Barwin named AFC Defensive Player of the Month

Houston Texans OLB was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month after leading the AFC in sacks and helping the Texans to a 3-0 record in November. Barwin is the second Texan to win player of the month honors this season, joining RB , who was the AFC Offensive Player of the Month in October.

Barwin led the AFC with 6.5 sacks and helped the Texans defense hold its opponents to a League-low 219.3 yards per game and 11.3 points per game, which was second in the League during the three-game span. Barwin accounted for nearly half of a Texans pass rush that registered 15 sacks, one off the League lead for the month.  He recorded at least one sack in each game in November.

In Week 9 vs. Cleveland, Barwin had a sack for 4 yards and followed that up with 1.5 sacks for 7.5 yards in Week 10 at Tampa Bay.  After the Texans’ bye week, Barwin set a franchise record with 4.0 sacks in Week 12 at Jacksonville.

Barwin leads the Texans’ top-ranked defense with 8.5 sacks and 20 quarterback hits in his first season playing linebacker. The 6-4, 264-pound third-year player played defensive end his first two seasons before making the switch to outside linebacker in the Texans’ 3-4 scheme.

Barwin is fifth player in franchise history to win a player of the month award and the second defensive player to win the award. Former Texans safety Marcus Coleman was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month in September of 2003.

List of Texans AFC Player of the Month Award Winners:

Connor Barwin (Defensive), November 2011
Arian Foster (Offensive), October 2011
Arian Foster (Offensive), September 2010
(Offensive), October 2008
Marcus Coleman (Defensive), September 2003
Chad Stanley (Special Teams), September 2002

Foster all but certain to play; reduced workload possible

It’s all but certain that Texans running back will play on Sunday. The only question is how much.

Coach Gary Kubiak indicated that Foster will have a smaller-than-usual workload at Miami, where he’s expected to make his 2011 debut after missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury.

“He looks ready to play,” Kubiak said on Friday. “He’s had a good week. I think he’ll be fine. He had a really good day yesterday and today. We’re pretty limited in what we do today, but he was fine. As long as there’s no setbacks, he’s ready to go.

“I have to be a little concerned as we go into the game. We’ll go out and play and I’ll watch him, see how he’s holding up, but I would think that he’s definitely not going to be a 60-play guy like he normally is for us. He’s a three-down player. We’ll listen to Arian, we’ll watch him… hopefully everything goes smooth.

“He’s not going to go play his normal (amount). Arian’s been a 90 percent player for us when he plays, so I don’t see that happening right now.”

With ruled out because of a sprained ankle, will back up Foster on Sunday. Tate ran for 116 yards on 24 carries in Week 1.

“He’ll be the next guy,” Kubiak said. “Both of those guys (Foster and Tate) will play, and Steve’s (Slaton) available if we need a third guy. He’s definitely going to play. Our second guy always is going to get some carries and play.”

Foster is officially listed as questionable on the final injury report, but he practiced for the third consecutive day on Friday.

“I felt good today,” he said. “It’s my first game of the season, so I am very anxious to play football.”

Like Kubiak, the 2010 rushing champ is unsure how much he will be able to play on Sunday.

“That remains to be seen,” Foster said. “I’m going to go out there and see how I feel, and if I feel like it’s not an issue and my conditioning isn’t an issue, which I don’t think it is, I’m going to play like I normally play.”

Foster’s first big game as a pro came at Miami in 2009. He had 19 carries for 97 yards and his first-career touchdown in a 27-20 victory in Week 16, five weeks after he was called up from the Texans’ practice squad.

2011 Home Team Challenge registration open

A variety of great weekly prizes and a grand prize opportunity to play Madden 2011 with a Houston Texans player is at stake this year in the annual Home Team Challenge fantasy football game.

Fans can register today for the free game, which is run through NFL.com. Choose the Houston Texans as your favorite team during the registration process to compete with other fans for the prizes outlined in the link below.

For each week that you would like to participate, you must select a lineup which will consist of a total of eight (8) NFL players. You will earn points based on the weekly stats of the players in your lineup. The deadline for choosing or modifying your lineup is at kickoff of the scheduled start of the applicable game in which the player(s) in your lineup are participating. Lineups do not carry over from week-to-week.

Show your football smarts by joining this fun and competitive fantasy football game.

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