LB Jerrell Freeman (groin), RB Tyler Varga (concussion), LB Bjoern Werner (hamstring)
S Lonnie Ballentine (knee), LB Whitney Mercilus (thigh), RB Chris Polk (knee)
T Duane Brown (hand), LB Max Bullough (shoulder), LB Jadeveon Clowney (shoulder, knee), LB Brian Cushing (foot), RB Arian Foster (groin), CB Johnathan Joseph (hip), QB Ryan Mallett (chest), T Derek Newton (ankle), S Eddie Pleasant (thigh), G Xavier Su'a-Filo (calf), DT Vince Wilfork (ankle)
Luck is listed as questionable, so owners should pay attention as inactives are announced leading up to game time on Thursday. Gore and Allen are both probable, so they're virtually certain to play. Allen's return puts a big dent in Coby Fleener's upside. For the Texans, Foster is probable, so he should see an increased workload. With both Shorts and Washington out, the Texans are short at receiver. Look for DeAndre Hopkins to dominate targets again.
Washington didn’t catch a pass. The Texans offense did not look good when it counted against the Falcons and the team again switched QBs going with Brian Hoyer after things got out of hand. Cecil Shorts dislocated his shoulder in the loss. Keith Mumphery is next up on the depth chart but the team may have to look outside the organization for help.
Thursday, September 24, 2015, 6:16pm
Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (concussion) missed practice again Thursday. Hopkins’ concussion was a surprise. He’ll have to navigate through the league’s concussion protocol to play on Sunday. We should know by Saturday, though owners will want to have a Plan B in place. Beat writer Tania Ganguli said that HC Bill O’Brien sounded optimistic about Hopkins’ Week 3 availability. If he’s out, Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts become Sneaky Starts.
Friday, September 18, 2015, 6:37pm
Texans WR Nate Washington (abdomen, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 2. Washington will play against Carolina. Both he (84 percent) and Cecil Shorts (82 percent) played starter’s snaps in Week 1.
Thursday, September 17, 2015, 6:09pm
Texans WR Nate Washington (abdomen) took full practice reps Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Washington is on track to play against Carolina. Both he (84 percent) and Cecil Shorts (82 percent) played starter’s snaps in Week 1.
Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 6:08pm
Texans WR Nate Washington (abdomen) took limited practice reps Wednesday.
Texans beat writer John Harris:
I’m convinced Nate Washington could get open against his shadow. When Bill O’Brien said he’d be the No. 2 WR if the season started today, many raised an eyebrow, shocked a bit at the declaration. But, if you took the numbers off the receivers, didn’t know one from the other and watched every single play, you’d also come away thinking he should be the No. 2 receiver.
Now, most people will wonder aloud what about Cecil Shorts III? Wasn’t he brought here to be the number two wide out? Don’t worry, he’s had a strong camp and today was his best day, in my opinion. He was Mallett’s go-to guy on shallow to intermediate routes, especially early in practice, and he can make something after the catch as well.
Washington is something of a fantasy cockroach, in that he's a survivor. He has finished in the top 65 in seven straight seasons, with an average ranking of 43.4 in PPR formats. He's also in line for a lot of snaps if he wins the WR2 job, though he'll have to hold off Shorts and rookie Jaelen Strong.
To be fair, rookie Jaelen Strong had a rough spring and has time in camp to close the gap. But in Shorts and Washington, he'll have to overcome a couple of very experienced veterans. Shorts (27) is younger than Washington (32), but Washington has been more durable in recent years. Given the team's quarterback situation, there isn't a whole lot to like in the passing game other than Hopkins, who figures to be a target-hog.
Texans beat writers John McClain and Brian T. Smith discuss the candidates to replace Andre Johnson as the starter opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Smith said that "big picture" Jaelen Strong should be the guy, but Smith asked, "can he make enough of an impression during training camp?" The Texans are looking for consistency from the rookie.
Smith went on to say that Cecil Shorts "looked impressive" in camp, showing "really nice hands" and was the "one guy who truly stood out" at receiver.
Smith doesn't believe that Nate Washington will start, but went on to say that he could "really help this team" with his speed in three-WR sets.
Washington was the player that HC Bill O'Brien singled out, but it sounds like Smith believes that either Shorts or Strong will end up starting opposite of Hopkins. This may be something of a committee throughout the season and the quarterback situation in Houston makes it a dicey proposition to buy into the Texans' pass offense. Still, Strong is worthy of a late-round flier given his 15th round ADP even if he isn't starting Week 1.
The top options here include free-agent pickups Nate Washington (31) and Cecil Shorts III (27), and rookie Jaelen Strong, who was taken in the third round with the 70th pick in this year's draft. Strong's start has been delayed a bit, and we'll get to that more later. Coach Bill O'Brien was effusive in his praise of Washington last week. "I really like Nate. I think he's been a good addition to our football team, both from a veteran leadership standpoint and then from his route-running ability. He's really practiced hard all spring. He's been here a lot. He's been out there every day at practice. He's picked up our offense well. He's always communicating with the other receivers and the quarterbacks. I think he's going to add a lot to our offense. I'm glad he's here."
Strong suffered a hamstring injury during the Texans' first OTAs, which is sometimes an injury that is the result of not being in the right condition for practice. He hasn't returned yet, which is a function of those kinds of injuries. Too much time lost will be a big problem, but we aren't there yet. O'Brien called the injury minor a couple of weeks ago.
The WR2 spot in Houston is wide open. Cecil Shorts should be the frontrunner, but it sounds like Washington is the one turning heads. He's a savvy vet who has produced whenever he sees significant targets. Strong is missing valuable reps.
This offseason so far reminds me of the Texans offseasons when it was Andre Johnson and a buncha rando wide receivers competing to see who would be starters. No receiver targets in OTAs have been *oh-wow* type guys where you see a particularly positive future for him when they are in the offense longer.
Texans writer John Harris: When the Texans signed Nate Washington, I wrote a piece on him as it pertained to how his veteran savvy could be seen in his route running. I watched him closely today on a few of his routes and that man can get open in a phone booth. He has a knack of selling his routes to get open and it’s fun to watch a veteran at his age still know how to find seams or win against man coverage.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 4:13pm
WR Nate Washington signed a one-year deal for $1 million, including $30,000 guaranteed.
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