Camp got under way 3.5 weeks ago at the Texans’ Practice Facility in Houston, Texas. One player has been sitting out and worrying Texan fans, Arian Foster. Foster begins the 2013 campaign on the PUP list, along with DeVier Posey and Ed Reed. The Texans, already 1-0 after defeating the Minnesota Vikings this preseason, look to improve off of last season’s 12-4 record and AFC Division game loss to the Patriots.
The Texans once again will turn to veteran Matt Schaub to lead the offense. Schaub, despite tossing for 4,008 yards seemed to be a bit off in 2012 and hopes to regain status with the addition of a few new faces on offense. Schaub will have T.J. Yates behind him on the depth chart who has shown he can handle the starting job pressure after taking over in 2011 when Schaub was injured. He’ll have competition from Stephen McGee and Case Keenum.
Arian Foster has been amongst the top runners in the game the past 3 seasons after going undrafted in 2009. Unfortunately, Foster sits on the Active/PUP list right now while Ben Tate takes the load. Tate will have help from Deji Karim who comes from division foe Jacksonville and newcomers Cierre Wood (Notre Dame), Dennis Johnson (Arkansas) and Ray Graham (Pitt). The Texans will continue to employ a Fullback where competition will be stiff for the starting job with rookie Zach Boren, Tyler Clutts and veteran Greg Jones.
Like Arian Foster, DeVier Posey begins the season on the Active/PUP list. Fortunately, Andre Johnson is healthy and looks to build on a strong 2012 campaign where he reeled in 112 catches for 1,598 yards for 4 TD’s. The Texans also used their 1st Round pick in the Draft on DeAndre Hopkins out of Clemson who will provide a complement to Johnson. Lestar Jean and Keshawn Martin will continue to develop and provide extra targets to Schaub. Rookie undrafteds Alan Bonner, Alec Lemon, Andy Cruse and Uzoma Nwachukwu will fight for a roster spot.
Owen Daniels has been a staple on the Texan offense now since his debut in 2006. Daniels and Garrett Graham will provide a reliable set of hands on offense for Schaub. Ryan Griffin (6th Round) will also compete for time.
The Texans have employed a strong offensive front in recent years due to the consistency of their offensive line. Led by Left Tackle Duane Brown, he is joined at Left Guard by fellow veteran Wade Smith. In the middle, Chris Myers returns for another season and will be joined on his right by Right Guard Ben Jones and Right Tackle Derek Newton. The strength in the line doesn’t stop at the starters, they’re backed by Tackles Ryan Harris, Brennan Williams (3rd Round) and Andrew Gardner as well as Guards Brandon Brooks and David Quessenberry (6th Round).
The Texans employ a 3-4 defensive scheme featuring one of the game’s top players, J.J. Watt. Watt sits on the opposite side of another strong player in DE Antonio Smith who will work with Earl Mitchell at Nose Tackle. Terrell McClain and Chris Jones (6th Round) will work in at DT/NT while Jared Crick, Tim Jamison and David Hunter will rotate in at end.
The back-end of this 3-4 will be led by Brian Cushing, Brooks Reed and 2012 1st Rounder Whitney Mercilus. The other inside spot will rotate with Daryl Sharpton, Tim Dobbins and Mike Mohamed. Outside, Bryan Braman will fight for work with Sam Montgomery (3rd Round) and Travardo Williams (4th Round).
Newcomer Ed Reed begins the season on the Active/PUP list, but once healthy, he will pair with SS Danieal Manning and starting Cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson. The Texans also drafted Safety D.J. Swearinger (2nd Round) who will work with Shiloh Keo for time and Eddie Pleasant. At Corner, Brice McCain, Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael look to rotate at the nickel spot where Johnny Adams and Travis Howard will fight for a roster spot.
It looks like Randy Bullock will take over at Kicker while newcomer from Oakland, Shane Lechler, will begin a new era at punter. The Texans will rely on Keshawn Martin for returning duties.