Texans morning huddle: On to New Orleans


It’s once again game day as the Houston Texans are set to take on the Saints in New Orleans. Today’s stories to get us ready for some on field action include an injury update and a prediction for the Texans season.

Texans predicted to finish second in AFC South – by KHOU Staff, KHOU.com

"The Houston Texans received no love from USA TODAY Sports in its season predictions.USAT predicted the Texans to finish with a 6-10 record and tie for second in the AFC South with the Jacksonville Jaguars and behind division winner the Indianapolis Colts.PER USAT:Quarterback aside, they looked fairly formidable elsewhere—until Arian Foster was injured. No matter how good the defense is, and Jadeveon Clowney could take it to (a) new level, offense doesn’t seem capable of holding up its end now if Foster is out for a long stretch.Foster injured his hamstring at the beginning of training camp, which required surgery. He’s expected to miss at least the first six games while he recovers. Meanwhile Clowney, who missed nearly all of the 2014 season, his first in the league, returned to the field for the first time during training camp after undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee.The Texans entered training camp with a battle between Ryan Mallett and Bryan Hoyer, who they acquired in free agency after he left Cleveland, for the team’s starting quarterback job. Head coach Bill O’Brien named Hoyer the team’s starting quarterback Aug. 24, two days after the team’s second preseason game."

Vandermeer’s View: Saints make for tough road test – by Marc Vandermeer of HoustonTexans.com

"Bill O’Brien makes no bones about treating preseason games unlike many other coaches. He acknowledges that most coaches look at game three as the ‘starters play for three quarters’ outing.Not O’Brien.He feels the work his squad gets in practice is high quality and plenty effective prep for his starters to gear up for the regular season.J.J. Watt, Jonathan Joseph and Vince Wilfork didn’t play in the first two preseason games and you can probably imagine what their status might be for this one. But don’t think they’re getting these weeks off, sunning themselves.The Texans are in pads a lot. A Lot. O’Brien wants his team to be tough but there’s not much to prove in a preseason game other than showing your hand for the regular season.Think about it. Other than about a 30 minute period to mostly watch individual work, practice has been closed all week. The Texans are able to run their best offensive plays against Watt and the defense and vice versa. They don’t have to hold back schematically. No one is watching. If they do the same stuff in a game, everyone gets a video. Including the Saints, who happen to be on the regular season schedule."

Crennel: Brian Cushing moving better, more confident – by Deepi Sidhu of HoustonTexans.com

"Brian Cushing is looking more like his former self on the field.Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel wasn’t here to see the pre-surgery version of the veteran inside linebacker, but he’s noticed too.I asked Crennel where he saw the most improvement in Cushing from where he was one year ago.“In his movement skills because he’s coming off a couple of knees that he had back-to-back and that slowed him down,” Crennel said. “But he’s moving very well this camp. I think that he is enjoying the fact that he can move the way he used to move. I think that gives him a lot of confidence in what he can do and how he plays the game.”Cushing is enjoying himself. He just wrapped what he referred to as his “favorite and maybe best” training camp yet. There was no knee surgery or rehab this offseason, like in the past two years, when he’s tore his ACL (2012) and suffered a torn LCL and broken fibula (2013).This year, he has the added benefit of not having to learn a new system under Crennel and linebackers coach Mike Vrabel. He knows what’s expected of him and is healthy enough to deliver. As a seven-year veteran, Cushing is vital to the position group both on and off the field."

Duane Brown to miss Sunday’s game with hand injury – by Josh Alper of Profootballtalk.com

"The Texans will be without their starting left tackle for their third preseason game of the year.Coach Bill O’Brien said Friday that Duane Brown has a hand injury that will keep him out of Sunday’s matchup with the Saints. O’Brien said, via Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com, that Brown will miss some time with the injury, although he doesn’t think it is particularly serious.O’Brien also said that Brown is not expected to miss any regular season action at this point, although he pointed out that could change depending on how Brown’s injury responds. Ganguli reported that Brown had a “cast-like thing” on his right hand."

Next: Texans vs. Saints: Thoughts from a Saints fan