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Spotlight is on Texans' QBs


With starting quarterback Matt Schaub hobbled, Texans followers are wondering if backup Sage Rosenfels is ready to step in and start.

Rosenfels shrugs and says it all depends on the imaginary seating chart.

"I think it's knowing your seat on the bus," Rosenfels said when asked about his position on the team. "Coach (Gary) Kubiak is the driver of the bus and I have my seat on it.

"Sometimes my seat is in the front when the team needs me and sometimes it's in the back trying to help the guys in the front. I think that's the whole thing. That's why together, everyone accomplishes more. It's the team aspect of the game."

Last Sunday, of course, the Texans needed Rosenfels squarely in the front of the bus. Schaub hurt his hip when Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on him early in the second quarter. Schaub also injured his left ankle earlier in that game.

{QUOTE}Rosenfels came in and had a slow start, throwing an interception on his first play and losing a fumble and throwing another interception not long after that.

But in the fourth quarter, Rosenfels led one of the NFL's most memorable comebacks, guiding the Texans to 29 points and four touchdowns and 29 points. His touchdown pass to Andre Davis with 57 seconds to play put the Texans ahead 36-35 in a game they ended up suffering a heart-breaking 38-36 loss.

Rosenfels has made only two starts in his seven-year career, and admits that coming off the bench is one of the hardest things in sports.

"It's like going from 0-to-60," Rosenfels said "You're sitting the bench and then you have to be going full speed."

Rosenfels might get one of those rare starts this week if Schaub doesn't recover quickly from a hip bruise. Schaub limped slightly and was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday. He could be a game-time decision for the upcoming matchup with San Diego.

Rosenfels took some snaps in practice, but he isn't making any claims on the starting position.

"I've been through this situation probably a dozen or 15 times where the starter is beat up or questionable for the game," Rosenfels said. "I prepared the same those games as if Matt was 100 percent. I'm going to prepare just like I'm going to play or not play. It's all the same.

"I prepare as if I'm starting every week and I'll do the same this week."

Kubiak doesn't seem overly concerned about the decision yet.

"Actually, Matt did a lot more today than I thought he would, to be honest with you," Kubiak said Wednesday. "So I would say (it's) a big step in the right direction.

"You just keep going. You get a feel for it, watching guys make plays they normally make - plays in practice - and move around the way they normally move around to have to play in this league. Sage needs the work anyway, so we'll just operate that way, and if Matt continues to make progress, then that's a bonus. But, like I said, today was better than I thought it would be."

Schaub sounds optimistic, but is making no predictions.

"It's gotten better each day," Schaub said. "I wake up in the morning and test it out and get it loose, so I feel pretty good. It's still a day-to-day thing."

Both injuries are still bothering Schaub, whose biggest concern now is mobility.

"I think just being able to move around, make some plays outside the pocket, within the pocket and to avoid pass rushers and blitzers," Schaub said. "So I just want to make sure I feel comfortable that I can do that.

"The hip thing is something that I just need to keep loose and keep working on to let it heal because it kind of connects your upper and lower body, so you need to have them working in unity."

Rosenfels, meanwhile, sits and waits, not knowing if his seat is on the front or the back of this week's bus. He takes little consolation in how thrilling the comeback was last week.

"To me, it was a little bit of redemption of what I did in the first, second, and third quarter when I was in there," Rosenfels said of the big rally. "But at the end of the day, it was a loss. We really needed a win badly and there's nothing we can do about it now but try to get a win this week."

With no other quarterback on the roster, the Texans signed free agent Shane Boyd to their practice squad. The former University of Kentucky standout had been out of football for more than two weeks since the Arizona Cardinals released him.

Boyd played in Arizona's preseason game against Houston and believes that might have helped him eventually hook up with the Texans. Boyd played much of the second half in that game and ended up leading the Cardinals in both rushing, with five carries for 54 yards, and passing, hitting 9-of-15 for 109 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Sean Morey.

"I think it affected their opinion of me a lot," Boyd said. "I think they saw that I had an arm and could make good decisions."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Carley is a veteran Houston sportswriter who has covered the NFL for more than 25 years. He has worked for such newspapers as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Houston Post, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and the National Sports Daily covering such teams as the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Oilers, the Los Angeles Rams and the Oakland Raiders.

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