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Texans Get First Crack at Titans Starting Rookie QB

As the AFC continues to shake out into real from false contenders, the Tennessee Titans named rookie quarterback Rusty Smith the starter this week versus the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium.  Often-starter Vince Young was placed on the injured reserve earlier this week, and Kerry Collins hurt his calf against Miami two weekends ago and will still be out another week or two.

Smith was a sixth round pick in the last NFL draft and played quarterback for Florida Atlantic University.  The Tennessee Titans official page,, reported:

“We’ve had changes in three of the last four games with Vince and Kerry,” Fisher said. “Now we’ve got another one. I’m excited for Rusty because Rusty knows what to do. Rusty understands the offense. There is going to be some growing pains with him a little bit, but Rusty was in here at seven o’clock this morning. I think Rusty will be successful.”

Smith relieved Young with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter of Sunday’s 19-16 overtime loss to the Redskins. He went 3-for-9 passing for 62 yards with one interception. Smith’s first passing attempt went toward 13-year NFL veteran Randy Moss but was off the mark on a third-down-and-3 play from the Washington 36. The Titans went for it on fourth down, and Smith appeared to hit Moss for a touchdown but officials called offensive pass interference against Moss, forcing the Titans to punt.

After being drafted by the Titans in April, the Sun Sentinel reported the 6’5″, 230 pound four year starter at FAU was the school’s all-time leading passer, as well as in Sun Belt history with 10,112 passing yards and 76 touchdowns.

The Texans defense can often look more unorganized and unsuited to play – at most in the secondary – than last season’ collegiate-level Alabama Crimson Tide secondary.  Although the Texans will be facing a rookie quarterback, they should look at it as a way to improve on the defensive line effort, as well as the secondary, and not as to take it easier than any other week.  Jason Allen will be pressured to gain more familiarity with the defense and avoid exposure, and Glover Quin will once again be on the Texans’ opponent’s hit list. But in all, look for the Titans to run CJ2K all day against the Texans, who have had no success against him before.  In two games, Johnson’s averaged 174 yards and a touchdown on only 22.5 carries per game.  He’s also caught nine passes in those two games for 87 yards and a touchdown.  It will be interesting to see if the Texans generally crowd ten in the box even with Randy Moss on the field.  One things for sure though, even with the Titans’ starting rookie quarterback Rusty Smith, the Texans’ defense should near the feeling of being overconfident this season.

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