The Houston Texans start their season Monday at 9:10 pm on ESPN. They face the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, and one team or the other will begin 2013 with an undefeated record. The other will start with no wins.
But you already know all of this. What you don’t know is that though the Texans had arguably the best season in franchise history in 2012, there was still a lot of turnover for this team.
Glover Quin is no longer around, so the Texans added Ed Reed. Kevin Walter also left, but the Texans drafted DeAndre Hopkins. We got a better punter in Shane Lechler, and added some serious linebacker depth in Joe Mays (free agency) and Brian Cushing (health).
In many ways, it could be said that expectations are higher this year, and that the Texans have upgraded several key positions. So why is there a chance that eight Texans rookies (nine if you count Randy Bullock, who didn’t play in the regular season after a preseason injury) could play Monday?
Hopkins, Bullock, D.J. Swearinger, Sam Montgomery, Ryan Griffin, Cierre Wood, Willie Jefferson, Justin Tuggle and A.J. Bouye will all suit up for the Texans tomorrow, and Hopkins and Bullock will play for sure as they’re both starters.
Swearinger will most likely see some playing time, as he’s the second string safety behind Shiloh Keo this week. Reed should also see a little playing time, but I’d say it’ll be Keo, Swearinger and then Reed in the rotation.
Griffin also has a good chance to play for the Texans, as the Texans like their tight ends and have been really impressed by Griffin over the preseason.
As for the rest, they’ll definitely be suited up for the Texans, but I’d say there’s only about a 30% chance that they make it on the field Monday.
As for the Chargers’ rookies, Manti Te’o will not play in this game after spraining his ankle in the preseason opener. D.J. Fluker is starting at right tackle, and wide receiver Keenan Allen could see some significant playing time. Tourek Williams is playing behind new (for the Chargers) outside linebacker Dwight Freeney.
Cooper Welch is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cooperwelch1991, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also listen to his Locker Room podcast on iTunes.