- Tania Ganguli, ESPN Staff Writer
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Examining the Houston Texans' roster:
Keenum and Savage took all the reps Thursday night, and neither player's performance was pretty. Each completed eight passes and threw one interception. Keenum finished with a 33.9 passer rating while Savage finished with a 37.8 rating. This was supposed to be the night when one distinguished himself as the team's backup quarterback. Coach Bill O'Brien has never fully committed to saying these three are the ones who will be on the roster next week, but usually he leans that way. On Thursday night, he didn't have an answer on whether he would keep all three currently on the roster without examining the film.
RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (5)
You could argue that Brown is someone who would be available at any point in the season, should the Texans need his services. I think that logic could lead to this group being one thinner, but I still like his value in helping younger running backs learn the professional game.
It's tough to not keep a sixth receiver with Travis Labhart and EZ Nwachukwu doing some good things this summer. I would say Nwachukwu began ahead of Labhart, and Labhart caught him as the preseason progressed. If the running back group thins by one, this is probably where that spot will go.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
Fiedorowicz quickly passed Griffin, who entered offseason workouts as Graham's backup. This is an offense that will utilize tight ends heavily.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
Again, a little thin here, but these eight players include four who can play tackle (Brown, Newton, Clabo and Su'a-Filo), four who can play guard (Brooks, Jones, Su'a-Filo and Kupper) and three who can play center (Myers, Jones and Su'a-Filo).
DEFENSIVE LINE (6)
Please welcome Ricardo Mathews to the Ganguli 53-man roster. I don't know what took me so long. It finally became apparent to me that I was hanging on to one too many defensive backs.
Mercilus has had two strong games in a row. He said he has been thinking less lately, and it shows. I've added Ankrah, the undrafted rookie outside linebacker out of Nebraska to this list. Ankrah started Thursday night with both Reed and Clowney not playing. Ankrah had a sack and two tackles for loss against the 49ers.
No changes to this position group again. It's been a pleasure to watch Bouye's development. He faced a lot of talented receivers this preseason and held his own. I talked to him after Thursday night's game and asked what he's learned. He said he enjoys parsing his mistakes to figure out how to fix them. Bouye specifically noted going back and watching a touchdown he gave up against the Broncos last weekend.
Keo was chipper after Thursday night's game, and for good reason. He had a strong game on special teams and defense, on a day when he was fighting for his job. In my mind, this fourth safety spot came down to Keo or Eddie Pleasant. Pleasant had some strong moments during the four exhibition games so there's absolutely a chance he either beats out Keo or both make the team. For now, though, we'll reward Keo's strong performance against the 49ers.
Randy Bullock kicked a 52-yard field goal Thursday night. Lechler chilled on the sideline. They, uh, know what he can do.