Houston Texans vs. Saints: Offensive impressions
Both Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage took some steps forward, but are still have some issues to work on after the Houston Texans’ second preseason game.
Here are my thoughts on the Texans’ offense after their 16-9 win over the Saints at NRG Stadium.
So are you feeling a little bit better about Brock Osweiler, overreactive Texans fans?
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You know who you are, the ones who were ready to bench him after a shaky performance at San Francisco, Osweiler and the Texans offense got off to a hot start.
Brock was a solid 12-of-19 for 124 yards and a touchdown in an impressive first half. Osweiler had some zip on the ball and had great placement on his passes, unlike how he looked last week. A lot of the reason for the stronger performance is Bill O’Brien opening up the playbook, allowing Brock to make a lot more throws downfield.
One of those big balls was a pretty 19-yard touchdown to Will Fuller, who also stood out as well. More on him later.
Tom Savage had some good moments, but mostly took a step back in his development into an effective NFL quarterback. He took a bad sack and threw a bubble screen pass low and behind the receiver, which turned into a fumble recovered by the Saints, which helped them get back into the game.
Brandon Weeden got mop-up duty in the fourth quarter, but nothing real impressive. It will be interesting to see if Weeden is let go by the team if Savage can keep on the upward trend.
Not much to evaluate since none of the backs stood out. Akeem Hunt led the team in the game with 20 yards on six carries, most of it coming on a 13-yard run. Lamar Miller had limited duty with 16 yards on six carries, but expect him to get more reps next week to get him ready for the regular season.
Kenny Hilliard, Jay Prosch and Tyler Ervin each got to play, but none had a big moment in the game. Alfred Blue didn’t play because of a shoulder issue, but could be back for the Arizona game next week.
The Texans finally unleashed the speed of Will Fuller, and it was as advertised. The speedy first-round pick showed how much of a weapon he is by beating the Saints secondary often and getting open for Osweiler.
Braxton Miller is another rookie who also looked strong, working as a slot receiver and finding room in the middle of the field to make some nice catches. DeAndre Hopkins didn’t play much, but couldn’t get open as the Saints keyed on him all game long. My one complaint is that the tight ends didn’t get many passes thrown at them in the game.
With four starters out with injuries, the offensive line did look well in the first half of the game, giving Osweiler plenty of time in the pocket. Xavier Sua-Filo was the lone starter who played, and the line gave up only one sack in the first half.
But in the second half, the offense stalled, as the Texans gained only 61 yards in the half and gave up three sacks, allowing the Saints to make it a close game. This might be the only problem spot for the Texans since starting tackles Derek Newton and Duane Brown are still out and center Nick Martin may need surgery for a high ankle sprain.
Overall grade: B+
If I split the grade in halves, the first half was an A-minus since the offense was strong, but was ineffective in the second half, more of a C-plus. Injuries on the offensive line are concerning, especially if it looks like a couple of the starters will not be available for the regular season opener.
must read: Texans vs. Saints: Defensive Impressions
But the good news is that Oswelier looked strong and comfortable for the first time as a Texan starting quarterback. If he can continue to work a relationship with the other receivers – especially the rookies in Fuller and Braxton Miller – the passing game is very optimistic. And if