With just five days until the Houston Texans preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals, head coach Bill O’Brien said he hasn’t made any decisions on players with injuries, or about playing time in general.
When asked after Tuesday’s training camp session if he had ruled out anyone for Saturday night, and if he had decided how he would divvy up snaps between players at each position, O’Brien said, “Not yet.”
It seems unlikely that wide receiver Andre Johnson and running back Arian Foster, each of whom sat out of Tuesday’s session, bringing their missed practice count this camp to seven apiece, will be available for the first game action of the O’Brien era.
Also in doubt is No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who hasn’t practiced since leaving Saturday with an ice pack high on his right leg. Cornerback Jonathan Joseph, who’s coming off a season-ending toe injury, hasn’t practiced since Sunday.
Held out for the first time on Tuesday was cornerback Kareem Jackson, for what O’Brien described as a planned day of rest.
“He’s been going at it for a while, so we just decided to back off him a little bit,” O’Brien said.
Kendrick Lewis, the frontrunner for the safety spot opposite D.J. Swearinger, returned to practice on Tuesday after missing two days with a hip flexor strain.
It will be interesting to see how O’Brien handles playing time on Saturday night, for the quarterbacks especially. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been named the starting quarterback and is coming off one of the better of his 10 NFL seasons, but has been inconsistent over the course of his career and has struggled at times while trying to learn O’Brien’s offense.
For reference, two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning played 20 snaps for the New York Giants in the Hall of Fame Game against the Buffalo Bills over the weekend, his first game under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Backup Ryan Nassib took 29 snaps, and third-stringer Curtis Painter took 15.
E.J. Manuel, who missed 6 games as a rookie last season and looked inconsistent when healthy, took only 10 snaps with the Bills’ first-team offense. Backup Jeff Tuel took 26 snaps. Thad Lewis took 32.
Texans backup Case Keenum has struggled mightily in his second NFL training camp, missing on some throws and making poor decisions on others, while rookie Tom Savage has seen only limited opportunities.
The Texans open the regular season against Washington on Sept. 7.
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