Skip to main content

Texans-Broncos postgame notebook


The Texans began their 2008 campaign on the right foot, defeating the Denver Broncos by a score of 19-16 in their first preseason game. Houston notched more yards on the ground and through the air than coach Mike Shanahan's team. The biggest hiccup for the Texans was that running back Ahman Green suffered a groin injury.

Green suffers injury setback: Quarterback Matt Schaub's first play of the game was a five-yard pitch pass to running back Ahman Green. That would be Green's last play of the game. The 11th-year pro, who played in only six games last season because of a deep bruise to his knee, strained his groin on the play and spent the rest of the game on the sidelines.

"When I caught the ball and turned around and exploded, that's when I felt it," Green said. "It doesn't feel bad. It's just a little sore. I still have a lot of strength, so I am not really concerned about it. I've got a bit of time to get better."

{QUOTE}Green will undergo further tests on Sunday, but team doctors were encouraged because the running back didn't feel anything pop. There is no time estimate for Green's return.

"I just have to take it one day at a time," Green said. "You know, it's early in the week and early in the injury. All I know, (is that it's) sore and a little tight."

More than anything, Green's injury raises questions about his durability this season. The Pro Bowler had been healthy during training camp and said he felt as good as he did in 2006 when he rushed for 1,059 yards.

"The biggest concern is number thirty," coach Gary Kubiak said after the game. "That's a huge concern. We kind of lost him in the same scenario last year. It was the first play of the game against the Colts and we lost him. He has been exceptional. He was great at camp, but it is a concern. He's out there to help us, so hopefully we can dodge the bullet and get him back out there."

With Green on the sidelines, running backs Steve Slaton and Darius Walker will get more reps during the preseason. Slaton led the team in rushing with 37 yards, and Walker recorded 29 yards rushing.

Brown kicks it off: Houston's offense can thank kicker Kris Brown for putting some points on the board. Brown kicked four field goals, including a 52-yarder and a game-winning 25-yarder.

"It's (kicking) probably the best thing we did tonight," Kubiak said. "Probably the best thing we did tonight on defense was play red zone defense and probably the worst thing we did tonight on offense was play red zone offense."

The team failed to convert in the red zone three times, giving Brown two field goals from 23 yards and the game-winner from 25 yards. Brown said he had a feeling that the game would come down to a last-second kick.

"Once they tied the game up, all we needed was one good drive," Brown said. "Shane (Boyd) did an awesome job of putting us in a position to do that, so that's what it takes. That's playing this game in the National Football League.

"It never gets old. That's why you play the position. That's why you play this game: To have a chance to put your team up with one kick and, just like we did today, have it be the last play of the game. That's what you play for."

Duane earns a "B": In his first NFL start, left tackle Duane Brown thought he fared well against a Broncos' defensive line that boasts right end Elvis Dumervil, who notched 12.5 sacks last season.

"I'd give myself probably a 'B,'" Brown said. "I think I did pretty good, especially in pass protection. But I have a ways to go, a lot of polishing up on my technique."

Kubiak probably would have given Brown the same grade, although he would have liked to see the left tackle get more snaps.

"I don't think we got many snaps in the first half," Kubiak said. "I want to say maybe 24 or 26 or something like that if I am right. We're going to have to go back and take a look, but it looked like the group functioned pretty good throughout the first half."

It took Brown about a quarter to adjust to the tempo of the game and pick up tackles flying at him and linebackers closing the gap. But Brown said going against the Broncos' defensive ends wasn't as hard as practicing against Texans end Mario Williams.

"You don't find too many guys with that size and speed," Brown said of Williams. "So I was pretty ready for the speed of the defensive ends, but they didn't have his strength, so it was a bit easier."

Quarterbacks impress: All three quarterbacks looked good in their first outing. Schaub finished 4-5 for 29 yards and a passer rating of 90.8. Sage Rosenfels entered the game at the end of the first half and led the way with 137 passing yards, one touchdown throw and a passer rating of 117.9. Rosenfels took a sack and fumbled on a missed block from running back Chris Taylor, but the quarterback shook off the hit and finished the first half.

"Sage is solid as he has always been," Kubiak said. "Made a great throw today on that one play that we busted up protection."

Shane Boyd made a case for himself as the team's third quarterback, throwing for 25 yards and rushing for 28.

"I'm really impressed with Boyd," Kubiak said. "I have been hard on him. He hasn't had a lot of reps. He knows this is kind of a really important camp in his career, and with a few reps he went in there and led the team. I was impressed with him."

Boyd showed craft on the game-winning driving, using his feet or handing the ball off to Slaton to keep the clock rolling and the offense advancing.

"There were areas I can improve on, but it felt good, for one, to just get the win, to lead that final drive and get a win," Boyd said. "This is preseason; the games don't count. But at the same time it's good to start a winning atmosphere, and that's what we are trying to get in Houston is a winning atmosphere."

Texans keep it clean: Costly penalties kept the Texans from winning a handful of games in 2007 (ie: against Atlanta, Tennessee and Jacksonville). Kubiak told his players those sort of errors weren't acceptable this season. Judging from the game, the players were listening.

The Texans finished with three penalties for 37 yards, and two of those occurred in the fourth quarter when the defense was reaching into its bench for players.

Denver, on the other hand, committed 12 penalties for 80 yards.

Denver's Green recovering: Broncos linebacker Louis Green was carted off the field on a stretcher after his head snapped back during a collision with teammate D.J. Williams. Green was trying to tackle tight end Owen Daniels in the first quarter when he was hit by Williams.

Reliant Stadium fell quiet as Green lay motionless on he field. As he was carted away, he gave the crowd the thumb's up to show he could move his arms.

Texans team physician Dr. Walter Lowe said that Green suffered a neck injury and concussion, but was reported to be healthy enough to travel with the team to Denver.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content