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Texans OL Competition Heating Up

After eleven days of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), it remains to be seen exactly who will be the starting five offensive linemen blocking for QB Matt Schaub.  But there can be some discernment, especially after Head Coach Gary Kubiak addressed the “finesse” label on his 30th ranked rush offense of 2009.

“I promise you, we don’t want to be a finesse group,” Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle. “For our football team to function better and win a few more games, we have to get more physical and find a way to control the football, especially at the end of games. If we’re going to be committed to the run, we have to find a way to get better.”

First, Eric Winston and Duane Brown appear to have the offensive tackle positions locked down.  Winston received a worthy contract extension in 2008 and has started 55 consecutive games with the Texans going back to his rookie season.  Duane Brown was the Texas’ first round pick in the 2008 NFL draft.

Second, RG Antoine Cladwell, C Chris Myers, and LG Kasey Studdard have all lined up as the starting interior linemen during the 2010 OTAs.  However, Mike Brisiel and Wade Smith are lurking in the background.

“It’s going to be a very competitive situation throughout camp, and it’ll be interesting to see if Caldwell and Chris and Studdard can hold those guys off,” Kubiak said.

Brisiel started 25 consecutive games for the Texans going up until his season-ending injury in Week 5 of last year.  He told  that he takes every day with the same strength and determination as he did when he was an undrafted free agent on the Texans’ practice squad.

Smith, 29, received a 4 year, $12 million contract from the Texans this past March.  Smith’s career highlights playing four seasons with the Dolphins, two with the Jets, and a total of 16 games in the past two seasons with the Chiefs.  He visited Arizona and Buffalo this offseason, but he chose the Texans who will give him the chance to start at either center or guard.  The Chronicle also reported that Smith joins Offensive Line Coach Rick Dennison, Denver’s former OL Coach who scouted Smith before he signed with the Chiefs in 2008.

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