Game Preview: Houston at Miami

The Dolphins will be trying on Sunday to avoid their sixth 0-2 start in the last seven years, but it certainly won't be an easy task against a Houston Texans team that appears to be the favorite in the AFC South. We break down the matchup at Sun Life Stadium.

WHO: Houston Texans (1-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET

SITE: Sun Life Stadium

SURFACE: Natural grass

TV: CBS, Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts


KEYS TO THE GAME: Things don't get much easier for the Dolphins' secondary with QB Matt Schaub coming to town after Miami gave up 517 passing yards to Tom Brady. Houston isn't quite as explosive in the passing game, but is far more balanced and expects to get RB Arian Foster (hamstring) back in the lineup. Dolphins QB Chad Henne is coming off a strong outing and the Texans had the league's worst pass defense last season. Regardless, Miami must get RB Reggie Bush plenty of touches and sustain drives to help protect the defense. He doesn't run real well between the tackles but will be heavily involved in the passing attack.

FAST FACTS: The Texans have won all five previous meetings, including two in Miami, although the five games have been decided by a total of 14 points. ... Dolphins WR Brandon Marshall has 15 career 100-yard receiving games.



Every time the Texans play against Reggie Bush, fans remember how close he came to playing in Houston.

Bush is in his first season as the starting running back for Miami, where the Texans play on Sunday. They're familiar with Bush because they practiced against New Orleans before their preseason game the last four years. They defeated the Saints in a regular-season game in which Bush played.

The Texans had the first pick in the 2006 draft after finishing 2-14. General manager Charley Casserly and first-year coach Gary Kubiak intended to draft Bush, the Heisman Trophy winner from USC.

Casserly and Kubiak also liked North Carolina State defensive end Mario Williams.

Casserly began negotiations with Bush's agent, Joel Segal. Williams' agent, Ben Dogra, didn't believe the Texans were serious about his client. Like just about everyone in Houston, including the media, Dogra thought the Texans wanted Bush and wanted to use Williams to get Segal to reduce his contract demands.

A couple of weeks before the draft, rumors spread that Bush was going to be the target of an investigation so scandalous that it could cost him the Heisman Trophy and USC a national championship.

Casserly went to owner Bob McNair and told him what he'd heard about Bush and what he was possibly facing in an NCAA investigation. McNair signed off on Williams.

The Texans continued to negotiate with the agents for both players. On the night before the draft, they reached an agreement with Williams. And they're glad they made that choice.

After leading the team in sacks in each of his first five seasons, Williams has moved to outside linebacker in Wade Phillips' 3-4 defense. He had two sacks in the opening victory over Indianapolis.

During his first seasons with the Saints, Bush earned a Super Bowl ring. They parted ways during the offseason, and Bush signed with the Dolphins.

Looking back, the Texans got a lot of criticism when they selected Williams. He was booed by fans when he appeared in Houston for the first time. Now, though, no one in Houston would trade Williams for Bush.



-- RB Arian Foster (hamstring) practiced again Thursday. Barring a setback in practice Friday or Saturday, he'll start against Miami.

-- WR Kevin Walter (bruised shoulder) hasn't practiced this week, but coach Gary Kubiak didn't rule him out of the Miami game. Kubiak said Walter was one of the few players who could miss practice all week and still play.

-- WR Jacoby Jones is ready to replace Kevin Walter in the lineup. Jones caught three passes for 43 yards and returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown against the Colts. He's had a good week of practice working with the starters.

-- RB Derrick Ward (sprained ankle) didn't practice all week and he was ruled out on Friday.

-- RB Steve Slaton, fourth on the depth chart, had two carries for 12 yards and one catch for six yards against the Colts. He missed the preseason because of a hamstring injury, but once he recovered, he's been running like the rookie who rushed for almost 1,300 yards in 2008. The coaches would like to get him a few touches against the Dolphins.


-- LB Jason Taylor returned to practice on Thursday after sitting out Wednesday. He suffered an ankle injury in the Monday night loss against the Patriots but is expected to be ready to play on Sunday against the Texans.

-- DL Tony McDaniel, who didn't practice all week, will be out indefinitely with a hand fracture. McDaniel suffered the injury during the defeat against the Patriots.

-- WR Roberto Wallace continued to sit out practice on Thursday with a leg injury. He also didn't practice on Wednesday.

-- RB Daniel Thomas continues to work his way back from the hamstring injury that kept him sidelined during Week 1. Thomas, the rookie from Kansas State, has practiced all week and could play against the Texans.

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