AFC South: Ray Graham

Texans fill practice squad

September, 2, 2013
9/02/13
11:42
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The Texans filled their practice squad with five rookies and three young veterans who cleared waivers Sunday. All of the players were in training camp with the Texans.

Defensive end Keith Browner and cornerback Roc Carmichael returned to the Texans. Carmichael spent last season on the Texans' 53-man roster, but was usually not active for games.

Rookie fullback Zach Boren, receiver Andy Cruse, running back Ray Graham, guard/center Alex Kupper and receiver EZ Nwachukwu returned to the Texans' practice squad after being released. The Texans also added inside linebacker Mike Mohamed, a second-year player out of California.

Three Texans who were cut were claimed off waivers on Sunday -- fullback Tyler Clutts (to Miami), nose tackle Chris Jones (to Tampa Bay), and running back Dennis Johnson (to Cleveland).

It's a nod to a team's talent when it loses more than it gains off the waiver system. By contrast, the Jacksonville Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs (the first two teams in the waiver order) were awarded seven players each. The Cleveland Browns landed six.
Reading the coverage…

Houston Texans

Four running backs are vying for the No. 3 job with the Texans. Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle looks at Deji Karim, Dennis Johnson, Cierre Wood and Ray Graham.

To which I say: Experience won’t be the deciding factor here, but Karim has a big edge there as he’s played for the Jaguars and Colts.

Duane Brown means a great deal to the Texans as the anchor of the offensive line, writes Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press.

The plan for quarterback play Friday night at Minnesota, per John McClain of the Chronicle.

“I believe in Matt Schaub. And I think this is the season in which he eliminates doubt,” writes Adam Schein of NFL.com.

Indianapolis Colts

At Tuesday's practice, Andrew Luck completed 26-of-35 passes with three touchdowns each to receivers Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton, says Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

There were few surprises on the Colts' initial, unofficial, depth chart, says Phillip B. Wilson of the Star.

Nose tackle Josh Chapman and receiver Griff Whalen are having breakout camps, says Michael Marot of the Associated Press.

To which I say: Aubrayo Franklin was still the starting nose tackle on the team’s first, unofficial depth chart. Part of that is seniority. Part of that is Franklin is a run-stopper, and first-and-10 is still regarded as a run down, so if they are dividing up the work, he could be on the field first, but not necessarily most.

The Manning brothers made an epic rap video for DirecTV.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jason Babin hopes to show skeptics he can still be a top pass-rusher at 33 coming off groin surgery, says Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union.

To which I say: If Babin can't be an effective rusher, the Jaguars are in trouble, because they don't have many other guys who have proven they can find the quarterback.

Cecil Shorts might miss the preseason opener with a left calf strain, says Hay Carlyon of the Times-Union.

Dwayne Gratz pulled in an interception even though he had fallen to the ground, says Ryan O’Halloran of the Times-Union in his practice report.

"Offensive weapon" Denard Robinson shifted from uniform No. 29 to his college No. 16, says the AP.

Tennessee Titans

Five things the Titans are hoping to accomplish in their four preseason games, from Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

To which I say: Staying healthy is No. 1, which tells you a lot about the preseason.

It was bad haircut day for the Titans' rookie offensive linemen, including Chance Warmack, says Wyatt.

Wyatt’s video practice report.

Alterraun Verner versus Tommie Campbell for right cornerback is a competition that will get hotter with preseason games starting, writes Teresa Walker of the Associated Press.
ESPN.com’s fantasy crew has its list of the top 300 players out, so we are here to comb though the fantasy standing of AFC South players (and defenses).

Here are the 31 names on the list, with their overall rank and their position rank.

2. Arian Foster, HOU, RB2
23. Chris Johnson, TEN, RB15
27. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC, RB16
33. Andre Johnson, HOU, WR10
43. Reggie Wayne, IND, WR16
67. Ahmad Bradshaw, IND, RB28
68. Cecil Shorts, JAC, WR26
77. Andrew Luck, IND, QB11
81. Vick Ballard, IND, RB32
86. T.Y. Hilton, IND, WR34
94. Owen Daniels, HOU, TE9
102. Kenny Britt, TEN, WR40
120. Ben Tate, HOU, RB45
122. Kendall Wright, TEN, WR47
123. Texans defense, HOU, DEF3
124. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU, WR48
132. Shonn Greene, TEN, RB49
157. Randy Bullock, HOU, K7
169. Justin Blackmon, JAC, WR57
177. Matt Schaub, HOU, QB22
181. Justin Forsett, JAC, RB62
187. Darrius Heyward-Bey, IND, WR61
190. Coby Fleener, IND, TE19
197. Justin Hunter, TEN, WR66
201. Dwayne Allen, IND, TE21
230. Denard Robinson, JAC, RB79
232. Nate Washington, TEN, WR80
240. Donald Brown, IND, RB83
243. Jake Locker, TEN, QB26
256. Delone Carter, IND, RB92
264. Marcedes Lewis, JAC, TE28
278. Cierre Wood, HOU, RB100
279. Delanie Walker, TEN, TE31
293. Ray Graham, HOU, RB105
297. Lestar Jean, HOU, WR99

Texans rookie minicamp review

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
9:04
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Three of the four teams in the AFC South are coming off weekend minicamps for their rookies. It's a time of year when virtually everything that comes out is positive. The teams had different levels of media availability. But as best we can, we’ll review the primary players and themes out of those camps today, starting with the Houston Texans.

The top pick:

Coach Gary Kubiak thought receiver DeAndre Hopkins made a great first impression and that Hopkins and sixth-round receiver Alan Bonner give the Texans a chance to improve yards after the catch, writes Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle. “Right now, it’s really a matter of settling him down mentally and learning what he’s doing so all the skill keeps taking over where it’s not a bog-down process,” Gary Kubiak said. “It’s going to be a big six weeks for him.”

The No. 2 pick:

D.J. Swearinger had a “savvy pick-six” at a Saturday practice, per Nick Scurfield of the team’s website. Out of his main observations from rookie camp he wrote, “The South Carolina safety plays with a ton of confidence and clearly enjoys himself on the field, and it says something about his overall skill set that a player known for big hits shined in a non-contact setting." Additional talk of Swearinger via Scurfield here.

Quarterback review:

Kubiak always heaps praise on his quarterbacks, and second-year man Case Keenum was the lead dog at this camp and got that treatment from his coach, says John McClain. Kubiak and Keenum both liked what they saw from Collin Klein who was at camp on a tryout basis, says Ganguli.

Running back opportunity:

Behind Arian Foster and Ben Tate, there is room for a third running back. Four undrafted backs know there is a chance. In addition to Dennis Johnson, George Winn, Cierre Wood and Ray Graham, the Texans also brought in Deji Karim, who scored a return touchdown against them for the Colts last year, for a tryout over the weekend, says Ganguli.

Small schools, big hopes:

Tackle David Quessenberry and Bonner arrived in Houston from small schools with the same chance as everyone else, says Dave Zangaro of CSN Houston.

Defensive lineman Chris Jones is starting off at nose tackle but will learn all the line spots, says Zangaro.

Long-shots:

Klein is not the only former Kansas State quarterback among the team’s undrafted rookies, says Ganguli. Justin Tuggle was behind Klein and moved to linebacker. Now he’s trying to earn a spot with the Texans.

Injuries:

Sam Montgomery had some lower back tightness after bad weather forced the first workout inside the practice bubble on artificial turf, said Dale Robertson. Hopkins and Bonner dealt with some cramps Friday at their first outdoor practice but returned the next day. Third-round tackle Brennan Williams suffered a knee injury but an MRI showed it to be not surgical and he should be back to work in a week, says Ganguli.

Glimpses:

Brett Coomer of the Chronicle has a slideshow from the camp.

Outside the mainstream:

At State of the Texans, Patrick Starr had observations from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

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