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Texans look to sort out several positions in preseason-ending loss

Tom Savage's up-and-down night against the Cowboys ended after an apparent shoulder injury -- he left the game to go to the locker room. Brandon Wade/AP

Tom Savage took the reins in the Houston Texans' final preseason game. The 21-14 loss Thursday night to the Dallas Cowboys likely hurts for fans seeking bragging rights more than for the team who spent this game looking to work out their rotation at several positions, especially cornerback, inside linebacker, outside linebacker and receiver:

QB depth chart: Third-string quarterback Tom Savage had an up-and-down night. He threw two touchdown passes, one seconds before halftime to running back Chris Polk and one in the fourth quarter to receiver Keshawn Martin. He also committed two turnovers -- a pick six thrown from inside his own end zone, and a fumble that led to a Cowboys touchdown.

Maybe that dude could start: The players in Thursday night's game in Arlington, Texas, were not regular starters. One who looked particularly impressive, though, was Chris Polk. Polk has had a hamstring injury affecting him during training camp and that's limited what the Texans were able to see from him. He had solid vision and balance. He was particularly effective in the passing game, catching his first four targets, including a 16-yard pass from Savage for a touchdown.

Who got hurt? Savage got beat up by the Cowboys most of the game and paid for it eventually. He took a shot late in the fourth quarter and reached for his shoulder, then left the game for the locker room. If his injury winds up being serious enough to warrant injured reserve, the Texans would carry only two quarterbacks on the active roster, as many teams do.

A player who looks amazing: Justin Tuggle had a strong game, leading the team with six tackles. Texans general manager Rick Smith appeared on the broadcast on Houston's ABC 13 and said this offseason the Texans challenged Tuggle to become a more physical player. Smith said he liked the training camp Tuggle has had.

Rookie watch: The most impressive rookie was defensive tackle Christian Covington, whose penetration and effort was impressive. Covington had an early quarterback pressure and a tackle for loss on fourth down. Jaelen Strong got away from the defense to make an 18-yard catch. Running back Kenny Hilliard got plenty of work with 18 carries and 42 yards on those carries.

One reason to freak out: I would not advise freaking out about anything that happened in Thursday night's game except Shane Lechler's leg. Lechler became just the fourth punter to hit the scoreboard at the Cowboys' stadium with a punt. He had to re-kick it.

What Brown did: Outside linebacker is a competitive position for the Texans and Kourtnei Brown is trying to make the roster. He added a sack on Thursday night, bringing his impressive play total to three sacks, one interception which he returned for a touchdown and one fumble recovery in the preseason.

Cornerback battle: Cornerback is one of the most competitive positions the Texans have. They started the game with Kevin Johnson, Darryl Morris and Charles James. None of them made any major missteps while playing. James, Morris and Jumal Rolle are competing to make the roster.