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Texans' Lonnie Johnson To Start With Terrence Brooks Injured

Texans struggling to defend in the defensive backfield

HOUSTON -- One week after being benched at the Indianapolis Colts, Texans safety Lonnie Johnson Jr. is expected to regain his starting job Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

Texans safety Terrence Brooks suffered lung contusion in the loss to the Colts and remained in Indianapolis under medical observation Sunday night.

Brooks got hurt in the end zone at Lucas Oil Stadium while defending Colts wide receiver Parris Campbell on a 51-yard touchdown catch. Brooks is ruled out for Sunday's road game in Arizona and it's unclear when he'll be back.

That means that Johnson, a physically imposing former second-round draft pick from Kentucky, will be back in the lineup. Texans coach David Culley affirmed that Johnson will return to his former role and Eric Murray, a former starter who only played on special teams against the Colts, will also be called upon against Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and former Texans All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

"Obviously, Terrence isn't going to be able to play this week," Culley said. "I'm not sure how long it will be. Lonnie went in and played and will basically start this game this coming week, obviously with those guys at safety with Eric being back there, also. We basically have been playing those guys (in combination), the defensive line, too, and we'll do the same thing going forward."

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Johnson had his struggles against Indy. He was burned by receiver T.Y. Hilton on a 51-yard reception in the first half after replacing Brooks. In the third quarter, Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox got behind cornerback Desmond King and in front of Johnson on a touchdown.

"Going back to the inconsistency, because we've got a guy out of position as far as reading his keys," Culley said. "And if he was back where he should have been in that particular situation, that touchdown doesn't happen. To change things you have to change. Just reading our keys, we've been inconsistent at doing that."

Culley underscored that, if the results don't change soon, the personnel on the field will undoubtedly be different.

Culley said he has explained many times that the Texans' margin for error is extremely thin. They don't have to necessarily execute perfectly, but they have to cut down on their mistakes to have a chance to be competitive.

"Not to this point, we haven't understood that," Culley said. "Again, that's my job to make that point to them to get them to change the results and what's happening in these ball games. That has to happen.

"We're going to emphasize it in our meetings. That's the only way we get it done and get a change. Obviously, if it's not getting done and the same guys are doing it again and again, we'll put somebody else in there."