Texans' Kicker Competition Remains Duel With No Favorite
Brown, the only kicker in franchise history, has battled Neil Rackers in training camp and preseason, and the high-profile competition has yet to produce a favorite.
And while Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle wrote this week that Brown may need to win the job "convincingly," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said the two are as close as possible.
"It's going to be a tough call," Kubiak said. "We started equal, let them go at it head-to-head, and it's still right there. I've just got to make a tough decision. But we'll take everything into account."
Brown, who has been receiving treatment for plantar fasciitis on his right foot, has said throughout the offseason and training camp that he has not been bothered by the competition. He reiterated that outlook Monday, and said he has enjoyed the experience.
"I've learned a lot about myself as a player, learned a lot about myself as a person," he said. "It's been fun coming to work every day, believe it or not. I know it sounds crazy, but I've looked forward to coming out every day and competing, and I think it's made me a better player."
Brown made 21 of 32 field-goal attempts (65.6 percent) last season, the lowest percentage of his 11-year career. Rackers, who missed two games with a groin injury playing for Arizona last season, converted 16 of 17 tries (94.1 percent) with the Cardinals last season. That was the best percentage in the NFL last season and he has missed just four field goals from 40 yards or less in five seasons.
Brown missed five such kicks last season.
Still, Brown said this week he likes what he has done in camp, and said he has yet to worry much about the news that likely will come soon after Thursday's preseason finale.
"I'm not usually one to talk about my performance, but I feel like I've had an excellent camp," Brown said. "The way the ball is coming off my foot, where I'm at mentally right now, my focus is as good as it's ever been. I feel like I'm right where I want to be.
"I haven't thought about the situation winning the job or whether I have to go out and win it. I'm focusing on what I can control. I'm not worried about decisions that are made or whether I am here or not. The job is too hard as it is.
"And when you start throwing in stuff like that, it makes it even harder. Just keep it simple."
For those who have followed the Texans, it's odd to think about them without Brown. For several years, he was one of the NFL's better clutch kickers and one of the team's best players. But he missed several critical field goals last season in pressure situations, necessitating the offseason competition.
If his career indeed comes to an end Friday, it will be the end for a significant player in the organization's history -- and an example that in the NFL, current performance by necessity means far more than what happened in the past.