How did backup quarterback battle go?
The first 53-man roster projection came out on June 20 and then the second came after training camp finished.
All NFL teams will have to cut from 75 to 53 players by the 5 p.m. CT deadline on Saturday. Here is my final prediction:
QBs (3): Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, Case Keenum
Nothing has changed. The team will bring three quarterbacks along for the ride. Having two is too risky and there’s no guarantee Keenum would pass through waivers to squirrel him away on the practice squad. Another team would likely scoop him up.
WRs (6): Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, DeVier Posey, Keshawn Martin, Alan Bonner, Lestar Jean
DeVier Posey finally played on Thursday and looked good but the team will probably want to bring six wideouts along for the start of the season, at least until he gets back to full speed. Alan Bonner is hanging by a thread because he’s been injured. Maybe IR for him, but he has a hamstring injury and it likely just needs time to heal. He can help the team in the return game.
RBs (3): Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Cierre Wood
This was one of the tougher decisions, at least the third running back was. Deji Karim came into the last preseason game as the favorite but Wood played very, very well. Sure, Wood is raw but he is the better running back and might end up being Foster’s backup in 2014. If they tried to get him to the practice squad, another team would probably claim him. Karim didn’t play in the final game because Kubiak said he knew what he had in Karim. Now, it just depends on if he saw enough from Wood.
Wood doesn’t help in the return game, which doesn’t help him. But kick returns happen less in today’s NFL (Martin is the punt returner) and when the team gets into a situation where they really need a return, Danieal Manning will be back there.
TEs (3): Owen Daniels, Garrett Graham, Ryan Griffin
Owen Daniels and Garrett Graham are the top two but Ryan Griffin makes the team also. He might end up being a very good player for the Texans.
FB (1): Greg Jones
Jones is the fullback. He finally got to play a little bit more in the third preseason game and mashed some people.
OL (9): Duane Brown, Wade Smith, Chris Myers, Ben Jones, Brandon Brooks, Derek Newton, Andrew Gardner, Ryan Harris, David Quessenberry,
You’ll notice the omission of third-rounder Brennan Williams; that’s because I think he’ll be on the Injured Reserve for the season. Williams played on Thursday night but missed most the rest of the preseason and training camp with a knee injury. He has raw ability but the team will probably scrap his rookie season and try again next year when he’s healthy. With Williams out, Andrew Gardner makes the team over Nate Menkin.
K (1): Randy Bullock
P (1): Shane Lechler
LS (1): Jon Weeks
These three are cemented.
DL (6): J.J. Watt, Tim Jamison, Earl Mitchell, Jared Crick, Terrell McClain, Chris Jones
Antonio Smith is suspended for the opener, so I didn’t include him on the 53-man roster. Yes, I’m aware it’s a copout but I don’t care. I want the possibility of getting the roster correct and the Texans won’t cut an extra guy if they don’t have to. Chris Jones played really well on Thursday after missing two preseason games and likely earned a spot.
OLB (5): Brooks Reed, Whitney Mercilus, Sam Montgomery, Willie Jefferson, Trevardo Williams
After the way Williams looked early in training camp and during the first couple preseason games, it’s very surprising he’s on the team. Basically, it came down to Williams or Bryan Braman. Braman is a very good special teams player but hasn’t been consistently good on defense. Williams has the athleticism to be a very good special teamer too but he also has more upside on defense.
Justin Tuggle isn’t here either. The team used him at inside linebacker on Thursday but I still don’t think that helps him make the team. He might end up on the practice squad.
ILB (4): Brian Cushing, Joe Mays, Darryl Sharpton, Tim Dobbins
I think these four will be here. Sharpton and Dobbins are two guys who are very good backups but struggle to stay healthy. I’m not completely convinced Mays is better than Sharpton but he should be the starter to open the season.
CB (5): Johnathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Brice McCain, Brandon Harris, A.J. Bouye
Roc Carmichael had a pretty good showing in the final preseason game but so did Bouye, so the undrafted rookie free agent from Central Florida takes the roster spot.
S (5): Ed Reed, Danieal Manning, D.J. Swearinger, Shiloh Keo, Eddie Pleasant
If Reed was healthy, the Texans would probably take just four safeties but with some uncertainty about the status of the future Hall of Famer, Pleasant starts the year on the 53-man roster.