Carr gets rare down time as ankle heals

Updated: October 30, 2003, 5:28 PM ET
ESPN

HOUSTON -- David Carr chatted with teammates. He grabbed a swig of water. He strolled around the Houston Texans' practice facility on a picture-perfect October afternoon.

Carr did everything but take the field, thanks to the right ankle he sprained Sunday at Indianapolis while getting sacked for the 11th time this season.

It hasn't escaped his attention that he took every snap last year despite enduring a record 76 sacks, then got hurt this year while getting better protection than most quarterbacks.

"That's the ironic thing," said Carr, who is doubtful for Sunday's game against Carolina but likely to return the following week at Cincinnati. "This year, it's so much nicer and we're actually doing some things on offense. I want to be a part of that. That's why it's going to be kind of funny if I can't get out there."

His father, Roger Carr, lamented it would be only Carr's second game lost to injury since fifth grade. David Carr missed a start in high school, his father said, after getting speared in the back on a dirty play in the previous game.

Carr said he'd want to play if his ankle somehow started feeling good, though he's planning on cheering on veteran Tony Banks from the sideline.

"(Banks) knows what he's doing and he's going to run this offense fine," he said. "We have a chance to win this football game, I think. I don't see any reason why he won't do his job."

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^ROLE REVERSAL:@ The Texans' only chance to win last year was when the defense made up for a young, ineffective offense. Even then, Houston won just four games.

A year of experience and the addition of rookie weapons Domanick Davis at running back and receiver Andre Johnson have suddenly given the Texans one of the league's most potent units. But as many as four projected 2003 starters on defense will miss Sunday's game against Carolina, continuing a trend that has lasted all season.

Pro Bowl defensive end Gary Walker (toe) will be replaced by midseason free agent pickup Junior Ioane. And outside linebacker Charlie Clemons (ankle) also could be out, giving Antwan Peek a second straight start.

The Texans already had to replace talented nose tackle Seth Payne, lost for the season with a Week 2 knee injury. Career backup Corey Sears starts in his place. And free safety Matt Stevens was benched in favor of Marlon McCree, who was waived earlier this season by Jacksonville.

"As a defense we need to eliminate the kinds of problems where the offense gives us the lead and we go out there and lose the lead," said Pro Bowl cornerback Aaron Glenn, who missed two games with a groin injury and gave up a long touchdown last week after being knocked woozy on the previous play by a teammate.

The Texans have lost their last two games to the Jets and Colts despite taking early leads of 14-0 and 14-3. It's a trend, at least defensively, Glenn says the Texans must stop.

"The offense has been putting points on the board and we have to stop guys," Glenn said. "For the last couple of weeks haven't done that."

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^RED ALERT:@ Once a year the NFL lets teams play in an alternate jersey, often a throwback-style design honoring another era.

The Texans don't have another era, being in their second season and all. Instead they've crafted a red jersey as an alternative to the usual blue shirt.

Of course, the unique jersey comes complete with a marketing blitz replete with red-themed knit shirts, hats and other accessories. A portion of the proceeds of red jersey sales through the weekend will be donated to the American Red Cross.

Some players have gotten into the act. Several have acquired red-tinged shoes to complete the look, and many have sported more red than usual in their own on-field accessories.

"I want to wear a white glove on my left and a red glove on my right hand," receiver Corey Bradford said, adding that the Texans should go all-out and wear red pants as well.

The pants aren't changing.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index