The first preseason game was the first glimpse at the 2016 Houston Texans. Here is what I saw out of the offense during the game against San Francisco:
Brock Osweiler looked very uneven in his first game leading the offense. It took him until the third drive to complete a pass. However, it was not all his fault as receivers had a hard time getting open and he had to hold onto the ball for a long time and had to take some sacks.
Lamar Miller had a couple of good runs, but it seems like he either gets a big play or is around three yards per carry. His overall line of 30 yards on four carries looks good overall, but 24 of those 30 yards were on two carries. He danced around in the backfield a little much, but he’s likely still getting acclimated to the offense.
I was more impressed by Kenny Hilliard out of the backfield. The former LSU Tiger ran for 40 yards on 12 carries. Overall that does not look that impressive but he showed some toughness on his runs and would finish runs well. He’s also a downhill back; just one cut and go down the field. I think he should now have the inside track to win the number two back job.
Jonathan Grimes made a brief appearance in the second half, and he gained seven yards on his one carry. Seemed to hit the hole well, and he will need to be good as he fights for a roster spot.
The offensive line was particularly disappointing. Kendall Lamm started at right tackle and got beat around the edge for a sack and had a false start that killed drive progress in the first half.
There were some more breakdowns in pass protection, including Jeff Adams who got beat for a sack and Greg Mancz who had a miscommunication in protection and allowed an uncontested sack. Oday Aboushi also failed in the second half by failing to get to the second level on a sweep play.
On the Bright Side
Josh Lenz (pictured above) is a guy to keep an eye on this preseason. He had a drive in the second half where he made three catches, all for first downs. With all the talk about the rookie receivers, this guy has the potential to make the 53 man roster.
The guy who impressed me the most was Tom Savage–he looked like a legit NFL quarterback. He stood in the pocket and took a hit as he threw multiple times, including the first throw which was a strike to Jaelen Strong. Later he hit Strong on a jump ball as he was taking a hit, which shows the ability of Strong to win balls at the highest point.
While Savage looked good overall, there were a few negatives. He did miss a couple of open guys in the flat and most of his throws were not very high risk. But overall I was pleased with his performance. If he continues to get better, he could put some heat on Osweiler; much like how Russell Wilson won the starting job in Seattle a few years ago. But that’s going to require at least a couple more either lackluster performances from Osweiler and/or Savage lighting it up.
The way the first team looked is simply not going to cut it in the regular season. But keep in mind everyone that it is the first preseason game. There will be more chances to make things better over the course of the preseason before the Bears come to town in just under a month.