Bumps and bruises


Depth in the NFL is not a luxury. It is a requirement.

Here we are in Week Three and the Texans are already diving into the roster to fill in for players with bumps and bruises.

Safety Eric Brown will miss Sunday's game in Kansas City with a knee injury. Rookie Glenn Earl and seven-year veteran Jason Simmons have taken reps with the first team in practice.

"We've been working Glenn Earl just because he hasn't had as much work as Jason Simmons," head coach Dom Capers said Friday. "We have a lot of confidence in Jason Simmons. He's played a lot more and at a lot of different positions around here. That's why he's an important player."

Simmons filled in for Brown last Sunday in Detroit, finishing with four tackles. Earl, a fourth round draft pick out of Notre Dame, was considered one of the best safeties in the draft.

He missed most of training camp with a knee injury and played only 17 snaps in the preseason. He was inactive in the season opener, but played at Detroit.

"You wish he had more time in training camp," Capers said. "He's a young player with a lot of ability. He's had a good week of practice and we like what we see out of him. I think he's got a very good future.

"He didn't do bad (against Detroit). You stick a rookie in there and he hadn't played a lot in the preseason and he went in and I thought he did fine for his first time out. We anticipate he'll do better this week."

Simmons played in all 16 games last season recording 23 tackles and four passes defensed. He has been limited by a hamstring injury, but said he'll be ready to start this weekend.

"You know the NFL, it's all about opportunity," Simmons said. "Guys can go down as anytime. That's why you always have to prepare as though you are a starter. I got the opportunity to get in there with the starters last week and I was prepared for it. That's why I was excited. That's why there was no apprehension."

Glenn said he is not nervous about more playing time.

"I'm focused on what I have to do," he said. "I'm just looking to go up there and get a win. That's what the mindset has been. I'm glad I'm in a position to play right now. Hopefully things work out and I play well."

Simmons and Earl will worry about Kansas City's explosive offense come Sunday, especially All-Pro tight end Tony Gonzalez.

Gonzalez had more than 900 receiving yards last season and 10 touchdowns.

Capers said the defense will not always throw a safety in man coverage against Gonzalez, adding the Texans are ready for the Chiefs to throw often to the tight end and have multiple ways of dealing with it.

Houston has not done well against tight ends, allowing San Diego's Antonio Gates to lead the AFC in receiving yards in Week One (123 yards).

In other injury news, guard Zach Wiegert and running back Tony Hollings are questionable for the game

"Both of these guys continue to improve," Capers said. "They're better, whether they'll make it for Sunday I'm not sure. I'm pleased with their progress."

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