HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – SportsRadio 610’s week-long series on the 2013 Texans’ training camp takes a look at the right tackle position, the biggest question mark on the team. The Texans lost stability when they lost last year’s starter, Rashad Butler, to a season-ending triceps injury in the preseason. Swing tackle Derek Newton was suddenly the starter while rookies Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks split time at guard, creating struggles for the right side for most of 2012. Now a returning starter, Newton has not taken any reps since suffering a season-ending injury that has had him sidelined since December.
The subject of much debate in the offseason, the Texans drafted third-round pick Brennan Williams and sixth-round pick David Quessenberry to add some depth behind Newton. On April 9, the Texans also re-signed Ryan Harris who started in place of Newton for two games.
Having decided on Brooks at right guard, the Texans have now solidified their offensive line: Duane Brown (left tackle), Wade Smith (left guard), and Chris Myers (center). Even head coach Gary Kubiak has expressed concern over the lack of a solid starter heading into training camp.
“Our four starters are locked in up front, putting (G) Brandon (Brooks) in with those guys. I think even those guys are looking, thinking, ‘Okay, who’s it going to be? Who’s going to step up and take this job and play here for the next 10 years and play right tackle for the Texans?’ So I think we’re all watching that. I think (T Derek) Newton took a step towards doing that last year and now he has to take another big step,” Kubiak said on June 13 after OTA practice.
“I probably sound like a broken record. If you look at our roster, it looks good, but the bottom line is the guys aren’t out there, so that’s concerning for us as a team and me as a coach. I love the way (T Derek) Newton has worked. I think he made a lot of progress as a player last year. He played hurt at the end of the year, which was tough on him and us as a team. We drafted a young man with a lot of ability. He hasn’t been out here yet. I like what (T) Ryan (Harris) has done. He’s had a good offseason. I like what I see in (T David) Quessenberry because he’s gotten all the reps. It’s all in place, but somebody has to step up and go do it. So hopefully they’re all there when we go back to work,” said Kubiak.
Williams suffered a minor knee injury during Day 2 of rookie minicamp in May. Despite being cleared by an MRI, he was not been able to return for OTAs. Newton, who started 14 games in 2012, underwent offseason knee surgery to repair a patella tendon in his right knee. Both are expected back for the Texans training camp which begins July 26. Should one or both not return, the right tackle position becomes a big concern for the Texans.