Texans To Watch: Miami Edition
Much has happened since the Houston Texans played their first preseason game and there will be plenty of familiar faces back for the second preseason game. The Miami Dolphins are coming to town and will be looking to make a good impression for the season.
A new injury to Wade Smith and the return of one player in particular for the defense are the biggest stories heading into this game.
Texans to Watch
If the defense is looking for it’s identity, look no further than it’s on the field leader. The return of Cushing to the defense will be a good site to see for the Texans, and seeing how he looks in live contact will be what to watch for. Cushing has worked at training camp but with little contact and in a controlled situation. How Cushing will react to cut blocks from linemen and getting over the mental part of his injury will be key. There is no doubt what Cushing can bring to the table for the defense and having him healthy and focused is key for the inside linebacker.
The new starter at left guard, Ben Jones is set to start in his second different position in as many years. Jones has been working at all three interior spots for the offense and now it looks like left guard will be his home in the near future. The position might suit his skill set better, especially when pulling in the run game. One thing that could help Jones is working next to Pro-Bowl players Duane Brown and Chris Myers. He will be the penciled in starter until Wade Smith returns, but the time table on that is unknown.
The most talked about rookie prior to the opening of training camp, but for all the wrong reasons. Considered out of shape and not very focused on his new job in the NFL, that is all out the window now with a thin outside linebacker group. Montgomery is coming back from an ankle injury that he suffered at the first day of camp that has kept him sidelined for over two weeks. With an injury to Whitney Mercilus and now Trevardo Williams, the door has opened back up for Montgomery to try and climb back up the depth chart. There is one thing for sure about Montgomery, when the lights come on he is a relentless player.
The sleeper of the running back group and the jack of all trades. There has been plenty of talk about the rookies Dennis Johnson and Cierre Wood. Karim has been around and understands what it takes to make it in the NFL. His true value lies in his special teams ability, in returning kicks and on coverage teams. He had to impress at a tryout at rookie mini camp just to get a contract offer for OTAs, and now he has an opportunity to push for a roster spot. The Texans would like for one of the rookies to take over at the 3rd running back spot, but if they cannot look for Karim to sneak into more playing time.
It will be the debut of the new fullback for the Texans in Jones. He will not be blocking for Arian Foster but the athletic fullback will be fun to watch in this offense. His blocking skills will be a sight to see, but he can catch the ball well out of the backfield. He is very athletic for his 6-1 and 268 lbs. frame and he has been rested plenty during training camp. It is hard not to like the attitude he brings to the offense and having him will improve this offense. Watching him with the offense will be a good sight to see because the “true” fullback is needed to make it successful.
If anything, it will be good to see Schaub in some extended time with the offense. In Minnesota, he was missing Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and really did not force the issue with DeAndre Hopkins down field with the football. There will be more time on the field than two series, but seeing him lead this “new” look offense is what people have been wanting to see since draft time. Schaub was under control last week and seeing him in extended time will be good to see.
You can follow Patrick on Twitter. He is the Editor of State of the Texans.