The Houston Texans have a problem. Their secondary just can't seem to keep healthy, cornerbacks especially. Since camp started on July 28, the Texans have had 3 cornerbacks develop injuries. Some have been minor and require only a few days off practice, but others have been costly to the team's depth for the season.
During the afternoon practice on July 28, Demarcus "Petey" Faggins rolled his ankle and was taken in for x-rays. The results came back that he had fractured his foot and will be out for at least 6 – 10 weeks. Faggins was a starter for the team and the loss of his presence in the secondary will be noticeable. In his spot, the Texans have put their faith in Philip Buchanon.
Head coach Gary Kubiak believes that Buchanon can get the job done for the Texans. "I have a lot of confidence in Phillip," Kubiak told the media. "I know how important this year is to him. I have had a couple of good visits with him this off-season. He's at a point in his career where it's time to step up and play like that first rounder and that player that was picked. He can do that; he can help us on special teams as a punt returner. If I'm Phillip, I'm sitting here staring at this and saying, ‘hey, its time for me to shine in this league.' I told him in front of the team last night and said, ‘we are all looking at him, it's time to go."
Unfortunately, Buchanon had to leave practice yesterday to have his hamstring checked. There have been no updates to the diagnosis of the injury. Most likely Buchanon will have to take it easy for a few days, maybe a week or so, and hope that it is not something that will bother him chronically throughout the season.
Dunta Robinson is also playing it safe. Robinson tweaked his ankle on the second day of camp, and complained of more pain the next day. He has been off the practice field since then, but the Texans say it is nothing to worry about and he will not miss an extended amount of time.
To assist with the cornerback positions the Texans signed Dexter McCleon and Kevin Garrett to the team. McCleon is a 9 year veteran of the NFL and was a member of the 1999 Rams team that earned a Superbowl ring that year. Garrett is a young player who hasn't seen much field time, but has started making plays during practice.
During a press conference yesterday after practice, McCleon was asked how he feels about this opportunity, since he was originally signed as a fill-in guy. "I'm trying to compete," McCleon said. "I'm trying to get out there on the field and actually help this team win. I want to help this team turn it around, and I feel like I can do that because I have enough experience and ability, and I feel I can step right in and help this team where ever they need me to."
Second year cornerback Chris McKenzie went down during the morning practice on August 1. It was announced yesterday that the MRIs and x-rays showed a season ending fracture to his shoulder socket, thinning the cornerbacks even further.
Kubiak did comment last night on CB Lewis Sanders saying "With all the issues we have at corner, sometimes you get so tied up with who's getting beaten up that you don't mention the guys who are really making a statement. I think he's really making the statement that he wants to play and play quick this year. I tell you, I've been real impressed with him today."
The Texans general manager Rick Smith will continue to look for veteran cornerbacks to add to the Texans roster. Kubiak is confident that they will find the personnel that will help the Texans this season.