Late-season injuries have shaken up the Texans and Jaguars’ lineups heading into their regular-season finale at Reliant Stadium.
The Jaguars already know they’ll be without quarterback David Garrard, who has a finger injury in his throwing hand. They also could be without Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who has yet to practice this week because of a knee injury that sidelined him in Week 16.
Fourth-year quarterback Trent Edwards will start in Garrard’s place.
“I just studied him coming out of college (at Stanford),” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said on Thursday. “He’s got a very good arm and moves very well, so he fits what they do. So I imagine that we’ll see the same stuff they do with David.”
The Texans placed rookie linebacker on injured reserve on Wednesday and ruled out rookie cornerback on Thursday. will start at middle linebacker in Sharpton’s place. Wide receiver will be counted on to contribute with ’s status up in the air.
“We probably are going to have some new faces step up,” Kubiak said. “We’ve just got to go out there and play with the same effort we’ve been playing with and we’ve got to find a way to make a few more plays. They are a very physical football team. Every time we get together with them, it’s very physical. Our focus is good today.”
Milestones within reach
Despite the Texans’ disappointing 5-10 record, running back and quarterback have a chance to achieve rare statistical milestones on Sunday.
Foster needs 56 rushing yards and four receiving yards to become the sixth player in NFL history with 1,500 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in the same season. Schaub needs 103 passing yards to become the fifth player in history with 9,000 yards in a two-year period.
“We talk about having balance as an offense, and… (that) tells you that we went out there and got some of those things accomplished,” Kubiak said. “It says a lot about the job that has been done by a lot of people, but the credit needs to go to those guys up front. They’ve done a hell of a job.”
Under the direction of John Benton, the Texans’ offensive line has paved the way for Foster to lead the league in rushing this season. They helped Schaub lead the league in passing in 2009.
Support for Kubiak
A day after former Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips gave a ringing endorsement of Kubiak, players also came to his defense in the locker room on Thursday.
“I think he’s done so much for this organization,” tight end said. “The Texans weren’t winners until he came in. We haven’t been a losing team for three years until things kind of didn’t work out for us this year. But he’s really turned the culture around here. He’s gotten the right guys in here to get where we want to get. That probably goes a little unnoticed or is overlooked just because all of the things that have happened this year.”
Jacoby Jones was asked if the best statement the team can make in favor of keeping Kubiak would be to go out and win on Sunday.
“We love Coach,” Jones said. “He’s a great coach. He’s one of the best coaches I ever had. If that what it takes, we are going to go out and bust our behinds and get this W.”
Kicker (right hamstring) did not practice for the second consecutive day, but that has been the norm in recent weeks. Johnson (ankle) was the only other Texan to sit out.
Defensive tackle (knee), linebacker (knee/foot), tight end (hamstring), defensive tackle (ankle) and safety (shoulder) were limited in practice.