Houston rotations say starters aren't good enough

October, 20, 2008
10/20/08
8:14
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

The Houston Texans are big on rotating, and while it's all the rage in the league at running back, I'm pretty sure it acknowledges weakness when you do it at cornerback or defensive tackle or, now, at left tackle.

There have been times this season when the Texans have rolled Fred Bennett, Demarcus Faggins and Jacques Reeves through their two primary cornerback spots. They are trying to get more out of interior defensive lineman Amobi Okoye by spelling his every third series with DelJuan Robinson.

And now they are pulling their top draft pick, Duane Brown, every third series in favor of veteran Ephraim Salaam.

The Texans say they feel like all the guys they are putting on the field qualify as starters, but you know the popular line of thinking: If you're playing more than one it's because you don't have one.

Here's Gary Kubiak with Houston reporters on the Brown-Salaam rotation going forward:

"Well, I foresee us doing the same thing we did [Sunday]. As I told you, we are really monitoring Duane's reps, just watching his reps because he's playing 40, 45 plays of just big-time football and about 15 or 20 that we have to clean up. So what we decided to do was get Ephraim in that rotation, it was every third series. Ephraim needs the work too and I think it helped Duane. Duane played extremely well in the [Detroit] game and Ephraim, I thought, brought something to the group also. It was encouraging. I think we'll continue to do the same thing."

The problem with that rationale, I think, is the assumption that the 15 to 20 plays the team wants cleaned up are the same 15 to 20 plays Brown yields to Salaam.

If he's not conditioned well enough at this stage -- and he should be since it seven weeks into the season -- that's one thing, and this plan might be understandable as a stop gap. Beyond that, I'm not sure what kind of message it sends through the locker room, except that yet another top guy isn't good enough to do the job fulltime.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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