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Houston Texans Inactives Vs. Commanders: Eno Benjamin, Derek Stingley Jr. Out

Houston Texans will be without new running back Eno Benjamin as he continues to absorb the playbook after joining the team last week off waivers. Rookie corner Derek Stingley Jr. is also out with a hamstring injury.

HOUSTON -- Houston Texans running back Eno Benjamin is inactive for his first game with his new team Sunday against the Washington Commanders at NRG stadium.

Benjamin wasn't expected to play after only practicing Thursday and Friday as he works to absorb the playbook after joining the AFC South club off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday.

"It's just a new start," said Benjamin, a Texas native. "It's the first time I've ever done such a thing. It feels like my move from Texas to Arizona going to college. I'm just kind of going through it and doing whatever I have to do to be ready.

"Definitely coming closer to home is kind of a dream come true. Honestly, family is a big thing for me. My family can drive down. It makes it a little easier."

With his speed, pass-catching ability, and size, Benjamin could provide a capable change of pace behind starter Dameon Pierce, an NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate who has been shouldering a heavy workload.

Could Benjamin play Sunday against the Washington Commanders? Possibly, but usually, the Texans have new players get acclimated to the playbook and surroundings before having them play in a game.

"I feel like I'm ready," Benjamin said. "If my number is called, I'll do it to the best of my ability. I feel like I'm a guy who can run it inside and outside, run past you and through you as well."

Benjamin likes what he's seen from the Texans' run-centric offense that offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has built around Pierce's physical style.

“I love the run game,” Benjamin said. “I love the run schemes that they have, just the offense and how they play off each other. I love under-center. I think the game for the running back is best played under center. There’s a lot to that that I love about that."

Benjamin has rushed for 299 yards on 70 carries and scored two touchdowns this season, starting three games when Conner was injured. He has rushed for 417 career yards and three touchdowns, catching 30 passes for 226 yards.

"I think he's dynamic," Hamilton said. "He's an explosive playmaker."

Added Pierce: "He hasn't had a chance to showcase his talent. We'll see next week. He was an explosive third-down back on the Cardinals. Great athlete, young guy, ready to work, learning fast. I'm here to help him any way I can."

In other inactive news, rookie cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. is sidelined with a hamstring injury. The Texans' other inactives are linebacker Neville Hewitt (hamstring), tight end Brevin Jordan, offensive tackle Austin Deculus, new wide receiver Amari Rodgers and defensive tackle Thomas Booker.

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Asked if Stingley is improving, Smith replied: "Absolutely."

The Texans don't want to risk a setback for the former consensus All-American. 

Drafted third overall, Stingley hasn't allowed a touchdown pass all season and has provided sound coverage and tackling.

Stingley will be replaced at outside cornerback by Desmond King starting opposite Steven Nelson with Tavierre Thomas filling in as the primary nickel.

Not having Stingley impacts the defense against a talented Commanders receiving corps headlined by Terry McLaurin.

Stingley has recorded 43 tackles, one interception and one sack, starting nine games for the 1-7-1 Texans. He has played 97 percent of the defensive snaps this season. He has been targeted 53 times, allowing 34 completions for 409 yards and an opposing quarterback rating of 79.8

“Incremental gains every game, rarely makes the same mistake twice," Texans cornerbacks coach Dino Vasso said Thursday after practice. "He’s competitive. We talked about his resiliency in the past, so pretty impressed with him up to this point.

“He doesn’t have a physical limitation. I wouldn’t say he has any weaknesses. He has some things he does better than others, but I don’t think he has any limitations or weaknesses. He can do it all in that regard.”


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