Grossman sparkles in Texans’ win, 27-20
Fringe players often earn roster spots in preseason finales. Grossman is hoping he secured a backup role behind Matt Schaub(notes) and Dan Orlovsky(notes) after throwing for two touchdowns in Friday night’s 27-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“I don’t control any of that. All I wanted to do was go out and have a good game for either this team or somebody else,” Grossman said. “That’s not up to me. I thought I did that, and we’ll see what happens.”
On a night when most starters on both teams rested, Grossman returned after missing more than two weeks with a hamstring injury. His only work during the preseason had been one pass attempt in the Texans’ opener.
The seventh-year pro, who led the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006, teamed with Jacoby Jones(notes) on an 87-yard scoring play on his first pass, and finished 9 of 16 for 197 yards and no interceptions in three quarters.
“I was very impressed. You could see signs of that during camp, whenever he was working that first seven or eight days,” Houston coach Gary Kubiak said. “Obviously he knows what this league’s about. He knows how to make plays. He was ready to play.”
Josh Freeman(notes), Tampa Bay’s first-round draft pick, started, with Byron Leftwich(notes) and Luke McCown(notes) getting the night off after coach Raheem Morris settled on Leftwich as the No. 1 quarterback heading into the regular season.
The game also marked the debut of Greg Olson as the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator. Olson was promoted Thursday when former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski was unexpectedly fired.
Freeman, who Morris selected 17th overall with intentions of bringing him along slowly, and fourth-stringer Josh Johnson(notes) each played a half for the Bucs (1-3). Both produced 10 points apiece, with Freeman throwing a 23-yard TD pass to Cortez Hankton(notes), and Johnson tossing a 14-yarder to Ryan Purvis.
Grossman, who played behind Kyle Orton(notes) in Chicago last season, signed with the Texans (2-2) in June and has been competing for the No. 3 job behind Schaub and Orlovsky, who started Friday night and completed 5 of 7 passes for 51 yards and an interception before Grossman entered.
Grossman connected with Jones on his second play, then threw an 11-yard TD pass to James Casey(notes) to finish an 11-play, 56-yard drive on Houston’s next possession. He turned Kevin Bentley’s(notes) interception at the Tampa Bay 14 into a field goal, ending the night with a 139.8 quarterback rating.
“I feel decent about my audition,” Grossman said. “If they cut me, then hopefully somebody else will pick me up.”
Faced with trimming the roster to 53 players on Saturday, Kubiak was noncommital.
“I don’t know. … We’ve got to look at a lot of things,” the coach said. “It’s a tough process, that 53 situation, so we’ll see. He sure as heck helped himself.”
Freeman was intercepted twice before giving the Bucs a glimpse of what the team is counting on to be a bright future.
Making plays with his feet, as well as his arm, the former Kansas State star led a 10-play, 74-yard drive in the final two minutes of the half, capping the march with his touchdown pass to Hankton.
Morris was impressed.
“He came out a little shaky. He had to make a couple of great scrambles there, make a couple of good third-down conversions to end that thing with a two-minute drive to get us in the end zone,” the first-year coach said.
“It’s what you want to see,” Morris added. “You want to see these guys play better every time you go out there.”