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Training camp practice report - Day 15


After missing over a week due to injury, wide receiver Keenan McCardell (84) saw practice action Monday.

Jason's job: In the wake of Glenn Earl's season-ending foot injury, safety C.C. Brown will shift over to strong safety and safety Jason Simmons will get the first shot at filling the opening at free safety, coach Gary Kubiak said Monday after practice.

"It's a big opportunity for him," Kubiak said of Simmons. "You could tell just looking at him in the meeting today. He sees that opportunity to step up and be a starter again."

Simmons, an inaugural Texan, has started 11 games at strong and free safety and has totals of 150 tackles and 2 interceptions during his five year stint with the team.

Some of the speculation about how the Texans would proceed in the wake of the Earl injury centered on the possibility of Von Hutchins moving to free safety and Brown moving to the strong safety spot, but Kubiak feels that Simmons' recent play and experience makes him deserving of the first shot at the job.

"We came out of the game with Jason Simmons playing extremely well," Kubiak said. "He deserves an opportunity to step up and play that spot right now, so that's where we're going to operate. Right now, of course, everybody moves up a notch and will get a lot more playing time, but Jason (Simmons) deserves to go out there on that football field as a starter, which he did today, and we'll work that way this week."

Free agent safety signing soon?: With the loss of Earl and cornerback Jason Horton to season-ending injuries during Saturday's game versus Chicago, the Texans' front office spent much of Sunday formulating a list of potential free agent additions.

General manager Rick Smith said Monday that the team will host multiple players for workouts on Tuesday at the Methodist Training Center. A report Monday from the Houston Chronicle mentioned free agents Shaun Williams, Tyrone Poole and Derrick Gibson as invitees for workouts, but Smith did not confirm anything.

"We don't have a complete list of guys we have scheduled to come in at this point, so I'm not going to say who is coming in," Smith said. "Obviously at this point, there are not many recognizable available options out there. We're looking at the guys that are on the street at this point, and we're going to go ahead and finalize a workout and probably bring guys in tomorrow."

Smith is hopeful that he can find one or two players that will actively compete for open positions.

"I don't just want to bring in guys to work out," Smith said. "If a guy comes in then we think he's got a chance to really compete for one of these opportunities. That's what we're trying to do: Find some of those legitimate opportunities out there."

Back to business: Fullback Jameel Cook and wide receiver Keenan McCardell participated in practice Monday, marking the first time during camp that Cook has practiced and the first time in over a week since McCardell participated. Although Cook only had limited reps in his first day back, McCardell participated in a variety of wide receiving and pass shell drills, and Kubiak believes he'll see game action against Arizona.

"Keenan did a little more than Jameel from what I saw, but I think Keenan is well on his way to being healthy and being ready to go this week," Kubiak said.

Mario seeks adjustments: After the preseason opener Saturday, defensive end Mario Williams knows that he has to make adjustments quickly during the preseason to account for less than average amounts of playing time. He spoke after practice Monday about how that impacted his play against the Bears.

"Going into the game, having a limited amount of snaps and things like that, there were some adjustments I was going to make, but unfortunately I didn't get a chance to," Williams said. "Basically, I feel like I have to make adjustments earlier. I think I played 15 plays, but as a defensive lineman, especially as a pass rusher, you have to kind of set guys up and I feel like maybe I should have taken advantage of that earlier."

With the playing time of starters to increase as the preseason progresses, Williams should have more opportunities to make the necessary adjustments so that he can wreak havoc on opposing defenses this year.

Miscellaneous: Defensive tackle Travis Johnson performed excellently in pass rush drills, blowing by guard Mike Brisiel on one play with an impressive power move…with the heat index in the triple digits outside, the team practiced indoors to protect players from the dangerous climate…the team will break from football activities Monday night to participate in the team's annual Bowling Derby. The team is divided into three groups (offense, defense and coaching staff), and historically the defense has dominated, winning each of the two previous events.

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