Team taking notice of wide receiver battle

With Andre Johnson sidelined with a groin injury, wide receiver Lestar Jean has been getting first team reps opposite Kevin Walter. Johnson’s injury also means more reps for rookies DeVier Posey, Keshawn Martin and Jerrell Jackson.

 “There’s a lot of young ability and I think there’s no telling who our five or six [receivers] will be,” coach Gary Kubiak told reporters. “I think they all have the ability to make this team, so we’re going to have to see how they hold up and who makes the plays and then Kevin [Walter] and them have their responsibilities to continue to get better and play well. Lestar [Jean] is getting a great opportunity. This morning [Jerrell Jackson] made some nice plays. I think it’s going to be a very competitive situation.”

A lot is being thrown at the young players, but quarterback Matt Schaub has been pleased with how they have responded so far.

“On the offensive side of the ball, other than the quarterback position, I think receiver in our offense is one of the harder positions to learn in our offense because of how much we ask them to do formationally, motioning, knowing every position on the field because they could line up in any different position depending on the formation,” Schaub told reporters.

The battle will continue well into the preseason. Whether these young receivers step up will be an important factor that determines how good the Texans offense can be.

“I think our whole team is kind of watching it too, because they know our identity is going to change at that position for the first time in a while around here,” Kubiak said. “Players sense that, they really watch those battles closely. We’ll let them prove to their teammates that they’re the guy.”

Quick Hits

  • Monday was the team’s first day in pads. “I would say there were some very good parts of practice and some very poor parts of practice, but we’re just getting going here,” Kubiak said. “It’s our first day to move around with all of the equipment so we’ve got to get better.”
  • Newly acquired running back Justin Forsett has made a positive impression early on. “What a pro,” Kubiak said. “He comes out here, he can go all day. Very impressive in his work habits, knows what we’re doing. Those are the kind of guys you’re looking for to make you better. He let everybody on this team know today he plans on being here. That was an impressive practice.”
  • Injury update: Kubiak said linebacker Darryl Sharpton will be out “a few weeks” with a hip injury. Cornerback Kareem Jackson did not practice with a hamstring injury but will be back in the next couple days according to Kubiak. Cornerback Brice McCain took Jackson’s place on the first team opposite Johnathan Joseph.
  • The Texans announced the signing of defensive end Mitch King on Monday. King appeared in three games and had 3 tackles for the Saints in 2011.
Follow Texans blogger Sean Bielawski on Twitter, @CBSSportsNFLHOU.