Transactions are not official until announced by the Texans, but Mark Berman of FOX 26 is one of several reporting that Vickers was released on Monday.
Vickers, 28, signed with the Texans last offseason as a free agent from the Cleveland Browns. He played in 14 games with one start in 2011, helping Arian Foster and Ben Tate combine for 2,166 rushing yards. If he is indeed released, it would leave converted tight end James Casey as the lone fullback on the Texans’ roster.
Tags: Eric Winston, Free agency, James Casey, Lawrence Vickers, Matt Leinart
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Texans quarterback Matt Leinart will be waived on Tuesday before the start of free agency at 3 p.m. CT, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. The move has not been announced by the team and, as such, is not official.
“I appreciate and thank Mr McNair and the Texans organization for giving me the opportunity to play,” Leinart said. “I will miss the Texans fans and most importantly my teammates. I have no time to get down, focus is on getting healthy and being ready to go again!”
Leinart, 28, joined the Texans as a backup in 2010. He got a long-awaited chance to play in 2011 after Matt Schaub broke his foot in Week 10 at Tampa Bay, but he lasted less than two quarters before suffering a broken collarbone in Week 12 at Jacksonville. Rookie fifth-round draft pick T.J. Yates stepped in for Leinart and led the Texans to their first AFC South title and first playoff victory in franchise history.
Tags: Eric Winston, Free agency, Matt Leinart, Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates
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In the wake of reports that Arian Foster has agreed to terms on a five-year contract to remain with the Texans, congratulations have poured in for the two-time Pro Bowl running back on Twitter.
Here’s a sampling of the comments from his teammates, NFL peers and others:
@MikeMcCartney7: Congrats to @ArianFoster for agreeing to a 5 year contract with the @HoustonTexans! Arian has showed tremendous class the last couple years.
@MSchaub8: Congrats to @ArianFoster for reaching a five year deal. Much derserved.
@DuaneBrown76: Congrats to my dawg @ArianFoster signing a new deal. Truly a special player that works very hard. Well deserved bruh
@JJWatt: Congrats to @ArianFoster on agreeing to a new 5-year deal! Very well deserved. #Texans
@briancushing56: Couldn’t be happier for my boy @ArianFoster. Very well deserved no one has worked harder.
@GloverQuin29: Congrats to my homie @ArianFoster on the new deal.. Well deserved my brotha..
@grah89ham: Congrats @ArianFoster. Well Deserved
@TJ_Yates: Congrats @ArianFoster on the new deal! Hard works pays off!
@34dombarber:Congrats to the homie @ArianFoster on his new contract! Kid works hard and never complains.. #canigetthatmixtapedoe lol
@MattLeinartQB: To echo my teammates, congrats to @ArianFoster for reaching a new deal. No one is more deserving!
@vleach44: Congrats to @ArianFoster well deserved now it’s time for @RayRice27 to get paid #showmethemoney
@RayRice27: Congrats to the bro @ArianFoster well deserved #respect
@HannahStormESPN: Congrats @ArianFoster And @HoustonTexans fans! RT @AdamSchefter: Texans and Foster agree on a five-year, $43.5 m deal $20.75 guaranteed
Tags: Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, Dominique Barber, Duane Brown, Free agency, Garrett Graham, Glover Quin, J.J. Watt, Matt Leinart, Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates
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Jason La Canfora of NFL Network broke the news via Twitter on Tuesday morning. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday afternoon that he received confirmation of Knapp’s move to Oakland from Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. Nothing official has been announced by the Texans or Raiders at this time.
Knapp, 48, was an NFL offensive coordinator for nine seasons before joining the Texans’ staff in 2010. He was the Raiders’ offensive coordinator from 2007-08. New Raiders head coach Dennis Allen coached with Knapp in Atlanta from 2004-05.
Knapp received high praise from Kubiak this season for his work with rookie quarterback T.J. Yates following injuries to quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart. He also spent countless hours with late-season veteran additions Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia to get them up to speed on the Texans’ playbook. The Texans used four different quarterbacks and had six on the roster in 2011.
Tags: Gary Kubiak, Greg Knapp, Matt Leinart, Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates
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Here are the highlights:
- Kubiak confirmed that quarterback Matt Leinart will miss the rest of the season with a fractured collarbone. He also said the Texans will sign a veteran quarterback to take his place on the roster. Rookie T.J. Yates is now the Texans’ starting quarterback, and recently-signed Kellen Clemens will be his backup at least for this week.
- Kubiak called an ultra-conservative game plan in the second half with Yates on Sunday, but it wasn’t for lack of confidence in the rookie. He did it to protect Yates, who was the Texans’ last quarterback standing, and keep the Texans from having to use tight end/emergency backup Owen Daniels under center. “I love O.D., but I don’t know if he could’ve gotten us over the top,” Kubiak said. “I was trying to make sure (Yates) was upright the whole half. We had a two-score lead and the way we were playing defense, I made sure that I didn’t put him in a bad situation. I’m not scared to go call the game or have any hold-back at all. We’ll go play. We’ll give him his opportunity to play just like everybody else.”
- Kubiak shot down a question about what it’s like to be 8-3 but feeling down because of all the Texans’ injuries. “I’m not down,” he said. “I’ve got some issues on my hands, but I’m not down. This team is not down. I want everyone to know that. I want the city to know that. We’re excited about our opportunity. It has been very challenging, but hey, that’s part of life. You get some challenges, you’ve got to step to the plate and find a way to get it done.”
- Kubiak said the Texans named outside linebacker Connor Barwin and rookie defensive end J.J. Watt co-defensive MVPs of Sunday’s game. Barwin had a team-record four sacks, two other quarterback hits and 10 tackles. Watt had two sacks, seven tackles and batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. “There hasn’t been a game this year where we’ve given a player of the game to two players, and we could not separate those two guys in this game,” Kubiak said. “They were exceptional.”
- Wide receiver Andre Johnson (hamstring) and free safety Danieal Manning (fibula) were both “fine” after returning from injuries on Sunday, Kubiak said. Johnson was targeted three times and caught two passes for 22 yards, both from Yates in the fourth quarter. Kubiak wishes he had given Johnson about 10-12 less snaps in his first action since Week 4. “Dang it, I had him in there too many plays,” Kubiak said. “He got tired on me. He took a step forward. It’s going to take a few weeks for him to get back to himself, but for the progress he’s made to play yesterday and come out of the game OK, I feel good about that.” Manning, who had been out since Week 7, played about 30 snaps and made a tackle on the Jaguars’ first play of the game. “He came out fine, feeling good,” Kubiak said. “I just walked past him in the locker room—very upbeat. It’s amazing what he’s done.”
Tags: Andre Johnson, Connor Barwin, Danieal Manning, Gary Kubiak, J.J. Watt, Kellen Clemens, Kubiak day-after pressers, Matt Leinart, Owen Daniels, T.J. Yates
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JACKSONVILLE — Courtesy of the Texans’ communications staff, here are the postgame notes from the Texans’ 20-13 victory over the Jaguars in Week 12 at EverBank Field.
· Improved Houston’s record to 8-3 on the season, marking the best record in team history through 11 games and the first time in team history that the Texans have been five games over .500.
· Extended the team’s winning streak to five games, which is the longest in team history in a single season. Houston won six consecutive games from the end of the 2009 season through the start of the 2010 season.
· Gave Houston a sweep of the season series with Jacksonville for the third time and the second under head coach Gary Kubiak. Houston last swept Jacksonville in 2006.
· Improved Houston’s all-time record against the Jaguars to 11-9 overall and 4-6 at Jacksonville.
· Improved Houston’s record within the AFC South to 4-0 this season. The four wins within the division matches the most in franchise history. Houston went 4-2 against AFC South foes in 2004.
HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK
· Improved his career record to 45-46 overall, 17-29 on the road and 7-5 against Jacksonville.
· Held the Jaguars to 13 points, marking the fifth consecutive game and the eighth game overall this season in which the Texans held their opponent to 20 or fewer points.
· Matched the franchise record with seven sacks in the game, matching the performance on 11/27/05 vs. St. Louis.
· Have recorded 4.0 or more sacks in three consecutive games.
· Increased the team’s season total to 35, which is tied for the second-most in franchise history. The Texans also had 35 sacks in 2002, while the team record is 37 sacks in 2005.
· Were tied after the first quarter for the first time this season. Houston has led after one period nine times and trailed once.
· Led at halftime for the ninth time, improving to 7-2 in those games; and led after the third quarter for the 10th time this season, improving to 8-2 in those games.
· Intercepted a pass for the 10th consecutive game.
· Scored a field goal following their second-quarter takeaway, giving them 93 points off of 21 takeaways on the season. Houston has scored following 15 of their 21 takeaways.
· Ran the ball 31 times for 88 yards in the game. It was the eighth time this season that Houston rushed 30 or more times, and the Texans are a perfect 8-0 in those games. Houston is 31-3 under head coach Gary Kubiak when rushing 30 or more times.
· Lost the time of possession battle for just the second time this season, holding the ball for 28:21. Houston evened its record at 1-1 when trailing in time of possession.
· Team captains were WR Andre Johnson and C Chris Myers on offense, ILB Brian Cushing, ILB DeMeco Ryans and DE Antonio Smith on defense and K Neil Rackers representing the special teams.
· The Jaguars won the toss and elected to receive.
OLB CONNOR BARWIN
· Set the franchise record with his fourth sack of the game when he tackled Jacksonville QB Luke McCown for a loss of 13 yards late in the fourth quarter. The previous record was 3.5 sacks by Mario Williams vs. Denver on 12/13/07.
· Has now recorded at least one sack in three consecutive games.
· Also sacked Jacksonville starting QB Blaine Gabbert for losses of 6 yards and 3 yards in the second quarter, as well as a 10-yard loss in the third quarter.
· Set a career single-game high with a team-leading 10 tackles, including seven solos. His previous high was four tackles earlier this year vs. Pittsburgh (10/2).
TE OWEN DANIELS
· Extended his streak of consecutive games with a reception to 64 with a catch for a 1-yard loss in the first quarter.
TE JOEL DREESSEN
· Caught his team-high fourth touchdown pass of the season when he hauled in a 20-yard toss from QB Matt Leinart in the second quarter. His four touchdown catches this season equals his career high from a year ago.
RB ARIAN FOSTER
· Scored from a yard out in the first quarter, giving him seven rushing touchdowns on the year and 27 for his career.
· Has now run for at least one touchdown in five consecutive games, which ties his longest career streak and is tied for the second-longest streak in team history. Domanick Williams rushed for touchdowns in six consecutive games to end the 2004 season.
P BRETT HARTMANN
· Set a season and career high with 10 punts in the game and tied a season and career high with three punts downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. His 10 punts were tied for the second-most in Texans history and were the most since Chad Stanley did so at Jacksonville on 12/7/03.
WR ANDRE JOHNSON
· Extended his team-record streak of consecutive games played with a reception to 80 with a 14-yard reception in the third quarter.
J· Caught the 700th pass of his career on an 8-yard reception in the third quarter. He became the second-fastest player to reach 700 catches in NFL history, doing so in his 120th career game. Marvin Harrison reached the mark in 114 games. The reception also moved Johnson into 34th on the League’s all-time receptions list, passing Gary Clark (699).
WR JACOBY JONES
· Returned a second-quarter punt 42 yards to set up a Texans touchdown. It was his fourth punt return of 40 yards or longer this season.
· Set a team single-game record with 116 punt return yards, including returns of 42 and 28 yards. The previous mark was 100 yards, also by Jones, at Arizona on 10/11/09.
CB JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
· Intercepted his fourth pass of the season when he picked off a deep pass from Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert in the second quarter. All of Joseph’s interceptions this season have come on the road. He returned the interception 29 yards.
QB MATT LEINART
· Made his first start as a Texan and his first overall since 11/29/09 at Tennessee as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.
· Threw his first touchdown pass as a Texan, hitting TE Joel Dreessen for a 20-yard score in the second quarter. It was his first touchdown pass since 12/21/08 at New England as an Arizona Cardinal.
· Finished the game with 57 passing yards, completing 10-of-13 attempts with one touchdown and no interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 110.1.
CB SHERRICK McMANIS
· Returned a first-quarter kickoff 45 yards, which was the longest of his career. His previous long was 26 yards earlier this year vs. Cleveland (11/6).
C CHRIS MYERS
· Started his 75th consecutive game and played in his 100th career game.
K NEIL RACKERS
· Played in his 175th career game.
· Connected on a 53-yard field goal in the second quarter. It was his third field goal of 50 or more yards this season and was his second-longest field goal of the season. He hit a 54-yarder vs. Oakland (10/9).
· Hit his second field goal of the game, a 33-yard attempt, in the second quarter. The kick gave him 8 points in the game and 1,124 for his career, moving him past Ray Wersching for 35th on the NFL’s all-time kick scoring list.
OLB BROOKS REED
· Registered a sack in his fifth consecutive game when he dropped Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert in the third quarter. His streak is the second-longest in team history behind Mario Williams’ six-game streak in 2007.
· Set the Texans rookie sack record. His third-quarter sack gave him 6.0 on the season, topping Amobi Okoye’s total of 5.5 from 2007.
ILB DeMECO RYANS
· Started his 80th game for the Texans, moving him into fifth on the franchise’s all-time start list ahead of CB Dunta Robinson (2004-09).
DE J.J. WATT
· Set a career single-game high with his second sack of the game when he dropped Gabbert for a 9-yard loss in the fourth quarter. The sack gave him 4.5 on the season.
· Also sacked Jacksonville QB Blaine Gabbert for a 6-yard loss in the third quarter. The sack gave him 3.5 for the season and sacks in consecutive games for the first time in his career. He had a half-sack at Tampa Bay (11/13).
· Registered a career-high seven tackles, including five solos. His previous high was six tackles in Week 10 at Tampa Bay (11/13).
QB T.J. YATES
· Made his NFL debut when he came on in the second quarter in relief of starting QB Matt Leinart. He finished the game with 70 passing yards, completing 8-of-15 attempts with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 66.0.
· Completed his first career pass attempt, hitting TE Owen Daniels for a 5-yard gain.
· Became the first Texans rookie QB to take the field since Dave Ragone did so in 2003. Ragone went 11-of-23 for 71 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in his debut at Jacksonville on 12/7/03.
Tags: Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Brett Hartmann, Brooks Reed, Connor Barwin, Gary Kubiak, J.J. Watt, Jacoby Jones, Johnathan Joseph, Matt Leinart, Owen Daniels, Postgame notes, T.J. Yates, Texans-Jaguars Week 12
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JACKSONVILLE — Texans quarterback Matt Leinart was knocked of out today’s game against the Jaguars with a left shoulder injury late in the second quarter. It was announced at halftime that he would not return.
Rookie fifth-round pick T.J. Yates replaced Leinart, who was making his first start in place of the injured Matt Schaub.
Click here for more on the story.
Tags: Matt Leinart, T.J. Yates
Posted in Nick Scurfield | 2 Comments »
Sitting in his office two days before Leinart’s first start since 2009, Knapp talked at length about Leinart’s preparations, his strengths as a passer and how he fits in the Texans’ offense. You can listen to the entire thing in this podcast. Here are some of the highlights from the interview:
On how excited he is for Leinart: “Very much excited for Matt. He deserves an opportunity to play, and unfortunately, it’s in a tough circumstance for us because of all the respect we have for Matt Schaub, but Matt Leinart has put the extra work in required to be a starter in this league. He’s won games in this league as a starter and just came into a tough situation there where it didn’t work out for him as well for him in Arizona, so the fact that he’s been fortunate enough to be in a position to get a chance to play again, he’s very excited about it, just like we’re excited for him.”
On the “extra work” Leinart has put in: “It started last year. When he first got here, he came here after training camp, so he would meet with me at 6:15 in the morning before we started our 7 o’clock meetings with the players, and he would start learning little bit parts of the offense and we’d watch practice tape on him and his footwork and his mechanics and we’d try to start working his knowledge of our system along with the physical part of our system for him to improve in his game. He did that throughout the 16 weeks of last year’s season, and then after practice on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and also on gamedays, three hours prior to kickoff since he was the third quarterback for us, he came out and worked on individual mechanics on the field with different receivers, tight ends and sometimes just with the other QB, worked on his little nuances of dropback play that we felt were important to improve his game.”
On how much the Texans’ play-action game fits Leinart’s skill set: “It fits him real well. I’m kind of in a unique position here because I was with the Oakland Raiders when Lane Kiffin got the head job. Lane had just finished being the co-offensive coordinator at USC when Matt Leinart was there… and so the offense that he put in at Oakland was similar to what we do here. And so it was very familiar for me to see the different types of play-calling and plays they used with what we do here, and I’ve known for a fact that USC studied a lot of Gary Kubiak’s offense over the years. So, sometimes in this business like it is in any other profession it’s not so much when you get drafted but the right fit, and maybe Arizona wasn’t the right fit once they changed head coaches there from Denny Green to Ken Whisenhunt. Here, it seems to be the right fit for him from a scheme standpoint.”
On the year Schaub was having: “He really did a great job of protecting the ball. He had only one interception in the last five games before he got hurt here. It was a 2.1 interception percentage, so he was going towards that direction of a 2.0 or better, which is outstanding in this business. He had his highest touchdown percentage passing so far in his career as a starter at 5.1, and when he unfortunately got his injury, he was second in the NFL in yards per pass play… You really can evaluate a guy by what is his yards per pass play, and he was second in the NFL at that and had a top-five QB rating. He was playing very well and doing the right things with the ball in his hand and helping this team stay on schedule, as we say, on first and second down and get us a top-five ranking in third-down conversions.”
On Yates’ development: “He’s done a very good job at practice. Now, you never know until live bullets, but as the season has progressed, you can see him growing with confidence, a feeling of acceptance that he deserves to be here. It’s still an unknown factor for us, at what level can he play when he becomes a starter, but obviously as a rookie you’re always going to have some growing pains. But as far as when we handle him in the classroom and he answers the questions right, and the way we quiz our guys and keep ‘em on top of their progressions and what the defenses are doing, he’s very much into the game. He has a natural trait to be able to get rid of the ball pretty fast in the pocket and sees the field well. So far, he’s shown us the right things you want to see from a rookie quarterback. Obviously, what he lacks is playing experience.”
On how comfortable Leinart is with the playbook: “He’s proven to us on the classroom and in the practice time that he’s had, he’s got a good understanding of the majority of the offense. I wouldn’t say as much as obviously as Matt (Schaub) did, but it’s not like we’re cutting back a whole lot. We’re making sure that whatever he’s not comfortable with, we don’t need to put in. So he’s really handled a majority of what we normally would do, and so we expect him to kind of just step in there like every other position on this team has had to do, it seems like. The D-line, the linebackers, the receivers at one time, the running backs one time, some guy’s had to step up. And Leinart has seen that, and he feels like, ‘It’s my turn to do that. Don’t slow down for me; you didn’t slow down for those other guys. Let’s get this ship going in the same direction.’”
On Leinart’s leadership on the field: “He’s got a switch that goes on when he’s in charge of the huddle. He really takes command and has good eye contact with everybody, gives the little reminders to them. It reassures the players in that huddle that he’s got a good grasp of our offense because of the little reminders he gives and the way he eye-contacts the different players. If he makes a mistake, he’ll be the one that goes and tells that receiver or that lineman that, ‘Hey, I didn’t take the right drop,’ or, ‘I made a bad pass.’ He doesn’t try to point fingers at anybody else other than himself. He always starts with himself if there’s a mistake, and he wants to know if he can make it better for the team. So by doing those little things on a daily basis, no a play-to-play basis, the players will play harder for you.”
Tags: Greg Knapp, Matt Leinart, Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates
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Based on his time with Leinart in Arizona and Houston, Smith thinks Leinart is going to surprise a lot of people on Sunday when he makes his first start since 2009.
“I’m looking forward to Matt playing, man,” Smith said on Friday. “It’s been a while. Sometimes in this game, you can get a rough shake and never get a chance to redeem yourself. With everybody’s thoughts and their preconceived notions of what Matt is, I’ve always thought he was a good quarterback. When he came in that first year with us in Arizona, he took right off. Kurt (Warner) actually turned on that next year, so then it kind of messed things up.
“But you know, I’m proud of him. He dun’ brought himself a long way, and I can’t wait for him to light it up. I think that’s what he’s going to do. I’m going to do my part to help him out, but I think he’s going to light it up.”
Leinart started 11 games as a rookie, throwing for 2,547 yards and going 4-2 in his final six games. He went 3-2 in 2007 before suffering a season-ending injury. He sat on the bench in 2008 as Warner led Arizona to the Super Bowl.
When Leinart first signed with the Texans in 2010, Smith said that Leinart didn’t fit Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt’s system as well as Warner, and that Whisenhunt seemed to believe in Warner a bit more than Leinart.
“It kind of, in my opinion, threw his confidence off or something like that,” Smith said at the time. “But this is a new beginning. You can make a new life for yourself, and it’s up to you. I think it’s in his own destiny. I think that he’s got all the skills you need… You’ve just got to find whatever it is you need to find to reach the level that everybody wants you to play at.”
It sounds like Leinart has done all of that in his season-and-a-half in Houston, at least to the extent possible in practice as a backup. Two days from now, we’ll start to find out if it carries over to the real thing.
Tags: Antonio Smith, Matt Leinart
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The Texans have lost quarterback Matt Schaub for the foreseeable future, if not the rest of the season. But it’s not all bad news at Reliant Stadium this week.
On Tuesday, All-Pro wide receiver Andre Johnson made it clearer than ever that he will return in Week 12 to face the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I feel like I’m ready,” Johnson said. “Right now, I have no doubt that I’ll be out on the field next Sunday. I plan on playing.”
Johnson has missed the last six games with a hamstring injury after having a surgical procedure on Oct. 4. He has played in only four games this season but still ranks third on the team in catches (25) and receiving yards (352). He’s tied for sixth in the NFL with 88.0 receiving yards per game; the next-closest Texan is tight end Owen Daniels at 55.6.
Matt Leinart will now be throwing to Johnson instead of Schaub, who has helped Johnson average 95.9 receiving yards per game since 2007 (he averaged 64.8 from 2003-06). Johnson and Leinart have never played in a game together, including preseason, but Johnson expressed plenty of confidence in Leinart on Tuesday.
Not surprisingly, Leinart is excited about adding Johnson to an offense that ranks eighth in the NFL despite his six-game absence.
“Everyone has made plays, every single body on this offense,” Leinart said. “The offensive line is blocking for the pass and run game, all the receivers, tight ends, all the backs. It’s a great offense to be a part of, and now we get the best receiver in the NFL back, which is awesome to have, especially how we’ve been playing the last three or four weeks. That’s going to be great.”
Tags: Andre Johnson, Matt Leinart, Matt Schaub
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