Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
There's a strong possibility that starting right tackle Derek Newton could miss this week's game, thrusting swing tackle Ryan Harris into the starting lineup. Newton and Harris have been rotating for much of the season. The two tackles have split the snaps nearly evenly in recent weeks.
Neither tackle has been great or even above-average this year. Both have shown flashes of playing at a high level, but it's clearly a point of weakness on Houston's offense.
The Texans could operate in two ways. Gary Kubiak could hand all of the right tackle snaps to Ryan Harris. He could also play Harris' replacement at swing tackle, Andrew Gardner, and slot him into the right tackle rotation.
Neither scenario would come as a surprise. Regardless of who is playing right tackle, Kubiak needs to give the player help throughout the game. It isn't that difficult to hide a right tackle if you have good enough tight ends and backs to take the pressure off. The Texans do.
Through 12 weeks, Kubiak has done an exceptional job nursing his less-than-stellar right tackles through a slew of tough matchups. The Texans' right tackle problem would be more glaring if they were running any other style of offense. Houston is as creative as it gets in the NFL with protections, whether it's with play action, screens or moving the pocket.
Careful play-calling has also played a key part in helping out Houston's right tackles. This would explain Kubiak's tendency to call halfback draws on 3rd-and-long. Some call it conservative, others call it keeping your quarterback from getting drilled.
The Texans have schemed around their right tackle situation all season. They'll have their biggest test this week, as they'll be starting a right tackle who wasn't even on the roster for much of training camp.