Bill O'Brien made sure to address a couple of lingering questions about his squad before they concluded mini camp last week. One of them was about the most important position on the squad as he announced Ryan Fitzpatrick as starting quarterback. Another was that Derek Newton is his starter at right tackle.
But now that we're in the long break between Mini Camp and Training Camp, we're still wondering who the swing tackle might be. You know, the guy who backs up both Duane Brown and Newton.
Brown is a Pro Bowler who missed two games last year as Ryan Harris took over. Derek Newton was the starter last year and for the 12-4 team two years ago but is certainly looking to make a leap in performance with this new coaching staff.
With David Quessenberry being treated for Lymphoma and 2013 third round draft choice Brennan Williams still recovering from an injury that forced him to miss his rookie season, there are no easy answers.
The Texans recently acquired Will Yeatman, a former college tight end and lacrosse player who spent a preseason with O'Brien in New England in 2011 and played three seasons in Miami. They also have a group of undrafted free agents who would love to land a gig. Bryan Witzmann (6-7, 311 South Dakota State), Anthony Dima (6-6, 295 UMass), and Matt Feiler (6-6. 330 Bloomsberg) are eager but are they ready? Never mind battling with Derek Newton, the Texans have to figure out what happens if Brown has to miss action.
Rick Smith pointed out early in the off season that the Texans have the first pick on the waiver wire of any players cut by other teams. We'll see if that, or signing one of several veterans still on the streets, is the solution.
You could easily paint a picture here of Newton having a good year with a new staff and everyone staying happy and healthy up front. But depth is paper thin and it will be interesting to see how Rick Smith and Bill O'Brien deal with it.