Johnathan Joseph has been battling a sore groin, and the Houston Texans cornerback is not expected to practice until Friday. Joseph doesn’t lead the defense in interceptions (that would be cornerback Kareem Jackson with three) or pass breakups (that would be defensive end J.J. Watt with eight), but his possible absence would be significant to the Ravens.
Since being selected in the first round of the 2006 NFL draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, Joseph has collected 19 interceptions – three of which have occurred against the Ravens, the most against any opponent in his career, according to Pro Football Reference.
“Joseph has been a good corner against us for a while,” quarterback Joe Flacco said Thursday. “When he was playing [for] Cincinnati, we respected him. We played him a couple of times last year. They’ll definitely miss him if he can’t play, but I’m sure they have plenty of guys they can stick in there. They’re a good defense, they play well together and they’ll be ready.”
The Texans rank seventh in the league against the pass, but Joseph didn’t look like his usual self in Houston’s past two games, and Brice McCain, the defense’s usual nickel back, would appear to be poised to step into Joseph’s starting role. Texans coach Gary Kubiak said that determination wouldn’t be made until after Friday.
“He’s had a sore groin,” he said during his conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday. “It’s flared up on him a couple times through the course of the first six weeks. We dealt with it a couple times last year, and we know how to manage it. It’s something that he’s worked through. We’ll have to manage it again this week, but we’re probably looking at the end of the week as far as knowing his availability. But it’s something we’ve dealt with before.”
The Green Bay Packers scored a season-high 42 points en route to an 18-point demolition of Houston Sunday night, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers toasted the Texans secondary for six passing touchdowns. Could Flacco be in line for a similar outing, especially if Joseph can’t play?
“I don’t know,” Flacco said. “I don’t want to say yes or no. It’s a matter of what they have called and kind of what defense they happen to give us. You have to still take one play at a time. I’m sure there will be some matchups throughout the game that we like no matter what. We just have to make sure we take advantage of them.”