March 21, 2018

The Calm After the Storm

With the current team cuts finished, the Houston Texans surprised fans with some moves on Saturday evening. With words slowly leaking out about who was let go by the Texans, the chatter across the internet intensified to a full frenzy on who was going to make the final roster. The Texans are not done with their moves and that is evident with their current 52 player roster and with the current cuts happening around the league, we can expect a few more moves before the roster is set.

As the Texans are done for the evening, General Manager Rick Smith and his staff are probably working hard to bring in the best players on the market and doing what they can to set their practice squad. This is a quick analysis of what has happened after the dust has settled.



1. I will be quick to eat crow on Brian Braman and say I was wrong on him as a player. Being one of his biggest critics I was concerned for his lack of impact on the rest of the preseason after his debut against the New York Jets. Braman possess a rare skill set that includes some good speed at the outside linebacker position. He will be an asset on special teams and a situational guy off the bench during the season. His real value lies in his ability to contribute to special teams and has been on majority of the special teams units in the preseason. He is one of the few undrafted free agents who made it on a team across the NFL and it says something for the kid that was able to overcome the odds and make this roster.

2. The 7th round rookie from Arkansas St., Derek Newton saw plenty of action during the preseason and showed he can play at times. He is a big offensive tackle at 6’5″ 311 lbs. and showed he still has some work to do, but he too made the roster after the cuts were released. He looked like he may be destined for the practice squad  because he just didn’t look ready at times and the odds are usually stacked against late round picks. He is fourth in the depth chart at offensive tackle, but early thoughts on him coming out of the draft was he might project to the guard position. With the Texans lack of depth at the guard position, Newton might be a candidate to help there in a pinch.

3. With no game reps and little practice time because of shoulder injury, the Texans still kept rookie Roc Carmichael on the 53 man roster, and with Carmichael on the roster the Texans are keeping seven cornerbacks on the depth chart. The Texans took Carmichael with a 4th round pick, and as much wheeling and dealing that the team did on draft day to move up to get him it was hard to see the Texans letting him go. It may have never been an option to let him go, but the Texans have a crowded cornerback position and playing time will be interesting. A true playmaker at Virginia Tech, it will be exciting to finally see Carmichael in a Texans uniform. Here is quick look at Roc before the draft if you have not seen him in action.

4. Anyone who saw Xavier Adibi play during the preseason saw what looked like a new player for the Texans. Considered an average linebacker since he joined the Texans in 2008, Adibi looked like he turned the corner with this new defensive coaching staff. Adibi had a hot start in the first Monday night contest against the New York Jets and looked solid during the preseason as he learned his new position. He was playing on the inside and looked pretty comfortable in his new position, but it was all for not. It looks like Tim Dobbins will fill the role that looked like was Adibi’s which capped a surprising cut for the Texans.

5. Only two rookies from the 2010 draft class did not make the roster, which was Shiloh Keo and Cheta Ozougwu. One would think that Keo was a disappointment especially with the reports coming out the he was a “Diamond in the Rough”. The thought that defensive coordinator Wade Phillips found him at the East-West Shrine game made it seem the Keo was a player who slipped through the cracks by playing at Idaho. Upon his arrival in Houston, Keo looked overmatched at the safety position. Hopefully, Keo can come back and develop on the practice squad and make an impact down the road.

Ozougwu, Mr. Irrelevant, was sidelined early in the preseason with a concussion and came back to play in the preseason finale in Minnesota. He looked like he was a factor early in camp, but his injury put him behind the learning curve and could not make a quick enough impression to make the team. His best bet may be a practice squad invite, but only time will tell.

6. Early reports on Friday was that Jeff Maehl and Trindon Holliday were going to be waived with the intention of being signed to the practice squad. With that Lestar Jean was put on injured reserve which keeps him in Houston until the 2012 training camp and Terrence Toliver was also put on injured reserve too. With all of this young talent at receiver the Texans still managed to keep all of them, pending Maehl and Holliday not being picked up, in Houston until 2012. With Kevin Walter coming up towards the end of his contract and the recent release of Dorin Dickerson, the Texans look to be in the business of turning some of the young receivers loose in the coming years in Houston.

7. One of the biggest question marks after the cuts were made was the fact the veteran Damione Lewis was released. This move will make the Texans active on the waiver wire looking for some defensive line help and probably looking for a rotational defensive end and another big body. If both of these players are brought in it would be safe to say that Tim Bulman might be on his way out. In Dallas today defensive lineman Igor Olshansky was released by the Cowboys, and he is considered to be a prime candidate to come to Houston. Olshansky is a Wade Phillips disciple that goes all the way back to San Diego in 2004, Olshansky’s rookie year, when Phillips was the defensive coordinator for the Chargers.

8. The Texans are currently without a punter after Brad Maynard was released on Saturday. Maynard looked like the punter after rookie Brett Hartmann was released early in the preseason. It is important for the Texans to find a punter that has a strong leg, which the team seems they have never had in their brief history. With the Pittsburgh Steelers releasing Jeremy Kapinos he might be a viable option to sign, he averages 42.6 per punt in his four-year career. Also, dont count out that Hartmann might resign with the team, but that might be a long shot to happen.

9. Steve Slaton’s days may be numbered in Houston, with his value to the Texans too much to just let him walk the Texans decided to keep him. Early talk was the Texans were fielding calls on possibly trading Slaton, but nothing has surfaced since. With Slaton on the roster the Texans are carrying four running backs and it will be interesting in the coming days on where Slaton ends up.

10. With the roster at 52 right now we all know the Texans are no done making moves and it looks like the team is headed in a new direction with personnel which makes for some good talk among Texans fans. For the first time it seems like the team is making well-educated moves with their team and this preseason was a big indicator that things might be finally turning the corner in Houston. If the Texans can bring the right players in off the waiver wire, you can expect some more releases that will create a bigger buzz in Houston.


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