Texans – 49ers Preview: FanSided editor Q&A part 2


Yesterday I posted Douglas Totten’s answers as I quizzed the Niners Noise editor on what his take was on the upcoming San Francisco game for the Houston Texans. Today it is Doug’s turn to give yours truly the third degree as he asks me my opinion on all his burning questions heading towards the preseason opener! Let’s get it rolling;

DT: What effects, if any, is “Hard Knocks” having on training camp?D

RG: I think the early effect is positive. Bill O’Brien became a star after asking his mom not to watch the show, then we all saw why. I think it could be good for Houston to be in the national spotlight because they aren’t really a team that gets much press outside of J.J. Watt.

The show could also help people move on from Andre Johnson as they get an up close look at DeAndre Hopkins. Speaking of which, I have to call the show out for saying the number one spot is wide open and Hopkins hopes to earn it. Hopkins ripped it from Johnson’s hands last season and if the team can avoid starting four different QB’s this year, look for him to improve even more.

DT: Does Brian Hoyer have what it takes to be an NFL QB this year — or ever? How will the QB competition end up?

RG: I have zero faith whatsoever in Hoyer as a legitimate NFL quarterback. None.In college he had 35 touchdowns and 23 picks. In his NFL career he can’t stay on a roster, and has 19 touchdowns, 19 picks. Tell me the last competent quarterback to get booted as many times as Hoyer has. I have always called him “painfully average” and I don’t see him as an upgrade over last years’ initial starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick.

DT: What is the running back situation behind Arian Foster, now that he is out after that groin surgery? It appears the Texans aren’t making any moves to pick someone up. Who will pick up the slack? Is someone else needed?

RG: I feel good about the spot and think they were right to leave the group as is. I think Alfred Blue will get the first crack at starting, but I have a gut feeling that people are sleeping on Chris Polk. He was an absolute stud in college and after sitting behind LeSean McCoy for three years, he could be ready for more work.

Blue didn’t set the world on fire last year (3.1 yards per carry) so he is not a lock at all, opening the door for the other guys. Kenny Hilliard from LSU is another guy I like a lot, but it remains to be seen if he is ready for the next level.

DT: What are the Texans going to do at wide receiver with no more Andre Johnson? I know Johnson was getting old, but still. . .

RG: I am a HUGE fan of Jaelen Strong and I think he was an absolute steal in the third round. Hopkins is superior to Johnson at this stage in their careers and the pick ups of both Cecil Shorts III and Nate Washington were very savvy. I think these four guys will be very good and people will get passed the AJ departure quickly once they get rolling.

DT: Is Bill O’Brien leading the Texans down the right path? What things is he doing right and what needs to be changed?

RG: He seems to be heading them down the right path, and he has shown no fear in making moves, like cutting second round pick D.J. Swearinger after only a couple of seasons. He is instilling the right attitude and general manager Rick Smith is finally making smart moves…which can most likely be tied back to O’Brien as well.

As for what needs to be changed, he needs to settle on a quarterback, or realize that drafting a guy has to take place if neither of these guys stands out as a true starter. The AFC South has a 1st (Luck) 2nd (Mariota) and 3rd (Bortles) overall pick at the position and O’Brien can’t pick between Mallett and Hoyer. If you don’t have a guy who is a clear cut starter, these three teams will fly past you no matter how good your defense is.

DT: Now for your opinion on the 49ers tumultuous offseason:

How bad has this offseason looked for San Francisco? Tagging on to that, do non-49ers fans see Tomsula as a legitimate coach or more of a joke?

RG: The offseason was just odd. I agreed it was time to pass on from Harbaugh, I mean even Colin Cowherd hung up on him. I have never seen so many talented guys so young retire, although Patrick Willis seems to have really struggled with health so that one I understand.

Tomsula really looked awkward in his initial press conference, and I worry that they may have picked a players coach to make up for the rough style of Harbaugh. It reminds me of when the Dallas Cowboys brought in Wade Phillips after Bill Parcels. That turned out great for one year, but then exploded.

DT: What do you see as the 49ers’ strongest position? Weakest position?

RG: Their strongest position to me seems to be quarterback still, despite a rough year from Kaepernick in 2014. I think he has all the tools, but needs to play smarter. Carlos Hyde will make the running back position a strength on his own because that man is a beast. He will keep that ground game strong.

DT: Is there any 49ers player you are excited to see take the field on Saturday?

Arik Armstead. I was a huge fan of his size and potential coming out of Oregon. He was a player I often mocked to Houston due to him being a perfect size for a 3-4 defensive end.

DT: Do you have any thoughts on the Aldon Smith debacle?

RG: How does a guy have so much going for him and not keep it together? I mean, it is sad and infuriating at the same time. San Fran went out of their way to give him chance after chance and he just never learned. He always had an excuse and it was never his fault. Huge loss on the field, but the Niners did the right thing to finally say enough is enough. They gave him enough chances.

DT: Alright, the big question (if this were the regular season): How will the game play out?

RG: I agree with your assessment of what will happen as Houston will most likely play a better quarterback longer than San Francisco will as they assess the two top guys.

If this were a regular season game, I would think San Francisco would pull off the upset on the road. Houston still has a lack of pass rush with Jadeveon Clowney hurt and the safeties are both new to the team which could be tough when facing a mobile quarterback like Kaepernick who can make so much happen based of improvisation.

My prediction for preseason would be 24-13 Houston wins (due to the QB play as we both stated).

My prediction if it were a regular season would be 27-21 San Francisco

Next: Texans-49ers preview: FanSided editor Q&A-part1