Monday, July 28, 2014
Houston Texans' projected roster
By Tania Ganguli
Examining the Houston Texans' roster:
Fitzpatrick is the starter, and got back the man who will be his favorite target for training camp. He and Andre Johnson spent extra time together Friday night, on the eve of their first practice. Savage isn't ready to start yet, but they didn't draft him expecting that. Keenum is the only quarterback on this roster who was not brought in by new coach Bill O'Brien, but I think he keeps him. Having three quarterbacks prevents you from being forced to start an unprepared rookie in case of injuries. Savage's development is paramount.
RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (4)
Blue, a sixth-round pick, and Brown, a free-agent pickup, will battle during camp to be Foster's backup. That's an important role, given the questions about Foster's health. He's healthy now, but that's always a moving target with running backs, especially those in their late 20s. Prosch, another draft pick, blocked well during the offseason. He'll stick around as the only fullback on the roster.
I had second-year player Alan Bonner on the list, but Bonner left camp with an injury on the first day. Tough break for a guy who spent last season on injured reserve. Martin, on the other hand, has played really well in the first few days of camp and is getting a large share of the punt return reps. The receivers as a whole have looked great.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
The Texans kept only three tight ends for most of last season, but they'll need more for this offense.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
The only remaining battle on the offensive line is between Jones and Su'a-Filo at left guard. Drafted with the first pick of the second round, Su'a-Filo has starting-level talent, but he missed most of the offseason. Now he'll have to play catch-up; Jones has a head start. Elsewhere: left tackle Brown, center Myers, right guard Brooks and right tackle Newton. Brooks is on the team's active/non-football injury list, which usually means his injury isn't something that should keep him out long. Clabo is a veteran who was signed just before camp and is now focused on making the team.
DEFENSIVE LINE (5)
This is assuming Pagan, a sixth-round pick, recovers from his injury and does enough to remain on the roster. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now. Pagan had shoulder surgery after college. Powe's speed and size were really impressive during OTAs, as was Crick's athleticism. And, of course, there's Watt.
The Texans added two outside linebackers -- Quentin Groves and Lawrence Sidbury -- after Day 1 of training camp. They could wind up on the next version of the projected roster, but for now I'll wait to see more of them. This will be a much talked-about position because of the addition of Clowney, the first overall draft pick. The Texans get versatility from Reed and Tuggle, who can play both inside and outside, and return Cushing, the heart of this defense who hasn't finished the past two seasons. He's confident he'll stay healthy this season. Bullough could make the team as an undrafted rookie, the only one I have on the list this year. Reed raved about him on Friday.
Jackson suddenly found himself the elder statesman this offseason, with Joseph working to the side as he recovers from offseason surgery. Joseph came back for training camp and is on a program set by trainers for how long. Hal is tentatively on this list, but the seventh-round pick could be usurped during training camp. Bouye was a promising undrafted rookie last season and has drawn compliments from O'Brien. Slot corner is another question mark for the Texans. Jackson has played there some.
Lewis, who has played in Romeo Crennel's defense before, started next to Swearinger during the offseason and should be competing against Clemons during training camp to be the team's starting free safety.
Bullock's kicking and confidence improved at the end of last season. He's competing with undrafted rookie Chris Boswell to be the Texans' kicker and we'll get a better feel for how he does as training camp progresses.