5 things about Texans, Cowboys in preseason

5 things about Texans, Cowboys in preseason
August 30, 2013, 4:19 am
Share This Post

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (8) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

(APWF)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) The Houston Texans look set at backup quarterback no matter who they pick, and the Dallas Cowboys have problems with depth on defense.

Those were among the conclusions to be drawn from the Texans' 24-6 victory Thursday night in a preseason finale that was missing all but maybe one starter.

Houston quarterbacks Case Keenum and T.J. Yates continued their solid preseason play, but got a big assist from an offensive line that pushed around Dallas' backup defenders all night.

``Obviously their group played better than our group,'' Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. ``I think in some ways it does reflect on the depth of the football team right now.''

The Cowboys have to decide whether to keep Alex Tanney as a third quarterback. The Texans made his life miserable, sacking him seven times.

---

Five things we know about the Texans at the end of the preseason:

BACKUP QB? CHECK: In the battle to back up Matt Schaub, Keenum and Yates have been neck-and-neck all preseason, and nothing changed in the final exhibition game against Dallas. Houston could go with the experience of Yates, who got Houston's first-ever playoff win when Schaub was hurt in 2011. Then there's the potential of Keenum, who spent last season on the practice squad after leaving the University of Houston as the NCAA's all-time passing leader.

WHAT'S UP WITH REED? The Texans may have to decide by Saturday whether to keep injured safety Ed Reed on the physically unable to perform list, which would cost him at least the first six games. The 34-year-old Reed had his second hip surgery in three years. The last one cost the nine-time Pro Bowler the first six games of 2010.

FOSTER'S PEOPLE: Running back Arian Foster could be ready for the Sept. 8 opener at San Diego, but he missed most of training camp with a right calf strain and then a sore back. There's a bevy of backs behind him. Ben Tate is an established backup, and Deji Karim was the leading rusher in the preseason before sitting the finale against Dallas. Cierre Wood had 107 yards rushing against the Cowboys, and Dennis Johnson added 79 yards and a touchdown.

SMITH SITS ONE MORE: Defensive Antonio Smith will sit against the Chargers as the final game of a three-game suspension for ripping the helmet off Miami's Richie Incognito and hitting the Dolphins guard with it. Dynamic end J.J. Watt will be out there, though. And the Texans seem to apply pressure no matter who's out there.

JOHNSON AND COMPANY: Andre Johnson is healthy and ready, as he showed last week with 131 yards receiving in his only extensive work of the preseason. Rookie DeAndre Hopkins, a first-round pick, is already listed as a starter and expected to be ready for the opener even though he missed the last two preseason games with a concussion. DeVier Posey caught two passes against Dallas in his return from an Achilles tendon tear in last year's playoffs.

---

Five things we know about the Cowboys:

ROMO'S TIME TO SHINE: Tony Romo has the richest contract in franchise history and a much bigger stake in the offense. He avoided any bad plays in limited preseason action, and was in the face of rookies when they made mistakes. He needs a long playoff run to justify the big payday. It could help save coach Jason Garrett's job, too.

FEELING THE RUSH: Defensive end DeMarcus Ware looks like he's ready for a big year in Dallas' new four-man front. He'll need help from the other side, though, and Anthony Spencer may not be ready for the opener after arthroscopic knee surgery early in training camp. The Cowboys don't have any proven NFL sack specialists beyond those two.

ON GUARDS: The Cowboys seem to think Ron Leary and Doug Free could be the starting guards for the opener Sept. 8 against the New York Giants. If so, Jermey Parnell is the likely starter at right tackle, which means four players would be making their first NFL starts at their positions.

PLAYMAKING LINEBACKERS: There's plenty of anticipation to see how Sean Lee and Bruce Carter look in the new 4-3 defense. New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin made stars of similar players at Tampa Bay. Lee just signed a six-year extension worth at least $42 million.

SPECIAL TEAMS STRUGGLES: New special teams coach Rich Bisaccia has some work to do to get the Cowboys where they need to be on special teams. They've had multiple breakdowns throughout the preseason - everything from blocked field goals and botched punts to long returns given up on kickoffs and punts.

---

Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Texans - Team News
Jadeveon Clowney - LB
Texans OLB Jadeveon Clowney (meniscus) has resumed jogging, and hopes to return in a "few... Sidelined since September 7, Clowney was given a 4-6 week timetable upon going down. That makes a "few weeks" attainable, but not ahead of schedule. The Clowney...
Sep 30 3:18PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Texans coach Bill O'Brien referred to Arian Foster (hamstring) on Monday as "day to... Foster himself acknowledged he wasn't 100 percent in Sunday's win over the Bills, managing six yards on eight carries. He'll likely continue to be limited in practice all...
Sep 29 4:20PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Following Sunday's win over the Bills, Arian Foster (hamstring) admitted he "just wasn't... Foster rushed eight times for six yards while playing on just 54.1 percent of the snaps, but did salvage his box score a bit with seven catches for 55 yards. The good news...
Sep 29 8:42AM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson said the ankle injury that briefly sidelined him Sunday is "fine." "I was more scared than anything because I felt a pop, so I went in and got checked," Johnson said. We never like to hear about pops, but Johnson did come back...
Sep 28 5:37PM Read More
Garrett Graham - TE
Garrett Graham caught three passes for 28 yards in Week 4 against the Bills. He was targeted five times. Graham is on pace for just 36 catches and 380 yards this season, but should be more involved going forward now that he's healthy. He was used in...
Sep 28 5:25PM Read More
Alfred Blue - RB
Alfred Blue had nine carries for nine yards in Week 4 against the Bills. With Arian Foster playing through a hamstring injury, Blue was used in a committee and finished with more carries. He added two catches for 16 yards on three targets. Blue...
Sep 28 5:22PM Read More
DeAndre Hopkins - WR
DeAndre Hopkins had five catches for 64 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's Week 4 win over... Hopkins beat Corey Graham for a 35-yard touchdown at the end of the first half. He finished with just six targets despite Andre Johnson missing time with an ankle injury....
Sep 28 5:03PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster totaled 61 yards on 15 touches in Sunday's Week 4 win over Buffalo. Foster was held to six yards on eight carries, but was targeted 10 times by checkdown artist Ryan Fitzpatrick. He was clearly running at half-speed and looked sluggish...
Sep 28 4:07PM Read More
Ryan Fitzpatrick - QB
Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 25-of-37 passes for 268 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions... Fitzpatrick's only notable play was a 35-yard touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins at the end of the first half. He managed the Texans to a win without any help from Arian Foster or...
Sep 28 3:55PM Read More
Andre Johnson - WR
Andre Johnson left Sunday's Week 4 game against the Bills with an ankle injury. Johnson came up lame on a pass in the fourth quarter and was taken to the locker room. He was able to jog off under his own power and later returned to the game. Johnson...
Sep 28 3:01PM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, Arian Foster (hamstring) is moving with a slight limp... Per Breer, the Texans will "monitor his hamstring early in the game, determine his workload from there." It's similar to what was reported by beat writer Tania...
Sep 28 11:40AM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
Arian Foster (hamstring) is active for Week 4 against the Bills. Foster will be available for a full workload after sitting out last week. He's Rotoworld's No. 12 running back against the Bills' top-five run defense. Inactive for the...
Sep 28 10:33AM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
According to the Houston Chronicle, Arian Foster will "definitely" play in Sunday's... The chronic hamstring issue Foster has been battling for two months is good to go. "Foster would't be active if he wasn't 100 percent. That means he'll get a full...
Sep 28 10:03AM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports Arian Foster (hamstring) is expected to play Sunday against... That's two positive reports on Foster within the past 12 hours. He's still likely to be a game-time decision, but all signs are pointing toward Foster starting after...
Sep 28 7:45AM Read More
Arian Foster - RB
The Houston Chronicle expects Arian Foster (questionable, hamstring) to play in Week 4 against... Foster is still a game-time decision and will need to go through pre-game warmups before he's cleared. He was reportedly close to playing last week and ended up being held...
Sep 27 6:19PM Read More