Texans-Bucs postgame notebook

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Defensive tackle Anthony Maddox recorded a sack and interception against Tampa Bay.

The Texans tested their depth in the team's final preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The bright spot in Houston's 16-6 loss was that no starter was injured in the game.

Unlikely linebackers step up: The Texans feel very good about their starting three linebackers Zac Diles, DeMeco Ryans and Morlon Greenwood. Depth at the position, however, has been a concern.

"The names are there, but the bottom line is that two of those players haven't played," Kubiak said. "Preseason-wise they really have been nonexistent. When we talk about (Chaun) Thompson and (Xavier) Adibi, we think they have a lot of ability. We're expecting big things from them, but they are way behind the football team."

Thompson, a sixth-year strongside linebacker, was signed in the offseason to be a pass rush threat but has spent the preseason battling a groin injury. Adibi was drafted in the fourth round because of his speed and tackling ability, but he has been sidelined with groin and Achilles issues.

{QUOTE}Their injuries opened the door for two unlikely backups, Kevis Coley and Ben Moffitt, who started alongside middle linebacker Kevin Bentley. Making the most of his opportunity was Coley, a second-year pro who signed to the Texans practice squad in December. The weakside linebacker led the team in tackles with 15. Moffitt, an undrafted rookie free agent, was right behind him with 13 tackles.

"I think Coley and Moffitt played well tonight," Kubiak said. "We'll look at them."

Kubiak would like to keep six linebackers and it will be hard to sign two who have been injury prone. Coley and Moffitt gave the coaches something to think about before Friday's cuts.

"I've heard from the veterans that the craziest things can happen," Moffitt said. "I'm just going to put it in God's hands and whatever happens, happens. I'm just blessed to be here this far, so it's been a good experience."

On the line: Kubiak is using Thursday's game to decide whether to keep 10 defensive linemen and nine in the secondary or vice versa. Against Tampa Bay, the linemen made a strong case for themselves.

Defensive tackle Anthony Maddox recorded a sack on quarterback Chris Simms for a seven-yard loss and an interception on the same drive. Rookie tackle Frank Okam improved his run defense and plugged the middle. Undrafted rookie free agent Jessie Nading recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter.

"Defensive line is a very big decision when you look at Maddox and you look at Okam," Kubiak said. "It looked like Gabe Long came in and hasn't played much and did good things."

The Texans struggled in the preseason to find their pass rush. Only Maddox and defensive end Tim Bulman recorded sacks, and Bulman is on the bubble for making the team.

Pass rushing specialist Rosevelt Colvin also is in jeopardy of not making the roster. The 10th-year pro ,who was signed to be a threat opposite defensive end Mario Williams, struggled to create pressure off the ball in all four games.

"We played him a bunch," Kubiak said. "We played him at linebacker. We played him at end and rushed. We'll go back and see how he performed. Obviously, there is still a tough decision to make, and that's why he played a lot of football tonight."

Spotlight on Faggins: By far the best player in the game was cornerback DeMarcus Faggins, who lost his starting position last season. Faggins played like his job was on the line and secured himself a roster spot for the first regular season game against the Steelers.

To read more about Faggins' performance, click here.

10 big decisions: The Texans will trim their roster to 53 players on Friday. Kubiak entered the game with his mind made up on about 43 of those players.

"I think we have 10 tough decisions that could go either way when we look at this film," Kubiak said. "There may be some tough decisions that could go either way when we look at this film."

Odds and ends: Right guard Mike Brisiel was the only starter who started on either side of the ball. Making their first starts of the 2008 preseason tonight were: quarterback Sage Rosenfels, running back Darius Walker, fullback Jon Abbate, left tackle Rashad Butler, center Chris White, right tackle Brandon Frye, wide receiver David Anderson, wide receiver Jacoby Jones, Colvin, defensive end Earl Cochran, Maddox, defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina, Coley, Moffitt, Bentley, Faggins, cornerback Antwaun Molden, safety Glenn Earl and safety Nick Ferguson.

Butler sprained his right shoulder and didn't return to the game. He was the Texans' only injury casualty.

After renegotiating his contract, running back Ahman Green went through warmups with the team for the first time since spraining his groin against the Denver Broncos in the preseason opener. He is expected to return to action against Pittsburgh.

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