Texans Rumors

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/5/19

We’ll keep track of today’s practice squad moves here:

Cincinnati Bengals

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

Houston Texans

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins

NFL Workout Updates: 12/3/19

Today’s notes from the workout/visit circuit:

Arizona Cardinals

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Tennessee Titans

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 12/3/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed: LB Reshard Cliett

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

J.J. Watt Could Return In 2019

Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt may not be out for the season after all. As Ian Rapoport of NFL.com writes, Houston is saving its final injured reserve/designated to return spot for Watt, who could return for the playoffs (if not sooner).

Watt suffered a torn pec during the Texans’ Week 8 win over the Raiders, and Watt himself acknowledged that he would miss the remainder of the year. But Watt is doing remarkably well in rehab, and he is therefore optimistic he could return to the field much sooner than initially anticipated.

Per Rapoport, Watt will have another MRI in a few weeks to determine his status, and there is even some thought that he could be back for the regular season finale against the Titans (assuming, of course, that the game carries any playoff significance). And even if Watt aggravates the pec injury, the ensuing surgery would not sideline him for any portion of the 2020 campaign.

Getting Watt back in any capacity would obviously be a major boon for the Texans’ championship hopes. One of the game’s best defenders when healthy, the five-time First Team All-Pro posted 16 sacks in 2018 — the first time he had played a full season since 2015 — and had four sacks in 2019 before suffering the pec injury.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans To Remain Without GM In 2020

Though the Texans failed in their efforts to hire Patriots exec Nick Caserio as their GM this spring, recent reports indicated that Houston — which has operated without a GM in 2019 — would simply hire Caserio in 2020, when his contract with New England is up. However, that no longer appears to be the case.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Texans plan to go without a true GM in 2020 as well. Currently, head coach Bill O’Brien has final say over football operations, though he works closely with vice president of team development Jack Easterby in that regard. Meanwhile, VP of Football Administration, Chris Olsen, handles contracts and salary cap matters, and Matt Bazirgan is in charge of player personnel.

The Texans are sitting at 7-4 and are in the driver’s seat for the AFC South title, so as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggests, owner Cal McNair simply may be saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But while the major personnel moves the club has made without a GM — trading two first-round picks for Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills and trading a third-round pick for Duke Johnson, for example — have worked out relatively well in the short term, they will significantly handicap the team down the road. Those moves, combined with the team’s misplay of the Jadeveon Clowney situation, suggest to Florio that the Texans really do need a GM.

Indeed, the club interviewed GM candidates after the Caserio fiasco before electing to move forward with its current power structure. It could be that, given their dearth of high-end draft capital and the outside uncertainty as to how much power Easterby would wield over a new GM, the Texans may have a tough time attracting top candidates, so they will simply forego making the effort for now.

Whoever is calling the shots in 2020 will need to engage in extension talks with star QB Deshaun Watson, which may be tough to navigate with a true GM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans To Place T Tytus Howard On IR

The Texans will be without their starting right tackle the rest of the way. They are placing first-round pick Tytus Howard on IR, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. A torn meniscus will end Howard’s season, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes (via Twitter) the rookie will soon undergo surgery.

Howard previously carried a doubtful designation into Sunday night’s game against the Patriots, but the Texans will remove him from their 53-man roster. The small-school lineman will end his season with eight games (all starts). He had previously missed time due to a partially torn MCL.

The only first-round pick in GM Brian Gaine‘s brief Texans tenure, Howard was moved to guard before becoming Houston’s starting right tackle for most of this season. He graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 52 overall tackle. While that is a middle-of-the-pack position, Howard marked an improvement from the embattled tackle situation the Texans featured last season.

Houston has used Roderick Johnson as a fill-in for Howard previously this season. The former Browns draft pick has played in 11 games, with two starts, and has been given 201 snaps. The Texans also have veteran Chris Clark, a journeyman who has filled in at multiple junctures for the team. Clark has started games at both left and right tackles with Houston.

The Texans promoted defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes from their practice squad to take Howard’s roster spot. A former third-round Raiders pick, Vanderdoes caught on with the Texans’ taxi squad late last month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Workout RB Kenneth Dixon

Could Kenneth Dixon resurface soon? The running back had a workout with the Texans this week, a source told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle

Dixon was originally drafted by the Ravens as a fourth-round pick back in 2016, and he received a ton of buzz early on in his career. He showed plenty of flashes as a rookie and many thought he would soon take over as Baltimore’s lead back, before injuries and off-field issues derailed his progress. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season due to a PED violation, and then suffered a torn meniscus which knocked him out for the season. Last season he went down with a knee injury, and was placed on injured reserve.

He was activated late in the year, and ended up finishing with a very solid 333 yards in only six games while averaging 5.6 yards per attempt. Unfortunately he couldn’t carry the momentum over into 2019, as he suffered yet another knee injury during the preseason. After fracturing his kneecap, the Ravens released him with an injury settlement. He’s apparently healthy now, and he worked out for the Jets last week.

The Texans’ ground game has been surprisingly strong with Carlos Hyde leading the way, but they apparently aren’t completely satisfied. Dixon is still only 25, so he could make sense as a flyer to keep around for the 2020 offseason and potentially beyond.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/26/19

A handful of practice squad moves to pass along:

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Minnesota Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

La Canfora’s Latest: Rivers, Garrett, Smith

CBS Sports scribe Jason La Canfora published his usual Sunday slate of items from around the league, including reports on the future of Panthers HC Ron Rivera in Carolina and the Titanspotential desire to re-sign QB Ryan Tannehill. Let’s take a look at a few more notes from JLC:

  • Chargers QB Philip Rivers is eligible for free agency at season’s end, and in light of his struggles in 2019, there has already been plenty of speculation about his future with the Bolts. La Canfora says the team is currently not planning on having any extension talks with Rivers’ camp, and for his part, Rivers has shown no desire in promoting the team’s move to Los Angeles (he still lives in San Diego and spends up to four hours a day commuting to and from the Chargers’ facility). La Canfora suggests that the Chargers, who may not be picking high enough in the 2020 draft to land a top collegiate passer, could move on from Rivers but may pursue a veteran signal-caller like Cam Newton.
  • La Canfora details all of the steps the league took to investigate Browns‘ DE Myles Garrett‘s claim that Steelers QB Mason Rudolph used a racial slur in the lead-up to the now infamous brawl between the two clubs, and the NFL did not find a shred of corroborating evidence. The good news for Cleveland is that the league currently has no intention of extending Garrett’s suspension into the 2020 season. Garrett will be required to schedule a meeting with the league and the union to have a “check-in” of sorts, but assuming that goes well, he should be reinstated without incident.
  • Former Texans GM Rick Smith left the team after the 2017 season when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, but he is open to returning to the league in 2020 should the right opportunity emerge. He is apparently ready and able to assume all duties that go along with running a franchise, and since there may be fewer elite GM candidates in 2020 than in years past, Smith could be appealing to a number of clubs. Although Houston is currently without a GM, La Canfora says a reunion between the two sides is not in the cards.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/22/19

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Cleveland Browns

  • Promoted from practice squad: DT Brandin Bryant, DE Porter Gustin

Denver Broncos

  • Promoted from practice squad: OLB Ahmad Gooden
  • Waived: TE Orson Charles

Houston Texans

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks