Houston's backups will get opportunities Sunday against Tampa Print
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Wednesday, 05 December 2007 14:17
NFL Headline News

 HOUSTON (AP) -The Houston Texans' growing list of injuries is creating opportunities for others thirsting for a chance to play.
Coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday he doubts quarterback Matt Schaub will ready Sunday against Tampa Bay because of a dislocated left shoulder. Sage Rosenfels is the likely starter, and that would make former Kentucky star Shane Boyd the backup.
Boyd, cut by Arizona before the season, was taking snaps at the end of Wednesday's practice.
``It all boils down to being ready at all times,'' said Boyd, who's been on the practice squad since joining the Texans in October. ``Your number can be called at any time. You know how football is. You're always one play away.''
Even if Kubiak doesn't need Boyd, he'll still have a virtually untested player starting on his offensive line.
Second-year pro Mike Brisiel and rookies Kasey Studdard and Brandon Frye are competing at right guard after Fred Weary broke his right leg in last week's loss to Tennessee. Weary's backup, Chris White, is out with a knee injury.
The Texans were already missing starting center Steve McKinney, who's out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Studdard finished last week's game, his first significant NFL action. Neither Frye nor Brisiel has played a single snap. Frye was the Texans' fifth-round pick this year, and Brisiel has been on the practice squad for two seasons.
``They're all nervous,'' Kubiak said. ``They understand what's at stake and the opportunity for all of them to step in there and be a player.''
The 6-foot-3, 299-pound Studdard is confident he's learned enough from more seasoned linemen to hold his own against the Buccaneers and their fifth-ranked defense.
``Watching these older guys work, there's a lot more to this game than there is in college,'' Studdard said. ``You're going against guys who are 10 times better. Everyone's good out here. You've got to be real sound with everything you do.''
Studdard, if he wins the job, will take Sunday's game as a chance to prove he belongs in the pros.
``They drafted me for a reason,'' he said. ``It's my time to step up and show them that they picked somebody worth drafting.''
The 6-5, 296-pound Brisiel says his preparation this week has been the same as when he watched the Texans from the sideline.
``Practice will be the same,'' he said. ``We've just got to keep working hard. If things turn out, and I get a chance to play on Sunday, it'll just make things a lot more fun for me on the weekend.''
At center, Mike Flanagan has started every game since McKinney's injury, and this week the Texans signed Drew Hodgdon to back him up.
Cut in the preseason, Hodgdon stuck to his normal workout schedule, and it paid off.
``I think as you get in the first couple weeks, it's easy,'' he said. ``But you get into Week 6 and Week 8 and half a season goes by, it gets tough. It's just routine. I think every player's used to regimen, and that's what I tried to do.''
Running back Ron Dayne sat out Wednesday's practice with a sore left ankle, but Kubiak said Dayne will be ready to play Sunday.
The news on Ahman Green remains the same.
The high-priced free agent, who's missed six games since Week 2 with a knee injury, practiced Wednesday, and Kubiak was hopeful he would play on Sunday. Kubiak also said that last week before Green was deactivated Friday.
``Let's see how he wakes up tomorrow morning,'' Kubiak said Wednesday.
 

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