David Quessenberry was not here for the original "Next Man Up" Texans season in 2011, but he certainly has done his part for the offensive line since being drafted out of San Jose State. The rookie offensive lineman stepped up in practice Wednesday for guard Ben Jones who practiced despite feeling sick, but left before the end of practice. Head coach Gary Kubiak is impressed with Quessenberry's ability to play various positions on the offensive line.
"Yeah, he handles himself like a guy who's been around for a little bit," Kubiak said of Quessenberry. "Heck of a draft choice for us, he's in a big competition right now working with Ben, with the (G) Wade (Smith) situation going on. We'll see how far he can come. We probably ask more of him as a young player than anybody playing him all over the place and he's responded."
Jones was playing for starting left guard Wade Smith, who is recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday morning.
"I think this offensive line is so talented," Quessenberry said after practice. "When a guy steps down, like when Wade was out and Ben stepped up. Ben can do it. When Ben goes down, I can do it. We have so many talented guys on this offensive line that can play all over the place that it really helps us out."
Quessenberry (6-5, 307) is one of those talented guys. A versatile player, he has taken reps at nearly every position on the o-line (other than center) and can offer depth at both guard and tackle, the position he played in college.
"In camp I pretty much have stuck to the left side, left tackle and left guard, but throughout OTAs I played all over the place," Quessenberry said. " It's been good. It's been really actually kind of helpful for me to learn the offense, play different positions. You get to understand the concept a little bit more."
While the initial transition from tackle to guard was at times difficult for the sixth-round pick, he admits that playing different positions has helped him grasp the offensive schemes much faster.
"I think I am light years ahead of where I was. Basically, I have played a couple of different positions and that has helped me understand these concepts of the offense and now I am pretty much locked into guard. I feel really comfortable out there. I feel really good, especially when I get to work next to guys like (T) Duane (Brown) and Chris (Myers). They help me out and they are about as good as it gets in this league."
Playing on first-team in training camp has also given Quessenberry the opportunity to face the best defenders in the league each day in practice.
"I think we probably have the most talented defensive line in the league and practicing against those guys, it just makes you that much better," Quessenberry said. "You get to play against Pro Bowlers, the Defensive Player of the Year. As a rookie being able to come in and play against that, that really sets the tone for the rest of your career."