Hearing the heartbreaking news that Houston Texans’ safety Andre Hal was diagnosed with lymphoma certainly brings the reality that this game we all love is played by living, breathing men with families and lives that go far beyond the gridiron.
As we hope and pray for Hal’s rapid and full recovery, many eyes are already turning to the “next man up”. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien may already have an idea in mind and general manager Brian Gaine may or may not be eyeballing someone not on the roster, like, say, Earl Thomas? A replacement should be identified before the start of training camp.
The Chronicle’s John McClain has a detailed list of possibilities already on the roster and a few that aren’t in a recent piece.
Corey Moore has been rehabbing an injury and will be ready for training camp, according to O’Brien.
General manager Brian Gaine could sign another safety. Three well-known veterans are available – Kenny Vaccaro, Tre Boston and Eric Reid, older brother of the Texans’ rookie.
The Texans have nine cornerbacks on the roster. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel could play Jackson more at safety, a move that would be easier to make with Johnathan Joseph, Kevin Johnson and Aaron Colvin at cornerback.
More than likely, Jackson will continue to do both. His versatility gives Crennel the kind of options coaches like.
Jackson, who can play inside or outside at corner, has also been getting practice time at safety, which is nothing new for him. He’s entering his ninth season and has more seniority with the Texans than any player on the roster. Jackson has played safety in practice and in games.
Without Hal, the Texans return safeties who started three games for them last season – all by Moore. Safety was one of the weakest positions on the team last season when they allowed more points than any team in the league.
Safety needed upgrading. That’s why Gaine signed Mathieu in free agency and used his top draft choice on Reid.
This is an ideal situation for Reid to capitalize on. He was projected to be drafted in the second round, and when he was available in the third, Gaine didn’t hesitate selecting him.
Who do you think will be the next man up? Is this the perfect opportunity for Justin Reid to step up and begin his run to the Rookie Defensive Player of the Year award? Want the Texans to trade for Earl Thomas and the approximately $12 million per year contract he’ll command? Think one of the unsung players already on Houston’s roster will rise up in 2018?