Texans morning huddle: Game day versus Carolina


Redemption Sunday. Today is the day the Houston Texans can get the bitter taste out of their mouths from a disappointing start to the season. Today’s ‘Huddle’ has stories about who will play, and not play today as the Texans take on the Carolina Panthers.

Vandermeer’s View: Texans hit reset – by Marc Vandermeer

"It didn’t go well last week but that’s ancient history. Multiple corrections made, a quarterback change and the team’s first road trip make it a brand new day.Ryan Mallet is good to go. Bill O’Brien said it’s been a solid week of prep and he’s ready for his third career start. It’s also yet another game he’ll play without Arian Foster, who also missed the Cleveland and Cincinnati games that Mallet started last season.That means Alfred Blue, Jonathan Grimes and Chris Polk have to step up and take the heat off the passing game. The Texans ran for just south of 100 yards last week and need to beef up that total in order to win. They also need solid play from an offensive line that might be without Duane Brown.Carolina picked off two passes last week and forced a fumble in a 20-9 win at Jacksonville. It’s Houston’s first real look at a 4-3 front and it’s on the road. Playing turnover free is a huge key. A repeat of last week’s donated touchdowns can’t happen if the Texans are to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2008.Houston’s defense has to begin the game with the same verve and execution they showed in the second half against Kansas City. Carolina doesn’t have all the same weapons as the Chiefs but they have a quarterback who can beat you in and out of the pocket and is much tougher to get your hands on than what they’ve seen in a while.Panthers readying for new Texans starting QB Ryan Mallett – by Steve Reed, San Diego Union TribuneCoach Bill O’Brien claimed the Houston Texans’ quarterback battle was close in the preseason. Perhaps it was closer than many expected.Only one week into the season O’Brien has made a change, turning to Ryan Mallett to start Sunday against Carolina after Brian Hoyer struggled in a 27-20 season opening loss to Kansas City.Hoyer had won the starting job in training camp, but was benched in the fourth quarter after committing two turnovers. Mallett led Houston on two scoring drives in the final six minutes, although it wasn’t enough to win.“I learned at a young age in this league, you got to prepare as the starter regardless of whether you’re two or three,” on the depth chart, Mallett said. “It can change with one play. Something can happen and you’ve got to be ready to go.”Mallett is 1-1 as a starter since coming into the league in 2011.The Panthers say they are prepared for both quarterbacks — the strong-armed Mallett and the more mobile Hoyer.“We don’t really worry about who is going to start,” Panthers safety Roman Harper said. “We have to continue to do what works best for our defense, go out and start fast, do the little things and get some turnovers and keep the momentum going.”"

Texans’ Duane Brown considered unlikely to play against Panthers – by Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle

"Texans Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Duane Brown is considered unlikely to play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, according to a source not authorized to speak publicly.Brown is dealing with a painful thumb injury that he suffered during the preseason. He was able to play against the Kansas City Chiefs, but it wasn’t easy for him to do so due to the discomfort it caused as blocking aggravated the thumb even though it was heavily padded.If Brown is held out this week, he could have more time to heal up and not have this injury linger throughout the season.“I think that’s always part of the thought process,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “It’s more of a probably, not to pass that off to somebody else, but that’s probably more of a medical question. I think that’s something that we have a conversation about. I would definitely put him in the day-to-day category.”If Brown doesn’t play Sunday, the Texans are expected to start Chris Clark at left tackle after acquiring him during the preseason in a trade from the Denver Broncos to back up Brown at left tackle. Their other option at the position would be move right tackle Derek Newton to the left side."

Luke Kuechly won’t play Sunday vs. Texans – by David Newton, ESPN

"Carolina Panthers star linebacker Luke Kuechly has been ruled out for Sunday’s home opener because of a concussion.Kuechly, who initially had been listed as doubtful, has started 52 consecutive games, including three playoff appearances.The Panthers did not specify whether Kuechly was unable to pass the final stages of the concussion protocol. But coach Ron Rivera said Friday that he would go with the decision of the independent physician, who makes the final call."

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