Behind enemy lines: Houston
The two worst teams in the NFL will meet Sunday in San Francisco. The teams aren't headed in the same direction, either. Mike Nolan, the 49ers' first-year coach, is not worried about his job security. Texans coach Dom Capers is expected to be fired as early as Monday. Players are also wondering where they stand in the future of the franchise. DE Gary Walker, who underwent surgery Wednesday, may have played his last game for the Texans. He is on injured reserve after having to repair the severed triceps tendon he hurt in last week's game. Domanick Davis may have played his last as the Texans' starting running back. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Wednesday, and his status is uncertain for next year depending on whether or not the Texans receive the top pick in the draft and select USC running back Reggie Bush. A number of other Texans, including a slew of unrestricted free agents, wonder if the upcoming game will be their last. "Last week, everyone was saying, 'Let's go out on the field and try to get this victory because this might be the last time we all go out and play in this stadium together,'" wide receiver Andre Johnson said. "We're going to go into this stadium the same way. Who knows if you'll be playing with the same guys next year? You'd like to go out and get a win." The players are bracing for what is expected to be slew of changes. While many wish the situation was different. Everyone understands why it is inevitable. "Coming off a 7-9 record last season, we thought this year we were at least going to win 10 games," wide receiver Corey Bradford said. "Now there might be changes around here. Some guys, you might not see them around here for awhile after Sunday." --- Left tackle Chester Pitts' remarkable streak should continue Sunday at San Francisco. Pitts has played every snap in Texans history. If he doesn't miss a play against the 49ers, that'll be every play for four consecutive seasons. Center Steve McKinney has never missed a start. Sunday will be the 64th start of his career. --- While some players are downplaying how much they are thinking about Reggie Bush, QB David Carr admits he thinks about the significance. If the Texans lose, they will receive the top pick in the draft. It's hard for Carr to not think about it with his family members and friends constantly bringing it up. "I think it's going to cross my mind but as far as turning it down and not playing to your ability level, that's hard to do," Carr said. "I just can't even imagine doing that, especially when you strap it on and you're out there trying to compete at your best." Regardless, Carr's brother has asked him to take a knee every down. He's like, 'Just don't make it obvious,'" Carr said. "He's just like everybody else. He's like the fans we haven't given anything to root for all year. We haven't really gone out and given them a reason to cheer for a playoff run. They got to cheer for something, and he's the same way." --- It's not just the fans who want to see Reggie Bush with the Texans. A number of current players are excited about the possibilities. "I don't see how he couldn't help our team," Carr said. "Any guy like that. I had the unfortunate opportunity to watch him play against (alma mater Fresno State) this year. I was bummed out for a while, especially when your defensive coordinator calls you to say they're going to shut him down and he ends up with 500 yards. I watched LaDainian Tomlinson run against us when I was in Fresno, and those are the two best backs that I've seen in college, playing against my team anyway." --- With Davis out with a knee injury, the Texans hope Jonathan Wells will be able to heal enough from a thigh bruise to play. If he is unable to go, rookie Vernand Morency would receive his first start of the season. Morency is averaging 4.0 yards on 25 carries this season. The Texans have a similar dilemma with their defensive line. With Gary Walker undergoing surgery to repair his severed triceps tendon and backup Travis Johnson battling back problems, the Texans will again look to rookie Alfred Malone, who made his NFL debut last week. He had one sack and seven tackles in the game.
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