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27 August 2013 Written by  Nicholas A. Norman

Texans Look to Finish Preseason against Cowboys

 

Coming off a loss against the New Orleans Saints, the Texans look to finish the preseason in Dallas against the Cowboys. Even though most of the starters will not play, there are lots of questions that the Texans will answer from this game.
One key position battle still remains for the Texans in T.J. Yates and Case Keenum. They are expected to split time at quarterback with Case, getting the nod to start the game.

“They’ll both play a half of football going into this one,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “Obviously they’re going to be playing with a bunch of young players, but I think it’s been extremely close. It would be hard to make a decision today. But if I would have to make one, I’d make one.”

Yates is 27-of-39 for 308 yards, three touchdowns and a 118.3 QB rating through three contests. Keenum, a former University of Houston standout, is 34-of-50 for 354 yards, two touchdowns and a 101.6 rating. Neither has thrown an interception, while Yates holds slight statistical edges in completion percentage and yards per attempt.

“I think this (Cowboys) game is still important. They’ve continued to get better, each of them, and push each other. I think it’s going to be a good thing for our football team,” Kubiak said. “I’m going to hold off here and let them play this week and then we’ll probably lock in before we go into our total San Diego process. … I’m going to let them compete one more week and see how it goes.”

Determining the third back behind Arian Foster and Ben Tate is also a top priority heading into roster cuts this week. The Texans passing game has eclipsed the run game so far this preseason. Through the first three preseason games, the Texans rushed for 386 yards for 2 touchdowns and passed for 1,001 yards and six scores.
Deji Karim leads the team in preseason rushing with 21 carries for 112 yards.

Undrafted free agents Cierre Wood and Dennis Johnson each have 16 carries. Wood has rushed for 84 yards while Johnson has averaged just 3.1 yards per carry with 50 yards. According to Kubiak, the key will be who can contribute on special teams. Johnson has returned 7 punts, averaging 9.9 yards per return and 3 kickoffs for 75 yards.

The Texans placed 11 players on waivers Monday. Offensive players placed on waivers were quarterback Stephen McGee, running back Ray Graham, tight end Adam Schiltz, fullback Zach Boren, offensive tackle Nick Mondek and guard Bryan Collins. Defensive players on waivers were end Earl Okine, inside linebacker Ja’Gared Davis, inside linebacker Elliot Coffey and cornerback Travis Howard. The Texans also waived punter Andrew Shapiro.

The Texans will reduce their roster to 53 and sign eight practice squad players after the last preseason game at Dallas on Thursday night.