2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Keenum, Savage to settle Texans' backup QB duel

By CHRIS DUNCAN - AP Sports Writer
    2014-08-27 18:39

HOUSTON (AP) - Rookie Tom Savage looked like a polished pro leading the Texans to the winning touchdown and 2-point conversion against Denver last week.

How he plays in Thursday's preseason finale against San Francisco means even more as he tries to overtake Case Keenum for the backup quarterback job behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Keenum will start and Savage will follow, trying to make one last impression on Coach Bill O'Brien. But O'Brien said their game performances won't be the deciding factors, only part of the bigger picture.

''I've been in situations like this where two guys are really competing in New England,'' said O'Brien, the Patriots' former offensive coordinator. ''A lot of times the guy that played well in the fourth game, he ended up being the No. 2 guy. But I think conceptually you always look at the body of work and then you determine within that body of work how they played in those games and in those practices, and you try to add it up that way.''

O'Brien says he's likely to keep all three because of how well each of them has grasped the offense. The tale of the tape so far? Keenum is 20 for 35 for 184 yards and threw an interception at the goal line to end a promising drive against Atlanta. Savage is 11 of 14 for 90 yards, 5 for 6 on the winning drive in Denver.

Keenum, who started eight games last season, was surprised to find out this week that O'Brien said that Savage had closed the gap. But Keenum was as excited as anyone to see Savage's winning drive in Denver.

''We're all on the same team,'' Keenum said, ''and all of us quarterbacks feel the same way and we're all competitive and I think we all want to win, so it was fun.''

O'Brien said starter Ryan Fitzpatrick probably won't play, along with most of the other first-teamers. O'Brien is still evaluating the kicker competition between Randy Bullock and Chris Boswell.

San Francisco, meanwhile, awaits a decision as early as Thursday on a league suspension for linebacker Aldon Smith for his legal issues. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is prepping the other linebackers as if Smith will be out for an extended period. Dan Skuta and Corey Lemonier are likely to step in, as they did when Smith missed five games last year to undergo treatment following a DUI arrest.

Fangio is also considering rookie Aaron Lynch, who had a sack and two tipped passes against the Chargers. Lynch, a fifth-round pick, worked himself into shape after pulling both hamstrings over the summer.

''He played well in that game, there's no denying that,'' Fangio said. ''He had a lot of production and played well and had some good plays even when they weren't the type of plays that showed up on the stat sheet, playing the run and etc.''

Colin Kaepernick will probably get one series for the 49ers after taking several hard hits in last week's win over San Diego. He's 12 of 22 for 115 yards in the preseason and doesn't seem too concerned about the lack of production by the offense so far.

''I've never seen worrying help anyone's problems or help them get better,'' he said. ''So, we're not going to worry.''

The depth on the offensive line has been an issue in the preseason, with right guard Alex Boone holding out for a new contract, rookie center Marcus Martin out with a knee injury and right tackle Anthony Davis missing time after shoulder surgery.

Teams must cut their rosters to 53 players by Saturday.

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AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this story.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

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.

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.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

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

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

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