You're forgiven if you were so overwhelmed by the announcement of a new starter at QB for your Houston Texans that you missed the news about the new starter at strong safety. It's not every day that an undrafted rookie free agent who played at the University of Houston gets the nod at QB for the hometown team.
Lost in the news of Case Keenum's ascension up the depth chart was Wade Phillips' announcement that rookie second-round pick D.J. Swearinger, not Shiloh Keo, would be starting against the Chiefs in place of the IR'd Danieal Manning. The Texans' defensive coordinator had this to say:
"D.J. is ready to play," defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. "I think D.J. is going to be a good player. We thought that all along but I think he has risen to another level as far as him being ready to play."
"He plays fast," Phillips said. "He's a quick learner. He makes some mistakes but he corrects them when it's in the game or in practice or whatever. He's really gotten better and better as he's gone along. I think he's ready to play. That's a good thing for us."
Wade wasn't done. He also tried to curiously declare that Keo was really more of a free safety anyway, so this shouldn't surprise us.
"Shiloh will play in our dime stuff if Shiloh needs to, but Shiloh's basically a free safety and D.J. is a strong safety," Phillips said.
While the Texans' safeties may not be as completely interchangeable as they used to be, that comment strikes me more as Wade doing a bit of damage control if Keo's ego took a hit from the rookie passing him up.
In any event, this is the right call. Swearinger has had some growing pains (he's sure to have some more) and still reminds me far too much of Bernard Pollard in coverage, but he should contribute more than Keo, both now and in the future. Time to see what JungleBoi Swagg can do with the first team defense.
Texans vs Chiefs coverage