Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Patriots eying Texans' missing pieces from Round 1


As the New England Patriots look to the game tape this week during preparations for Sunday’s playoff rematch with the Houston Texans, they're taking note of who is absent from it.

In a 42-14 Monday night thrashing at the hands of the Pats, the Texans were without two talented youngsters: linebacker Brooks Reed and tight end Garrett Graham. The pair will be making an appearance this time around. (photo: The Britt_2, Flickr)

“[Reed’s] certainly been disruptive when he’s been in there,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels told reporters via conference call on Monday. “... I think Reed just comes in and really provides some explosiveness off the edge. [He’s] a guy that can pass rush, can really play in the running game, has a great playing style about him.”

In only his second year, Reed does his best work against the run. However, he has shown some promise in the Texans' blitz-heavy system. Despite missing four of his team's last five games, Brooks has amassed four sacks, three quarterback hits and 18 quarterback hurries, according to ProFootballFocus.

Graham, who missed the first matchup against the Pats because of a concussion, has tallied 263 yards receiving this season and has been a key target for quarterback Matt Schaub in the red zone.

“I think they have a real excellent package that they can kind of mix and match those guys (tight ends) and put them in different positions and create different matchup situations or just formation situations that they feel are advantageous to what they’re try to do for that particular game,” New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia told reporters via conference call Monday.

Graham, along with fellow tight end Owen Daniels, have combined for nearly 1,000 yards this season and nine touchdowns, six of those inside the red zone.

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