Count Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak as a huge fan of Terrell Suggs.
After watching the Ravens outside linebacker register 1½ sacks, two tackles and five quarterback hurries in the team's 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night, Kubiak is well aware that his Texans team will have to be cognizant of Suggs when the Ravens visit Reliant Stadium Monday night.
Kubiak even went so far as to say that Suggs is headed down the path to Canton.
"He's a Hall of Fame player," Kubiak said during a conference call with Baltimore media Thursday morning. "I think they're built right down the middle with three Hall of Fame players – from [free safety] Ed [Reed] to [inside linebacker] Ray [Lewis] to Terrell. It's just amazing. When you look at those three guys and what they do and the problems they present for you as an offensive football team, I think he's playing at the highest level I've ever seen him play at, and damn, he's played at a high level for a long, long time. So I've got a lot of respect for him. He's a big, big challenge for us, but that's anybody who plays him.They've got that same challenge."
Other notes:*Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,018 despite playing on a high right ankle sprain. Despite the pain, Johnson has sat out just two contests this season, and he posted 149 yards in the team's 34-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles a week ago. "It's been amazing," Kubiak said of Johnson's high pain threshhold. "It happened in Week 2 of our season. He missed a game-and-a-half and probably played for about a month at 80 percent and has been battling through it all year long. He doesn't really practice except for one day a week and has had to take some shots during the course of games to play, but just keeps giving up for his team. It's been pretty amazing to me, but that's him. Andre is a warrior, doing whatever he can do for his football team to win."
*Arian Foster leads the league in rushing yards (1,230), rushing touchdowns (13) and yards from scrimmage (1,709). His development is playing out as the Texans coaching staff had planned, right? "I wish I could tell you that I thought he'd be that productive, but he has surprised us somewhat," Kubiak admitted. "Not his ability, but just how quick he has grown up as a pro and stuff. He got a little bit of an opportunity at the end of last year and took advantage of it. And then instead of going through an offseason and starting over, he took advantage of the offseason and was probably as good a worker we've had and kept progressing. [He is] really taking advantage of an opportunity and playing very well for us."
*Houston will have had 11 days to prepare for the Ravens. The team has used that time to study the Ravens and craft game plans, but perhaps the most significant benefit was giving players like Johnson, defensive end Mario Williams (sports hernia), right tackle Eric Winston (shoulder) and right guard Mike Brisiel (shoulder) a chance to heal. "We needed to get some guys healthy," Kubiak said. "So from that standpoint, it's been good. Coming out of Philly last Thursday, was able to get some guys and get them a break, get them healthy. Maybe we'll get a couple of extra practices in, but we'll get back to our normal routine this week. I think in this business, when you get a long, long time, if you get game plans in people's hands too early, they can get stale. So we'll try to keep our routine the same. We've got a lot of things to do to get ready to play this game Monday night, but a lot of time to do it."