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Texans coach O'Brien plans to keep 3 QBs on roster

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HOUSTON (AP) Texans coach Bill O'Brien said Friday that he still doesn't know who will be his team's backup quarterback.

Case Keenum and rookie Tom Savage got all the snaps in Thursday night's 40-13 loss to San Francisco and neither separated himself in the competition for the No. 2 job behind Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Both players threw interceptions, failed to mount any touchdown drives and had passer ratings below 40.

''It's a position that is very, very important and we're making sure we're doing a good job of evaluating it,'' O'Brien said.

But O'Brien said he'll go into the season with all three quarterbacks on the roster.

Teams must cut rosters to 53 players by Saturday and since the Texans had the worst record last season, they'll have the first claim on any player who hits the waiver wire on Sunday.

''It always goes back to doing what's best for the team,'' O'Brien said. ''Whatever we think can improve the team, if we think it can improve the team, then we'll always look to do that.''

O'Brien said releasing one of his quarterbacks and getting one off waivers now would be ''very difficult'' with the regular season opener against Washington on Sept. 7.

''Is it something that we would do if we felt like it was something that would improve the football team? Certainly we would look at that,'' O'Brien said. ''At this point in time, these three guys: Fitzy our starter, and Case and Tom have worked hard. They know the system.''

O'Brien said Keshawn Martin will return punts and kicks. Martin, whom O'Brien called one of the most improved players since the spring, ranked fifth in the AFC in kickoff return average (26.3 yards) and seventh in punt return average (8.8 yards) in 2013.

The Texans made it through training camp with no significant injuries, and O'Brien never saw his full complement of players on the field at once.

Andre Johnson played in only one game, J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney played in two and Arian Foster and Johnathan Joseph sat out all four.

O'Brien declined to confirm any cuts made on Friday. Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus (two tackles for loss) and safety Shiloh Keo (eight tackles) helped themselves with solid games in the preseason finale against the 49ers.

Rookie Andre Hal, a seventh-round pick, had a 77-yard interception return for a touchdown, his second of the preseason to also make a strong case for the 53-man roster.

''I like the way he carries himself in the building,'' O'Brien said. ''He's a hard-working kid both in here in the meeting room and out on the field. He's definitely earned the right to be in the discussion to make the football team.''

O'Brien will be happy to get through the cuts on onto next week's practices.

''You're having to release guys to get to 53, but at the same time it's enjoyable because you walk into that room and there's your 53 guys,'' O'Brien said.

''They are guys that come from different backgrounds, guys that have all different kinds of skill sets. There are some front-line star players on our team, there are role players, there are guys that just love playing the game.''


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