Football is finally back! It may only be preseason and it may not count for much but preseason is still exciting after five months without football. We’ve gone through free agency, the NFL Draft, organized team activities, rookie minicamp, and training camp. Finally, we were able to watch the Houston Texans play in a game. There were plenty of storylines heading into this game as well. We had the quarterback battle, the return of David Quessenberry after he beat cancer, as well as just getting to see the rookies play in a real game. So, without further ado, here are three takeaways from the Texans first preseason game.
Three Takeaways From the Houston Texans First Preseason Game
The Texans traveled to Bank of America Stadium to take on the Panthers for both team’s first preseason game. Carolina pretty much controlled the game, leading in each quarter of a 27-17 win. Losses in preseason games don’t necessarily draw a red flag for teams as most of the game is played by second and third string players. The Texans may have suffered a loss, but coaches were able to get a good look at the rookies, as well as the players battling for a starting spot.
1. The Rookie Quarterback is Ready
The only real concern about Wednesday’s loss to the Panthers is just how bad the first-team offense looked. The first series ended in a punt on fourth-and-18 after Lamar Miller was stuffed behind the line of scrimmage for a loss of three yards and Tom Savage was sacked for a loss of five yards. Miller managed to get those three yards back on the following drive but a two yard completion to Braxton Miller was the only other positive play, resulting in another punt.
Finally, on the Texans’ fourth offensive possession, Deshaun Watson jogged out onto the field. His first pass was a six yard completion to tight end RaShaun Allen. The remainder of Watson’s first half looks bad on paper but the rookie quarterback looked impressive. While he did overthrow it a couple of times, most of Watson’s incompletions were due to poor play from the receivers.
Watson showed exactly what everyone expected, or hoped, he could be. The rookie quarterback managed the game well at the line of scrimmage and found ways to keep the play alive on multiple occasions. He was a little quick to escape the pocket but, in his defense, it was collapsing pretty quick as well. Watson finished his first NFL game completing 15 of 25 passes for 179 yards. Watson also carried the ball three times for 24 yards, capped off by this 15 yard touchdown run.
2. The Running Back Depth Looks Great
Lamar Miller seemed to struggle a bit but he was very limited so it’s not a big deal, really. One of the more positive takeaways from the first half, however, was the play of Alfred Blue. Blue came in during the offense’s third possession and rushed for six yards on his first carry. He also caught a seven yard pass and then finished the drive with a five-yard run, a 12-yard run that was called back, and a 16-yard run for Houston’s first touchdown of the night. Blue finished the game with five carries for 33 yards and a touchdown.
All eyes may have been on Christian McCaffrey, but it was the Texans rookie running back that had the better game. D’Onta Foreman had his number called three straight times on the Texan’s fifth offensive possession. He rushed for four yards, then five yards, then his final rush was for no gain. During the second possession of the fourth quarter, Foreman showed his explosive ability breaking off this 41 yard run to highlight his night. Foreman finished his first NFL preseason game with nine carries for 76 yards.
3. Way Too Many Penalties
The most glaring issue that came from Houston’s first game was the penalties. During the third possession for the offense, the Texans had a false start penalty and two holding penalties that negated a four yard gain and a 12 yard gain. On the very next possession, Deshaun Watson made a great play for a first down that was negated due to an illegal touch by Dres Anderson who stepped out of bounds before the catch.
On the following drive for the Panthers, Houston’s rookie corner Dee Virgin was called for illegal contact and illegal use of hands. Eddie Pleasant also added an interference penalty on a poorly timed tackle during a punt. The Texans finished the game with a whopping 12 penalties for 91 yards. A lot of these penalties can probably be written off as just rust from the time off but it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed.