For a team that some believe is only a quarterback or a player or two away from being a contender again in the AFC South, the Houston Texans are still dealing with injuries and drama as the team approaches training camp. And with the franchise lining up Ryan Fitzpatrick behind center as the season approaches, it looks like it may get a little more difficult.
Injuries are still a big part of this organization. According to houstontexans.com, Brian Cushing, Louis Nix and Trevardo Williams have all been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start training camp. Even with those moves by the team this week, there is still hope and optimism.
Second-year safety D.J. Swearinger is looking forward to donning the pads and getting the 2014 season underway.
“We had some bumps and bruises last year but we’ve been working hard this offseason and this defense will be a stingy defense,” Swearinger said last week.
This year, Swearinger will be reunited with his former teammate Jadeveon Clowney. After playing alongside Clowney for two seasons at South Carolina, Swearinger is all too familiar with what the No. 1 draft pick brings to the Texans front seven.
“I don’t predict numbers but I know he’s going to wreak havoc for a lot quarterbacks because it’s going to be hard to block him and J.J. (Watt) at the same time,” he said.
If Houston is to make a move from a 2-14 many things must happen first, one of which is Andre Johnson and the team must kiss and make up.
Here are three bold predictions for the Texans training camp.
JADEVEON CLOWNEY STILL DEALING WITH INJURY
Jadeveon Clowney's rehab from his June surgery is going well enough that the Houston Texans opted not to put him on the physically unable to perform list. Still, with the first pick in the Draft ailing, the Texans must hope their investment is able to produce once the season starts.
According to ESPN.com, there is clearly no concern, as expected, that Clowney will miss any of the regular season. In fact, this indicates the Texans aren't expecting him to miss much time, if any at all. Clowney had surgery to repair a sports hernia in June. The team is still being cautious with him, nonetheless.
KEENUM SAYS HE CAN LEAD THIS TEAM TO THE PLAYOFFS
The backup quarterback last season who got a shot at the starting job when Matt Schaub could not lead the team to a victory, believes he can still win in Houston. And since he declared himself ready for training camp, why wouldn’t he be able to have a shot at the starting role? Quarterback Case Keenum, now heading into his third NFL training camp, no longer considers himself a rookie after spending one season on the practice squad and then making the active roster after camp in 2013.
“I guess I'm officially a veteran," Keenum said on "Texans Huddle," airing on Fox Sports Southwest Thursdays at 6 pm. "I have a year under my belt, and another year as far as training camp goes. I’m excited about this year. I’m excited to get going, continue to improve and get ready for the 2014 Texans season.”
FOSTER HOPING FOR A HUGE COMEBACK
Despite a horrendous Texans losing streak that eventually bottomed out at 14 consecutive losses, Foster was having a relatively strong season entering a Week 9 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. Though his absence from the end zone was troubling (just one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown), he led the AFC in rushing through the first six games and his 4.5 yards per carry average was his best since 2010.
But Foster was sidelined with a back injury just two snaps into the game against the Colts. A week later he was on the IR awaiting surgery. The concern is whether Foster's back surgery -- the same one undergone by Rob Gronkowski last year -- will continue to hamper him in 2014.
A microscopic lumbar-discectomy is a fairly common procedure among football players, and reports indicate most bounce back from it. The most applicable to Foster is the case of Steven Jackson, who came back from a microdiscectomy in 2010 to rush for a respectable 1,200 yards and six touchdowns.