Suspension-Stripped Texans Still ‘Have Enough’ to Win

The Houston Texans lost two of their best players to suspensions but the interim head coach believes in the players he has available.
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HOUSTON - The Houston Texans welcome the Indianapolis Colts to NRG Stadium this Sunday for their first of two games with Indianapolis in three weeks. 

Houston will play that game without Will Fuller and Bradley Roby who are serving the first of their six-game suspensions for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. 

With two key players down, the Texans have limited options to replace each player but the slim pickings didn't deter their interim head coach. 

"But like I told them this morning: We have enough in the room that we can win games," said Romeo Crennel. 

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The "enough" comes in varying forms. Crennel stated multiple times the team would see how practice plays out this week before they made any decisions. 

At wide receiver, Houston has plenty of options that haven't seen the field. A level of the unknown at the spot opposite Brandin Cooks on the depth chart. 

Steven Mitchell was active against the Lions last week as a practice squad call-up and has been with the team for a few years, mostly on the practice squad. 

Isaiah Coutler is on the active roster after starting the season on injured reserve. He's been practicing for weeks but hasn't made his game debut. 

"I think he's a good young talent," Crennel said. "He's got good hands. He's got some height. Is a good worker. So that's what I've seen."

The practice squad presents three different options. 

Chad Hansen is on his sixth NFL team in four years. He was a solid player for the Cal Bears before being drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft by the Jets. He hasn't played in an NFL game since his rookie season. 

Damion Ratley has 31 NFL games under his belt. He was drafted in the sixth round by the Cleveland Browns in 2018 and previously played for the Giants this season where he had four catches in five games for 63 yards. 

Perhaps the most intriguing prospect on the practice squad is a college teammate of Deshaun Watson. 

Artavis Scott played the same three seasons at Clemson as Watson and racked up plenty of stats while doing so. He caught 245 passes for 2,480 yards and 19 touchdowns in his 42 college games. 

While his college career was lengthy and successful his time in the NFL has been the opposite. He went undrafted in 2017 and has been on the practice squad or injured reserve his whole professional career. 

One option not available to the Texans right now is Kenny Stills who they waived last week. Crennel said he believes Stills left the Texans on good terms and both sides agreed on Stills moving on from the team. Crennel did say he hasn't spoken to Stills about a return. 

The team has played two games this year without Bradley Roby. Vernon Hargreaves and Philip Gaines were the main outside cornerbacks in his absence. Rookie John Reid has primarily played inside. Cornell Armstrong has been a healthy scratch at times this year and Keion Crossen has lightly played cornerback serving mostly as a special teams ace. 

When it comes to potentially moving Lonnie Johnson back to cornerback from his new spot of safety or using defensive back Eric Murray as a full-time cornerback Crennel was non-committal to anything. He leaned on the idea things would be figured out in practice. 

He also said he wouldn't divulge any plans because the Colts could be listening. 

"I'll let them figure it out” he said. “Let them guess for a while. But then Sunday, we'll put people out there who can get the job done."

There's no secret what the options are for Sunday, but which option the Texans choose won't be revealed until kickoff. ... At which time we will see if Houston “has enough.”