Gary Kubiak continues to make Trindon Holliday sweat out his roster spot on the Houston Texans.
But lead CBS TV analyst Phil Simms thinks the short speedster should be a lock. Simms came away from calling the Texans preseason game with the New Orleans Saints more than impressed with the 5-foot-5 Holliday, even on a night when Holliday fumbled one return away, gift wrapping a Saints touchdown, and botched another.
"(Holliday) will probably have the chance to be the deciding factor in two football games this year," Simms said.
Simms — as obsessive a watcher of tape as any NFL analyst, including the overhyped Jon Gruden — has seen more than enough from Holliday this preseason to realize that the former LSU player is the type of difference maker few teams in the league have.
"If the Texans don't think he is (worthy of a roster spot), he will be picked up as soon as he hits that waiver wire," Simms said during an appearance on 610 AM.
Holliday — who was touted as the fastest player in college football history during his run at LSU — has been showing an almost vintage-day Devin Hester return ability this preseason. He ripped off a 90-yard kickoff touchdown return in the first preseason game, an 87-yard punt touchdown return in the second preseason game and then left the Saints talking of having contained him after he only went 62 yards on a return in the third preseason game.
Simms doesn't need to see anymore. He sees Holliday as a huge X-factor for a Texans squad he calls "one of the top teams in the AFC without question."
"A return guy can be the difference, they truly can," Simms said on the J&R show. "(Holliday) will probably have the chance to be the deciding factor in two football games this year."
It's almost insane to imagine the Texans throwing away that type of potential game changer in a league where the difference between winning-and-losing — especially in matchups between elite teams — can be razor thin. I've written from the first preseason game that Trindon Holliday absolutely has to make the Texans.
It's one of the no brainers of the preseason. In many ways, Holliday has been the story of the Texans' exhibition season.
Yet, Kubiak continues to publicly wrestle with the idea of using one of his precious roster spots on a returner — on a "specialist" as he likes to almost dissmissively refer to the position. You can almost imagine the old-school coach grimacing a little inside at the thought of having such a one-dimensional player.
Kubiak says that Holliday will once again return all the kicks in Thursday night's preseason finale with the Minnesota Vikings, the type of game used to evaluate roster question marks.
In the end, one has to believe that Holliday will still make the 53-man roster. If not, one of the best analysts in football will be shocked and another team's special teams coach will be doing somersaults.