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Shark Bites

The Texans are releasing LB Christian Kirksey, who played a full-time role and served as a captain for last year's team. In his place, LB Denzel Perryman has been working with Christian Harris as the top two LBs. Perryman has also worn the green dot on his helmet in preseason games, which means he's conveying play calls from the coordinator to the huddle. That points to a full-time -- or at least nearly -- role and big tackle upside for Perryman. We've moved Perryman up our IDP rankings (and removed Kirksey).

Recent Shark Bites

Texans LB Christian Kirksey has missed several recent days with a hamstring injury, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 in Houston. Rookie Henry To'oTo'o has reportedly filled in for Kirksey in the starting lineup. The team interestingly listed Denzel Perryman and Blake Cashman as starting LBs alongside Christian Harris on the initial "unofficial" depth chart. That could mean nothing, of course. And Wilson reports that Kirksey is expected to reclaim his post when ready. We consider Harris to be the only lineup lock at this point. Harris sits highest among the group in our IDP rankings.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports that LB Christian Kirksey is signing a 2-year deal to remain with the Texans. Kirksey was a full-time player for the 12 starts he made in Houston last year (among 13 appearances). It was his healthiest season since 2017, disrupted primarily by a 3-week absence for a thumb fracture. This contract points to Kirksey retaining a starting job under new HC Lovie Smith, who spent last season as the DC. We'll see who else lines up with Kirksey. Kamu Grugier-Hill -- the corps' other 2021 playing-time leader -- and Neville Hewitt are set to hit free agency next week.

The Texans this week designated LB Christian Kirksey to return from IR, and he has practiced with the team. If his repaired left thumb is ready for Sunday's game against the Colts, the returning starter would destabilize LB Zach Cunningham's role. Cunningham had sunk to a reserve spot behind Kirksey and Kamu Grugier-Hill before Kirksey's injury. We'll watch for whether Kirksey makes it back to the active roster.

The Texans on Saturday placed LB Christian Kirksey on IR, following surgery on his fractured thumb. He'll miss the next 3 games but should be back after that. Neville Hewitt looks like his replacement, though we'll see exactly how the playing time gets split among the Houston LBs against Miami this week. This will be the 1st game Kirksey has missed this year.

The Texans have ruled LB Christian Kirksey out for Sunday's game against the Dolphins with his fractured thumb. It's a little surprising after Kirksey played through the injury last week (after it occurred at the end of the Week 7 game). It's tough to know what the LB playing time will look like with Kirksey out. According to the Houston Chronicle, Neville Hewitt "was prepared to play in place of Kirksey last week," when Kirksey played with a "club" on his injured hand. So it appears Hewitt -- rather than Zach Cunningham -- will be the 2nd LB alongside Kamu Grugier-Hill.

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