TEXANS WITH CONNECTIONS TO COLORADO
OLB Jesse Nading (Highlands Ranch; Colorado State); Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison (Rocky Mountain H.S. in Fort Collins; CSU); OL Coach John Benton (Durango/Colorado State); Offensive Assistant Dan Hammerschmidt (played at CSU from 1982-85 and coached there in 1986, 1997-2006 and 2010-11); DB Coach Vance Joseph (played at Colorado from 1990-94 and coached there 1999-01 and 2002-03); Assistant WR Coach Marc Lubick (coached at CSU from 2000-02 and 2005-09).
BRONCOS WITH CONNECTIONS TO TEXAS
G/C Philip Blake (Baylor); LB Von Miller (DeSoto, Texas A&M); G Manny Ramirez (Houston, Texas Tech); C J.D. Walton (Baylor); Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio (played for Dallas Cowboys 1989-91); Special Teams Coordinator Jeff Rodgers (Westlake H.S.; North Texas); TE Coach Clancy Barone (coached at Texas State, University of Houston and Texas A&M); Secondary Coach Ron Milus (coached at Texas A&M); DL Coach Jay Rodgers (Austin); WR Coach Tyke Tolbert (Conroe).
FORMER BRONCOS ON THE TEXANS
C Chris Myers (2005-07); T Ryan Harris (2007-11); Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith was an assistant defensive backs coach for the Broncos from 1996-99 before working in the personnel department from 2000-06; Head Coach Gary Kubiak (played for the Broncos, from 1983-91 and coached there from 1995-2005); Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison (played there from 1982-90 and coached there from 1995-09); Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips (head coach from 1989-1994); QB Coach Karl Dorrell (coached there 2000-02); WR Coach Larry Kirksey (coached there in 2004); TE Coach Brian Pariani (coached there from 1995-04); Assistant OL Coach Jim Ryan (played there from 1979-88 and coached there from 2004-08); Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Cedric Smith worked there from 2001-06; Director of Football Operations Doug West was the head equipment manager for the Broncos from 1993-2003.
FORMER TEXANS ON THE BRONCOS
TE Joel Dreessen (2007-11); NT Mitch Unrein went to training camp with the Texans in 2010; LB Coach Richard Smith (was Texans defensive coordinator from 2006-08).
TEXANS-BRONCOS COLLEGE CONNECTIONS
Texans RB Arian Foster (2004-08) played at Tennessee with Broncos DE Robert Ayers (2004-08) and P Britton Colquitt (2004-08); Texans CB Brice McCain (2005-2008) played for Utah with Broncos G Zane Beadles (2005-09); Texans ILB Mister Alexander (2006-10) played for Florida State with Broncos CB Tony Carter (2004-08); Texans OLB Jesse Nading (2004-07) played for Colorado State with Broncos TE Joel Dreessen (2001-04) and QB Caleb Hanie (2004-07); Texans CB Brandon Harris (2008-10) played for Miami with Broncos T Orlando Franklin (2007-10); Texans NT Earl Mitchell (2006-09) and OLB Brooks Reed (2007-10) played at Arizona with Broncos FB Chris Gronkowski (2007-09); Texans TE Owen Daniels (2002-05) played for Wisconsin with Broncos S Jim Leonhard (2001-04); Texans WR Andre Johnson (1999-02) played for Miami with Broncos RB Willis McGahee (2000-02); Texans C Ben Jones (2008-11) played for Georgia with Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno (2006-08); Texans G Andrew Gardner (2005-08) played for Georgia Tech with Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (2006-08); Texans LS Jon Weeks (2004-06) played for Baylor with Broncos C J.D. Walton (2006-09); Broncos WR Matthew Willis (2005) played at UCLA when Texans QB Coach Karl Dorrell (2003-07) coached there; Texans ILB Bradie James (1999-02) and P Donnie Jones (2000-2003) played at LSU when Denver QB Coach Adam Gase (2000-02) coached there; Dorrell (1992-93) coached at Colorado State with Broncos OL Coach Dave Magazu (1992-94); Dreessen (2001-04) played for Colorado State when Texans OL Coach John Benton (1995-03) coached there; Broncos DT Mitch Unrein (2005-09) played at Wyoming when Texans Offensive Assistant Dan Hammerschmidt (2009) coached there; Hanie (2004-07) played at Colorado State when Hammerschmidt (2001-07) and Texans Assistant WR Coach Marc Lubick (2005-07) coached there; Broncos DT Justin Bannan (1997-01) played at Colorado when Texans DB Coach Vance Joseph (1999-01) coached there; Texans Assistant LB Coach Bobby King (2006-07) coached at Baylor when Walton (2006-09) played there.
TEXANS-BRONCOS PRO CONNECTIONS
Texans RB Justin Forsett (2008) played for Indianapolis with Broncos RB Lance Ball (2008), TE Jacob Tamme (2008-11), and QB Peyton Manning (1998-2011); Texans P Donnie Jones (2007-11) played for St. Louis with Broncos DT Justin Bannan (2011); Texans QB John Beck (2009) played for Baltimore with Bannan (2006-09); Texans CB Alan Ball (2007-11) and ILB Bradie James (2003-11) played for Dallas with Broncos LB Keith Brooking (2009-11); Texans QB Matt Schaub (2004- 06) played for Atlanta with Brooking (1998-08); Texans CB Johnathan Joseph (2006-10), K Shayne Graham (2003-09), and T Andrew Gardner (2011) played for Cincinnati with Broncos WR Andre Caldwell (2008-11); Graham (2010) played for New England with Broncos CB Tony Carter (2010) and C Dan Koppen (2003-11); Ball (2007-11) and James (2003-11) played for Dallas with Broncos FB Chris Gronkowski (2010); Texans FS Danieal Manning (2006-10) played for Chicago with Broncos QB Caleb Hanie (2008-11); Texans FS Quintin Demps (2008-09) played for Philadelphia with Broncos LB Joe Mays (2008-09); Beck (2009) and Gardner (2010) played for Baltimore with Broncos RB Willis McGahee (2007-10); Texans NT Shaun Cody (2005-08) played for Detroit with Broncos G Manny Ramirez (2007-10); Forsett (2008-11) played for Seattle with Broncos WR Brandon Stokley (2010); Jones (2005-06) played for Miami with Broncos DT Kevin Vickerson (2006); Graham (2002) played for Carolina when Broncos Head Coach John Fox (2002-10), Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio (2002) and Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy (2000-08) coached there; Texans WR Coach Larry Kirksey (2003) coached at Jacksonville with Del Rio (2003-11); Texans ILB Tim Dobbins (2008-09) played for San Diego when Broncos Barone (2007-08) coached there; Schaub (2004-06) played for Atlanta when Barone (2004-06) coached there; Jones (2007-11) played for St. Louis when Milus (2006-08) coached there; Jones (2005-06) and LG Wade Smith (2003-05) played for Miami when Richard Smith (2005) coached there.
Tags: Brian Pariani, Cedric Smith, Chris Myers, Dan Hammerschmidt, Doug West, Gary Kubiak, Jesse Nading, Jim Ryan, John Benton, Karl Dorrell, Larry Kirksey, Marc Lubick, Rick Dennison, Rick Smith, Ryan Harris, Vance Joseph, Wade Phillips
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- Improved Houston’s all-time preseason record to 17-25, 8-13 on the road and 6-5 in preseason openers.
- Improved the Texans’ preseason record against Carolina to 1-0.
- Improved Houston’s record in preseason games against NFC South opponents to 6-9 all-time.
- Improved head coach Gary Kubiak’s career preseason record to 14-11 and 5-2 in preseason openers.
- The Texans outrushed the Panthers, gaining 174 yards on the ground to Carolina’s 61.
- The Texans outgained the Panthers overall, 375 to 137. The Texans defense limited Carolina to 12 first downs.
- The Texans dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 37:41.
- The Texans’ starting defense forced a three-and-out in each of their first two series of the preseason, holding the Panthers offense to one yard of net offense on the two drives.
- The Texans defense recorded two takeaways, an interception and a fumble recovery. The two takeaways along with a fumble and an interception by the offense gave Houston an even turnover margin in the game.
- The Texans defense registered eight total sacks, with six different players accounting for them.
- The Texans’ starting offense drove 65 yards in nine plays for a field goal on its first possession of the preseason, capping the drive with a 20-yard field goal from K Shayne Graham.
- The Texans rushed for 174 yards in the game, marking the fourth time in three years under offensive coordinator Rick Dennison that the Texans have rushed for more than 170 yards in a preseason game.
- The Texans led 10-3 at the end of the first quarter, were tied at halftime, 13-13, and led after three quarters 23-13.
- The Panthers won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.
INDIVIDUAL PLAYER NOTES
- QB John Beck finished the night 4-of-6 for 46 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 89.6. Beck engineered the Texans’ first touchdown drive of the night, an 11-play, 61-yard march in the third quarter.
- OLB Bryan Braman sacked Carolina QB Jimmy Clausen for 5-yard loss early in the fourth quarter. It was his first sack in the preseason and the defense’s fifth of the night.
- K Randy Bullock capped the Texans’ scoring with a 52-yard field goal in the fourth quarter following the two-minute warning. Bullock was 2-of-2 on the night with the 52-yarder and a 21-yarder in the second quarter.
- ILB Tim Dobbins sacked Carolina QB Derek Anderson for a 7-yard loss in the second quarter. It was Houston’s third sack of the first half.
- Dobbins teamed with OLB Whitney Mercilus to sack Carolina QB Jimmy Clausen for a 9-yard loss in the third quarter. The sack gave each of them 1.5 for the game.
- K Shayne Graham was perfect on both of his field goal attempts, hitting from 20 yards in the first quarter and from 37 yards in the third quarter.
- RB Jonathan Grimes scored the Texans’ first offensive touchdown of the preseason on a 3-yard run in the third quarter. The score came as the result of an interception and capped an 11-play, 61-yard drive.
- WR Trindon Holliday returned a first-quarter kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. It was the second kickoff return for a score in team preseason history. WR Reggie Swinton had a 102-yard return for touchdown in 2005 at Dallas (8/27/05). Holliday finished the game with 182 total return yards, including 159 in kickoff returns.
- OLB Whitney Mercilus registered the first sack of his career when he dropped Carolina QB Derek Anderson for a 4-yard loss in the second quarter.
- Mercilus teamed with ILB Tim Dobbins to sack Carolina QB Jimmy Clausen for a 9-yard loss in the third quarter. The sack gave each of them 1.5 for the game.
- OLB Jesse Nading sacked Carolina QB Jimmy Clausen for a 5-yard loss in the fourth quarter. It was the sixth sack of the night for the Texans defense.
- FS Troy Nolan intercepted a pass on Carolina’s opening drive of the third quarter, setting up an eventual touchdown. It was his third career interception in preseason play after he had two picks in the 2011 preseason.
- OLB Brooks Reed registered a sack for a 10-yard loss on Houston’s second defensive series.
- QB Matt Schaub finished the night 3-of-6 for 52 yards with no touchdowns and one interception. He led three drives: a 9-play, 65-yard scoring drive; a 1-play, 11-yard drive that ended with a fumble; and a 2-play, 12-yard drive that ended with an interception. His final passer rating was 40.3.
- QB T.J. Yates led a 16-play, 68-yard drive in his first action of the night. The drive was capped by a 21-yard field goal from K Randy Bullock.
- Yates completed 8-of-12 pass attempts for 89 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 88.5.
- Texans scratches included DE Jared Crick, ILB Brian Cushing, LB Keyaron Fox, ILB Omar Gaither, NT Ra’Shon Harris, WR Jerrell Jackson, WR Andre Johnson, WR Bryant Johnson, DE J.J. Watt and ILB Greg Williams.
Tags: Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing, Brooks Reed, Bryan Braman, Bryant Johnson, Gary Kubiak, Greg Williams, J.J. Watt, Jared Crick, Jerrel Jackson, Jesse Nading, John Beck, Jonathan Grimes, Keyaron Fox, Matt Schaub, Omar Gaither, Ra'Shon Haris, Randy Bullock, Rick Dennison, Shayne Graham, T.J. Yates, Texans-Panthers Preseason Game 1, Tim Dobbins, Trindon Holliday, Troy Nolan, Whitney Mercilus
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Texans head coach Gary Kubiak had a big smile on his face when he found out wide receiver Rod Smith was elected to the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame on Thursday.
Kubiak was Smith’s offensive coordinator in Denver from 1995-2005, winning back-to-back Super Bowls in Smith’s first two seasons as a starter in 1997 and 1998.
“I’m not surprised,” Kubiak said in his office at Reliant Stadium. “Of all my time in Denver, obviously we had some great players through those championship years, but no greater example of what it is to be a pro and be a great leader and a great Bronco than Rod Smith, in the community and on the field.”
Smith went undrafted out of Missouri Southern State in 1994. After a year on the Broncos’ practice squad, he made the active roster in 1995, Kubiak’s first season on the Denver coaching staff.
Smith went on to set Broncos franchise records in receptions (849), receiving yards (11,389) and receiving touchdowns (68) in a 12-year career that featured three Pro Bowls (2000-01, 2005) and eight 1,000-yard seasons. He will be inducted into the Ring of Fame at halftime of the Texans’ Week 3 game at Denver on Sept. 23.
“He was a free agent who made his way up through football the hard way and then became a great player,” Kubiak said. “I still recall that big play (80-yard touchdown catch) he made in the Super Bowl against Atlanta, but he made many of those. For me as a coach, he was always the guy in the meeting room that held things together. I can’t tell you how many times I would get upset or something and he would walk over to me and tap on the shoulder and say, ‘I got him,’ or, ‘I got it,’ like, ‘I’ll go take care of that; you don’t worry about it.’ Great man, great person, great football player. Very happy for him, and I guess that’ll be exciting to see when we go down there.”
Smith’s best two seasons came in 2000 (100 catches, 1,602 yards, 8 TDs) and 2001 (113 catches, 1,343 yards, 11 TDs).
“Rod was an unselfish player,” Kubiak said. “Did a lot of dirty work for our football team, kind of like Kevin Walter does for the Houston Texans, as a blocker and those types of things. Here’s a guy who went from a free agent to a leader of a World Championship football team, and you can’t say much more than that.
“He’s a prototype football player. That’s what you’re looking for. A lot of guys have talent. There are guys that can run 4.4 and there’s guys that can run 4.6 and play like they’re 4.4, and that’s what Rod was. He played faster – he played better – than everything said he was supposed to play. He was very smart, had it all under control and did it all in one place for many years. That doesn’t happen very often nowadays, so hats off to him.”
Texans quarterbacks coach Karl Dorrell was Smith’s wide receivers coach in Denver from 2000-02. Texans general manager Rick Smith, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, tight ends coach Brian Pariani and wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey also were on Denver’s staff during Smith’s tenure with the team.
Tags: Brian Pariani, Gary Kubiak, Karl Dorrell, Kevin Walter, Larry Kirksey, Rick Dennison, Rick Smith
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The Texans have hired Karl Dorrell as their new quarterbacks coach, according to reports from the Houston Chronicle and KRIV-TV FOX 26 Sports. Nothing official has been announced by the Texans at this time.
Dorrell, 48, was rumored to be a candidate for the job last week after Greg Knapp left to become offensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders. He spent the last four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, working as quarterbacks coach last season. He was the head coach at UCLA from 2003-07 and an offensive coordinator on the college level for seven seasons.
Dorrell worked with Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison from 2000-02 in Denver, where he served as the Broncos’ wide receivers coach.
Tags: Coaching news, Gary Kubiak, Karl Dorrell, Rick Dennison
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Among players, 14 of 53 (26.4 percent) on the active roster have played in a postseason game. In other words, 39 of 53 (73.6 percent) have not. The Texans have a total of 53 games of playoff experience on the roster, including four Super Bowl appearances.
Will that be a factor against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday? Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, who has been to six Super Bowls as a player and coach, was asked Tuesday about overcoming his team’s lack of playoff experience.
“I don’t know that answer,” he said. “I mean, I’ve been asked so many times. It is what it is. From that standpoint, as far as our players, maybe that’s a good thing that they don’t have a lot of things to pull from. It’s just, ‘Go play it like any other game.’ They know that the result – the biggest factor – you can move on. If you don’t play well, you’re not moving on, you’re going home. They all understand that, but this is the Houston Texans’ first taste of a playoff game.”
Kubiak said that playoff-tested veterans Antonio Smith and Danieal Manning have stepped up as leaders this week, passing along “a lot of great information” to their teammates – not to mention taking things up a notch on the practice field.
“Watching Danieal Manning practice today and watching him prepare – if you’re his teammate, you know there was something different about it today,” Kubiak said Tuesday. “You just ask those guys to lead the way, and we got a lot of good players that need to jump in there and go with them, so we’ll find out.”
Among coaches, 14 of 16 (87.5 percent) have playoff experience. Defensive backs coach Vance Joseph and offensive assistant Marc Lubick are the lone exceptions. The Texans’ coaching staff has coached and/or played in 175 postseason games. Kubiak has coached in 16 and played in four. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has coached in 26.
The Texans have eight coaches who have participated in Super Bowls, with 10 rings and 20 appearances among them. Kubiak won three Super Bowls as a coach — one as quarterbacks coach in San Francisco in 1994 and two as offensive coordinator in Denver in 1997-98.
“I hope they (players) look at our staff and pull from everybody,” Kubiak said. “Wade’s been in a lot of big football games, (offensive coordinator) Rico (Rick Dennison), guys have been in a lot of playoff games, have been around those type of things. They got to look to everybody, and like I said, there’s a lot of information to be passed along this week, whether it’s from me, coaches, players who’ve played in playoff games, but the bottom line is we’re going to play with the same ball, we’re going play on the same fields. That was my message to them (Tuesday) morning: ‘Hey, whatever you did during the season, you did a hell of a job. You make sure you’re doing the same thing this week as we prepare for Saturday.’”
Here’s a list of the 14 Texans players with postseason experience:
Player: Number of Playoff Games
QB Jake Delhomme: 8 – 2 WC (2003-04), 3 D (2003, 2005, 2008), 2 C (2003, 2005), 1 SB (2003)
ILB Tim Dobbins: 7 – 2 WC (2007-08), 4 D (2006-09), 1 C (2007)
P Matt Turk: 7 – 4 WC (1999-02), 3 D (1999-2000, 2002)
QB Jeff Garcia: 6 – 4 WC (2001-02, 2006-07), 2 D (2002, 2006)
K Neil Rackers: 6 – 2 WC (2008-09, 2 D (2008-09), 1 C (2008), 1 SB (2008)
FS Danieal Manning: 5 – 2 D (2006, 2010, 2 C (2006, 2010), 1 SB (2006)
DE Antonio Smith: 4 – 1 WC (2008), 1 D (2008), 1 C (2008), 1 SB (2008)
FS Quintin Demps: 3 – 1 WC (2008), 1 D (2008), 1 C (2008)
C Chris Myers: 2 – 1 D (2005), 1 C (2005)
CB Jason Allen: 1 – 1 WC (2008)
CB Johnathan Joseph: 1 – 1 WC (2009)
LG Wade Smith: 1 – 1 WC (2006)
WR Kevin Walter: 1 – 1 WC (2005)
RB Derrick Ward: 1 – 1 D (2008)
* WC = Wild Card round, D = Divisional round, C = Conference championship, SB = Super Bowl
Tags: 2012 Playoffs, Antonio Smith, Chris Myers, Danieal Manning, Derrick Ward, Gary Kubiak, Jake Delhomme, Jason Allen, Jeff Garcia, Johnathan Joseph, Kevin Walter, Matt Turk, Neil Rackers, Quintin Demps, Rick Dennison, Tim Dobbins, Wade Phillips, Wade Smith
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Texans head coach Gary Kubiak met with the media on Monday at Reliant Stadium for his regularly-scheduled day-after-a-game press conference at 3:30 p.m. CT.
- Kubiak called Mario Williams’ first game at outside linebacker “a dang good one” after Williams had two sacks and a forced fumble on Sunday. “Throughout camp, there’s been questions how he’s adjusting to the linebacker position,” Kubiak said. “Yesterday he steps up, has two sacks, probably really had three – had the penalty called on the grounding – knocks out a ball, had three quarterback hurries. Mario played very well. Some of it was with his hand up, some of it was with it down and that’s what he’s going to play all year.”
- After the Texans ran for 167 yards on Sunday without Foster, Kubiak had high praise for the offensive line, O-line coach John Benton and offensive coordinator Rick Dennison. “Rick did a good job game plan-wise at helping the tackles, chipping, keeping some people in and kept them honest,” Kubiak said. “It helped us run the ball.” Kubiak called Benton “very creative” in run-game formations and said that there have been “a lot of people” who have called the Texans to ask about hiring Benton in years past.
- Left tackle Duane Brown kept Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney without a sack for the first time in Brown’s career. Kubiak said that Brown, a first-round pick in 2008, could be making a step forward in his career. “Duane’s bigger this year (320 pounds),” Kubiak said. “He’s playing about 10, 11 pounds bigger than he has in the past. I think it’s helped him anchor a little bit more. Duane’s got a lot of confidence just playing more football, being around longer in what we’re doing, so expecting good things out of him. All five of them played well.”
- Kubiak said that free safety Danieal Manning gives the Texans a seasoned veteran to pair with strong safety Glover Quin. Manning made his Texans debut on Sunday after signing from Chicago in the offseason. “Y’all can see what Manning does for us in blitz packages, him coming on some schemes,” Kubiak said. “He can get there very quickly. He’s had one kick return that made a huge difference field position-wise in a game, almost had a chance for a homerun. He’s brought a lot of energy to our team. He loves to play, a lot of excitement on the field, and he’s brought leadership to the back end.”
- James Casey, a converted tight end, had three catches for 29 yards in his debut as the Texans’ starting fullback. He also made several key blocks in the running game, showing continued improvement in that area while bringing versatility to the offense. “It gives us a lot of options because we can run various offenses,” Kubiak said. “We can run a two-back (set), one-back, three tights. James has not only turned into a fine player each and every time out, but his football IQ helps us as a football team, allows us to do a lot of things. I was proud of him. He played very well yesterday and did a lot of good things for our team.”
- Kubiak lauded inside linebacker Brian Cushing’s “great effort” after Cushing had a team-high seven tackles and one quarterback hit against Indy. “We sit here and talk about effort plays every day after the game and we show a little film to the team, not always productive plays, but show me something special effort-wise, and we could have had eight or 10 of them on Cush,” Kubiak said. “That’s how hard he played, and how well he played in the game. He’s had a good camp. The biggest thing with Cush right now is he’s been on the field for practice every day. He’s had a good camp, he’s healthy and it’s showing up in his play.” Cushing rarely practiced in his first two seasons (2009-10) because of a knee injury that he had surgery to repair this offseason.
- Kubiak wasn’t happy with the Texans’ three turnovers – two Matt Schaub interceptions and a fumble by Ben Tate – but he was pleased with the players’ responses. “I know it hurt the guys that did it, and that’s what’s most important,” Kubiak said. “It’d be easy if you win a game the way we did for guys to say that didn’t matter, but I don’t have guys like that. I know it matters to Matt and I know it matters to Tate.”
Tags: Ben Tate, Brian Cushing, Danieal Manning, Duane Brown, Gary Kubiak, James Casey, John Benton, Kubiak day-after pressers, Mario Williams, Matt Schaub, Rick Dennison
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Steve Dennison is a 6-7, 230-pound left-handed pitcher from Wheaton College in Illinois. He was drafted by the Florida Marlins in 2010.
“Steve is a guy we had in our pre-draft camp a couple of weeks ago,” Astros assistant GM/director of scouting Bobby Heck said, per Mark Berman of FOX 26 Sports. “He’s an outstanding guy who was looking for an opportunity and we had one to give. Steve can throw strikes and cover innings for us.”
Dennison’s father, Rick, is entering his second season as Texans offensive coordinator. He played linebacker for the Denver Broncos from 1982-90.
“It’s a great day for our family,” Rick Dennison said on Friday, again per Berman. “I’m an Astros fan and that makes it even better. I know (Steve) thanked Bobby Heck 16,000 times.”
Tags: Rick Dennison
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In a span of four weeks last season, the Texans lost two second-round draft picks to season-ending ankle injuries.
Running back Ben Tate, a 2010 second-rounder from Auburn, was hurt in the Texans’ preseason opener at Arizona. Defensive end Connor Barwin, a 2009 second-rounder from Cincinnati, was hurt in the regular-season opener against Indianapolis.
Tate was medically cleared in February, meaning he’ll be ready for full contact whenever football resumes. Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison discussed his 2011 expectations for Tate at the Texans’ Charity Golf Classic on Monday.
“We’re going to give him the ball a few times and see how he does,” Dennison said. “We’re looking at it as he ended up with a redshirt year. He still has the ability that we liked to get him in the second round. We’ll take some turns. Obviously, Arian’s (Foster) our number one guy, and then we’ll go from there.”
Barwin led all rookie defensive ends with 4.5 sacks in 2009, and Texans coaches thought he was primed for a breakout sophomore season. He’ll compete for playing time at strongside linebacker in 2011 with another second-round pick, rookie Brooks Reed, under defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
“Connor Barwin certainly has a lot of potential,” Phillips said on Monday. “Missing a year has hurt him, but he’s got ability to rush the passer, and that’s what we like. Anybody that plays outside ‘backer for us, we want him to be able to rush the passer. That’s going to be a key thing.”
Tags: Ben Tate, Connor Barwin, Rick Dennison, Wade Phillips
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Texans offensive assistant Bruce Matthews has been hired by the Tennessee Titans as their new offensive line coach. The Titans have confirmed the move on Twitter.
Matthews and new Titans head coach Mike Munchak were longtime teammates with the Houston Oilers. They’re such close friends that they presented one another into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean says “there was never any doubt about this one. Matthews and Munchak are good friends and Matthews wasn’t going to pass up on opportunity.” Another factor was that Matthews’ son Kevin plays center for the Titans, as noted by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.
Matthews was with the Texans for two seasons as an offensive assistant. He worked under offensive line coach John Benton and assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack. Benton and Pollack remain on staff along with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, who is heavily involved in the running game.
Tags: Bruce Matthews, Frank Pollack, John Benton, Rick Dennison
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Texans offensive coordinator Rick Dennison interviewed for the Denver Broncos’ head coaching position today in Denver. DenverBroncos.com posted a behind-the-scenes look at his arrival at the team’s facilities and interactions with Broncos executives, among them his former teammate John Elway.
Before joining the Texans in 2010, Dennison played and coached for the Broncos for 24 seasons.
“It’s a position and an organization that it’s an honor just to be mentioned,” Dennison says in the video. “I worked for Denver for a while, whether I was playing or coaching. I like – I love the state of Colorado. Like is kind of an easy word. Love is a better word. I love the Broncos. It’s just an opportunity that would be great.”
Dennison is one of five candidates that the Broncos have identified in their head coaching search, along with Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, former Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Broncos 2010 interim head coach Eric Studesville.
Per Mike Klis of the Denver Post, the Broncos will call back two or three finalists for second interviews soon and hope to have a new head coach hired by the middle of next week.
Tags: Coaching news, Rick Dennison
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