By Ryan Wilson
In the span of a few weeks, the Houston Texans have gone from having a top-10 quarterback and a quality veteran backup, to starting a rookie and signing former players in various stages of retirement to provide depth behind him.
The latest in the Texans' geriatric version of musical wheelchairs, via CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Brandon Williams: "Quarterback Kellen Clemens was waived (and the team) plans to sign QB Jeff Garcia, the Houston Chronicle reports. Garcia last appeared in the NFL with the Eagles in 2009 and has since played with Omaha in the UFL. Garcia will be the third quarterback behind rookie T.J. Yates and Jake Delhomme."
The Texans had plenty of questions heading into the season, chief among them how Wade Phillips would fix one of the league's worst defenses. An area that no one was worried about: quarterback.
Matt Schaub, entering his fifth year in Houston, had quietly entered the elite QB conversation. He threw for at least 4,300 yards in 2009 and 2010, completing at least 64 percent of his passes over that time (including 53 TDs, 27 INTs). And then, 10 games into 2011, Schaub suffered a foot injury that landed him on injured reserve.
No problem, though; veteran backup Matt Leinart, a former Heisman winner and first-round pick, would lean heavily on the running game and the Texans' defense would do the rest. Except that Leinart didn't make it to halftime of his first start before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.
So now it's the T.J. Yates show, with understudies Delhomme (36) and Garcia (41), who have a combined 22 seasons of experience between them. Both players came into the NFL in 1999; Delhomme led the Panthers to the Super Bowl following the 2003 season, and Garcia took two teams to the playoffs on four occasions (2000-02 49ers, 2007 Bucs).
In Week 13, Yates became the first University of North Carolina alum to start an NFL game at quarterback and he helped the Texans beat the Falcons. The plan, at least for now, is for Yates to continue to play with Delhomme and Garcia backing him up, in that order.
The Texans weren't done signing old-timers; with punter Brett Hartmann on injured reserve with an ACL injury, Houston inked Matt Turk, 43, who was a fan favorite during a previous stint with the team from 2007-10.