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News » Ravens' Flacco prepares for Texans and Williams

Ravens' Flacco prepares for Texans and Williams

Ravens' Flacco prepares for Texans and Williams
HOUSTON (AP) - Joe Flacco's first NFL start ended with the Baltimore crowd chanting 'Let's Go Flacco.'

The Houston Texans hope this week's game against the Ravens will give their fans reason to continue the chants of 'Ma-ri-o' perfected last year when Mario Williams had his breakout 14 sack season.

Flacco was solid in his NFL debut last week, throwing for 129 yards and finishing with no turnovers in Baltimore's run-heavy 17-10 win over Cincinnati. Now the former Delaware standout will try to continue his success on the road against a Houston defense looking to make up for last week's embarrassment at Pittsburgh.

The game was moved to Monday night because of the threat of Hurricane Ike hitting the Houston area on the weekend.

"It will be a new challenge, no doubt," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "There will be the crowd noise issue. They won't be chanting, 'Let's go Flacco,' I don't think. It will be interesting to see how he manages it, and we'll have to help prepare him to do that."

The Ravens must improve on the road this season after winning just one of eight games away from Baltimore last year.

Flacco, who led Delaware to the NCAA Championship Subdivision title game in 2007, said he's confident. If he's overly concerned about Williams, he's not letting on.

"We're going to do things to take care of him," Flacco said. "We realize he's a good player. Their defense plays hard and they'll try to get after us. But we're going to have things to answer that and I'm going to stand back there like normal and get the ball out of my hands when it needs to be."

Williams, who had two sacks in the opener, wants to take advantage of the young quarterback, and said the Texans will try and "knock him off his mark."

Houston will have more to worry about than Flacco. The Texans are concerned with Baltimore's running game after the unheralded duo of Le'Ron McClain and rookie Ray Rice led a 229-yard rushing performance last week.

This week, the Ravens add Willis McGahee, who ran for 1,207 yards in his first year in Baltimore. He missed last week's opener while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. McGahee said he wants a full workload, but it's unclear how many carries he'll get this week.

The Texans allowed 183 yards rushing against the Steelers.

"Stopping the run is definitely a big thing for us, especially after what happened with us last week," Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans said. "If any team watches the film, we know they're going to come in and they're going to run the ball at us."

While the Ravens are almost overstocked at running back, the Texans are dangerously thin at the position. Starter Ahman Green sprained his ankle in the opener and likely won't play this week. That leaves Houston with rookie Steve Slaton as the starter and Chris Taylor and Darius Walker as backups. Walker was signed from the practice squad Thursday and Taylor missed all of last season after reconstructive knee surgery.

Coach Gary Kubiak thinks Slaton is ready for the challenge - or at least he hopes he is.

"We're asking him to grow up very, very quick," Kubiak said. "He brings some big-play capability to the football team, but for us to be successful and continue to improve rapidly, young players like that are going to have to step up for us."

The Texans want to get their running game going this week after finishing with 75 yards rushing against Pittsburgh. Matt Schaub will try to rebound after committing three turnovers and being sacked five times last week.

The Ravens, who have the NFL's top-ranked defense after limiting Cincinnati to 154 yards, know they can't underestimate an offense with outstanding wide receiver Andre Johnson, no matter what happened last week.

"Don't let one (loss) fool you," Ravens defensive end Trevor Pryce said. "They're deserving of all the press they've gotten and things said about them. You watch the film, you see an ultra-talented football team. Once they get everything fine and all settled, they'll be tough to beat."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 11, 2008

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Dan Cody Name: Dan Cody
Position: DE
Age: 26
Experience: 3 years
College: Oklahoma
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