The Texans welcomed cornerback Jason Allen to the team on Friday. Allen, 27, was claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins on Thursday afternoon.
After Friday's practice, Texans coach Gary Kubiak did not rule out the possibility of Allen playing this weekend at Jacksonville.
"He's played a lot of football this year and been productive," Kubiak said. "Obviously, we need some help back there. We need somebody that we can get in position to help us out, so we picked him up and we're lucky to get him. It's a quick turnaround for us. We'll spend some time with him today and tomorrow and then we'll see whether or not he'll be available for us on Sunday, but we just feel fortunate to get him."
The Texans' immediate goal for Allen is to get him up to speed on their defensive terminology and schemes. Before long, Kubiak hopes to see Allen contribute to a defense that currently ranks 32nd in the league against the pass.
Allen started seven games for the Dolphins this season, recording three interceptions.
"We think this guy could play," Kubiak said. "We are going to play all of our guys. We are going to rotate them a little bit. Obviously, we've got to get better back there from the standpoint of what we've been up to this point. If he gives us a chance to get better and we see that, then we've got to give him a chance to help us get better. We see him being a part of what we are doing, and hopefully sooner rather than later."
A first-round draft pick out of Tennessee in 2006, Allen was a safety until switching to cornerback in 2009. He expects his immediate role with the Texans to be at corner.
"Houston was one of the teams I wanted to come to, actually," Allen said. "I know the situation here with a young secondary, a team that's on the rise. Knowing what I felt like I could bring to the table, I was definitely telling my agent I hope that Houston would be one of the teams that would pick me off waivers or claim me."
Allen time with the Dolphins was marked by ups and downs. He started nine games in his second season but only three games in the next two seasons combined. After starting the first eight games this season, he was removed from the starting lineup two weeks ago.
"It definitely wasn't always a perfect situation," he said. "I was three years in and I had three different head coaches and a few different defensive coordinators. It was kind of rough on me learning different terminologies and different techniques that different coaches wanted. At times it was difficult, but when a little adversity comes, that's what makes you a better player."
With a fresh start in Houston, Allen hopes to bring a spark to the Texans' struggling secondary.
"This is my fifth year, and these guys have a young secondary," he said. "Hopefully, I can bring some leadership and give these guys some techniques and wisdom and different things that helped me out along the way."