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Season in review: Cornerbacks


During training camp, the Texans were without the services of starting corner Dunta Robinson. He signed a franchise tender on Sept. 6, and started a week later in the season-opening loss to the Jets. A couple of rookies in Glover Quin and Brice McCain saw significant action, and veteran Jacques Reeves contributed as well.


Position coach: David Gibbs (8th NFL season, 1st with Texans)

Week 1 starters: Robinson (right cornerback), Fred Bennett (left cornerback)

Week 17 starters: Robinson, Quin

Key injuries: Quin (concussion, Week 13), Reeves (broken leg, broken finger, Weeks 1-4) Antwaun Molden (quadriceps/hamstring, Weeks 2-6; quadriceps/hamstring, Weeks 11-17)

By the numbers (top statistical performers): Quin (68 total tackles); Robinson (64 total tackles, one forced fumble); Reeves (one interception); McCain (one interception)

Season overview: Quin, a fourth-round draft pick from New Mexico, cracked the starting lineup in Week 4 and was there the rest of the way, aside from the game at Jacksonville when he was out because of an injury.

The rookie came up big for the squad and displayed solid coverage skills, helping the Texans finish 18th in the NFL in pass defense. Quin's great play, head coach Gary Kubiak said, was overshadowed by linebacker Brian Cushing.

"I think had Brian not been on this team, we'd be talking about him for Rookie of the Year honors," Kubiak said of Quin. "I think he was exceptional. This guy played from day one and really never left the field other than the time he got hurt."

Robinson didn't pick off any passes, but was proud of the way he contributed in 2009.

"Every Sunday, I lined up against the best receiver on the field," Robinson said. "Not one receiver can say, 'Man, when I played against the Houston Texans this year, I torched them.' Not one receiver can say that."

Kubiak agreed.

{QUOTE}"I think he did a heck of a job," Kubiak said. "The thing that I was impressed with was he got better each and every week. He was out there for his teammates every week."

Reeves missed the first month of the season because of a broken leg that he suffered at the start of training camp. His return to the squad, and the 31 tackles he chipped in, helped stabilize the defense after a shaky start in the season's first three games.

McCain finished with 15 total tackles and a pick, which came against NFL MVP Peyton Manning, and showed flashes of speed. He even was started the season finale against the Patriots, as the Texans were in dime formation with six defensive backs. McCain broke up the Patriots' final pass attempt of the game to help seal a Texans victory.

Molden saw limited action and battled injuries all season long. Kubiak said the club would like to see more of him, but it depends on his health.

"He's got to stay in one piece," Kubiak said. "It just seems like since he came off that injury, he has had many other nags to go with it. But he's talented. David likes what he's seen, the time he's spent with him. But he's got to find a way to stay on the field, so the offseason will be very important to him. We've got to get him healthy."

2010 Outlook: Every cornerback but Robinson is under contract. Robinson is an unrestricted free agent, but the Texans have the option of designating him as a franchise player again for 2010. The day after the season ended, Robinson talked a bit about his future with the club.

"I know I would like to be back next year," Robinson said. "That's something that we will have to sit down and discuss. Hopefully, we can work something out."

Robinson doesn't foresee the negotiations going as contentiously as they did in 2009.

"It was my first time going through contract issues and all that stuff," Robinson said. "The second time around, you want to handle things a little bit differently. You live and you learn. Hopefully things will work out and hopefully I'll be there."

The Texans will likely add some more cornerbacks in the offseason, via free agency and/or the draft.

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