Joseph injury a concern for Texans

Johnathan Joseph has played two games below his standards in the past two weeks -- a win at the Jets and a loss to the Packers. He doesn’t want to hang the performances on a groin injury, but it’s clearly a factor.

He didn’t practice today, isn’t expected to practice tomorrow and his status for Sunday’s crucial game against the Ravens is up in the air, though it’s hard to imagine he’d sit this one out.

Texans fans should be hoping the groin is a big reason why he’s not played well lately. If it’s not related to the injury, it’d be far more reason for concern.

Even with a healthy Joseph playing at the top of his game, the Texans would have a coverage issues Sunday at Reliant Stadium. Brian Cushing would generally play a big role in covering Ray Rice running routes and tight end Dennis Pitta, a popular target for quarterback Joe Flacco.

Cushing’s gone with a torn ACL, meaning Wade Phillips will have to alter plans. Look for nickel corner Brice McCain to be more involved in work against Rice and Pitta.

The team loves McCain’s work in the slot and considers him a big piece of the secondary. A lot will fall on him against the Ravens and, in a worst-case scenario for the Texans, he would be an important player in the base defense as well.

What they need most is a healthy Joseph, back to the standard he set early in this season.