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Breaking down Derek Newton's stint at guard

HOUSTON -- When the Houston Texans lost right guard Brandon Brooks to a knee injury on Sunday, they had to get creative. They shifted right tackle Derek Newton inside.

What did Newton think of the challenge?

"It's going to be fun," he said.

The Texans listed Brooks as probable after he practiced Friday for the first time all week, so Newton is not likely to have to fill in at guard. Still, the job he did this past Sunday impressed his teammates. Even with Newton at right guard and Tyson Clabo at right tackle, the Texans' didn't give up a sack to the Ravens, who had eight sacks in their previous two games.

"When you play guard, it's a lot more compact inside," Xavier Su'a-Filo said. "You're dealing in a smaller space with bigger, heavier guys. it's different. For someone who hasn't played guard before, making the change from guard to tackle, tackle to guard, it can be difficult. I thought Newton played good, making that change. ... You get to pull more, stuff like that. The guys inside are heavier where the guys on the edge are a lot faster."

Su'a-Filo is intimately familiar with the differences. He played tackle throughout high school and split his time between guard and tackle in college at UCLA. Had he been healthy, it's likely the Texans would have brought him in to replace Brooks, but Su'a-Filo was inactive with a back injury.

Newton spent the game resetting his mentality.

"I couldn't think I was at tackle," Newton said. "Everything was tight, so I had to shorten down my sets and stuff like that. Landmarks. ... Every time i went to the line I had to take my time. OK. I'm at guard. Chris [Myers] was always in my ear, Tyson's [Clabo] in my ear. I was good."

Brooks also offered some thoughts.

"I tried to give some tips here and there but he went out there and did his thing," Brooks said. "Helps him out there going forward. The more you can do."

That's a mantra of Bill O'Brien's. He wants as much versatility as possible among his offensive linemen.