Health Issues Mounting
The Houston Texans continue to deal with a multitude of health issues heading into this week, as the team prepares for its key matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. Here is a current list of ongoing health issue for the Texans.
Jaelen Strong returned to practice but was limited. He has missed over a month of time due to an ankle injury.
Braxton Miller did not practice due to a shoulder sprain.
Johnathan Joseph was held out of practice with two broken ribs and bruised lung.
Jadeveon Clowney did work on the side with team personnel with while coming back from his respective injury.
John Simon is an interesting discussion given how hard he is working to get back to the field. Simon was injured against the Oakland Raiders and his injury has been described as a chest issue. Bill O’Brien mentioned that Simon is rehabbing 12 hours a day to get back to the field for the final stretch.
“That’s probably one of the things that, win or lose, we all know how important it is to win but just the amount of respect I have for those guys that put it out there every week and do whatever they’ve got to do to help the team win based on how they feel. I think it’s pretty incredible,” explained O’Brien of all of the injuries faced by players on the team.
Jaelen Strong the Colts X-Factor?
The single team Jaelen Strong persistently shines against in his three seasons in the NFL, Strong somehow continues to make a difference when he gets his chance against the Colts.
In three games, Strong has 5 receptions for 112 yards and 3 touchdowns. One of those touchdowns was in last year’s win at Lucas Oil Stadium, which clinched the Texans first ever win over the the Colts in Indianapolis.
“Each team is fun to play against,” explained Strong. “The Colts, being in our division, it means a lot more so just have to take it one practice at a time.”
Bill O’Brien even notices the situation with Strong and the success he has had against the Colts.
“Jaelen has had some production against these guys. Last year, he had a big touchdown on the boot play and had the big touchdown here at the end of the half last year too. I don’t know what it is,” O’Brien admitted.
Strong was limited on Wednesday during practice and his status for the game will be decided as the week goes on.
Texans Cornerback Situation
The loss of Kevin Johnson with a foot fracture was the start of some bad mojo with the Texans secondary. Kareem Jackson missed time with a hamstring injury and has not been himself since returning and now, Johnathan Joseph is dealing with two broken ribs and bruised lung.
“There will be a number of guys.” explained O’Brien. “We’ve got, like you said, Robert Nelson and Kareem Jackson are working hard out there. We just signed (Al-Hajj) Shabazz. There are a number of guys out there that are contributing in the secondary."
The Texans decided to to make some changes by waiving Charles James and claiming Al-Hajj Shabazz from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Robert Nelson Jr. will move up the depth chart to help out defensively but at this point, it appears A.J. Bouye, Jackson, Shabazz, and Nelson will be the four cornerbacks assured of playing time on Sunday.
Shabazz, the Texans newest addition, is dialed in early to help if needed on Sunday.
“I’m telling you right now, whatever the coaches need me to do, I’m with it. I told them I’m coming to work,” Shabazz stated. “Wherever coach sees a fit, whether that’s special teams, whether that’s making an impact on defense right now – whatever they need – I’m willing to do it.”
The Sky is the Limit for D.J. Reader
When it comes to the biggest impacts from the 2016 rookie class, D.J. Reader continues to emerge as one of the top end players. Week to week, Reader is playing multiple positions on the defensive line and O’Brien is taking notice of his rookie defensive tackle.
“D.J. is an excellent young player. I think the guy’s got a really good future. He’s tough,” explained O’Brien. “He does a great job with his pad level. He does a nice job of dissecting the play. He rushes the passer from inside there. For a large guy, he does it well. He’s got a good future.”
Reader has picked up his pass rush ability with the additional playing time he has gotten. On the season, Reader has 14 total tackles, 1 tacks, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 quarterback hits.
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