Sean Pendergast

Houston Texans Release First Depth Chart, Confirm Stroud, Anderson to Start

Will Anderson is listed as a starter early in his rookie season, as well he should be.
Screen grab form YouTube
Will Anderson is listed as a starter early in his rookie season, as well he should be.
My name is Sean Pendergast, and I am a National Football League nerd. Does this sound like the admission of a character flaw, or the revelation of something I've been hiding, maybe? Actually, I wear my nerd-dom as a badge of courage, and as such, I continue to take great pleasure in the little things that come with being said NFL nerd.

Let's take the first reveal of my team's training camp depth chart as an example! Yes, Monday was one of the momentous "quasi-Christmas mornings" for me on the NFL calendar, as a Texans franchise with an insanely young roster dropped it's first copy of the depth chart yesterday afternoon. For my fellow nerds, here you go:
Okay, now for my four "front of mind" thoughts on this version of the 2023 Houston Texans team depth chart:

Rookies galore!
In years past, management (and coaching) within the Texans would bury rookies on the third and fourth string on the depth chart, even when (a) they were actually practicing with units well above those levels, and (b) they were clearly better football players than whatever ragged veteran was in front fo them. On this depth chart, we got further confirmation that C.J. Stroud is indeed your starting quarterback, but we also have defensive end Will Anderson and center Juice Scruggs in the first string. Other rookies who have been featured prominently in practice whose depth chart spots reflect that — wide receiver Tank Dell and linebacker Henry To'o To'o, both listed as second string.

The Cashman is cashing in
Maybe I'm drinking the Kool Aid, but I'm very excited about this defense. The twelve names listed as starters (the depth chart includes the nickel back as a starter, hence twelve players) are all anywhere from competent to study NFL football players. This includes linebacker Blake Cashman, who may be the one name for casual fans where they ask "Why him?" Cashman has been making plays throughout camp, including a two day stretch where he intercepted three passes. Cashman has always been a special teams demon, so it's nice to see him get some run for his work at linebacker.

Steven Sims, returner extraordinaire?
On the offensive depth chart, Sims is one of several wide receivers who would likely get cut if they were solely a wide receiver. On this depth chart, though, it would appear that Sims is going to get a chance to make an impact in the return game. We will see if the game on Thursday plays out this way, because I know a lot of University of Houston fans would like to see Dell get a chance to impact the return game. For now, though, it's about "the more you can do," and Sims may get a chance to show more.

The one depth chart element I am not buying...
Right now, Christian Kirksey is listed as second string Sam linebacker, which on the surface, would mean he likely makes this team. I'm just not buying it. Kirksey has been banged up and working out off to the side in practice, a bad sign for a player on the wrong side of 30 years old. Also, Kirksey's game had already dipped the last couple years, with his main purpose on the team being a leadership role. Well, this version of the Texans is flush with leaders, reducing the necessity for Kirksey in the building. At this point, I'd keep the younger and cheaper Garret Wallow (listed as third string) before I'd keep Kirksey.

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