The Rundown: Texans vs. Carolina
The first preseason game is in the books and the Houston Texans looked good on their opening game of the 2012 preseason. Despite some turnovers and red zone issues that should work themselves out, the Texans beat the Carolina Panthers 26-13. It was a good start for the Texans even though the starters were limited and the reserves saw the majority of the playing time starting in the second quarter.
Here are a few thoughts from the Preseason Opener.
- Tim Dobbins (pictured above) was all over the field against the Panthers and played like the seasoned veteran he is. He was an important piece for the Texans last season and looks to be again in 2012. Look for him as the third linebacker on goal line situations during the season and on all special teams units.
- Kareem Jackson looked like a new player. He broke on the football and almost had a near interception. If he can keep showing flashes like these, it will only make the defense that much better. Jackson showed some play that we haven’t seen from him in the previous two seasons.
- Matt Schaub only makes this team better. How good? In the first drive, he hit three different receivers for good gains, the two biggest were to Keshawn Martin and Owen Daniels. Schaub looked mobile and in control and has been the biggest addition to the Texans offense this season. Schaub took a big hit and scrambled out of the pocket (things we all wanted to see him do) and he passed the early test.
- Trindon Holliday has been around exactly for what was seen Saturday night, when he can get going no one in the NFL can run with him. He is blessed with another gear but he is going to have to do this at least one more time in the preseason to claim his stake on the 53 man roster. Big blocks by James Casey, Troy Nolan, Garrett Graham and Shiloh Keo made it easy for Holliday on the 90 yard touchdown kickoff return.
- Alan Ball struggled covering Panthers wide receivers and received two pass interference calls for it. Ball had poor technique and put himself in bad positions with the football in the air. He has to improve his coverage or he will not be an option on the 53.
- Antoine Caldwell looked really solid at the right guard position for the Texans and right now the right guard position is his to lose. He has too much knowledge for the position and gives the Texans the best chance for a solid offensive line.
- Garrett Graham, early, looks like he can take care of what Joel Dreessen did last season for the Texans. Graham showed he can catch the ball and provide enough blocking to keep the running game going. Graham is moving himself into the #2 tight end spot, which only makes the team that much better.
- Brandon Brooks and DeVier Posey didn’t have the starts they would like to have with their NFL career. Brooks looks like a rookie and his technique in the run and pass blocking situations put him in bad situations. As for Posey, he looked tentative on routes and a few times when he needed to put a block on a Panther’s secondary player. Look for both Brooks and Posey to try to improve from their suspect starts.
- Troy Nolan somehow is a football magnet and his interception in the 3rd quarter was a good example of that. Nolan gives the Texans a solid foundation for a deep safety group. Nolan is the third safety when the team goes into their dime package.
- Quarterback John Beck looked like he was under control and completed some nice passes to Lestar Jean and Casey. Beck has the inside track to the team’s 3rd string quarterback and saturday was a good start for him.
- Jonathan Grimes did not disappoint running the football and also doing some nice work on the kickoff team. Grimes has a legitimate shot on making the team (practice squad) if he keeps this work up, and with his ability to catch the football is an added plus. His football I.Q. is evident when he is on the field.
- 1st rounder Whitney Mercilus also showed why he was brought in, to rush the passer. Despite being labeled the one year wonder at Illinois, he has all of the skills needed to make a difference off the edge. With 1.5 sacks against the Panthers, an added pass rusher to the defense will be a sight to see.
- Keshawn Martin has impressed and looks like he could possibly be turning into an important piece of this offense. He caught a couple passes and got a carry on an end around for a first down. Martin is a different type of player and seeing how Kubiak might use him is an exciting thought for fans.
- Randy Bullock impressed with his 52 yard field goal with plenty of room to spare. Bullock has struggled a little during camp but looked very comfortable in his first live action as a kicker.
- Despite missing Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt, the Texans’ 1st team defense looked solid. Mister Alexander and Tim Jamison gave some good snaps on Saturday night and looked good with the first team, and both were active. Jamison showed some nice pass rush skills and looks like he is picking up from last season when he was a big piece of the defense in 2011.