- Tania Ganguli, ESPN Staff Writer
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Examining the Houston Texans' roster:
Things are getting interesting here. Tom Savage went in second on Saturday against the Atlanta Falcons to middling results. Texans coach Bill O'Brien wanted to see how he'd handle it. Fitzpatrick played much better than in his preseason debut, further underlining that it would have been silly for O'Brien to change his mind on his starter after one bad preseason outing.
RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (4)
Let's now open the possibility that the Texans keep four running backs plus Prosch, who is a fullback. I haven't done it yet, but it could happen. Grimes was excellent on Saturday, scoring a special-teams touchdown. Blue scored as well. Ronnie Brown could sneak his way onto this roster, extending an exceptionally long running back career for the man who once was the second overall pick in the draft.
I like this group more and more with each passing week. On Sunday O'Brien singled out Keshawn Martin for his improvement through camp. Thomas has given the team exactly what its needed so far. He's been out since having been hit in the head during practice last week, but should return soon. There will be some really tough cuts here for the Texans, as EZ Nwachukwu and Travis Labhart have both done well.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
I tried to avoid the knee-jerk reaction, but what good is a 53-man roster projection without some hasty conclusions? For the past few weeks I've had Zach Potter as the team's fourth tight end, but it's impossible to ignore the plays Denham made Saturday night. Denham blocked a punt and then blocked a person to help Grimes score a touchdown off that blocked punt on Saturday night. I also feel the constant need to defend my having four tight ends in this group: they'll need a bunch.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
Su'a-Filo started Saturday and played guard exclusively. At this point, I'd say he's caught up enough that the time he missed in the spring is no longer hindering him. The Texans were looking for more consistency from the first pick of the second round this year, and saw that against the Falcons. Brooks, O'Brien said, is getting closer to playing.
DEFENSIVE LINE (5)
Nix passed his physical last week and is off the physically unable to perform list. He isn't back to playing yet, though. With the exception of one guy, this is a group rife with question marks. It's got talent. We just haven't seen most of these players in these roles yet.
Text message I received Saturday night: "Clowney just killed someone." This rookie is acclimating just fine.
There was another pick-six in a Texans game, only this time it was the kind they like. Cornerback Andre Hal took an interception 64 yards for a score. Bouye's steady improvement through this preseason and offseason was evident during the past week as he got tested by the Falcons' two excellent receivers, Roddy White and Julio Jones. The tests will continue against the Denver Peytons.
Lewis drew praise from O'Brien this week for his ability to get everybody on the back end lined up properly. His familiarity with defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's system is likely helping, as is his experince in general. It's a young group back there. I've had seventh-round pick Lonnie Ballentine on this list for a while, but I could see him being a guy they stash on injured reserve. He's been out for most of training camp.
Randy Bullock might be feeling a little bit more comfortable now. Rookie challenger Chris Boswell missed two extra points on Saturday. Granted, these were the extra-long trial period extra points, but a 33-yard field goal is something an NFL kicker has to make.