Earlier this week, the Texans and Lions joined together in Houston for two joint practices. I could be wrong here, but this may be the first joint practice in the past 5 seasons where nobody on the Texans got into a fight. I am proud! No fights, no scuffles, just working and getting better.
Later on tonight, the Lions and Texans will meet one more time. This time, the lights are on and the action is real. Much like the first preseason game, we should expect little to no playing time from Texans starters. I doubt we will see any of Deshaun Watson, Deandre Hopkins, J.J. Watt, and others play tonight. However, there are still many things to look out for in this game. I’ll share some of the things I am looking forward to watching tonight.
LT Roderick Johnson
Those who have been following the Texans this summer has heard this name often. Roderick Johnson has been having a great training camp. Earning reps with the 1st team offense, Johnson has been reported to outperform current LT Matt Khalil. Khalil was projected to start week 1 as the Left Tackle, but Johnson now has a legitimate shot. Johnson had a strong joint practice against the Lions, but tonight will be a huge indicator of where he is as a player. As of now, Johnson is in total control of his destiny. If he performs well tonight, there’s a great chance he will be our starting LT.
TE Jordan Thomas
Before his injury, Jordan Thomas was another player who is having a great training camp for the Texans. I expect him to get some playing time in tonight to show everyone what he can do in real game action. The competition at tight end is already fierce. Jordan Atkins and Darren Fells have been having great training camps as well. Who’s going to start week one at TE isn’t clear cut yet, but Thomas having a great game tonight can help him win the spot.
Long story short, the Texans pass rush was awful last preseason game. The only existent pass rush is J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. With the situation of Jadeveon Clowney is still unknown, the Texans need more pass rushers to takeover and contribute. This is another opportunity for the current defensive linemen and linebackers to show they can do just that.
WR Deandre Carter
Right on time, Mr. Carter!
After WR Keke Coutee injured his ankle last week in Green Bay, Deandre Carter made his training camp debut this week. While it’s been rumored that Coutee may miss some time, Carter is the weapon the Texans need in order to replace him. Both players have similar games, and there isn’t much that Coutee can do that Carter can’t. He has had a great week in joint practice with the Lions, being a match-up nightmare. He has a chance of being a key contributor for the Texans, as well as being a safety blanket for Watson. Let’s see how he performs tonight in real game competition.
Overall, the Texans did well in the running game last week against the Packers. Led by RB’s Damarea Crockett and Karon Higdon, the Texans were able to rush for 138 yards and a TD in preseason game number one. Though the Texans just traded for RB Duke Johnson last week, there is still a certainty on who will be the RB2 behind Lamar Miller this season. Tonight is an opportunity for either Taiwan Jones, Higdon, or Crockett to separate themselves from the pack. Who will grab this opportunity by the horns?
That’s all for me for now. I’ll report back to you of my observations after the game. Until then, comment below on who/what you are looking forward to seeing tonight in the NRG stadium!