Texans Troy Nolan, Chris Henry on Gary Kubiak's Preseason Opener Watch List
At the very least, he'll have a chance.
Nolan, a seventh-round selection by the Texans in the 2009 NFL Draft, played collegiately at Arizona State, then missed his rookie season with a fractured left hand. And while he got little opportunity last season, he is getting one in training camp this season.
Perhaps most importantly, he is acting like he deserves to be in the NFL.
"I see a kid that thinks he belongs in one of the two (safety positions)," Texans coach Gary Kubiak told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. "When you're a backup in this league and you watch guys practice, some act like 'that's what I am.' This kid acts like he wants to be a (starter) in this league, and if he keeps working, he'll get his chances."
When Kubiak was asked this week for five players he wanted to watch in the preseason opener against Arizona, Nolan was among the five. The others were running back Chris Henry, return specialist Trindon Holliday and rookie defensive tackles Earl Mitchell and Malcolm Sheppard.
McClain notes that Nolan is intriguing because of the Texans' situation at safety, where the team "lacked depth" last season. When starter Eugene Wilson was injured last season, "the team struggled to find the right backup."
Nolan (6-feet-2, 207), who McClain said has "enjoyed a superb camp," said he has spent the off-season and camp trying to "prove myself after getting hurt and missing last season."
"I'm healthy now, and I've got to show them I can play in this league," he said.
Meanwhile, Henry - a second-round selection by Tennessee in 2007 who has been a major storyline of Texans training camp - continues to gain attention from Kubiak, who said he likes Henry's "strength and motor."
"His conditioning level is tremendous," Kubiak said.
Henry has drawn attention for his practice habits since joining the Texans.
"I didn't start my career practicing as well as I do now," he said. "It's something that's developed. I believe if I want to get better, I have to practice hard."