[EDITOR’S NOTE: WE ARE ASKING EACH OF OUR JOCKS TO DECIDE IF A BUBBLE PLAYER FOR THE HOUSTON TEXANS IS GOING TO MAKE THE CUT AND BE ON TEAM’S 53-MAN ROSTER OR MISS THE CUT AND BE CUT BY THE TEAM. THE SIXTH OF THE SERIES IS BY RICH LORD – TRIPLE THREAT 2P-6P – ON CENTER GREG MANCZ]
When the Texans signed center Greg Mancz as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo in 2015, he went from being a big fish in a small pond to being a very small fish, figuratively speaking, in a gigantic ocean. The 6-foot 4-inch 301-pound Mancz was a big deal in his college days in the Mid-American Conference, the only player from that league to be named All-America in 2014. He also claimed a spot on the preseason Lombardi Award watch list. After joining the Texans, he beat the odds by impressing the coaching staff enough to earn a spot on the 53-man regular season roster. Mancz appeared in 3 early season games as a backup lineman before being inactive in weeks 4 through 8. He then suffered a knee injury in late October and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
After the season, one in which the Texans did a lot of mixing and matching in the offensive line, the team drafted center Nick Martin in the second round and signed or re-signed a total of nine offensive lineman. Mancz has practically no chance to beat out Martin for the starting job, but he did earn the start in the preseason opener at San Francisco while Martin stayed behind in Houston with a tight back, an indication that Mancz has had a solid off-season and training camp and has recovered from the knee injury.
The Texans’ coaching staff likes Mancz a lot. He’s a leader with a reputation as a smart, efficient player who plays with a ton of confidence. However, he remains a somewhat unproven commodity who may be a bit undersized and still must show he can handle the size and strength of the defensive players he’ll be facing in the NFL. His main competition for the backup spot behind Martin comes in the form of 5-year veteran Tony Bergstrom, a free agent signee from the Oakland Raiders who made his Texans debut in San Francisco and took almost twice as many snaps as Mancz.
Both Mancz and Bergstrom have the kind of versatility that Bill O’Brien and his staff are always looking for. Each is capable of filling in at guard. Each spent time in college at tackle as well.
Final verdict: Greg Mancz will once again beat the odds and earn a spot on the 53-man roster. The practice squad is not out of the question, but I believe that Mancz has shown enough to convince the Texans that he can help them by providing quality depth and versatility in an area in which the Texans would like to see more stability.