Preseason Preview: Houston Texans @ New Orleans Saints

The Texans are 2-0 this year in the preseason, but more impressive than that record has been the way the defense and special teams has clicked. While the offense hasn’t looked as good as the other two facets of the Texans game, certain players have played extremely well and players like Arian Foster haven’t seen enough time to make any real judgments. Don’t expect that to change in the Texans dress rehearsal tonight. People tend to look at week three of the preseason as the most important game and while it may be true that the starters play more than in previous or subsequent games, it doesn’t mean that the offense or defense is playing with their actual gameplans. The coaching staff tends to put players in certain situations to see how they will perform, so don’t look for Arian Foster to get 20 carries.

August 15, 2011; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Lestar Jean (18) makes a fourth quarter reception and New York Jets cornerback Julian Posey (32) attempts to make the tackle at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Which Young Receiver Will Step Up?

Look for the Texans to pass the ball more often than they normally would in a regular season game and don’t look for a majority of the passes to go to proven guys like Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter. Keyshawn Martin has made his case to take the starting slot role and Lestar Jean has made his to be a rotational outside guy. I don’t expect that to change tonight and I expect about four catches a piece for the two young guys. Hopefully we see something out of DeVier Posey that can excite fans about the third-round pick, but he’s been so rusty that I don’t expect a significantly better game than any of the other games he’s had thus far.

Can the Defense Slow Down Drew Brees?

Last year the Texans allowed the Saints to score 40 points on them and it was mainly due to the fact that they couldn’t pressure Drew Brees without bringing a blitz. At that point in the season it could be argued that many of the pass rushers were still learning the defense and Wade was running a simpler playbook to make up for that as well. Now that Jonathan Joseph is comfortable covering the number one every week, Kareem Jackson has another year under his belt, Brice McCain has become one of the top nickel corners in the NFL, and Brandon Harris has shown flashes that may allow him to split some time with Jackson, the Texans secondary is significantly better than it was last year. So far this preseason the Texans defense has looked scary and while they haven’t faced an offense like New Orleans thus far I still look for a low scoring game.

Who Will Take the Lead in the Offensive Line Battle?

Last week Antoine Caldwell essentially locked up the starter role at right guard and Kubiak stated that if the season started today Derek Newton and Rashad Butler would more than likely split time at right tackle. With Caldwell getting the start again tonight look for Butler to get the start at tackle because last week saw him start with Newton and it only makes sense to try to gain as much chemistry as possible before the season opener against Miami. Even if Brandon Brooks comes in and plays like an All-Pro, I don’t expect him to fight for the starter job, but he will most likely be one of the two backup linemen the Texans carry on the gameday roster because his size and speed combination make it so that he can play just about anywhere on the line. I look for Caldwell and Butler to get the week one start but hopefully this game will make me a little more confident in the decision.

Will Shayne Graham Falter this Week?

Many expected Randy Bullock to take the starting kicker role essentially unopposed after being the first ever kicker that the Texans had drafted. Instead journeyman Shayne Graham has done more than push the rookie; he has potentially taken his job. In the week one win against Carolina both kickers made both of their kicks, but Bullock had the upper-hand after one of his was a 52-yarder. However, last week against San Francisco Graham again went 2-2 while Bullock missed his kick. I don’t expect the Texans to cut a kicker that they spent a draft pick on, but if Graham continues his run at perfection it will be equally as difficult to cut him. If Graham continues making kicks and forcing touchbacks on kickoffs look for him to have a spot on the 53-man roster.

August 18, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Trindon Holliday (16) returns the opening kick off against the San Francisco 49ers at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Will the Electric Trindon Holliday Catch Lightning in a Bottle… Again?

Last week I pondered the same question after he returned a kickoff for a touchdown against Carolina. Honestly, I didn’t expect another return for touchdown but if he could have show some more elusiveness he may have beeb able to earn a roster spot. Holliday surprised me, however, and returned a punt for touchdown against San Francisco. If he is able take another one to the house tonight it will become an undeniable truth that Holliday will have a spot on the roster. At this point I expect him to have a spot regardless, unless he fumbles on every return opportunity tonight, but another return for touchdown will make it a certainty.

 

Topics: Andre Johnson, Antoine Caldwell, Arian Foster, Brandon Brooks, Brandon Harris, Brice McCain, Derek Newton, Devier Posey, Drew Brees, Jonathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Kevin Walter, Keyshawn Martin, Lestar Jean, Randy Bullock, Rashad Butler, Shayne Graham, Trindon Holliday

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