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Mike Vrabel knows Houston coach Bill O'Brien pretty well after spending the past four seasons working as a Texans assistant http://www.thetexanslockerroom.com/authentic-martinas-rankin-jersey , including 2017 as defensive coordinator. Now Vrabel has his own team in
Tennessee, and the rookie is about to square off with his former boss looking
for his first victory as an NFL head coach.Vrabel hopes his familiarity with
Houston helps Sunday in the Titans' home opener if only by explaining some
Texans skills and tendencies.He cautions what he knows will help only so
much."They've added some new stuff, and they're doing new things, and they've
got some new personnel," Vrabel said. "Hopefully we can get prepared enough to
go out and win a game on Sunday."When Vrabel worked for O'Brien, the Houston
coach says they didn't talk about whether the former NFL linebacker wanted to be
a head coach. O'Brien says Vrabel was too busy coaching linebackers or
coordinating the defense."Smart guy, leader, very Keke Coutee Jersey , hard worker, played in the league for a long time, knows the game," O'Brien said. "He's got all the qualities of a head
coach."Vrabel went winless in the preseason as he and the Titans focused on
trying to get to the regular season healthy. After a 27-20 loss in Miami , the
Titans put tight end Delanie Walker on injured reserve and two-time Pro Bowl
left tackle Taylor Lewan is recovering from a concussion. Quarterback Marcus
Mariota also hurt the elbow on his throwing arm .Houston has dominated this AFC
South rivalry lately, but the teams split the season series last year, each
winning on its home field. Houston visited Nashville last December with
quarterback Deshaun Watson healing up from a torn ACL, while Mariota left the
Titans' loss in Texas with an injured hamstring.Watson was back for the Texans'
opener Kendall Lamm Jersey White , but Houston lost 27-20 at New England. The Texans are back on the road for a second straight week, and neither team can
afford falling to 0-2, raising the stakes even higher."We want to win very
badly," Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan said. "It's a divisional game. You
don't want to start out 0-1 in the division. You want to get some momentum and
go from there."Some things to know about Texans and Titans:WATSON FACTORThe
Titans faced Watson only once last season before he tore his right ACL , and
once was enough . Watson led Houston to franchise records with most points (57),
touchdowns (seven) and largest margin of victory (43). The Texans also put up
445 yards in total offense and scored on five of their first six possessions in
Watson's fourth NFL game."We just went out there and had fun," Watson said.AIR
BATTLEThe Titans have bolstered their secondary by signing Logan Ryan and
drafting Adoree Jackson in 2017, then they signed cornerback Malcolm Butler as a
free agent this March. The group has been trying to live by the phrase "My Man
Catches No Balls" this season Derek Newton Jersey White , a mantra that will be tested strongly by the Texans' potent wide receivers. All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins led the NFL with 13
touchdown receptions last season, and now Will Fuller V is expected to be
available after dealing with a hamstring injury.REPLACING WALKERThe three-time
Pro Bowler came into this season with the most catches by a tight end in the NFL
since the start of the 2013 season, and he has been Mariota's favorite target
the past three years. Now the Titans will have to see if second-year tight end
Jonnu Smith, veteran Luke Stocker and likely Anthony Firkser, who played at
Harvard, can help catch the balls Mariota would have thrown to Walker.STRONG AT
SAFETYTyrann Mathieu made his Houston debut last week by becoming the first
Texan with an interception and fumble recovery in the same game since Week 13 of
the 2012 season. He also had five tackles after signing with the Texans this
offseason. The Titans counter with All-Pro Kevin Byard, who led the NFL with 10
total takeaways last season and tied for the league lead with eight
interceptions.OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLEThe Texans placed right tackle Seantrel
Henderson on injured reserve , and rookie Martinas Rankin is expected to start
at either left or right tackle. The Titans are waiting to see if Lewan clears
the concussion protocol Womens Benardrick McKinney Jersey , with Kevin Pamphile his likely replacement, and Dennis Kelly at right tackle until Jack Conklin returns from
the left ACL torn in January.AP Sports Writer Kristie Rieken contributed to this
report.Follow Teresa M. Walker at teresamwalker The second-year receiver should
be a vital weapon."The Houston Texans are shallow at several positions. Most of
all, the offensive line and cornerbacks are thinner than flatbread pizza.One
position that they will not have to worry about is wide receiver.Nobody needs an
explanation on DeAndre Hopkins. We all know what he brings to the table.Will
Fuller’s season ended with an ACL tear on a Thursday night home game against the
Miami Dolphins in late October. Coach Bill O’Brien said Fuller was on a “good
track” in his recovery process. Barring a major setback, we can expect the
Desean Jackson clone to be ready for Week 1.The key this season might be Keke
Coutee.Last we saw of the receiver from Texas Tech, he caught eleven balls with
a touchdown in the Texans’ playoff loss to the Colts.Coutee dealt with hamstring
injuries through training camp and did not play in one preseason game. The issue
lingered into the regular season. He was only able to play five total games
including the playoffs.To paraphrase, O’Brien stated that the injuries were a
result of Coutee training for the combine and having a tough transition to
football training.Coutee is an undersized receiver, standing a mere 5 feet 11
inches and weighing about 180 pounds. He is an agile receiver who is a slot
weapon. His skill set is that of a slightly larger Taylor Gabriel.He is great
for screen passes, dump-off passes Lamar Miller Jersey White , and running the end-around.His value to this team will come by keeping the defense honest. Instead of dropping back in
coverage, Coutee is shifty enough to draw the attention from linebackers or
nickel corners. Teams will care more to cover the short-middle routes and the
flats.The second-year receiver can also be a nightmare against the blitz if used
properly. O’Brien and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly will have to understand
how to effectively utilize Coutee.If Fuller comes back to full health, that
means teams will have to drop a safety deep to prevent him from blowing the top
off. Hopkins will take away the team’s most physical corner and he will see a
lot of double coverage.That puts Coutee in a position where he will see
one-on-one matchups from the Patrick Robinsons and Desmond Kings of the world.
Because of the personnel around him, he can earn a living from short routes and
dump offs.His quickness was on display last season in a small sample size. He
showed his promise, and he should be fresh and ready to play in 2019. It will
now be up to O’Brien and Tim Kelly to properly scheme for his abilities.
Posted 23 Aug 2019

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