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Monday, August 15, 2011
Pre-game: Brunell has pinky wrap

By Rich Cimini

HOUSTON -- Thoughts and observations from the press box at Reliant Stadium, less than two hours before the Jets open the preseason against the Texans:

• Backup QB Mark Brunell, scratched from the game Sunday because of an injured finger on his left/throwing hand, isn't throwing in the pre-game warmups. Brunell has a wrap on his left pinky, injured Saturday in practice, and that's never a good thing for a left-handed quarterback. This bears watching.

• Speaking of backup quarterbacks, Matt Leinart is expected to get the bulk of the snaps for the Texans, replacing starter Matt Schaub. It'll be a USC reunion, with Leinart and Mark Sanchez.

The Jets liked Leinart in the 2006 draft, but like some teams, they were concerned about his so-called Hollywood image. The reason they liked Sanchez so much was because of his blue-collar work ethic. Isn't it ironic that, on the day of this game, Sanchez is making national headlines for a cover story in GQ magazine?

• In case anybody is wondering, the Jets don't have any interest in former Bills DE Aaron Maybin, according to a source. Maybin, a bust of Gholston-esque proportions, was dumped by the Bills after two washout seasons.

• The big story with the Texans is new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and his installation of the 3-4 defense. The Texans are a perennial joke on defense, and they're counting on Phillips -- Mr. Fix It -- to transform the unit into something respectable. You'll see stud DE Mario Williams as an outside linebacker in the 3-4, and keep an eye on rookie DE J.J. Watts, one of the stars of camp. The loss of the offseason due to the lockout really hurt Phillips, who promised to keep things vanilla for this game.