Ahman Green's knee injury leaves the Texans with little running back depth.
The Texans are riding high after their 16-6 win at Cleveland on Sunday. The team is off until Thanksgiving, but coach Gary Kubiak spoke at his weekly press conference Monday about the team's injuries and how the team can improve before facing the Jacksonville Jaguars Dec. 1 on Monday Night Football.
Running backs' health a concern: Running back Ahman Green left the game against the Browns with a knee sprain, and it may turn out to be season-ending. With only five games remaining this year, Kubiak wonders if it's worth keeping Green on the active roster if the veteran will miss an extended period of time.
"It's a tough decision for us because you're at a tough period in the season," Kubiak said. "If a player's going to miss a week or two, that's one thing. But if you're looking at three or four weeks, now you start to make different decisions on players at this point in the season because you don't have that many weeks left."
Green indicated that he's experienced similar knee injuries before, but team doctors will continue to examine his knee on Tuesday to gauge his recovery time.
Adding to the concern is that rookie Steve Slaton has a severe chest bruise, and Ryan Moats practiced only once last week with an ankle injury. Slaton persevered to carry the ball 21 times for 73 yards (3.5 avg.), but Kubiak would like some more depth.
"Well, we're looking at some guys today," Kubiak said. "Probably the immediate move is to bring a practice squad player back this week. (Fullback) Cecil (Sapp) can work as a halfback this week and be our third (option). So this is a week-to-week business, and the best way we go this week is to probably just go with Steve, go with Moats and have Cecil be an emergency guy."
Rosenfels needs short memory: After reviewing game film, Kubiak sees a trend developing with quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who tossed two picks at Cleveland and has nine interceptions this season.
"It looks like that sometimes the first mistake leads to another one, and you've got to let those things go," Kubiak said. "So I've got to get him to the point where he lets those things go and comes back and makes the next play, kind of like the same thing we talked about as a football team."
Rosenfels was 16-of-20 passing in the first half but ran into trouble when he threw behind tight end Owen Daniels for an interception in the third quarter. Then, his pass intended for wide receiver Andre Johnson in the fourth quarter was intercepted by safety Sean Jones.
"The first (interception), to me, was just a poor throw," Kubiak said. "He threw it behind the kid. The last one, our football team's in great shape, we're playing great defense and you can't take that chance with the ball. He knows that. We talked about it."
Kubiak expects Rosenfels to improve with increased reps as he gains a better understanding of when and where to take chances with the ball. Also, developing the mental toughness so that he doesn't carry a turnover to the next series is a crucial step in Rosenfels' development.
"When you make a mistake as a quarterback, you have to come out the next drive and make some plays to make up for those mistakes," Kubiak said. "It's part of the mentality and being tough through those situations and finishing a football game in the right fashion.
"He's making a great deal of plays, and as we get closer to eliminating those mistakes and the better player he is, the better a team we are."
Penalties cropping up: The Texans have 52 penalties this season, and 11 of those occurred at Cleveland. Against Baltimore two weeks earlier, the Texans were flagged 10 times. So 40 percent of the team's total penalties have taken place in two games.
That's not enough to call the Texans undisciplined, but enough to cause some concern.
"They've come up in games," Kubiak said. "What, two weeks ago we were poor, and then all of the sudden they went away. Last week (at Indianapolis), we were excellent (three penalties) in a hostile environment and, then they come back again yesterday. I just think it's concentration.
"For us on offense, it was movement. Those are the types of penalties that we had, big offsides, those types of things. Defensively, we had some penalties through aggression, which we needed to be more aggressive but we had a couple of penalties, pass interference calls."
The most costly penalty was a holding call on safety Brandon Harrison that negated wide receiver André Davis' 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
"What happens in this league if guys go to the ground usually somebody gets called for holding," Kubiak said. "That's just the way it works. (Harrison) went back to set up the way he should. He made contact and he really kind of got run over and both guys go to the ground. So, they make the call. But if you're pulling guys to the ground, those calls are going to happen. We had way too many penalties. I would question a few of them like any other coach, but a lot of them were legitimate. We've got to do a much better job than that."