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O’Brien: 7th Round Rookie Hal “Has Definitely Earned Right To Be In Discussion To Make Team”

By Matt Hammond, Sports Radio 610
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Andre Hal’s heroics may have earned him a roster spot.

That was the word on Friday from Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. When asked about the seventh-round rookie’s chances of making the 53 man roster, O’Brien offered high praise and named Hal’s two interception returns for touchdowns, specifically.

“He has definitely earned the right to be in the discussion to make the team,” O’Brien said. “He’s had two interceptions for touchdowns, he’s played well on special teams.”

For most players in his position, that Hal was drafted and can contribute on special teams would be his biggest selling points, regardless of his seeming big play potential.

But given the Texans issues at cornerback, with Johnathan Joseph’s health, A.J. Bouye’s inexperience and Brandon Harris’ effectiveness all being concerns, Hal’s knack for making plays could do more than simply get him on the roster.

He could crack a rotation.

Hal took a pass from 49ers quarterback Josh Johnson 77 yards the other way for a touchdown, Houston’s only one in a 40-13 lathering by San Francisco. Two weeks ago, he picked off Atlanta Falcons quarterback T.J. Yates and returned it 61 yards to the house.

Opposing passers this preseason posted a mere 25.2 quarterback rating when throwing Hal’s way, the eighth-worst in football. For reference, both Case Keenum and Tom Savage had quarterback ratings over 33.0 last night despite throwing interceptions.

Plus, O’Brien seems to like the way he goes about his business. The same cannot be said of every member of the Texans 2014 rookie class.

“He’s a rookie, he’s still got a lot to learn, but he’s got good size,” O’Brien said. “He’s tough. I like the way he carries himself in the building. He’s a hard-working kid, both in here in the meeting room and out there on the field, and he’s definitely earned the right to be in the discussion to make the football team.”

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