March 20, 2018

Game Day Prep: Miami Edition

Preseason game number two is upon us and the Houston Texans will make their first appearance at Reliant Stadium on Saturday. The Miami Dolphins are coming to town and it will be a good test for a Texans team that will extend their starters’ playing time to get them ready for week one.

It may be only preseason football, but it will be the next step to feed the football hunger in Houston.


Texans To Watch

Know Your Opponent: Dolphins 


What To Watch


– The return of Brian Cushing should be the headline of Saturday’s game, and it is for good reason. Having Cushing back is a breath of fresh air for a defense that lost it’s identity after they lost him to his ACL injury. Seeing Cushing on the field will be good, but him overcoming the mental part of his injury will be the big test. It is a big season for the 5th year linebacker as this is his contract year. The Texans want to keep him in Houston for his next deal, but it will take a 100% Cushing on the field to get that contract.

Owen Daniels

Owen Daniels

– The stars will be out for the Texans and it looks like Andre Johnson, Greg Jones, Johnathan Joseph, Owen Daniels and J.J. Watt will be making their preseason debut. With 20 players out last week, the Texans will be getting plenty of more help against the Dolphins. It should be about a quarter’s worth of work for all the starters on Saturday night, which is plenty at this point of the season.

– Look for the return of some players fighting for roster spots in Cameron Collins and Delano Johnson. Also, Brandon Harris will make his return and rookie Sam Montgomery is cleared for the game after dealing with an ankle injury from the beginning of camp. They may not be the headliners that Texans fans are accustomed to, but they will have an impact on how the final roster shakes out. 

The 3rd Round Rookie Returns

Sam Montgomery is set to return to the lineup and should be in pretty soon after the starters take a seat. There are plenty of critics that have been harsh on the rookie from LSU and this is without any real snaps being played for the Texans. He gets his chance to come out and play and show what made him successful in college, a high motor and determined player. He knows how to play on the big stage and showed he can take over football games, and that is what the Texans are looking from him.



Position Battles to Watch

3rd Running Back

Dennis Johnson vs.  Cierre Wood vs. Deji Karim

Everyone knew of the rookies in Johnson and Wood, but the recent talk of Karim by Kubiak has added another player to the mix. It depends what you want with your running back because all three give you something different with their skills set. Johnson is the shifty third down back mold, while Wood has the one cut running style perfect for the zone scheme, and Karim is the jack of all trades that can fill in at back when needed but the special teams value he adds is a plus. This position battle will not be settled until the end of the preseason, but will be a fun one to watch.


5th Cornerback

Roc Carmichael vs. A.J. Bouye

This position could be an underlying battle that could set the team up nice for the future. Carmichael has been limited with opportunities the past couple of seasons and had a rough time in the first preseason game. Depth is deep at corner back and rookie A.J. Bouye has been making his climb to put his name in the hat for the final roster. Bouye had a strong start against the Vikings but let plenty of plays on the field with missed interceptions. With the safety position in question with the health of Ed Reed, the Texans might have to look to another roster spot to bring along an extra safety. So roster spots are at a premium and time to move up the depth chart gets less as the preseason moves on.


3 Spots at Outside Linebacker

Bryan Braman vs. Sam Montgomery vs. Justin Tuggle vs. Willie Jefferson vs. Trevardo Williams

This is a wide open group after the starters and the Texans can mix and match what they want as the backups to them. They have a very athletic group that consists of four rookies and one special teams ace in Braman. There is very little known about the rookies, but Tuggle and Jefferson have made some strong impressions. Montgomery, a third round pick, will be unleashed this weekend which will add another piece to the puzzle. The Texans need a pass rush and some depth on special teams and Braman gives the special teams part but very little as a defensive player. Many think this is not a wide open situation, but there is nothing set in stone with this group.


Backup Nose Tackle

David Hunter vs. Daniel Muir vs. Terrell McClain

Another position that is wide open and undecided that looks like it could be another ongoing situation. Hunter is top in the rotation behind starter Earl Mitchell, but Muir and McClain put together good games against the Vikings. Hunter received the majority of the work with the second team defense, while McClain and Muir played with the third team and they caused issues against their competition. Snaps are limited, but the nose tackle situation looks like Hunter’s to lose at this point.


2nd Quarterback

T.J. Yates vs. Case Keenum

The hot topic coming out of Houston, which is a good thing. This competition will be dissected until Coach Kubiak has the final say when he makes his decision on who will be the backup. If the Texans don’t use either one for the 2013 season, then that is a good thing. Both have their positives as players, but both are far from being a franchise type quarterback. Yates and Keenum have had very little actual real playing time on the field since last season. The film on both is limited and it will be a crap shoot to really know who will be better.



You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.


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