NFL Nation: Delano Howell

Examining the Indianapolis Colts' roster:

QUARTERBACKS (2)
This is the safest position on the roster for the Colts. They plan to always keep a veteran backup if Luck ever goes down with an injury.

RUNNING BACKS (4)

The Colts will have a solid running combination if -- and we’re saying if until proven wrong -- Richardson can bounce back from a poor first season in Indianapolis and Bradshaw and Ballard can stay injury-free. Havili, a fullback, gets the edge over Mario Harvey, who switched from linebacker to fullback during offseason workouts.

RECEIVERS (5)

The final receiver spot will come down to Rogers and Griff Whalen. If the Colts want to play it safe, Whalen is the guy because he’s familiar with Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but Rogers has the size and speed the team likes. There’s also the possibility of the Colts keeping six receivers.

TIGHT ENDS (4)

Allen, who missed all but one game in 2013, and Fleener have the potential to be one of the top tight end duos in the league. Doyle and Saunders are both familiar with the system after backing up Fleener in Allen’s absence last season.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

There are plenty of questions surrounding the offensive line outside of tackles Castonzo and Cherilus. The one thing general manager Ryan Grigson wanted with this group is depth. The Colts have plenty of it.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)

Like the offensive line, the Colts want depth on the defensive line so they can constantly rotate in players, so come the fourth quarter they still have fresh legs to get after the opponent. Jones was the key offseason acquisition for the Colts. Chapman showed flashes last season; now he needs to do it every snap that he’s on the field.

LINEBACKERS (10)

All eyes will be on outside linebacker as the Colts look to find a replacement for Mathis, who is suspended for the first four games of the season. Werner gets the first crack at starting in Mathis’ spot. McNary is a player for whom Grigson has high expectations. It’ll be up to defensive coordinator Greg Manusky on how he uses McNary.

DEFENSIVE BACKS (10)

It’s anybody’s guess how the secondary will perform. It’s anybody’s guess who will start alongside Landry at safety. It looked like it would be Howell for most of the offseason, but the Colts signed the veteran Adams in June. Can Toler finally remain healthy? Can Davis live up to his contract? So many questions with no answers at the moment.

SPECIALIST

This only changes if an injury occurs.

Camp preview: Indianapolis Colts

July, 17, 2014
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NFL Nation’s Mike Wells examines the three biggest issues facing the Indianapolis Colts heading into training camp.

Khaled Holmes: Colts general manager Ryan Grigson took a big gamble in the offseason by not heavily pursuing a veteran center. He signed Phil Costa, who was beaten out by a rookie in Dallas, only to have the veteran suddenly retire before ever playing a snap for the Colts. Even with Costa on the roster, the plan all along for the Colts was for Holmes to start. This is the same Khaled Holmes who managed to play a total of 12 snaps as a rookie, despite poor play by Samson Satele at the position last season. Grigson has constantly defended Holmes ever since, pointing out that the second-year player would be his starter. The goal is for Holmes to team with franchise quarterback Andrew Luck for years to come. Holmes needs to have good chemistry with Luck and control the line of the scrimmage, all while making sure the rest of the offensive linemen know the correct calls. That’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a player who is basically a rookie, especially when you think about the expectations the Colts have this season.

Safety: Similar to his decision at center, Grigson didn’t look far outside the organization to address a position of need. Veteran Antoine Bethea left Indianapolis to sign with San Francisco, and it appeared Delano Howell was the frontrunner to start alongside LaRon Landry at safety. Things seem to change in the middle of June, when the Colts signed veteran Mike Adams. Adams has started 73 games in his 10-year NFL career, but even though he says he feels like he’s 26 years old, he’s actually 33. Howell has started only four games in his career. And speaking of Landry, he didn’t exactly ease anybody’s mind about whether he’ll be able to rebound from a disappointing first season with the Colts. He didn’t attend any of the voluntary offseason workouts, then showed up at the mandatory minicamp with what was described as a soft-tissue injury. While the offseason workouts are voluntary, it would have helped Landry if he had at least attended a few of the sessions. Grigson and Colts coach Chuck Pagano didn’t criticize Landry for not showing up, but they did point out their preference of wishing he was in attendance. If anything it would have showed that Landry cared about working on chemistry with the rest of his defensive teammates. There are too many questions surrounding the safety position on a defense that was way too inconsistent last season.

Trent Richardson: The excuses are no longer available for Richardson in the Colts organization. The ready-made line of, “Richardson is still learning the offensive system,” is in the trash on the curb. Richardson, who the Colts acquired from Cleveland just days before Week 3 last season, has had an entire offseason to learn the playbook. Now he can use his natural instincts when he’s on the field, instead of constantly trying to remember the plays. The Colts clearly are trailing the Browns in the who-got-the-better-of-the-trade race. Cleveland turned the No. 26 pick into hotshot quarterback Johnny Manziel after using it to trade up to No. 22. The Colts? All Richardson gave them was 2.9 yards a carry and a demotion to the second unit last season. Richardson and the Colts have to hope this season is different. The pressure is on Richardson, because Grigson said earlier this year he would make the trade again if put in the same position. Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in 2012, had offseason shoulder surgery and will head into training camp as the starter, with Ahmad Bradshaw ready to take some snaps from him if he struggles.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts starting safety LaRon Landry wasn't required to take part in the team's organized team activities because they're voluntary. The three-day mandatory minicamp is the only time players are required to report to the team's facility.

Three days.

But Landry was not on the field for the first day of minicamp Tuesday.

Landry
The reason?

He hadn't undergone the required physical yet. This isn't a new physical that's being required, but it's the same physical veteran players are required to take before minicamp every year.

“(Monday night) we had an administrative meeting,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “(You) can't do any football first day. Every single vet on the football team, except the rookies have to go do physicals.”

Landry, by the way, was the only veteran player who did not take part in minicamp Tuesday because he didn't take his physical. He's also the only player not to be in facility during the offseason. Landry doesn't work out with the team during the offseason because he prefers to work out on his own. He's one of the more fit players in the NFL, but it's more than about being in shape.

Landry's about to have a new starting safety playing alongside of him, the Colts struggled as a defensive unit last season and Landry didn't have a great first season with the team. He missed four games with an ankle injury while finishing with 96 tackles and no interceptions.

“LaRon works as hard as anybody, wished it was here most of the time,” Pagano said. “I know that he's working. He probably does too much.”

As far as other players who missed Tuesday's session, defensive lineman Cory Redding was excused to tend to a family matter. Cornerback Vontae Davis has a groin injury and Pagano said safety Delano Howell is dealing with a soft tissue injury without going into specifics.

As expected, receiver Reggie Wayne (knee), running back Vick Ballard (knee) and offensive lineman Donald Thomas (quad, bicep) also didn't take part.
INDIANAPOLIS -- New Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Adams was part of the Denver Broncos team that reached the Super Bowl last season.

But there Adams sat, waiting for a team to sign him during the offseason. He waited. Waited some more. He waited so long that anxiety started to set in. Adams, 33, had never been out of work this long during his 10-year NFL career.

Adams’ phone finally rang last week when the Colts put safety Corey Lynch on injured reserve.

[+] EnlargeMike Adams
Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsVeteran safety Mike Adams has started 73 games in his 10-year career.
"The pieces are in place and we have a chance to hoist (the trophy) at the end," Adams said. "That’s my goal. I came here to win. That’s Chuck Pagano’s philosophy and that’s what they want to do here. That’s what it all boils down."

Adams has gone from being unemployed to having a chance to be one of the Colts' starting safeties when they take on his former team, the Broncos, in the season opener on Sept. 7.

"Bottom line is I want to compete for a job," Adams said. "I want to earn these guys' respect. I’m going in (Year 11). Its’ a different locker room, new system I have to learn. I want to earn that. I don’t want it given to me. I told coach and I told the (general manager Ryan Grigson), 'I appreciate you telling me I don’t have the job. I appreciate that.' I was the underdog my whole career. I love competing and proving people wrong."

Safety has been a legit concern for the Colts since long-time fixture Antoine Bethea signed with San Francisco on the first day of the free agent signing period in March.

The Colts didn’t address the position during free agency or the draft. They constantly talked about having confidence in Delano Howell, who has been working with the first team during the offseason workouts.

But Howell lacks experience on a defense that was too inconsistent last season. The same goes for Sergio Brown, David Sims and Colt Anderson.

Enter Adams.

He has started 73 games in his 10-year career. The question about Adams is how much does he have left in his tank at the age of 33. He admits his age might have caused teams to shy away a little bit.

"I feel like I’m 26,” he quickly says. "You're going to see the way I move. Once guys see my film. I was talking to the GM and he said, 'I had to watch your film' and he said, 'You’re 33?' and I was like, 'yeah I am 33,' but when you watch the film it doesn’t look like I’m 33."

Adams is versatile. He can also play cornerback, nickelback or be the dime.

Now he has to see if he’s versatile enough to get the number he wants. Adams, who currently has No. 42, has worn No. 20 throughout his career, but cornerback Darius Butler has that number.

"I’ll have to sweet-talk him," Adams said. "Have to take him out to dinner; wine and dine him."
INDIANAPOLIS -- The final significant days of the offseason for the Indianapolis Colts (outside of when commissioner Roger Goodell disciplines owner Jim Irsay) starts Tuesday at the team's facility when they begin the first of three days of mandatory minicamp before breaking up for the final time prior to reporting for training camp July 23.

Let's take a look at several things to pay attention to during the camp:

[+] EnlargeTrent Richardson
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY SportsThe competition at running back, including Trent Richardson, won't be decided in this week's mandatory minicamp.
Offensive line battle: You can go ahead and put Khaled Holmes down as the starting center, but with Donald Thomas (quad, bicep) still working his way back, the starting guard positions could end up taking some time. Hugh Thornton, who took Thomas's spot after he was injured last season, has been working with the first team at right guard during organized team activities. Lance Louis had been working with the first team at left guard, but rookie Jack Mewhort, the Colts' second-round pick, moved ahead of him last week. The competition will intensify during training camp.

Running back competition: Just like the battle for the starting guard position, we won't get full competition for the starting running back position because Vick Ballard (knee) isn't expected to take part, as he's still working his way back from ACL surgery. Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw, the other two primary candidates, both wore red non-contact jerseys during OTAs. So this is another competition that won't pick up until training camp. All three players will get playing time, but keep in mind that coach Chuck Pagano said earlier in the offseason they want a workhorse in the backfield.

Landry sighting: Safety LaRon Landry has been the most significant healthy player missing during OTAs. It's not required for players to attend OTAs and Landry prefers to work out on his own during the offseason. But it still would have been good if he would have popped in for some of the workouts because of the need for improvement for the defense, the transition from a seasoned veteran in Antoine Bethea to possibly Delano Howell, who lacks significant experience, and Landry simply didn't have a great first season with the Colts. The offense, as long as Andrew Luck is the quarterback, will be fine. He's shown he can be effective even without good blocking. The same can't be said about a defense that finished 20th in the league last season.

The Bjoern factor: The fact linebacker Robert Mathis (suspension) won't be with the Colts the first four games of the season has definitely sunk in. Now it's up to second-year player Bjoern Werner, who gets the first shot to start in Mathis's absence, to prove he was worth the Colts selecting him in the first round after an inconsistent rookie season. "This year it's just knowing the defense and to feel comfortable in the defense," Colts defensive coordinator Greg Manusky said. "Now it's just his ability to get to the passer, which it's kind of you want him to do that in these OTAs, but he's never really going to get there because you don't have the pads on. But he's been doing a great job at least from the calls and signals and getting everything lined up and knowing exactly what he's supposed to do. It's a great situation for him."

Can Adams help: The Colts signed veteran safety Mike Adams over the weekend to take Corey Lynch's spot on the roster after placing him on injured reserve. Howell is leading the race to start, but Adams has started 73 games in his career. The question about Adams is: Does he have enough left in his 33-year-old body to help the Colts and possibly supplant Howell as the starting safety alongside Landry?

Who won't be there: Barring a sudden change of events, here are the players -- not including those on injured reserve -- you won't see taking part in minicamp. Receiver Reggie Wayne (knee), Ballard (knee) and Thomas (quad, bicep).
INDIANAPOLIS -- There is no better time for an offseason power ranking than right after the draft, because that is the unofficial ending of the major moves made by teams.

Teams will continue to tinker with their roster, but the draft is compete and the majority of the headline-making moves are complete.

ESPN.com's post-draft Power Rankings, based teams' offseason moves, were released Tuesday. The Indianapolis Colts are seventh in the rankings up one spot from the season-ending rankings.

To no surprise, the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks are at the top of the rankings. From an AFC standpoint, the Colts are third behind Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos (2nd), who lost to the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots (4th).

I think the Broncos are still the class of the AFC after they added DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward on defense to go with Manning and that high-powered offense.

I only give the Patriots the edge over the Colts because they beat Indianapolis in the playoffs last season, and Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has struggled in two games -- seven interceptions -- against New England.

The Colts didn’t make a major splash in the offseason, but they continued to add offensive weapons to go with Luck’s arm, feet and ability to pull off the unthinkable. Questions at center and safety will remain until Khaled Holmes (center) and Delano Howell prove they are the right players to start at those positions.

The Colts will be able to see how they match up with those teams next season. They play the Broncos in Week 1 and the Patriots in Week 11.
INDIANAPOLIS -- The assumption heading into the draft was that the Indianapolis Colts would use one of their five picks on a safety.

Seventeen safeties were picked during the three-day draft. None of them were selected by the Colts.

"There’s a small handful of guys in this draft that we felt like we could go get, it just didn’t happen," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. "But it was not a deep safety class and if there was a safety we liked, we would have took one."

So as of now, in-house players Delano Howell, Sergio Brown, Corey Lynch and Colt Anderson, who have combined to start 22 games, are the stop candidates to man the starting safety spot opposite of LaRon Landry next season. Longtime Colts safety Antoine Bethea signed with the San Francisco 49ers in March.

"You don’t just because of need go reach and try to grab and fill a need when the value’s not there," coach Chuck Pagano said. "I feel good about the guys that are here and I think at the end of the day, we bolstered our front seven with acquiring D’Qwell Jackson and Art Jones and the two defensive players we picked up. The better that front seven is, the more pressure you can put on the passer, it certainly helps the back end. We’ll be fine."
INDIANAPOLIS -- The question was going to come up the moment the Houston Texans released safety Danieal Manning on Monday.

Manning
Do the Indianapolis Colts have any interest in Manning?

That's a legitimate question considering the Colts lost Antoine Bethea to San Francisco three weeks ago and don't have a clear-cut starter there yet.

But the answer is no, the Colts do not have any interest in Manning.

Not yet at least.

Things could change if Manning remains on the free-agent market for a while, but his price tag is too high at the moment. Manning was scheduled to make around $4.5 million with the Texans and he may be looking for a deal around that same price range. The 31-year-old reportedly is meeting Tuesday with the Cincinnati Bengals and Thursday with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Manning played in only six games last season because of a knee injury after playing at least 13 in his first seven seasons, including all 16 games four times.

During the NFL owners meetings last week, Colts coach Chuck Pagano talked about safeties Delano Howell and Sergio Brown on the roster as possible replacements for Bethea and that they will look at selecting one in the draft May 8-10.

The Colts have about $13.4 million in salary-cap space remaining if they do decide to make a run at a free-agent safety.
INDIANAPOLIS -- At some point, offensive lineman Jonathan Martin and the Miami Dolphins will part ways from what's turned into a disastrous relationship.

Martin
And when that happens, whatever team acquires Martin next will be getting a hard-working player, according to one of his former teammates at Stanford.

"He's physical at the line of scrimmage, smart guy, understands the offense well," Indianapolis Colts tight end Coby Fleener said. "I think he would be a great teammate for anybody to have."

Ted Wells' report last week determined that Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito and two of his teammates bullied Martin.

Fleener stayed in touch with Martin via text message.

"I didn't really look at it as who was going to be wrong and who was going to be right, I just wanted the best for Jonathan regardless of who was wrong or right," Fleener said. "I didn't talk to him about the specifics or anything like that because I felt like it wasn't my place. If he wanted to talk about it that was fine. I really just wanted to make sure he was doing alright."

Martin has ties with a number of Colts.

He and Fleener, receiver Griff Whalen, quarterback Andrew Luck, safety Delano Howell and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton were all together at Stanford.

The Colts are in need of help on the interior part of the offensive line. But Martin plays tackle and the Colts are set there with Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus.

"I don't really campaign for anybody," Fleener said. "I think that's up to our GM [Ryan Grigson] and coaching staff. They've done an awesome job putting together the team. If Coach [Chuck Pagano] or Mr. Grigson asked me, I would have nothing but support for Jonathan."

Four players sit out at Colts practice

November, 20, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS – Here’s Wednesday’s practice report for the Indianapolis Colts:
Havili had some concussion symptoms after the Nov. 14 game at Tennessee. He must complete the NFL’s concussion protocol before he’s cleared to play.

Landry wore a walking boot on his right foot during the media portion of the open locker-room period. He said he’ll be “fine” when asked about the boot.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said rookie Bjoern Werner will start at linebacker in place of the suspended Erik Walden in Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

“He’s coming back off the injury,” Pagano said about Werner missing three games earlier this season. “He’s knocking the rust off. Again, he can be and will be a good edge setter in the run game and he gives you pass-rush capabilities.”

Pagano declined to talk about Walden’s suspension for head-butting Titans tight end Delanie Walker. Walden’s appeal was denied Tuesday.

Colts need to take a pass on Ed Reed

November, 12, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts are lacking depth at safety.

Injured safety Larry Asante was waived on Monday and Delano Howell has missed the past two games with a neck injury. Howell hasn’t practiced this week and his status for Thursday’s game at Tennessee is up in the air.

That leaves Sergio Brown as the only backup safety behind LaRon Landry and Antoine Bethea.

That leads us to Ed Reed.

Reed was released by the Houston Texans on Tuesday. He and Colts coach Chuck Pagano have a history together at the University of Miami and with the Baltimore Ravens. Pagano was the Hurricanes' secondary coach from 1995-2000, the Ravens' secondary coach from 2008-10, then their defensive coordinator the following season.

“It’s really the first time that I’ve heard that. I just came off the practice field,” Pagano said. “I didn’t even realize that Eddie had been waived.”

Reed obviously isn’t the same player who caused havoc for so many years with the Ravens. The Colts are set with Landry and Bethea, who hasn’t missed a game since 2007.

Would Reed be able to handle being a backup?

Not according to ESPN.com Texans reporter Tania Ganguli. She wrote Tuesday that Reed “never bought into the idea that his limited role was best for the team.” Reed said the Texans were “outplayed and outcoached” during their loss to Arizona last weekend.

The Colts don’t need those types of distractions. They’re too close of a team and they’re trying to figure out ways to be productive without receiver Reggie Wayne and without a running game.

The Colts may lack depth at safety, but they’re better off taking a pass on Reed, who is 35 and only totaled 16 tackles in seven games this season.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Any suspense about whether Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson will be in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams ended at about 11 a.m. on Friday when he took the practice field.

Richardson
Richardson didn't practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a swollen ankle. The Colts have him listed as questionable on the injury report, but you can expect him to play against the Rams barring any setbacks with his ankle.

“Oh yeah, I’m always game-ready,” Richardson said. “Took precaution on it and coach (Chuck Pagano) is going to make the best decision. You see me out there running around and you see me moving like I used to move. You know I’m ready.”

The goal -- other than having him find his rhythm rushing the ball -- is to find ways to get Richardson, who is only averaging 3.0 yards a carry in six games with the Colts, involved in the passing game. He had a 24-yard reception in the Nov. 3 game at Houston.

"I just have to find ways to creatively get the ball to Trent," offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said. "A lot of different ways, not just out in space, but do a better job with run schemes that feature his instincts. But he’s gotten better each week, and we expect that he’ll continue to make big plays for us.”

Offensive guard Hugh Thornton also practiced Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday with a calf problem. He's listed as questionable.

Pagano said defensive tackle Josh Chapman (knee), cornerbacks Josh Gordy (groin) and Greg Toler (groin), and safety Delano Howell (neck) will miss Sunday’s game.

Reggie Wayne takes up coaching

November, 7, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Colts injured receiver Reggie Wayne didn’t go to Houston just to surprise his teammates the night before their game against the Texans.

Bush
Wayne
Wayne also provided an extra set of eyes for offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

“In between series, I would pass over the pictures and ask his opinion,” Hamilton said. “And, of course, during the series he had a job. His job was to watch their slot coverage and give myself and [quarterback] Andrew [Luck] feedback.”

Wayne’s season – his 13th – ended when he tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of their victory over Denver on Oct. 20.

Sunday was the first time Wayne had been around his teammates since he had his surgery. The plan is for him to be around the team and take part in meetings as much as possible during his rehabilitation. Coach Chuck Pagano said last week that they anticipate Wayne to be ready for the start of the 2014 season.

“Reggie, he loves this game,” Hamilton said. “He loves the horseshoe and it’s awesome that he’ll still be around even under the circumstances.”

Here’s Thursday’s injury report:

Running back Trent Richardson (ankle) missed his second straight practice. Guard Hugh Thornton (calf), cornerback Greg Toler (groin), safety Delano Howell (neck), cornerback Josh Gordy (groin) and defensive tackle Josh Chapman (knee) also did not practice.

Linebacker Robert Mathis (shoulder) did return practice after sitting out Wednesday.

Greg Toler out against Houston

November, 1, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts starting cornerback Greg Toler will miss Sunday's game against the Houston Texans because of groin injury.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano is giving the silent treatment on who will replace Toler in the starting lineup. The only thing Pagano would say is that it’ll be either Cassius Vaughn or Darius Butler.

Butler is the team’s nickelback, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Vaughn starts at cornerback because of how well Butler plays the nickel position.

Butler has 16 tackles, eight passes defended and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, this season.

“I like nickel because you have to talk more, you can make calls with the corner and the safety,” Butler said when asked his preference. “I like that because it makes me think more, anticipate more, watch more film.”

Safety Delano Howell (neck) and cornerback Josh Gordy (groin) are also out against the Texans. Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey was held out of practice Friday as a precaution because of a hamstring problem, but Pagano said he should play Sunday. Center Samson Satele (knee) and linebacker Bjoern Werner (foot) are also expected to be in the lineup.

Werner could return against Houston

October, 28, 2013
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts could have their first-round draft pick back when they play the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Werner
Linebacker Bjoern Werner practiced on a limited basis Monday. He’s been out with a torn plantar fascia since Sept. 29. He has five tackles and 0.5 sacks this season.

“We’ll see how he comes in [Tuesday],” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “He felt good with what he did leaving the practice field and hopefully he comes in [Tuesday] morning and feels great and then amp it up a little more on Wednesday. Always see the glass half-full on that kind of thing.”

While Werner continues to work his way back, safety Delano Howell (neck) and cornerback Josh Gordy (groin) are both doubtful against the Texans. Cornerback Greg Toler (groin) and linebacker Cam Johnson (ankle) are day-to-day.

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