Is Andre Johnson, Duane Brown Brown or Ed Reed More Important for Houston Texans Sunday?

By Cooper Welch
Duane Brown
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans face the Baltimore Ravens at 12 p.m. CST on CBS. The game happens in Maryland, where the Texans are 0-3 all-time. The Texans were already facing a challenge heading into this game, but there’s still a chance that some key Texans won’t be on the field come game time. Which of these players will be missed the most on Sunday?

Ed Reed has yet to make his debut for the Texans after having hip surgery in April. You probably know everything about how much Reed could mean for Houston, but since, he’s not yet played a single down of 2013 football. His contribution can’t be missed. Still, it would be amazing to see Reed play in this game and help the Texans beat his old team. Shiloh Keo and D.J. Swearinger have done pretty well filling in for Reed.

Andre Johnson would absolutely be missed by Houston if he can’t make it through the last stages of the NFL‘s concussion policy, but all projections that I’ve seen and every injury report I’ve read says that he’ll start.

If for some reason he didn’t start, DeAndre Hopkins would become the major focus of the passing game, which he showed he could handle last week in overtime. Keshawn Martin would start on the opposite side of the field, and Lestar Jean would also be more involved. Of course Owen Daniels will be a big focus as well, leading the Texans in touchdown receptions. Even so, no one wants to play a single snap without the active career leader in yards per game.

Duane Brown would probably be the most missed Texan this Sunday, as the Ravens have Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs starting on that side of the ball. Suggs and Dumervil have a combined 152 career sacks. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub certainly isn’t looking forward to facing them, even if Brown starts.

“It’s a very tough combination,” said Schaub, who has been sacked only four times this season. “You can’t slide your protection one way or the other. You’ve got to be honest on both sides.”

Brown has a turf toe or sprained toe injury, depending on who you talk to. Brown could play, but faces the possibility of seriously aggravating his injury and missing a lot more time. If Brown misses the game, expect swing tackle Ryan Harris to start in his place. Harris faces a very uphill battle against Suggs and Dumervil, but head coach Gary Kubiak is confident he can handle it.

“Ryan’s played a lot of football … So I’m very comfortable with him,” Kubiak said. “That’s why he’s here. If you have situations like this, guys have got to step up and that’s part of the NFL grind.”

I don’t share his enthusiasm, but instead expect the Ravens’ pass rush to have a field day. Neither does Dan Abeshouse, whose post you can read here.

Cooper Welch is a Houston Texans writer for Follow him on Twitter @cooperwelch1991, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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