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Late For Work 12/18: Sneaky, Sneaky. Texans Refuse To Name Starting QB


Sneaky, Sneaky. Texans Refuse To Name Starting QB

The Houston Texans (7-7) are down in the playoff race, but they're not mathematically eliminated. So, they're scouring for any semblance of competitive advantage whenever, wherever they can.

The Texans will look to their fourth-string quarterback to lead them Sunday against the Ravens, which isn't a positive development for Houston.

But in an effort to throw off the Ravens, Head Coach Bill O'Brien refuses to name who the starter will be between rookie Thad Lewis or Case Keenum, who was signed off the Rams' practice squad Monday.

And it's not that O'Brien doesn't know who it will be, he just isn't sharing until Sunday.

"The team has a pretty good idea which way we are going," O'Brien said, per The Houston Chronicle.

"We'll just let everybody see that when the game starts."

Regardless of which quarterback he choses, the first-year coach "acknowledged the team will utilize a significantly different offense," wrote The Chronicle's Brian T. Smith.

It doesn't sound like Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh is completely buying into that notion. Through 15 weeks of the NFL season, the Texans are who they are. They can't totally change their system for one guy in one week, can they?

"Most of the preparation is the same," Harbaugh told "It's 90-95 percent scheme, and the rest is the guys. You're preparing for an offense that you've seen all year for scheme. They're not going to change who they are based on one player, but you've got to try to apply that player in what they do."

That said, it does cause extra work for defensive players like outside linebacker Terrell Suggs. The quarterback mystery is forcing the unit to create and learn two different game plans for each potential starter.

"You're a little busy this week; we have to prepare for two quarterbacks," he said. "We don't really know which one we're going to see, so you have to prepare for them both. You kind of have to have two game plans."

So it's not preparing for scheme?

"No, it's more preparing for the guy – what the guy's strengths are and what their weaknesses are," Suggs said. "We'll prepare for them both."

I guess it's a little of both.

Anyway, at the end of the day, regardless of who starts, the Ravens are in a more favorable position than if they had to prepare for one of the Texans' former veteran starters.

"If the Ravens had their pick, they'd rather have to go against a Keenum or Lewis, compared to a Ryan Fitzpatrick, a more veteran player," ESPN's Jamison Hensley said. "Especially because of their situation in the secondary, they've already started six cornerbacks this year.

"They like this situation, but it is a very different situation because of that question mark."

PFF Names Three Ravens Pro Bowler Starters … All Are On O-Line

The fan voting for the Pro Bowl is closed, and now it's up to the players and coaches to make their votes count.

Until we find out who officially makes it, Pro Football Focus (PFF) released its Pro Bowl roster for us to digest. Four Ravens made the offensive roster, and three of them are from the offensive line.

Three-fifths of the line Pro Bowlers?

Seriously, that is a major compliment to a unit that was widely blamed for the overall offensive struggles in 2013. The three to make it – all starters – were guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele, and right tackle Rick Wagner.

"Yanda has been superb all year in arguably his finest season as a Pro, being one half of a tremendous tandem in Baltimore," wrote PFF's Khaled Elsayed.

Also making the list on offense as a reserve is running back Justin Forsett. Here's hoping that comes true with the actual roster, as Forsett has had a magical season after bouncing around between four teams in five years.

On defense, only two players made it, both as reserves: Terrell Suggs as an edge rusher and Daryl Smith at linebacker.

No sign of Elvis Dumervil, despite leading the league in sacks (17).

Terrell Suggs: I Love Gary Kubiak!

It's Gary Kubiak week.

So let's highlight how much he is loved by Ravens players, even the defensive guys.

In the middle of the Ravens-Jags game, Kubiak gathered his offense and gave it a fiery speech on the sideline, telling it to stop killing itself with self-inflicted mistakes.

Suggs literally had the exact same reaction I had after Kubiak finished: "I love Gary Kubiak."

To see the full speech, watch this week’s very entertaining episode of "Ravens Wired" with Suggs mic'd up.

Billick Slams Browns Fan

Kudos to former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick for absolutely owning a Browns fan, who questioned his ability to analyze players.

On Wednesday, Billick tweeted which football player most resembles Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel. Billick sees a similarity with a former quarterback the Ravens drafted in 2007, Billick's final year in Baltimore.

Yeah, "Cleveland Sports Fan" Bflo44 did not like that. So, he questioned Billick's authority.

Then came Billick's perfect comeback, slamming the Browns fan:

Don't argue with ring, bro. Enough said.

Quick Hits

  • Wide receiver Torrey Smith has officially come off the injury report list. Looks like his knee is healed up. [ESPN]
  • Fullback Kyle Juszczyk is concentrating on ball security after he lost his second fumble of the season last week against the Jags, which led to a 53-yard field goal for Jacksonville. "You've got to have better ball security and know the down and distance and where you're at on the field," Juszczyk said. "It's more annoying than anything. Hopefully, that's the last one." [The Baltimore Sun]

There is nothing like seeing someone smile during the holiday season! Blessed! — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) December 17, 2014

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