Football nerds tend to hyperventilate over who will make the 53-man roster.
Ok, me included. But I’m seeking therapy. In fact, I swear I’m the guy who started the way-too-early predictions of ‘the 53’ in this market. Don’t look it up. I’m quite sure I’m right about this and don’t want any facts to get in the way.
The 53-man roster is more like clay than granite. You may think you have it right but the thing keeps changing. That’s because the roster is like your basic Houston freeway – always under construction.
Picking the 53-man roster is like trying to pick the NCAA tournament field if they were allowed to add and subtract teams after Selection Sunday.
Yes, NFL teams cut their rosters down to 53 after the fourth preseason game. Then they immediately start tweaking as they survey players that other squads released.
In 2018, the Texans immediately claimed Buddy Howell, A.J. Moore and Natrell Jamerson off waivers. Moore became the team’s leading special teams tackler, Howell made a big impact here as well and is looking to add to his portfolio this year. Jamerson contributed and played in 12 games and is now in Green Bay.
Injuries and other issues obviously come up during the year. I counted 20 more times that the Texans added a player to the 53 after the roster was ‘set’ heading into opening day. And this was in a relatively light year of injuries compared to the 2017 record-setting year of using 78 players to complete the season. I had roster whiplash trying to keep track of it all.
While it may appear to be soul-crushing that a player gets released, he often gets another opportunity either with the team that cut him or elsewhere. Brandon Dunn, who started most of the games on Houston’s D-line in ’18, was released and re-signed to a practice squad six times before sticking with the Texans. Six!
The goal line is always moving when it comes to the roster. It’s an amoeba. Yes, there will be a lot of cuts next week. But there are also 10 practice squad spots (oh, that was adjusted with a similar amount of moves in 2018 as well) and the nature of the game produces more opportunities for those who are ready.
Check out the best preseason Week 2 images from Texans team photographer Zach Tarrant. Presented by Houston Methodist.