Houston Texans’ Roster Battles: Monitoring the Safety Position

By Mike Kerns
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

With just two games left in the Houston Texans‘ 2013 preseason, things are starting to materialize at each position between who is becoming a safe bet to stick on the final 53-man roster and who is likely to be unemployed the first week of September.

With this in mind, I’ll be monitoring the progress of numerous positions this week to gauge who is in the lead to win a job and who could be looking at having theirs stolen. Today, we continue with the safety position.

This is likely to be the last position I highlight as it concludes most of the problem positions. It also makes sense to do it last because there are so many questions about it.

The Ed Reed situation seems to have fans divided on their opinion of it. A small portion are beginning to think the Texans got played by an aging veteran looking for his last contract. The rest are still confident that he’ll be out there in Week 1 in San Diego.

Regardless of where you fall on that battle, him starting at free safety in Week 1 with zero reps in practice up to this point is quite a stretch. Personally, I’m hopeful, but not very confident in what he will contribute to the team this year. Also, any other fans cringe last night seeing Glover Quin play so well for Detroit?

If this is the case with Reed, the team is going to need rookie D.J. Swearinger to grow up in a hurry. There has been talk up to this point that Shiloh Keo would be the starter if Reed wasn’t ready by the season opener — a statement that was responded to by fans with the look of a four-year old watching his first horror film.

Personally, I never bought Keo starting there. Ever. I just believe coaches didn’t want Swearinger to get the job without having to work for it. While all everyone wants to talk about is the season-ending hit he laid on Dustin Keller last week, what is being brushed aside is the fact that he made some plays in that game. I feel much better about him starting if Reed can’t go now than I did after the first preseason game.

About the only constant at this position is Danieal Manning, who is likely in his last year with the team. He’s not going to make you be wary of him if you’re an opposing quarterback, but he’s as solid of a guy as Houston could have out there. He makes mistakes, but he does his job more often than not.

After Manning, Reed, Keo and Swearinger, there isn’t much room left to make the squad. I think they’ll carry five safeties, so there is an opportunity for one more. Most think it will be Eddie Pleasant, but he hasn’t had a good camp and preseason either. Orhain Johnson and Jawanza Starling never had much of a prayer of sticking around.

Personally, with all of the question marks here, I think Rick Smith will be perusing the waiver wire frantically over the next week and bring in a veteran guy before they run a rookie or a questionable talent out there in Week 1.

A lot depends on Ed Reed at this point, and that was one of the things I was afraid of when the team let Quin walk for a 34-year-old safety. Yes, Reed may be the best ever at his position, but that does little for Houston if he isn’t on the field.

Mike Kerns is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on TwitterFacebook and on Google. You can also listen to his Texans Luv Ya Steel Blue podcast on iTunes.

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