The Texans preseason would have to be termed a rousing success considering they had virtually no injuries, certainly no key injuries. Both Arian Foster and Devier Posey were activated off the PUP list and both appear ready to go for week one in San Diego. Posey saw his first action since injuring his achilles tendon in the playoffs last year and looked good. He got in for 13 snaps, made a coupe of nice catches, even got hit with a ticky-tack offensive pass-interference penalty. He’ll be active for the opener.
Now it’s time to get the roster down to 53. Only a few very minor changes from Take 3, which I posted on Monday.
There are really 3 tough decisions to make.
1. Running backs: Clearly with Arian Foster essentially going to have just 1 week of practice, next week, before the opener due to his back and calf injuries, they need to protect themselves in the backfield. That is going to be the reason they keep Deji Karim. I feel safe saying that Cierre Wood can run the ball better in the NFL than Karim. I can also safely say he cannot pick up blocks nearly as well. Virtually no chance he would be trusted early in the season to play if they were faced with injuries to Foster and or Tate. So to me, I think they keep both. They clearly have no need for 4 tailbacks, but I think they see that Wood could easily be the unquestioned 3rd back next year and with Tate’s contract set to expire, I get the sense they view him as a usable piece in the very near future. I think Karim could be ahead of Wood on the depth chart, but closer to being cut, when the Texans have roster issues elsewhere over the course of the season.
2. Ed Reed: Because of his uncertain situation, they have to consider keeping a 5th safety – Eddie Pleasant. Pleasant is merely an insurance policy and if Reed is going to be on the roster, but not be ready to play immediately, then the Texans are going to going into every game with only three safeties, all of whom will get a lot of work every game. It would leave cornerback Brandon Harris as the emergency 4th safety. I don’t think the Texans want to put themselves in this position.
3. Rookies: I don’t think there’s much doubt that this was a disappointing beginning to the careers for three draft picks, tackle Brennan Williams, and OLB’s Sam Montgomery and Trevardo Williams. Both linebackers struggled with the position change from college and while Williams did grab 3.5 sacks, but, like Montgomery, all his work was done against guys who likely are not NFL players. Coach Gary Kubiak mentioned after the preseason finale on Thursday night that Williams “had an ankle,” which might open the door for an IR-stash. It wouldn’t surprise me if one of them ended up on IR and if that’s the case, it probably allows for Tim Dobbins to make the team.
Regarding the other Williams, Brennan, the same could be true, since he saw his first action of the preseason due to injuries. He played about half the game and is someone they have high hopes for the future, but would be in real trouble if he had to play this year. The key I think is how they feel about newly re-acquired tackle Nate Menkin. Menkin was in camp last year and the Texans hoped to sneak him onto their practice squad but the Philadelphia Eagles claimed him. Menkin also saw his first work with the Texans last night. The Texans will keep 9 offensive lineman, the decision on who is the 9th one comes down to these two.
* Remember that Antonio Smith’s 1 game suspension means he does not count against the roster and the Texans have roster exemption for a few days after his reinstatement before their second game to get back to 53 with his inclusion.
3 QB – Schaub, Yates, Keenum
5 RB – Foster, Tate, Karim, Wood, (FB) Jones
5 WR – Johnson, Hopkins, Posey, Martin, Jean
3 TE – Daniels, Graham, Griffin
9 OL – Brown, Smith, Myers, Brooks, Newton, Jones, R Harris, Quessenberry, Menkin
7 DL – Watt, Mitchell, Crick, C Jones, McClain, Jamison
9 LB – Mercilus, Cushing, Mays, B Reed, Sharpton, Jefferson, Dobbins, Braman, Montgomery
6 CB – Joseph, Jackson, McCain, Harris, Carmichael, Bouye
4 S – Manning, Reed, Swearinger, Keo
3 Special Teams
LS Weeks, P Lechler, K Bullock
Suspended (for week 1) – Antonio Smith
IR– Bonner, B Williams, T Williams, Lemon
2 RB-Clutts, Den. Johnson
2 WR-Nwachukwu, Cruse
4 OL-Gardner, White, Kupper, Horn
2 DL-Muir, Browner
4 LB-Mohammed, C Collins, Del. Johnson, Tuggle
2 CB- Mack, Starling
2 S-Pleasant, Johnson
They’ll need to outfit their practice squad with relation to some of their potential roster concerns. They are only keeping three tight ends, so they’ll have 1 on the practice squad. Justin Tuggle is someone they would love to grab back, also. Dennis Johnson has NFL skills, as he displayed throughout training camp and in preseason action. But three more fumbles against Dallas made the decision to cut him very easy. If they keep Wood, as I’ve guessed they will, I’m not sure that they’ll be using one of the practice squad spots for Johnson, but I’m guessing if he doesn’t have a better opportunity elsewhere, he could land there.
– Wex (@awexler)