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Young, revenge on Texans' minds


Linebacker DeMeco Ryans returned a fumble for a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans earlier this season.

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Quarterback Vince Young hasn't had things going his way lately. The last three games, the former University of Texas star has thrown for two touchdowns and five interceptions as the Tennessee Titans have lost three straight.

Young, the former Houston Madison standout, has a paltry season quarterback rating of 65.7, which includes only five touchdown passes against 13 interceptions.

But the Texans defenders aren't being fooled. They know what Young can do.

"He's a special player," linebacker Danny Clark said. "He's a guy who can beat you in the air, but mostly with his feet."

The Texans know that well, even if they haven't seen him in person this season. Young's 39-yard touchdown run in overtime beat Houston 26-20 at Reliant Stadium last Dec. 10.

"He's a terrific athlete," cornerback Demarcus Faggins said. "He's got a lot of talent, so you've always got to keep an eye on where he's at.

"He can run the ball and then he's got some receivers over there that he can tell go catch the ball. So we've got to always look at that and just keep an eye on him just in case he tries to scramble like you know he will."

That running ability is what makes Young one of the league's most dangerous players. He had seven touchdowns rushing last year, but due to a quad injury that kept him out of the first Texans game this year, he has scored only three times rushing this season.

With Young missing the game Oct. 21, placekicker Rob Bironas kicked an NFL-record eight field goals to help beat the Texans 38-36. Quarterback Kerry Collins led that victory.

"Collins is a great quarterback," cornerback Von Hutchins said. "He's been in this league for a long time and he can make all the throws. They utilized him to the 'T' the last time we played them.

"With Vince in, we just have to be ready for the quarterback scramble a little bit more. He's very able to get out of the pocket as well as throw from within the pocket. We have to be able to play the receivers as well as Vince on the quarterback runs and passes."

A quarterback who is so dangerous running puts extra pressure on defensive backs.

"He definitely presents matchup problems with the entire defense, which is evident from what he did last year and what he's been doing this year," Hutchins said, then added with a sly smile, "We just have to be ready for him and hopefully that quad injury is still there."

And don't be misled by the fact Young has thrown for 808 yards the last three games.

"He's been put in position the last three weeks where he's had to throw to catch up," Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said in a conference call with the Houston media. "And he's managed that part of the offense very well."

But Fisher still likes what he sees in Young's passing, even though some observers have criticized his quarterback.

"He's improving every week," Fisher said. "Sometimes it doesn't reflect in the statistics, but he's improving. He's doing everything he possibly can from the standpoint of taking advantage of the extra time.

"Mondays, he's been throwing on his day off and studying film and it's paying off for him. It's a steady curve and it's an upward curve right now. I'm pleased with the way he's playing and the approach that he takes.

"He does not like losing, that's well understood, and he's doing everything he possibly can to try to get us back in the win column. As far as the specifics of what he's doing, he's throwing the ball with accuracy."

The Texans know that passing is not Young's forte.

"They've been throwing the ball and that's not what the Titans do," Clark said. "They're a good running team and I'm sure they're going to get back to running the ball this week and that's something our defense has to do a better job of doing is stopping that run. Once we get a hold on that, I think we'll be in good shape."

Young is 2-0 against the Texans. But Houston players remember the October defeat – sans Young – as bitterly as any.

"We ended up losing that one and you never forget that," Faggins said. "Tennessee is kind of like a rival, so we always want to come out with a win when we play them. So this week we've got to come out and we've got to play harder and we've got to look at the mistakes we made last time we met and then try to eliminate those this time when we meet."

The Texans led that game 36-35 with 57 seconds to go before Bironas' final field goal beat them.

"We felt like we went into the game with the right game plan and we just didn't finish that game," Clark said. "That's something that our team is definitely concentrating on is finishing games. The first game against the Titans, we came out, started it well, just didn't finish it, and we came out on the losing end.

"I think (this game is) going to be similar and guys are just going to play hard. I think the most important thing is about us, not about them. We have to play our type of defense that we played earlier in the year, getting turnovers, and getting our offense back on the field."

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