NFL Preseason: Chris Jones OUT Tonight vs Dolphins

USA TODAY Sports

More than any other reason, preseason games exist to get NFL rookies acclimated to their team's game plan/playbook and used to NFL game speed before real contests begin. As a rookie, it is very important to play as much in the preseason as possible. Missing an entire game? That's not good.

Former Bowling Green State University defensive lineman Chris Jones will not play tonight in the Houston Texans' second preseason game, which will be held in Houston against the Miami Dolphins.

According to a report from HoustonTexans.com on Wednesday, Jones was in a walking boot following a calf strain during an early-week practice.  Texans' head coach Gary Kubiak said, "It's a day-to-day deal.  He's not going to play this week, I can tell you that for sure.  We put him in a boot, so we'll re-evaluate him as we get to the end of the week."

This is not good news for Jones, who did not record any statistics in the team's first preseason game last weekend at Minnesota.

Jones was a sixth-round pick by Houston in April's NFL Draft but had the (mis-) fortune of finding himself on a team that is deep in talent along the defensive line.  In practice, he lines up along side the likes of J.J. Watt, Earl Mitchell, Antonio Smith and Jared Smith, and Jones is not going to be displacing any of those guys -- not right now, anyway.

So, he is likely on the bubble in terms of making Houston's final 53-man roster when it is announced after the team's final preseason game in two weeks.  The CBS television affiliate in Houston attempted to project the team's final 53 in an internet post on Friday.  In the projection, CBS Houston's Will Grubb says that Jones will be among four players competing for the team's final spot along the defensive line.  He hints that the player who wins that competition will be one who can play nose tackle, and Jones fits that bill.  Grubb also projects two "at-large" open spots at the end of the roster that Jones could potentially win.

Unfortunately for Jones, every day that he cannot participate in practice or play in a scrimmage or game is another day that he loses ground to those who could take his spot.  Hopefully, he can return to the field next week and play in Houston's third game against New Orleans, which takes place on Sunday, August 25th.  That could be crucial, as the first cut day -- the day teams must reduce rosters by 15 to 75 players -- is on the 27th.

Don't get me wrong, though.  All is not lost for Jones, even if he were ultimately cut.  As I noted above, Jones is on a team with a lot of depth and talent on the defensive line, and there are teams out there with a much bigger need there.  If Jones happens to get cut, it's very possible that he would be picked up on waivers by another team.  And even if that doesn't happen, he really should end up (at the very least) on a practice squad -- whether it is in Houston or elsewhere.

But forget all that -- for now, let's just hope that Jones can get back on the field and make Houston's final 53, so he can bring the #MACtion to the NFL every Sunday.

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