Bye Week Decisions for the Texans
The Houston Texans are coming off their much needed bye week and they are heading into their official halfway point of the season when they match up with the Buffalo Bills. The Texans have a few personnel issues they must deal with in the coming days to make sure the team is tightened up for the stretch run. At the current moment, the team has an active roster of 52 players with rookie defensive end David Hunter hitting the injured reserve last week.
The good thing is that the Texans are not dealing with “huge” issues, but with depth at a premium at the NFL level the team knows all to well that having the 53 man roster at full strength is a high priority. There were a few questions that the Texans were dealing with heading into the Baltimore Ravens game but decided to sit on the current roster and deal with movement heading out of the bye week.
Let’s take a look.
Quintin Demps is scheduled to return.
Demps is returning after injuring his thumb against the Denver Broncos, which required surgery. Then the following week he broke his forearm against the Tennessee Titans, which also required surgery. Almost a full month of recovery time, Demps looks to be scheduled to return against the Buffalo Bills. The Texans did not put him on the injured reserve but sat him on the active roster while healing. They brought back Troy Nolan to fill his spot as the third safety in dime packages for the defense.
Nolan has been an adequate stop-gap for the three weeks but the Texans will have to make the decision on what to do with Nolan. The team came out of camp with 4 safeties (Danieal Manning, Glover Quin, Shiloh Keo and Demps), but now they will have five with Demps returning. Trying to figure out if keeping 5 safeties is necessary will be the question, especially with issues in special teams. Shiloh Keo has been lack luster in special teams and is a last resort when it comes to defense, but Nolan who lacks top end speed and is a sub par tackler can be a liability at times. Alan Ball will play safety before Keo, so there are six players who can play the safety position for the Texans. Keo and Nolan could be uneasy knowing Demps is coming back because there might be an issue with running back depth.
The Texans only had one real injury last week with Ben Tate coming out of the game late in the second half after injuring his hamstring on a run. Tate has been dealing with injury issues the entire season, a toe that caused him to miss the New York Jets game and now the hamstring. Arian Foster and Justin Forsett are more than capable to handle the workload but you never know when a third running back might be needed. If Tate is out for any extended period of time, the team will have to look for a third back that can help in special teams, but most importantly know the offensive system.
This issue of Tate goes with the decision we discussed above. If Tate is out, the Texans will have to make a move on one of their defensive backs to free up a spot for another running back. The Texans currently have rookie Davin Maggett on the practice squad so he could be a possibility that could come at a bargain basement price.
Let’s hope we don’t have to find out.
Who will be the 4th defensive end?
Tim Jamison (Achilles) and David Hunter (Foot) both hit the injured reserve within a week of each other and that leaves the defense with three healthy defensive ends. J.J. Watt, Antonio Smith and Jared Crick put together an impressive showing against the Ravens last Sunday, but once again it is important to keep your players as fresh as they can be. Earl Mitchell has also filled in at defensive end and has done some good work, so that gives the front office some flexibility to either look for another defensive end or possibly another nose tackle.
The Texans have the spot open to make an easy move and will not have to adjust too much for this potential move. On the practice squad, recently signed defensive lineman Lamar Divens could be the move, but last week the Texans also worked out:
Texans tried out Terrell McClain, Jarius Wynn and Malcolm Sheppard
— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) October 24, 2012
This will be the one definite move for the Texans heading into the game with Buffalo.
What do you think the moves will be?
You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.