In an effort to bolster their 32nd-ranked defense, the Texans made several roster moves on Monday.
They activated defensive tackle Malcolm Sheppard from their practice squad and signed two free agents, linebacker Stanford Keglar and defensive tackle Damione Lewis. They also released defensive tackle Frank Okam, placed linebacker DeMeco Ryans (Achilles) on injured reserve and re-signed defensive end Tim Jamison to their practice squad.
Sheppard (6-2, 285) is an undrafted rookie from Arkansas who drew rave reviews from Texans coaches this offseason. On Monday, Kubiak called him “probably one of our most improved players on the football team throughout the first six weeks” of the regular season.
“That means a lot,” Sheppard said. “Coach Kubiak is an outstanding person, and just any compliment from him means a lot. I’ll just keep working and try to prove myself to my teammates and try to prove myself to these coaches.”
Keglar (6-2, 250) spent the last two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, where he had 15 special teams tackles. A fourth-round draft pick in 2008, he played at Purdue with Texans safety Bernard Pollard.
“He’s got a lot of skill,” Kubiak said. “He should be able to help us on special teams right away. He has played all over the place at the linebacker position.”
Lewis (6-2, 301) played for Texans assistant head coach Bill Kollar in St. Louis from 2001-05. He was with the Carolina Panthers from 2006-09 and spent this offseason with the New England Patriots. A 2001 first-round draft pick out of Miami (Fla.), he has 22.5 career sacks.
“Obviously, we’re looking for more speed up front and some way to get more active and get in front of the quarterback, so we added him,” Kubiak said.
Okam (6-5, 350) was a fifth-round draft pick out of Texas in 2008. He played in 13 games and had five tackles in two-plus seasons in Houston. Kubiak called his release “a move to get a little faster on defense” and said “it was nothing that Frank did wrong.” The Texans rank 26th in the league this season with 10 sacks.
Jamison (6-3, 270) has been on and off the Texans’ practice squad since going undrafted out of Michigan in 2009. He played in six games for the Texans last season and was cut on Sept. 14 after appearing in the 2010 opener.