Texans play a game of linebacker shuffle
Darryl Sharpton couldn’t wait to get on the field.
Come the overtime period on Thanksgiving, the 10th quarter in four days, he likely couldn’t wait to get off of it.
See, Sharpton started the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a quad injury. They activated him the day before the Jacksonville game.
He hadn’t played in a football game in a year and he had to play in two back-to-back overtime games in just four days.
“It wasn’t ideal but that’s what happened,” Sharpton said. “I’m glad it happened. It was a good test. It was like one of those things … If you can make it through that, everything else should be a lot easier.”
Sharpton will make his second straight start on Sunday against the Titans and will have another level of responsibility in the likely scenario Bradie James (hamstring) is unable to go. Sharpton will be the one in charge of communicating with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips through the headset.
“It means a lot,” Sharpton said. “I’m very honored to play in Wade Phillip’s defense and for him to bestow that kind of responsibility to me … it’s great.”
Phillips said that while Barrett Ruud, who is in line to start for James, knows the hand signals, he feels more comfortable with Sharpton handling the communication because he will be on the field in more third-down situations.
Sharpton admitted he was pretty winded at the end of the game in Detroit. He played 58 snaps in his second game back after playing in 32 in his season debut less than a week earlier.
“You get into that fifth quarter, that’s when you’re pushing your body all the way to the limit, especially in Detroit,” he said.
Sharpton said while he wasn’t on “the sofa, eating potato chips,” it’s still a process to get back into the shape the NFL requires. Nothing, he said, can prepare a player for it.
This week, the Texans could be without three of their starting linebackers from the start of the season: Brian Cushing, James and Brooks Reed. Only Connor Barwin is still healthy.
“We’re facing some adversity,” Sharpton said, “but we have the guys to plug in and reload.”