While the Case Keenum news was getting all the press on Thursday, the Texans also announced another player will be making his first career NFL start. Second rounder D.J. Swearinger will replace Danieal Manning at strong safety against the Chiefs on Sunday, a move that was not expected just a day ago.
When Manning was placed on injured reserve, many thought that Shiloh Keo would be his replacement. Keo had a solid showing when he replaced Ed Reed in the lineup for the first two games of the season. The Texans decided that they preferred to go with Swearinger over Keo. Swearinger had his struggles early on this season but there has been improvement in every game. Wade Phillips had kind words for Swearinger in his press conference today.
“D.J. is ready to play. I think D.J. is going to be a good player. We thought that all along but I think he has risen to another level as far as him being ready to play. He plays fast. He’s a quick learner. He makes some mistakes but he corrects them when it’s in the game or in practice or whatever. He’s really gotten better and better as he’s gone along. I think he’s ready to play. That’s a good thing for us
The Texans selected Swearinger out of South Carolina in the 2nd round of this year’s draft. So far this season Swearinger has 14 total tackles and has seen lots of time on special teams. The Texans feel that Swearinger’s skill-set compares more to Manning whereas Keo compares more to Reed.
“Shiloh will play in our dime stuff if Shiloh needs to, but Shiloh’s basically a free safety and D.J. is a strong safety,” Phillips said.
The Texans hope that Swearinger can be a playmaker at safety and continue to improve as the season goes along. Manning’s loss both on-and-off the field will give the Texans a disadvantage and it will be up to the rookie to replace that production.