That's the thing in this league, if you have IT you can do a lot of things in this league. It's capital I, capital T. Some guys got it and some guys don't."

Young's mediocre stats don't deter any respect from Houston.

"When you look on paper it doesn't do him justice," Kalu said. "Michael Jordan had IT…Larry Bird had IT. Vince Young has IT. Not giving him too much credit, but he's just a winner.

"That's why it's going to take the whole team to stop a guy like him. He's one of those guys who makes plays when he's supposed to. He's third-and-three and it looks like you're about to sack him and the next thing (you know) he's out and running."

Johnson doesn't see the Texans preparing differently for Young and Collins.

"One is an older, proven vet and the other is a guy who's somewhat proven and who gets better every week," Johnson said. "Kerry Collins is an old school Penn State guy who's been doing it for a while.

"You've just got to play football. Xs and Os can only do so much. You just have to go out there and do what you need to do to get the win."

Collins hit 10-of-20 passes for 125 yards and was sacked twice last week in Young's absence.

"Kerry Collins is a good quarterback too," running back Samkon Gado said. "He brings qualities that Vince doesn't."

Collins has a reputation for throwing long.

"He's a great guy,'' Clark said. "I know him personally. I know his strong suit. He likes to get the ball down the field. That's something that plays to our favor. I'd like to see him play, but we have to prepare for the best guy they have on that roster and that's No. 10."

The Texans have had trouble stopping running teams recently and that worries Kalu as much as the presence of Young. He expects Titans runners LenDale White and Chris Brown to be eager for the game to start.

"Why wouldn't they?" Kalu said. "Tennessee has two good running backs. They're probably chomping at the bit to go against us, but we need that challenge to show the fans that we can go against a good defense.

"LenDale White, he's one of those guys who runs angry. We've got a two-headed monster coming in here at running back and we have nothing but respect for them.

"After the way we played last week, we're looking forward to this challenge that we can play good against a good running team and succeed."

They'd also like to prove they can meet the Vince Young challenge.

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.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content