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Jimmy Morrissey makes first NFL start with Texans

NCAA Football: Austin Peay at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Former Pitt center Jimmy Morrissey made the first start of his NFL career on Sunday, when the Houston Texans took on the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Morrissey stepped in at center for the Texans as a result of a knee injury that sidelined Justin Britt.

When Britt was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 30, the Texans addressed his absence by moving Justin McCray, a guard, to center in his stead. However, with the Texans offensive line allowing a season-high five sacks at a cost of 31 yards in a 38-22 loss to the Los Angeles Rams last week, the decision was made to move McCray to right guard and start Morrissey at center to try for better results.

Unfortunately for the Texans, the results on Sunday were worse than the results the week prior, as the line gave up five sacks once again, and this time, those takedowns backed them up 41 yards. The Texans offense was also unable to get anything going and finished with fewer than 10 points for the third time in four games in a 17-9 loss to the Dolphins.

With that said, Morrissey was solid in pass protection with the exception of one blown assignment that prompted Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor to throw the ball away in the fourth quarter. But Morrissey allowed zero sacks, as the pressure that bypassed the Texans line came from the edges and the line's porous right side, with Justin McCray and Charlie Heck getting beat multiple times.

Morrissey entered the league in May as a seventh-round draft pick of the Las Vegas Raiders, and although he made their practice squad, he was signed by the Texans off the Raiders practice squad in October. Given his performance on Sunday, Morrissey may well have earned himself a longer look from the Texans and could prove to be more useful than a typical depth player for the organization. However, time will tell if that is the case.