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Old 07-31-2011   #1
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Default Houston Texans roster checkup, training camp edition

http://www.examiner.com/houston-texa...camp-edition-1


It's been more than a year since our last roster checkup, and with training camp practices starting Monday morning and the roster fairly stable, I'd say it's time for another look.

You'll notice right away that some familiar names are no longer on the roster; names like Mark Anderson, Kevin Bentley, Amobi Okoye, Bernard Pollard, David Anderson, Vonta Leach, Zac Diles, Matt Turk, Eugene Wilson and Dan Orlovsky.

Okoye, D. Anderson, Leach, Diles, Turk and Orlovsky have all found work with other teams.

In the summary below, you will see two numbers in parenthesis following the position names. The number on the left is the current number of players on the roster at that position. The number on the right is the number of players the Texans offense and Cowboys defense took into Week 1 of the 2010 season at that position. I thought it would make sense to compare the current Texans defensive staffing to what Wade Phillips took into Week 1 last year at Dallas.

Returning players are shown in plain text and new players are shown in bold.

The NFL off-season roster limit was expanded to 90 to accommodate the loss of the off-season programs. The Texans currently are sitting at 86 (as of Sunday night at 8 pm) so there could be a few more signings trickling in this week.

While the number on the right isn't absolute in terms of the number of players the Texans will keep at that position, it's a fair enough guide.

OFFENSE

Wide Receiver (10, 5): Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Jacoby Jones, Dorin Dickerson, Trindon Holliday, Derrick Townsel, Paul Williams, Jeff Maehl, Terrence Toliver, Lestar Jean

Jacoby Jones is back, David Anderson is gone so DIckerson gets a chance to claim WR4. The Texans signed three intriguing undrafted free agents in Maehl, Toliver and Jean who will battle with Townsel and Williams for the WR5 spot. Holliday seems like a long shot to make the roster and he would have to make it as a return man.

Offensive Line (15, 9): Duane Brown, Chris Myers, Mike Brisiel, Eric Winston, Rashad Butler, Antoine Caldwell, Wade Smith, Shelley Smith, Kasey Studdard, Cole Pemberton, Cody Wallace, Darius Morris, Derek Newton, Peter Hendrickson, Howard Barbieri

A very stable unit and that's good news for the Texans offense. As long as they can keep guys healthy, they should have another productive year. Matt Schaub was sacked 32 times last year which isn't terrible but it would be nice to get that down into that Brady, Brees territory at 25. Rashad Butler was a key re-signing at swing tackle. It will be tough for any of the new guys to crack the 53 man with at least seven positions already locked up.

Tight End (4, 4): Owen Daniels, Joel Dreessen, Anthony Hill, Garrett Graham

Daniels and Dreessen are the clear TE1 and TE2. Anthony Hill is back after being hobbled by injuries during his rookie season, and Graham, who is supposed to be OD II, hasn't seen much action. James Casey was listed as a TE last year but he's moved to fullback for now. If the Texans sign another free agent fullback, Casey could musical chair his way back to the TE corps.

Quarterback (3, 3): Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart, T.J. Yates

The fate of every Texans season rides on the health of Matt Schaub although Leinart seems to be a better option at backup than Dan Orlovsky who was released last week. Yates ran an offense at North Carolina that's very similar to the Texans offense so his learning curve could be a bit shorter than normal for a rookie QB under Kubiak.

Fullback (3, 1): James Casey, Bubba Bartlett, Zac Pauga

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The big news here, of course, was the loss of Pro Bowler Vonta Leach. It was the most significant free agent loss for the Texans and it will be noticed. Casey bulked up during the offseason in anticipation of Leach's departure but it remains to be seen whether Casey has what it takes to be a lead blocker more than a pass catcher. At the time of this writing the Texans were reportedly in talks with free agent fullback Lawrence VIckers who's a cheaper option than Leach so stay tuned.

Running Back (5, 3): Arian Foster, Derrick Ward, Ben Tate, Steve Slaton, Chris Ogbonnaya

Can you remember a year in Texans history when there was this much stability at running back? (knock on wood) Not to mention the fact that the Texans return the league's leading rusher who, stunningly agreed to play for a one year minimum deal at 525k. Slaton is on the bubble and could still be traded for a late round pick if he shows strong in preseason. He's in the final year of his deal and is scheduled to make about $1.2 million. All eyes will be on Ben Tate during preseason to see if he has what it takes to be an NFL running back after being lost for the season last year in the first preseason game of his career.

DEFENSE

Defensive Line (12, 7): Antonio Smith, Shaun Cody, Earl Mitchell, J.J. Watt, Damione Lewis, Tim Bulman, Jesse Nading, Tim Jamison, Zane Parr, John Graves, Guy Miller, Scooter Berry

Antonio Smith is the only lineman with 3-4 experience at DE. Cody and Mitchell are big questions in the middle and Lewis will be in the rotation. Watt will nail down the end opposite Smith. Only time will tell if Bulman, Nading and Jamison can make the transition to the 3-4. According to reports, the Texans will be talking to ex-Patriot Ty Warren on Monday. Warren would be a great veteran add to the DE rotation. So once again, stay tuned.

Linebacker (13, 10): DeMeco Ryans, Brian Cushing, Mario Williams, Connor Barwin, Xavier Adibi, Darryl Sharpton, Brooks Reed, Stanford Keglar, Cheta Ozougwu, Steven Friday, Matt Marcorelle, Bryan Braman, Mister Alexander

This is the group that will make or break the Texans defense this season. Cushing will line up in the middle next to his buddy DeMeco Ryans, but Ryans and Barwin are both coming off serious injuries. Lack of depth and inexperience in the 3-4 is the theme for this group. It still seems weird to type Mario Williams - linebacker. And yes Wade Phillips really did take 10 linebackers into Week 1 last season.

Defensive Back (18, 8): Glover Quin, Kareem Jackson, Johnathan Joseph, Antwaun Molden, Brice McCain, Jason Allen, Dominique Barber, Danieal Manning, Troy Nolan, Sherrick McManis, Torri Williams, Quintin Demps, Antonio Baker, Brandon Harris, Shiloh Keo, Roc Carmichael, Jason Teague, Maurice Rolle

Wow... 18 defensive backs on the roster. If they can't find eight or nine guys that can play from that group then they're in trouble. The Texans secondary, which was the team's achilles heel last season, should be vastly improved with the addition of Joseph and Manning and the coaching of Vance Joseph. Quin moves to free safety. Kareem Jackson's deep speed is a concern and he will continue to be targeted until he proves he can cover man. Otherwise it's next man up. But the question is, who is it? Watch Brandon Harris in preseason.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Punter/Kicker/Long Snapper (3, 3): Neil Rackers, Jonathan Weeks, Brett Hartmann

Rackers and Weeks should be locks. Expect the Texans to bring in another punter to compete with the rookie, Hartmann. Daniel Sepulveda is a name that I've heard. He'd be great but you can't break the bank on a punter
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Old 07-31-2011   #2
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Default Re: Houston Texans roster checkup, training camp edition

Quote:
Only time will tell if Bulman, Nading and Jamison can make the transition to the 3-4.

Defensive Back (18, 8):
I don't see the transition to a 3-4 being a problem for Bulman. He played inside in some fronts for Frank Bush. The key is whether Tim is healthy.

I would think Nading and Jamison would take snaps at OLB, rather than DE. Nading has zero chance of becoming a 3-4 DE, and it would seem easier for Jamison to drop 10 lbs and play outside, instead of gaining 20 lbs.

I realize Dallas went with only 8 DBs to begin the 2010 season. But that was more of an anomaly than a tendency. The Cowboys began the 2009 with 9 DBs, 11 in 2008, and 10 in 2007 under Wade. Most teams go with 10 in the secondary, and I would probably forecast the same.
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Old 07-31-2011   #3
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Default Re: Houston Texans roster checkup, training camp edition

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Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
I don't see the transition to a 3-4 being a problem for Bulman. He played inside in some fronts for Frank Bush. The key is whether Tim is healthy.

I would think Nading and Jamison would take snaps at OLB, rather than DE. Nading has zero chance of becoming a 3-4 DE, and it would seem easier for Jamison to drop 10 lbs and play outside, instead of gaining 20 lbs.

I realize Dallas went with only 8 DBs to begin the 2010 season. But that was more of an anomaly than a tendency. The Cowboys began the 2009 with 9 DBs, 11 in 2008, and 10 in 2007 under Wade. Most teams go with 10 in the secondary, and I would probably forecast the same.
I will have to look and see how many dbs we carried last year we may carry more being in a division aainst indy
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Old 07-31-2011   #4
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Sepulveda resigned with the steelers.

I don't see us taking 10 lb's into the season. I expect 8 or 9 there and 1 or 2 more DBS.

I think we carry 6 or 7 wr's depending on how trindon does. Doesn't look good for him though. Of he's not killing on special teams he serves no other purpose.

I think both maehl and toliver make the team unless they make a lot of mistakes.

I think they could go a couple ways with Anthony hill. I think they can carry him or a second fb.
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Old 07-31-2011   #5
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Default Re: Houston Texans roster checkup, training camp edition

Has Jason Allen resigned? When did this happen?
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Old 07-31-2011   #6
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Default Re: Houston Texans roster checkup, training camp edition

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Originally Posted by V3rm0nt3r View Post
Has Jason Allen resigned? When did this happen?
Allen is in the last year of his rookie contract.
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Old 07-31-2011   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V3rm0nt3r View Post
Has Jason Allen resigned? When did this happen?
He was picked up off the waiver wire last year so we got the rest of his two year contract.
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