The Cardinals potent offense will test the Texans proven, but “Wattless”, defense. Among the Texans defensive starters there is only one starting position up for grabs. Roster wars continue among the back-ups and several slots could be won or lost in this game. Here’s what to look for in the Cardinals game.
Can Christian Covington build on his excellent showing against the Saints? Covington moved seamlessly between the 5 (end) and 3 (tackle) technique depending upon the defensive set. He showed a combination of quickness and strength that is required of a three down defensive lineman. If he repeats that performance against the Cardinals, consider Jared Crick‘s former position not just filled, but improved.
What about the other end position? Against the Cardinals fans should watch Brandon Dunn, Devon Still and Joel Heath. To me both Dunn and Still look better in a 3 technique than a 5. They are solid at the point of attack, but they lack the mobility and pass rush skills that Covington is showing. Heath is a dark horse, less seasoned than his two competitors, but he possesses better versatility than either Dunn or Still.
Recent reports have J.J. Watt about to return to practice. If he makes that nearly super-human recovery, the Dunn, Still, Heath competition is for back-up positions, but it is still vitally important. Even if Watt returns for the first game he will likely be used strategically. His replacement will get plenty of snaps.
Next: What To Look For - Linebackers