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Position battles: Left tackle

At left tackle, the right guy for the job has yet to be determined, although early signs indicate Ephraim Salaam will resume starting duties.

Some questioned Salaam's motivation after he took a hiatus from football and made the rounds in Hollywood as he and guard Chester Pitts basked in the glory of their NFL Super Bowl ad. But Ellen DeGeneres and Tinseltown will have to wait. Salaam has at least one more year left in him.

In fact, Salaam complained to head coach Gary Kubiak because there wasn't a photo of the left tackle on display in the team weight room. The 11th year pro doesn't want to be removed from the stadium walls or the field.

And he shouldn't be. Salaam played some of the best football of his career last year. Plus, he brings stability to a position that once seemed to be cursed in Houston.

Remember Tony Boselli? He was the first left tackle in franchise history and he never played a down for the Texans because shoulder problems forced him into retirement.

Don't forget about Charles Spencer. The massive left tackle suffered a devastating leg injury two games into his 2006 rookie season and is still rehabbing. Coaches think Spencer will be healthy by training camp, but they are considering moving him inside to play guard.

That leaves rookie Duane Brown, the 26th overall draft pick. Even though Brown played left tackle for only one season and offensive tackle for just three seasons at Virginia Tech, he is familiar with the zone blocking scheme assistant head coach Alex Gibbs is installing. It is similar to the scheme Brown ran in college.

Brown could adapt quickly to the changes Gibbs is making to the o-line and the running game, giving Salaam a run for his money and making the veteran the left tackle who is left out of the starting lineup.

  • Brooke Bentley
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