Texans place Marcus Cannon on IR, Charlie Heck replaces him

The Texans placed veteran offensive tackle Marcus Cannon on injured reserve Saturday due to a back injury, and Charlie Heck is slated to replace him at right tackle Sunday against the New England Patriots.

Cannon, 33, acquired in a trade from the Patriots this offseason, is dealing with a painful disc issue that has caused sciatica, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

With Cannon injured after playing every snap during a 40-0 road loss to the Buffalo Bills, Heck operated as the Texans' first-team right tackle this week in practice.

A towering former fourth-round draft from North Carolina at 6-foot-8, 308 pounds and the son of Kansas City Chiefs offensive line coach Andy Heck, Heck was called the most improved player on the roster by Texans coach David Culley during training camp.

“We have the next man up mentality," Texans Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil said. "We just need to keep working and just next man up. Marcus is hurt but Charlie Heck is up this week so we got to worry about Charlie Heck and the rest of the line will get it done.”

Heck started one game and played in three as a rookie last season. This year, Heck looks like an entirely different player following a full offseason of training unlike last year during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.

Heck tested positive for COVID-19 in September, opening the door for Cannon to become the starting right tackle for the first four games.

“You guys saw what Charlie did in the preseason, it’s nothing new," Tunsil said. "He just got COVID and you weren’t able to see him. That’s what it is but Charlie is going to get the job done, too.”

Meanwhile, the Texans elevated backup quarterback Jeff Driskel as a COVID-19 replacement with defensive tackle Ross Blacklock on the reserve-COVID-19 list. Driskel will back up rookie starter Davis Mills with Tyrod Taylor on injured reserve with a strained hamstring.

The Texans elevated wide receiver Chris Moore as a standard elevation.

The Texans cut wide receiver Anthony Miller this week, and wide receiver Danny Amendola was limited in practice all week and was listed as questionable due to a strained hamstring that sidelined him for the past two games.

Amendola, 35, has six receptions on six targets with one touchdown since being signed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract.

Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 seasons, including the Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars. He has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128.

Carolina Panthers v New England Patriots

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