A NFL roster is never finalized. Due to availability, performance, and injury, the bottom of the roster is often churned.
With that caveat, what do you think about the Texans final roster?
To me, a NFL roster is what is and what could be. Despite the NFL promoting âsafeâ football, football isnât safe. It is inherently violent, and players will play through injuries and have the injuries that they canât play through.
Roster Depth: Iâm concerned at roster depth on the offensive line, inside linebacker, defensive tackle, safety, corner. (Of course, given the randomness of how NFL seasons go <!TJ Yates as playoff quarterback!> who can protect from all scenarios?)
O-Line. When the Texans got rid of Eric Winston, they got rid of a player who had never missed a snap due to injury. And one of the people they thought about replacing him with, Rashad Butler, is already injured and done for the season. Does Derek Newton at right tackle end up being the adventure that Duane Brown was his rookie year? Even some of the projected âbadâ teams on the schedule have some good pass rushers, and you know who the offensive line target is going to be.
In other words, with Butlerâs injury, there are no training wheels for Derek Newton.Â (Maybe crutches? The Texans acquired tackle Ryan Harris, a former Bronco who worked with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. Has his own history of injury concerns).
ILB. Brian Cushing was so good last year he looked like he was playing with his clone on the field. The preseason, even with vanilla coverage, show me enough to think that Cushing is not allowed to get injured this season.
DT. Wade Phillips has sent defensive tackles to the Pro Bowl with previous defenses. There isnât anyone on this current Texans roster who is likely a Pro Bowl caliber nose tackle. Even so, with Shaun Cody missing a the preseason with back issues and teams pretty much running when they wanted to, you worry about basic competence at that spot.
Safety. Shiloh Keo over Troy Nolan? You can pump up Keoâs special teams performance all you want, but Iâm not comfortable with Nolanâs exit or seeing Keoâs future upside as a safety.Â Likely a money, contract length issue but still, I donât see the argument for him. Then again, you likely shouldnât get too overly concerned about the 4th safety spot. /knock on wood.
Corner. Johnathan Joseph is not allowed to get injured. He just isnât. Most teams are in trouble if something bad happens to a starting corner because it is a difficult position to amass quality depth that wonât get exposed. As it is, Kareem Jackson is going to be targeted until he demonstrates that he shouldnât be targeted.
All this, of course, should be put in perspective. All teams have roster depth issues of concerns. Some teams have more concerns with their starters, like who their quarterback is going to be, or trading away their offensive linemen because they looked like a turnstile in the preseason.
Tyler Clutts Trade: Generally speaking, a corner has better trade value than a fullback. Because more teams need corners than use fullback. Even so, given the low numbers of experienced TEs on the roster, getting a traditional knock-the-bleep- out-of-you fullback may be a good get for this particular Texans team. He takes the Lawrence Vickers role from last year.
Heâs the type of guy the Texans love: Hard working, smart, loves football, great at special teams, versatile, will do anything the team asks.Â Heâs less expensive than Moran Norris would be at that spot, and is young enough that if he performs well, he could stick around. He gives the Texans some insurance with James Casey, a tough, do anything player who has had some injury concerns in his career.
Wide Receiver Intrigue: The big off-season talk was the Texans WRs. I think the common narrative is that Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean had great camps and Devier Posey had a bad one. And I think this is a little misleading. Posey had a slow start to camp getting acclimated to the heat (happens a lot), but had a good finish to camp. But often it is that first information that fans hear that sticks. From what I witnessed, none of the wide receivers stood out as particularly better or worse than the other ones, but like most rookies, they all had up and down days. There wasnât one guy where you went, âHey that guy is a beast,â but all of them had some days where you gave them a âwhoa, this could workâ thought.
Posey didnât get much time before the 4th preseason game because its hard to distribute WR snaps, and you have to pick some guys to get the early snaps over others. Even so, having a number of promising WRs is a good problem to have. Nobody is being given the job, and if one guy doesnât take advantage of his few targets, the other ones will.
Kubiak talked about the wide receivers being used rotationally. Will be interesting to see how that works in the flow of the game.
Your thoughts? Even if your thoughts are some version ofÂ âWooooooo football!âÂ Talk is overrated. Iâm ready to see this team in action.