Nose tackle is one of the most important positions in the 3-4 defense, where a large, strong man is needed.
The Texans could soon be looking for another, now that Ra’Shon Harris has been lost for the season with a torn triceps suffered in practice on Tuesday. Coach Gary Kubiak disclosed the injury to the media on Wednesday.
Don’t expect a new nose tackle to be signed in advance of the team’s next preseason game, on Saturday against the Saints. “Well, let’s say we’re moving some people around,” Kubiak said in comments transcribed and distributed by the team. “It’s hard with the CBA rules right now; even if you went out and found somebody, they couldn’t even play on Saturday, the way you have to have the acclimation period, so it doesn’t do you any good. Now, are we having to take a look at ourselves as we move forward, having to play two games in five days? Yes, [G.M.] Rick [Smith] and I have to do that.”
With starter Shaun Cody also expected to miss the game due to a back injury, the team will give rookie free agent Hebron Fangupo (excellent name) plenty of work. “He’s been getting a chance to play and this Saturday and Thursday night, if [Fangupo] wants to make it in the league, boy, there’s no excuses. He’ll get every rep he can possibly get, he’ll get to play a bunch. So we’ll see how he shows up and plays but what an opportunity for him due to the circumstances right now.”
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who said that defensive ends Tim Jamison and Jared Crick also can slide inside, believes Fangupo has “some potential” but that he “really hasn’t shown it yet.”
Harris, who joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2011, had been getting some work against the first-team defense. “We thought he held up well,” Phillips said.
The defense will need guys who can hold up in the middle, if they plan to repeat or build on last year’s performance.