HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak said Monday that Derek Newton has beaten Rashad Butler for the starting job at right tackle.
The 6-foot-6, 318-pound Newton was a seventh-round draft pick out of Arkansas State in 2011. Butler, entering his sixth season with Houston, was sidelined much of last season with a left triceps injury. Kubiak met with both players on Monday before announcing his decision.
"Looking at the body of work, it was very, very close," Kubiak said. "The thing that moved us toward Newton is watching his progress, watching where he was in the last year, going through the offseason, going through camp — a young player we think is ascending."
The Texans (No. 4 in the AP Pro32) wrap up the preseason against Minnesota (No. 29) on Thursday night. Kubiak is still mulling whether to play backup quarterback T.J. Yates, who's struggled in the last two exhibition games. Kubiak will also take a close look at veteran quarterback John Beck and rookie Case Keenum, who are competing for the No. 3 spot.
Nose tackle Shaun Cody (back) and defensive end J.J. Watt (dislocated left elbow) returned to practice on Monday, Kubiak said. Linebacker Brian Cushing (bruised ribs) and center Chris Myers (illness) went through individual workouts. Kubiak said star receiver Andre Johnson sat out after coming out of Saturday's 34-27 loss in New Orleans "pretty sore," but "he's fine."
The team also announced that running back Davin Meggett, veteran receiver Bryant Johnson and offensive tackle Nick Mondek were among the players waived as the Texans reduced their roster to the required 75 players.
Center Thomas Austin, linebacker Omar Gaither, punter Brett Hartmann, receiver Mario Louis, defensive end Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, fullback Derrell Smith, guard Kasey Studdard and cornerback Torri Williams were waived.
Meggett, the son of former NFL player Dave Meggett, signed with Houston as an undrafted free agent in May. Johnson, a 9-year NFL veteran, made six catches for 90 yards, including a touchdown, for the Texans last season. Mondek was a sixth-round draft pick out of Purdue.