After an unprecedented 17-0 win against the 49ers to end the preseason 3-0, how well are the Texans set up for the 2022 regular season?
The final week of preseason starts with a masterful Texans win, but what fans should be more focused on are the following five takeaways from the last preseason game.
Out With The Old, In With The New
The time has come. Training camp is over, the curtain on preseason has dropped, and all that stands before us is the dawn of a new Texans season. With a new duo of Lovie Smith and Pep Hamilton calling the plays with a revamped roster, there are many unknowns heading into the year. As we draw our final conclusions and look on to week one against the Colts, here are a few things to look back on from preseason week three.
One: The Last Major Texan Rookie Starts
Some people are going to argue about where the line is drawn between major and minor rookies as far as impact is concerned, but the top three rookies have now seen game action. That seems like a fine place to be heading into the season. Kenyon Green was the last piece of the puzzle, and he didn’t disappoint in his preseason debut. He showcased a high motor, quick hands, and a ferocity that couldn’t be matched. He was also instrumental in sealing the gap that allowed Marlon Mack to break a long run in the second half. With such a strong showing in the preseason, expect Green to start beside Tunsil sooner rather than later.
“There’s a reason why we drafted him in the first round. He’s a good football player.”Coach Lovie Smith on Rookie Kenyon Green
Two: Shutup or Shutout
It seems like every single week we’ve talked about the defense, so why should this week’s iteration be any different? They made plays all game long, notching TFLs, sacks, and interceptions across the field. They played so well that the 49ers didn’t make it on the board at all, even when some of their stars were playing on offense. Notable performances from the night were Jalen Pitre, Kurt Hinish, Isaac Yaidom, Steven Nelson, and Jon Greenard–just to name a few. While it seems like this unit has all the tools to show out during the season, we will have to wait and see if the aggressive playstyle pays off across the next 17 games (and possibly beyond).
Three: Offensive Ups and Downs
When the Texans ended the last season, one of the major concerns of the team surrounded the offense. They ended the 2021 season dead last in rushing yards and 26th in passing yards. That’s why the Texans took the time to invest in some offensive additions this off-season, drafting Kenyon Green, John Metchie, and Dameon Pierce. While John Metchie is unfortunately out for the season, the other two rookies seem slated to make an immediate impact. The first drive was extremely efficient, relying on Dameon Pierce to carry the rock six times for 37 yards and a touchdown. Add Brandin Cooks, Laremy Tunsil, Justin Britt, and Kenyon Green to the starting offense and the Texans should take a significant leap forward in efficiency and help QB1 settle into much more of a rhythm.
Four: Roster Cuts Are Imminent
Not so much an observation from the game, but more a sad fact of reality. There are a lot of talented players who won’t make the final 53-man roster for the Texans. At the receiver position, both Johnny Johnson III and Jalen Camp were standouts against the Saints but failed to make an impression in the final two games. It’s looking more and more likely that Chris Moore will make the slot receiver spot, which may not leave a roster spot for both Camp and Johnson III. Another area that will be hard to trim down will be the defensive line, which has shown great depth pieces with members like Kurt Hinish and Derek Rivers. With talent saturated throughout, draftees of the old regime like Ross Blacklock may find themselves on the outside of the locker room looking in come final cuts.
Five: Davis Mills Must Prove His Leadership
All eyes were on the Texans’ second-year quarterback, Davis Mills, as he lead the Texans squad for all of the first half and part of the second. He went 6/10 for 58 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. The stats themselves are nothing to call Canton about, but they don’t quite tell the whole picture. Mills made a few nice throws that were negated by penalties, both a defensive pass interference on Nico Collins that helped move the ball and offensive pass interference on Chris Moore that negated a touchdown to Nico Collins. Mills rallied well after the touchdown was called back and proceeded to throw another dime across the middle to Chris Moore to put the points back on the board. He’s shown a great ability to stay focused no matter the pace of the game and will look to cement his role as the Texans QB of the future before the 2023 draft.
The Texans have a few items to work on before opening week against the Colts, but an undefeated record in preseason should give the fans some hope that Lovie Smith can bring out the best in his players no matter where they find themselves. Until September 11, expect to hear news surrounding roster cuts (which are due by Tuesday, August 30), finalized starting lineups, and if any injured players make it back in time for the first game of the season. Until next time, Texans fans!
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