Final Score –
In the Texans preseason opener against the Cardinals, a few encouraging stories come out of it. First, the Texans first and also for the most part the second team played very well. But the bad news is that pretty much everyone else played poorly. The game started off quick with a Kris Brown field goal along with a Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson 44 yard bomb for a touchdown. Foster looked very good running with the ball in the first quarter, and even Steve Slaton was recovering form. But that opinion changed quickly when Slaton fumbled at the 1 yard line and gave the ball away to the Cardinals.
On defense, Mario Williams probably just had his most dominant dominant moment in his NFL career. From just a moment after the snap of the ball, Mario just destroyed Cardinals right tackle Brandon Keith. He was blown off balance by Williams and led him right to the sack of Matt Leinart. After the game Keith was quoted saying, “I don’t care what anybody says, there ain’t nothing wrong with his hip.” Williams also had another another sack on Lienart with a great rush around the edge. Glover Quin played well by tackling receivers right as they caught the ball, playing so tight that he never gave the Cardinals offense many yards. Other starters who had a solid game were Bernard Pollard, Zac Diles, Demeco Ryans, and Kevin Walter.
On the second team, safety Troy Nolan was probably the Texans MVP of the night. After a great interception on a tipped pass, he almost had another interception when he read the play very well and also knocked the ball out of a receivers hands after he came charging down field to meet him at the point of the catch. Rookie linebacker Darryl Sharpton also looked good as he was flying around the field and also got an interception after there was defensive pressure.
Someone who also had a pretty good game was backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky. After a slow start, Orlovsky make many solid passes, at one point leading the Texans on a long drive just before the end of the first half. If he had stayed in the game when it was the 4th quarter (which wouldn’t have happened anyways), the game probably would have had a much more enthusiastic ending for the Texans.
Then comes the bad news. Trindon Holliday did a horrid job returning kicks and punts after a decent first quarter to start the game. Things he’ll need to improve on are when to charge punts kicked short and when not to along with knowing when it’s okay to bring a kick out of the endzone. On the backup defense, there was good run stuffing but poor pass rushing. The backup defensive line will need to be a lot quicker to help relieve the pressure the offense puts on the Texans secondary.
Other bad news would include Steve Slaton, who fumbled the ball on the one yard line just before getting a touchdown. Although he seems to have regained some of his quickness compared to last season, Slaton didn’t have very much room to work with in this game. If there was anything else that was sub par about the second team, it was the blocking of the offensive line in the second and early parts of the third quarter.
But probably the worst news of the night came when rookie running back Ben Tate was tackled awkwardly, causing an injury to his ankle. After a couple of minutes of laying down on the field, Tate gingerly walked off the field and was later carted off to the locker room for X-rays. Later in the game, the doctor carrying the medical update to the Texans looked very disappointed after analyzing Tate’s ankle. No official announcement was made by the team about Tate’s situation, but it could cost Tate much if not all of his rookie season.
In all, it was reassuring for the Texans. The starters are what matter most along with the backups to an extent, and the team looked very good. The offense, defense, and evem the special teams did their jobs well in the first two to three quarters. Troy Nolan could possibly be that safety of the future after missing last season, but it may be too early to tell. Ben Tate’s injury will likely cost the Texans, and they’ll need to take closer looks at Chris Henry and Jeremiah Johnson. Schaub and Andre Johnson look good as always along with much of the other starters. After this game, I’m somewhat less worried about week one of the regular season.
Game MVP – Texans S Troy Nolan
Texans players of the game -
Troy Nolan – 2 tackles – 1 interception – 2 passes defended
Mario Williams – 3 tackles – 2 sacks
Matt Schaub – 5 for 6 passing – 78 passing yards – 1 passing touchdown
Topics: Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Bernard Pollard, Cardinals, Dan Orlovsky, Darryl Sharpton, Defense, Demeco Ryans, Kevin Walter, Mario Williams, Matt Leinart, Matt Schaub, Offense, Offensive Line, Preseason, Special Teams, Steve Slaton, Texans, Trindon Holliday, Troy Nolan, Zac Diles