Game Day Notebook:

The Texans are hoping their O-line fares better this time against the Steelers, and more.

The Steelers' struggling offensive line has only its left guard back from their 2008 opening-day win over the Houston Texans.

On the other side is a Texans offensive line that has all but its left guard back from that game, and that stability in Houston is paying off. Experts are calling it one of the league's best.

"The Texans' offensive line is a thing of beauty," wrote's Doug Farrar. "If you're an O-line junkie and you're not watching the Texans, you're missing out."

So called its preeminent "O-line junkie" and asked if the Texans' offensive line is indeed "a thing of beauty."

"Oh, it is," said former Steelers guard Craig Wolfley. "If you are a cultivated mind, if you are a man who appreciates hog warfare, you'll see it from the Houston offensive line. From left tackle to right tackle they do a great job. They stay in concert. They stay on the track. They throw their bodies on the backside. And they do a great job of staying on their feet and engaging their man."

Wolfley watched film of the Texans this week in preparation for his role as analyst/sideline reporter for Steelers Radio Network.

"It's led by Duane Brown," Wolfley said of the 2008 first-round pick who was whipped soundly in his debut at left tackle by James Harrison.

But things have changed for Brown, according to Wolfley.

"He's a ferocious beast. Just watching him against New Orleans, on the third or fourth play of the game he threw a guy down, gored him, and gave him the business while the camera's still swinging by. It was fun to watch."

Isn't it illegal to give someone "the business"?

"Well, it depends on your definition of illegality," Wolfley said. "But they do a great job of maintaining contact, staying on their feet, and getting after it. They do a good job of protecting Matt Schaub. They're like African bees protecting the queen. They mass swarm and they stay on their feet and go."

Through three games the Texans are fifth in the NFL in rushing and have allowed only six sacks – or just one more than they allowed the Steelers in that 2008 opener.


Arian Foster said he could've played last week "but they just wanted to reassure that (hamstring injury) wasn't going to be recurring." The 2010 rushing champ practiced all week and says he's 100 percent healthy today for his first real action of the season.

An undrafted free agent out of the University of Tennessee in 2009, Foster shares his draft status, his school, his rookie season, his last name, and more with the Steelers' starting right guard today, Ramon Foster.

"We look at each other as brothers," said Ramon Foster. "We not only have the same last name, we kind of look alike, too."

The two are not related. They came to Tennessee from different parts of the country: Ramon was an in-state recruit while Arian was recruited out of New Mexico.

"He came in late from Albuquerque and we had to do freshman skits," Ramon recalled. "His fullback, David Holbert, came in the same freshman class and they did a freestyle ballad against each other, rapping against each other, and it got heated. I'm talking about very heated, almost to the point to where you didn't know if David Holbert was going to block for Arian or not. It was crazy. But he's a fun guy. He's a very philosophical guy."

Arian Foster broke out as a junior. He rushed for over 1,000 yards and received a second-round grade from the NFL draft advisory board. But he came back for his senior year and his draft stock plummeted because of fumbling, injury, and attitude problems. He then ran a 4.7 40 at his Pro Day while fighting through a hamstring problem. But by his second season he was a rushing champ and Pro Bowler.

"I knew he had it in him," said Ramon Foster. "I knew that if he found the right system he was an NFL back for sure."


Reporter: Was the Dwight Freeney sack/fumble/TD supposed to be a draw play?

Maurkice Pouncey: It could be either or.

Reporter: Either or?

Pouncey: Yeah, either or.

Reporter: Is that what your coach told you to say?

Pouncey: No, I just know what to say.

Reporter: If you don't give it up I'll blame the offensive line.

Pouncey: That's OK. We'll take it every week. Put it on our back if we win; put it on our back if we lose.


The 2010 Texans' pass defense ranked among the worst in NFL history. It challenged records all season before finishing dead last in yards allowed and opponent's passer rating, tied for last in touchdowns allowed, and next-to-last in yards allowed per pass attempt.

One numerical quickie: The Texans allowed an average passer rating of 100.5, but only three quarterbacks – Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers – finished the season with better passer ratings.

So, the Texans shored up their secondary in the offseason with the additions of cornerback Johnathan Joseph and free safety Danieal Manning. Their mothers may not be able to spell, but the two have helped the Texans, who today stand 11th overall in pass defense and allow a passer rating of 82.1.

The Texans also drafted pass-rushers J.J. Watt and Brooks Reed with their first two picks and cornerback Brandon Harris with their third pick.

Harris may be needed in sub-packages today if second-year cornerback Kareem Jackson can't play. Jackson will be a game-time decision with a knee injury and would be replaced as a starter by journeyman Jason Allen.

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