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Houston Texans

Day 2 of OTA's with plenty of storylines


Linebacker is just one of many position battles playing out during OTA's.

What's in a number?: With a roster shuffle comes many new faces with many new numbers, but in one case the Texans have a new face with well, an old number.

Number 30 has belonged to Jason Simmons since he came to Houston prior to the 2002 season. Simmons remains on the roster, but Ahman Green has taken ownership of 3-0.

For the record, Simmons has switched to 22 and he wasn't that reluctant to give his number up to the Texans new running back.

Often times you hear of athletes "buying" their number from another player when they switch teams. When Green reached out to Simmons, he was probably figuring it would take a few dollars and little more to pry 30 away from the veteran safety.

"I got his (phone) number figuring all he could say was no," Green said of his initial contact with Simmons. "So I called him up and he was headed out to the golf course.

"I called him back the next day and said, 'Hey J, this is Ahman, this is kind of an awkward situation, but I've been 30 for a long time and I know you've probably been 30 for just as long so I was like what can we work out if we can work out a deal.'"

A deal was struck, but no money or lavish gifts exchanged hands.

"Jason came up with the idea that he basically wants to make a down payment on a single family home through a foundation or charity and I said, 'great, set something up,' Green said.

"I have friends, Donald Driver is one, who makes down payments on single family homes to get people into a house with furniture food and everything."

So Green got his number and one lucky family will get a home in the near future thanks to two Texans.

A new number two: With the departure of Eric Moulds, a different receiver will play opposite Andre Johnson for a third consecutive season. Ultimately, third-round pick Jacoby Jones may fit the bill, but for now the frontrunner is Kevin Walter, if he can show himself worthy in the next weeks and months leading up to the season.

"I'm excited for that opportunity," Walter said. "I'm looking forward to come out here each day and get better with these guys and that's what we're doing."

Gary Kubiak may be Walter's biggest fan and said recently that he wished he had played Walter more during the 2006 season. In a limited role, Walter caught 17 passes in 2006, two off his career-high of 19, but still less than what he hoped he would snag when he signed with Houston as a restricted free agent.

"I wouldn't say I got frustrated," Walter said of his first year with the Texans. "You just have to go out and make the best of your opportunity when you go out there.

"I try to do what I can when the ball gets in my hands and when the ball is thrown my way I try to do something with it and hopefully this year I'll get more opportunities."

Walter has been running with the first team during the first two days of OTA's, but a batch of hungry rookies is creating a wide-open competition for that number two position behind Johnson.

A battle at backer: Linebacker is one position that was heavily addressed by the Texans this offseason.

Thursday, DeMeco Ryans, Charlie Anderson and Morlon Greenwood were running with the first team. Other than Ryans, the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year, the other two spots could be in doubt though as an influx in talent has created a ton of competition.

Anderson played the strong side or Sam backer Thursday, but he has a few players on his heals for playing time.

"He's in a battle," Kubiak said of Anderson's status as a starter. "Shantee (Orr) played well for us last year and they are battling at that same position.

"So you've got Charlie, Shantee (and) Danny Clark (who) came in here to battle for that spot."

If you're wondering where free agent pick-up Shawn Barber fits in, the answer is anywhere.

"We are going to play our best three linebackers," Kubiak said. "Right now Danny is playing some Mike (middle linebacker), and Shawn is playing the Sam (strong side linebacker) and the Will (weakside linebacker) position.

"But, we're going to play our best three linebackers. We know who our middle linebacker is and Morlon (Greenwood) played well and Morlon has a spot on this football team, but we have very good competition at the linebacker spot this year and that is a good thing for our team.

"Who the final three will be, we'll wait and see."

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