Back again with my Houston Texans week 2 preview. The Texans take on the San Fransisco 49ers on Saturday night in their week 2 preseason matchup. Head Coach Gary Kubiak said “it will be a good test for us.” And he’s right. After trouncing a Panthers squad with high hopes for the upcoming season, a team they lost to last season while new Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips was out after a surgery. LB coach Reggie Herring called the plays that Sunday. Playing the 49ers will be a great test of 2 of the premiere defenses in the league. It will more than likely give us a real look at both teams playbooks, because both Kubiak and Harbaugh want to test the first units of their squads this week. I’m thinking at least 1 full quarter for the 49ers, and a quarter and a half of Texans first teams. Should be good to watch.
Gary Kubiak said he wanted to get Arian Foster more touches to get him ready for the season. After only getting one carry last week I expect he’ll get around 8-12 carries this week while in the game. He fumbled and lost possesion of the ball for his team after an 11 yard gain on his only carry last week. I’m sure Kubiak will want to see much more, and better ball protection out of his All Pro RB this week. Kubiak also said he liked what rookie QB Case Keenum did while working with the 3rd team offensive line and making things happen escaping the pocket. He’ll give Keenum more reps this week with the 2nd team offensive line as the battle between him and verteran Jon Beck really starts to heat up. Andre Johnson should be playing this week as well. Rookie Keshawn Martin came up big last week playing in his spot. Martin will now be the no.3 WR with Johnson in the lineup. I expect to see some of Justin Forsett and rookie undrafted free agent Johnathan Grinmes get some touches at RB with the 2nd team as well. No word from anyone on this yet, just a feeling. Kubiak’s known to reward good performances with more time and with better units to see what they could do while playing with the better unit. You could also see TJ Yates reps going down as it’s getting closer to having to make a decision on the 3rd QB. Yates is already cemented at 2 so there’s no reason to keep him on the field too long.
Texans 1st round pick Whitney Mercilus getting first sack of career.
On defense Brian Cushing will be back and so you’ll get your first look at him this preseason. Second year player Mister Alexander did a great job starting this week with Cushing out. I expect him to get more time on the field this week so he’s also ready for the regular season. Wade Phillips likes to rotate rushers to keep them fresh. Also see CB’s Roc Carmichael, Sherrick McManis, and Torri Williams playing significant time after the 1st quarter or so. All 3 are fighting for spots on the 52 man roster. Houston Texans 2nd round pick Brandon Harris also there fighting but do to his youth and the fact Phillips drafted him I doubt he has a chance of being cut this year. Rookie DE Jared Crick was out last week due to injury, hopefully this week he’s able to play. Crick’s 2nd on the depth chart behind veteran Antonio Smith and should get a good amount of time on the field if he’s able to go. Also expect to see a lot of 1st round pick Whitney Mercilus play for a good amount of time as they ready the youngster for the regular season. Mercilus who was a prized pick by the team and a draft favorite of Wade Phillips delivered last week with 1.5 sacks.
Watch again for return specialist Trindon Holliday this week. After returning a kickoff for a TD last week, he’s looking to build on that. As Gary Kubiak told the media following the game last week against Carolina “Trindon knows to make this team he’s going to have to be a special return man, and this was a hell of a start.”