2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things about Texans, Cowboys in preseason

By SCHUYLER DIXON - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-30 03:18

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.

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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.

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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.

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

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Giovani BernardOct 31 11:12a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) is unlikely to play in Week 9.

Trent RichardsonOct 31 10:32a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is not on the injury report for Week 9, and should be able to play Monday, Nov. 3.

Rashad JenningsOct 31 10:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) is aiming to return for the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ronnie HillmanOct 31 09:12a

Updating previous reports, Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) is expected to have his normal workload in Week 9, despite his limited practice repetitions.

DeAngelo HallOct 31 08:52a

Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall (Achilles') tore his Achilles' again at home and had surgery to repair it Thursday, Oct. 30.

Ron JohnsonOct 30 08:22p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (back), DE Michael Bennett (toe), C Stephen Schilling (knee), CB Tharold Simon (knee), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), LB Malcolm Smith (groin), DT Jordan Hill [ More ]

Patrick WillisOct 30 07:52p

San Francisco 49res CB Tramaine Brock (toe) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and CB Chris Culliver (hamstring) practiced in full.

Chris MatthewsOct 30 07:42p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed WR Chris Matthews and TE Brett Brackett to their practice squad Thursday, Oct. 30.

Scott WellsOct 30 07:42p

St. Louis Rams OG Rodger Saffold (shoulder), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder) and S Cody Davis (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Rodney McLeod [ More ]

Luke JoeckelOct 30 07:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Luke Joeckel (concussion) has recovered nicely from the concussion he suffered in Week 8, and he could play in Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joeckel [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

Arian FosterOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (knee) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Johnathan JosephOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans LBs Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. RB Alfred Blue (ankle), LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), CB Johnathan [ More ]

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Justin TuckOct 30 06:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), CB Carlos Rogers (knee) and WR Kenbrell Thompkins (non-injury) did not [ More ]

Anthony CollinsOct 30 06:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were limited.

Brian RobisonOct 30 06:32p

Minnesota Vikings DT Shariff Floyd (ankle, knee), TE Chase Ford (foot), CB Jabari Price (hamstring), CB Josh Robinson (ankle) and DE Brian Robison (glute) were limited in practice Thursday, [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (hamstring) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Lamin Barrow (concussion), TE Virgil Green (calf), LB Steven Johnson (ankle) and OG Louis Vasquez (illness) [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

Billy WinnOct 30 06:22p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DE Phil Taylor (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Desmond Bryant (wrist), S Jim Leonhard (ankle), LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Chris JohnsonOct 30 06:12p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson, who carried the ball just three times for seven yards in Week 8, said he's frustrated with his limited role in the offense. [ More ]

Tom CrabtreeOct 30 06:02p

The New Orleans Saints waived TE Tom Crabtree Thursday, Oct. 30.

Patrick PetersonOct 30 05:42p

Arizona Cardinals S Tony Jefferson (head) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Calais Campbell (knee), LB Kenny Demens (knee), S Rashad Johnson [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 30 05:22p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring) and LB Josh Martin (hamstring, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Eric Berry (ankle) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) were [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 30 05:22p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), OG Willie Colon [ More ]

Keenan RobinsonOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) practiced in full for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:02p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will start against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9, barring any setbacks this week in practice, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Mike PounceyOct 30 05:02p

Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness, back) LB Chris McCain (foot) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Koa Misi [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 30 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Will Blackmon (finger), DE Andre Branch (groin), DE Chris Clemons (non-injury), LB Geno Hayes (non-injury) and DT Roy Miller (non-injury) didn't practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB [ More ]

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