DETROIT — It's hard enough to cover Calvin Johnson under the best of circumstances.
The Houston Texans will have to do it without their top cornerback in the national Thanksgiving showcase. Johnathan Joseph is inactive for the game with the hamstring injury that sidelined him for the end of Houston's overtime victory over Jacksonville.0
A sidelined Joseph is not a big surprise. Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips game planned, knowing it was unlikely Joseph would be able to play. Still, the thought and the reality are two different things.
Alan Ball starts at cornerback in Joseph's place, but covering the Detroit Lions' Megatron receiver becomes a team thing. Kareem Jackson instantly is put on the spot, but he will not be matched up 1-on-1 against Johnson as much as a healthy Joseph would have been.0
In many ways, this will be the ultimate test of Phillips ability to scheme around a problem.
Nose tackle Shaun Cody and backup tailback Ben Tate are also inactive for the game with injuries. This is the fourth straight game and fifth overall that Tate has already missed this season.