HOUSTON (AP) -Jared Zabransky knows he's a long shot to make the Texans roster as an undrafted free agent. But that doesn't faze him.
The former Boise State quarterback knows a thing or two about steep odds after a 13-0 season capped by an improbable Fiesta Bowl victory against Oklahoma.
``It provides extra energy,'' he said Wednesday of again playing the underdog. ``It provides a fire that may not be there for some of the guys that are given the spot, and it instills an extra work ethic. I'm used to it and it's fine by me.''
Zabransky will compete with Bradlee Van Pelt and Quinton Porter for the third quarterback spot behind new starter Matt Schaub and backup Sage Rosenfels.
His work ethic has been evident as the Texans go through offseason workouts. The rookies are generally kept 15-20 minutes after the veterans are released, but Zabransky routinely stays on the field 30 to 45 minutes longer than the other first-year players.
``I just know that it's going to take hard work being in the position that I'm in right now,'' Zabransky said. ``That's kind of been instilled at a young age with my parents, but we continued that at Boise State. That's kind of our deal and our mentality. Working hard to get better.''
Coach Gary Kubiak said that attitude is important for a player in his situation.
``You have to because the bottom line is when you're a third quarterback in this league nobody knows if you're doing your job until you all of a sudden get thrown in there and you have to do your job,'' Kubiak said. ``That is just part of being a backup player in the NFL and trying to make it, and hopefully he understands that and I think he does.''
The 6-foot-2, 203-pound passer threw for 2,587 yards with 23 touchdowns in 2006. It was his third straight 2,500-plus yard season.
Questions about his consistency likely kept him from being drafted, but scouts believe he could be a dangerous scrambler.
Regardless of how his NFL career pans out, Zabransky secured his place in college football lore with the 43-42 overtime win against the Sooners. The Broncos tied the game on fourth-and-18 with 7 seconds to play with a 50-yard touchdown on a trick play. Zabransky hit Drisan James at Oklahoma's 35, and James pitched the ball to Jerard Rabb, who dashed into the end zone.
He gets a chuckle from the intense interest in that game and said he still gets asked about it almost daily.
``It was a pretty exciting way to finish,'' he said. ``When there's that much excitement and drama in sports it's going to be talked about for a long time. I understand why people want to talk about it, but I'm just trying to concentrate on my situation right now.''
Zabransky said he's having to relearn some basics of the game after getting into some bad habits in college.
``I did a lot of stuff in college that wasn't fundamentally sound for this level,'' he said. ``I got away with them in college, but now I've got to go back to the drawing board.''
Kubiak said he believes Zabransky can succeed in the NFL and loves that he came from a team that went undefeated last season. Though he won't get many snaps during workouts this offseason, Kubiak said it's important he's sharp when given the opportunity.
``The reps are few right now, so the key to him is he has to prove to us how well he's paying attention by the few reps he gets,'' Kubiak said. ``Because if you're not paying attention you'll get exposed, and if you are you'll show that you belong. He's done some good things, and he's got to continue to get better.''
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