Will Demps provides depth in the Texans' secondary after the loss of Glenn Earl and Jason Simmons.
The Houston Texans have placed strong safety Jason Simmons on the reserve/injured list with a knee injury and signed free agent free safety Will Demps, the team announced today.
Demps (6-0, 205) spent last season with the New York Giants, where he started 16 games at free safety and finished with career highs in tackles (74) and tied a career high in interceptions (two).
Demps, a former walk-on at San Diego State, signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2002. He started 10 of 14 games as a rookie. Over the next three seasons, he started 36 of 43 games in the Ravens' defensive backfield. He finished his career in Baltimore with 225 tackles, four interceptions and 3.5 sacks.
"The biggest thing he brings right now is he's played in the NFL," defensive backs coach Jon Hoke said of Demps. "He's an experienced player. He started, obviously, in Baltimore and in New York, so he has excellent game experience that I think is a plus for us right now.
"He's kind of a multitasker. He could play both (safety) sides. He's not a little guy, but he's not a huge guy. He's a physical guy, and he does have good instincts and a good feel for the ball. He's made plays on the ball and those types of things."
Demps lines up at free safety behind starter Von Hutchins, who replaces C.C. Brown, the new starting strong safety. If that sounds a bit confusing, imagine how Hoke feels trying to replace Simmons after his first starting strong safety, Glenn Earl, was lost for the season in the preseason opener against the Chicago Bears.
But now isn't the time for the Texans' defense to feel sorry for itself. There's work to do. Namely, Demps has to pick up a new defense.
"There are a lot of things that are similar, believe it or not," Hoke said of the Texans' defense and previous defenses that Demps has played in. "He was in Baltimore and he was in New York, and we use some of the similar terms here that he's used to. There will be some similarities and some things that are different."
Asked if Demps will play this coming weekend at Carolina, Hoke didn't rule it out.
"He's going to have to be ready to play in some degree," Hoke said. "He's going to have to know certain parts of the package. Obviously, we have Michael Boulware, who has only been here for one week, and Will has been here for a day, and those are the only backups we have. So he's going to have to know something."
Simmons is the eighth Texan to be placed on injured reserve this season.