Bill O'Brien is unsure about the statuses of several key players going into this week's preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Aug. 23.
The Houston Texans head coach told The Houston Chronicle's John McClain on Aug. 21 he's not sure if running back Arian Foster, wide receiver Andre Johnson, middle linebacker Brian Cushing and cornerback Jonathan Joseph will be able to suit up:
"Although running back Arian Foster, receiver Andre Johnson and inside linebacker Brian Cushing had their most productive week of practice, coach Bill O'Brien hasn't decided if they'll make their preseason debuts against the Broncos.
"The same goes for cornerback Jonathan Joseph, who's been limited.
"'I like to get some opinions from our trainers and our coaching staff,' O'Brien said. 'We've gotten a lot of work out here in the three days. In the past, when you didn't work against a team, you would certainly want to have your first teams go in the third game of the preseason.'
"In other words, because the players have participated in so many plays in practice this week, they might not play in the game.
"Don't expect center Chris Myers to play. James Ferentz, a rookie free agent, is expected to start a second consecutive game. Myes, who has been out with an undisclosed injury, will be ready for the regular-season opener against (the) Washington (Redskins)."
O'Brien told Drew Dougherty of the Texans' official website on Aug. 21 that Foster in particular has been "very impressive" in practice in Colorado:
"Arian Foster practiced each of the three days in Colorado, and left a very positive impression on his head coach.
"'Very impressive,' Bill O'Brien said on Thursday. 'He's a smart player, he's an instinctive player, good pass protector.'
"But O'Brien saved some of his best praise for the 2012 NFL touchdown king's ability as a receiver.
"'When we put him out there, he's a matchup problem for people because he can run routes and he can run all different kinds of routes,' O'Brien said.
"On each of the three sunny days in Englewood at the Broncos' training facility, Foster routinely got open and did so in a variety of situations. The running back donned pads and went through full contact work on Wednesday. He practiced again on Thursday, but O'Brien didn't say whether or not Foster would play in Saturday night's preseason game.
"'I think what Arian and I talk about all the time is just making sure he's healthy and ready to go every week,' O'Brien said. 'And he's come out here this week and performed very well.'
"Foster said he's 'feeling good' physically, and didn't know if he'd suit up against the Broncos on Saturday.
"'I'm just going to keep working, man, and however the chips fall, they will,' Foster said."