Last night was about as exciting as a game involving no starters could possibly be expected to be. In the first quarter Justin Forsett had a 52 yard run, in the second DeVier Posey had an 80 yard touchdown catch and in the third Trindon Holliday had a 76-yard punt return for touchdown. Forsett went on to set the Texans preseason rushing yards record and score two touchdowns. That being said, a few guys made Rick Smith and Gary Kubiak’s job pretty difficult with their play on Thursday night.
John Beck vs Case Keenum
Case Keenum certainly didn’t win the position battle last night as he was placed on waivers earlier today. The Texans assume that he should clear and revert back to their practice squad. That doesn’t necessarily mean that Beck is a lock however as Gary Kubiak announced yesterday that the thought of entering the season carrying only two quarterbacks on the 53 man roster had crossed his mind. Beck played great last night. He found DeVier Posey on a short pass that ended up going for six and showed a decent understanding of the offense throughout the first half. I would assume after seeing some of the other borderline cuts the Texans have made Beck will have a place on the opening day roster.
Justin Forsett vs Jonathan Grimes
Jonathan Grimes was mediocre last night averaging only 3.8 yards per carry. In order to take the roster spot from Forsett, Grimes needed to vastly outplay his counterpart. Unfortunately for him he didn’t play well and Forsett’s performance put him in the Texans record books thus leading to Grimes being cut earlier today. Grimes is still a good player and he could be well on his way to an Arian Foster-like journey from undrafted free agent to practice squad (hopefully) to eventual NFL starter. It may be unlikely that Grimes is a budding superstar but what is likely is that Justin Forsett will have an impact on the Texans season this year in a positive way. He showed a spark last night that fans haven’t seen since Steve Slaton’s rookie year.
Sherrick McMannis vs Roc Carmichael
Whether the Texans keep Carmichael or not is still in question but what isn’t in question is whether McMannis will make the roster. He was traded earlier today for Tyler Clutts, a fullback from the Bears, to backup James Casey. McMannis had a good camp but due to the depth at the position he was traded for a little bit more stability at another. Carmichael had one assisted tackle and other than that was largely a non-factor. A player I wrongfully left out of the position battle is Alan Ball who played for Wade Phillips in Dallas. After the opening preseason game in which Ball had two pass interference penalties on the same drive, and his overall body of work in Dallas, I’m not a huge advocate of his making the roster but he has outplayed Carmichael up to this point and Wade appears to have a soft spot for him so don’t be surprised to see Alan Ball on the opening day roster.
Shiloh Keo vs Quentin Demps/Troy Nolan
This is the only question that went unanswered last night as all three have made it past the midday roster cuts. As I said before it is unlikely that Keo will be cut, if for no reason other than it’s too early to give up on a draft pick. While I initially gave the edge to Demps yesterday, however, Nolan outplayed his counterpart as he was seemingly everywhere making plays racking up six tackles to lead the team. Having already cut Eddie Pleasant it wouldn’t be completely out of the realm of possibilities for the Texans to keep all three safeties on the roster but look for one of those three to be cut by the end of the night.
Trindon Holliday vs Himself
Trindon Holliday has turned into the Texans most explosive playmaker. Sure, it’s the preseason and as much as coaches are testing guys on offense and defense they are testing them even more so on special teams, but it is extremely difficult to discount three returns for touchdown in four games regardless of when it is. Rick Smith stated earlier today that Holliday has made significant strides as a football player and will certainly have a roster spot. While he is more explosive than anything the Texans had to offer it will also keep guys like Justin Forsett, Keyshawn Martin and most importantly Danieal Manning from getting hurt in needless situations.