By DAN MATHEWS, SportsRadio 610

The ‘Next Man Up’ theme continues into the 2012-2013 season for the Texans.  Now the Texans also have to deal with new players at inside linebacker, cornerback, and offensive line positions.

Yesterday we looked at tight end and the new man in that spot, Garrett Graham.  When the Texans showed up for voluntary workouts on Monday at Reliant, the players who addressed the media talked about those other positions.  With the departures of Eric Winston and Mike Brisiel, the Texans had to replace them with guys from within the organization.  So, now steps in Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Butler.

Both players have starting experience in this offense and have been with the organization for at least three seasons.  Caldwell has played in over 28 games and has started in 13 of those games.  Butler has been with the Texans since 2007 and played in 42 games with four starts for the suspended Duane Brown in 2010.  He missed almost all of last season after a triceps injury sidelined him in September.

Matt Schaub has to rely on these two guys to be a part of the other five blockers, in order to stay on his feet.  To which he voiced his utmost confidence on Monday.

“They are guys that have played for us and played in this system and played in this League, so they have experience,” Schaub said.  “Looking forward to just getting them out there and getting a more integral role in what we are doing.”

You have to agree with Schaub in his words about these players.  Because unlike most players in this situation.  These two players are veterans in the zone blocking scheme and have been a part of successful offensive lines over the past couple of seasons.

DeMeco Ryans being traded to the Eagles left a void at inside linebacker that Darryl Sharpton had a few games to earn his keep with Ryans limited role at the position.  However, Sharpton’s second year was limited with a quadriceps injury that sidelined him during the Jacksonville game at Reliant in week eight.  So, the Texans brought in veteran linebacker Bradie James to provide depth at the position.  Could he maybe be asked to take Ryans leadership role in the lockerroom and defensive meeting room?  What is he bringing to the team?

“Just experience and productivity, that’s what I plan to bring,” James said.  “My job is coming out here and helping everybody take it to another level and we’ll do it together.”

So if that translates to leadership or depth alongside the other inside linebackers, time will only tell.  You have to remember the team also brought back Tim Dobbins to try and sure up the inside.

The Texans also need to find another cornerback to provide depth for Johnathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson with the loss of Jason Allen to the Bengals.  Glover Quin believes the Texans have the answer to that question within the current cornerbacks depth chart.

“Brice McCain had a great year playing the nickel last year and I think he can step up and be a good corner,” Quin said.  “We’ve got Sherrick (McManis), we’ve got Brandon Harris that we drafted, so I think it’s going to be a committee thing.”

He also expects one of the guys I mentioned in the cornerback room to have a huge season.  Kareem Jackson will be a much improved corner in his third campaign.

“I think Kareem played excellent last year,” Quin said.  “He went from being a rookie being thrown in the fire and he didn’t even have an offseason and came back under new coaches, a new system, and he played well.”

This team is nowhere near being completed going into the 2012-2013 season.  The next step is the draft and depth at outside linebacker, wide receiver, offensive line, and other positions will almost surely be addressed in those upcoming three days.  One thing is for sure…  Your place to hear every single pick of the draft is on SportsRadio610.  Like that plug right there?  Sure you did!  We’ll keep you up to date with everything happening with “The Boys on Kirby.”

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