The Texans did not announce any cuts on Friday after getting back from their trip to Minneapolis around 3 a.m. The team said it would announce its roster moves on Saturday.
The deadline for cutting rosters from 80 players to the final 53 is Saturday at 5 p.m. CT.
“It’s a tough day today, letting players go,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said at an afternoon press conference at Reliant Stadium. “It’ll make it even tougher over the course of the next 24 hours trying to make some more tough decisions and trying to see where you’re going to go next with your football team. (There are) a lot of tired guys here trying to make some decisions right now, so we’ve got another 24 hours to do it.”
The Texans got a long look at backups like , , and in their preseason finale against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night.
“The overall picture goes back to numbers at positions,” Kubiak said. “Obviously, you’re working with 53, and how that 53 fits with your team, you don’t know until you start looking at it. We’ll be different. We’ll be built a little bit different because of the 3-4 just naturally from a linebacker standpoint as compared to a defensive line standpoint.
“The key is when you’re putting 53 guys together, you’ve got to keep good football players. You may go light in one spot and heavy in one spot. It’s a long season. A lot of things have to come into account as you’re putting a team together.”
One player on the bubble who did not play at Minnesota is running back , who has fallen down the depth chart since his 1,282-yard rookie season in 2008. Slaton missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury after having an outstanding training camp.
Kubiak said that Slaton was healthy enough to play on Thursday, but he held the fourth-year pro out as a precaution.
“That was strictly me,” Kubiak said. “He was coming off the hamstring. We really only had two practices going into that game and one of those was a walkthrough, so I did not feel comfortable putting him out there on turf after he had been gone for so long. It was just a decision on my part, and I obviously wanted to watch Ogbonnaya play a great deal.”
Kubiak was asked if the Texans might keep four running backs instead of three as they have in years past.
“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s going to be worked out. I think you keep good football players. Steve’s a good football player, so we’ll have to see how that pans out.”
Wide receiver is a safe bet to make the team after catching three passes for 64 yards against the Vikings. A first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2003, Johnson picked up the Texans’ offense quickly after signing with the team on Tuesday.
“You’re fortunate to get a player like that,” Kubiak said. “He knew some of our terminology, so he went and played right away. It was impressive. He’s a very impressive person, and it was good to see him go out there and still make some plays. He can help us. His knowledge of what’s going on in this game and some of the things he can do, I think he can help this football team.”
Two other players caught Kubiak’s eye with standout games at Minnesota.
“That’s easy,” Kubiak said. “I thought our quarterback played very well, , and then the easiest guy to watch play is . He was exceptional last night and has been throughout training camp. It’s fun film to watch on the plane to watch him compete. It really was.”