Minus Manning, safety depth a Texans' issue

In a best-case scenario, Danieal Manning will be out four weeks following surgery to repair a broken fibula. Odds are, it’s longer than that.

Gary Kubiak said the team would love to be able to wait for Manning, the veteran who was brought on board in the offseason from Chicago to settle a position that had been a big issue.

Troy Nolan (a seventh-round pick in 2009) now takes over at free safety, and depth becomes a serious issue. Dominique Barber is on IR and rookie Shiloh Keo, who just appeared in his first game, lacks speed and experience. He didn't make the cut out of camp.

“We do have a couple other options,” Kubiak told Houston press on Monday. “Torri Williams has the ability to possibly come up [from the practice squad], but right now, we really like what we see from [cornerback] Brandon Harris. He’s a smart player. We think he can go play some safety, so those are the options that we have. We’re going to see how things go this week, watch those guys work and decide where we move from there. Having a guy like Brandon up along with [Sherrick] McManis helps us in special teams too. We’ll see. We’ll see who can handle it the best, but Troy becomes a starter.

“… Harris is a bright player, understands schemes, understands what’s going on and we think [defensive coordinator] Wade Phillips and [defensive backs coach] Vance Joseph think that we can catch him up real quick. We’re going to take a look and give him an opportunity to do that and work with him over the course of this week.”

The Texans traded up to get Harris in the sixth-round, 60th overall.

Nolan was steady after stepping in for Manning in the first half Sunday. But the Texans again lack experience at safety as the other starter, Glover Quin, is in his first season as the spot after converting from cornerback.

Kubiak praised Nolan’s confidence and knack for the ball, qualities that the Texans were lacking last season, which prompted them to sign Manning and cornerback Johnathan Joseph.