Deep Steel Blueprint: Houston Texans Preseason Opener Edition

Monday night means the return of one thing - the return of Deep Steel Blueprints! My love for my own not-so clever title aside, it's actually time for some football...even if it is of the preseason variety. Why am I saying it like that? We're Texans, so we'd probably get pumped for some flag football.

Like many of my fellow Houston Texans fans, I am incredibly excited about the 2011 NFL season. This is the best roster of talent that we have ever seen under the always-closed retractable roof of Reliant Stadium. The NFL Draft and free agency periods have produced many high-marks from fans and media alike. It's happening...or at least that's what we hope we can continue to say as we move through this month of dress rehearsals.

Wins are nice, especially for a win-starved fan base, but that's not the true goal of the preseason. Leap and look to see what I think it would take to make Monday's game a successful night.

1) Let's Try And Avoid Seeing Any Carts Near The Field Or Mentioned In Tweets.
Everyone is going to be holding their breath while starters and expected key contributors are on the field. We're going to be hoping that everyone bounces back up and no one hobbles off to the sidelines. As we saw last year, an injury doesn't mean the end of the world (right, Ben Tate and Arian Foster?), but we don't need to test that again. According to head coach Gary Kubiak, starters are expected to be on the field for 10-12 plays, so hopefully it will be a healthy 10-12.

2) Please Don't Look Absolutely Lost.
Given the lockout and it being the first game of the season, I expect there to be rust, penalties, and what have you. This doesn't mean I'll excuse absolute ineptitude.

Offensively, I want one good drive where they're moving the ball. Scoring would be nice, but I'll take a few first downs, given that some starters won't play and others won't play long.

Defensively, I know they'll be in a lot of base plays and sets. I want to see players grasp the 3-4 defense and their new roles. I don't want to see people lost on their assignments or playing horribly out of position. Show me some competency, maybe a sack or takeaway, and I'll be quite pleased.

3) Want A Job? Go Get It.
Gary Kubiak's very well known for taking battles down to the last possible moment, so position battles will play out over the course of the entire preseason. However, I hope to see players in these battles step up from the beginning.

Starting spots are on the line, and I'd like to see some guys begin to separate themselves from the pack so each unit can begin to develop that cohesiveness with as many repetitions as possible before September 11th. For all those talents battling for a 53-man roster or eight-man practice squad spot, go out and make some plays. Good talent seizes the moment and forces opportunity for itself. I want to see players take control of their battles and help give an idea of who will be a Texan and who won't.

From fans to coaches to players, it's time to leave 2010 and its near-misses behind us and focus on what 2011 can be. It has the potential to be a memorable year. I'm excited for what awaits us and hope I'll see things on Monday that keep fueling that excitement. What say you, BRB reader? What makes for a successful Monday to you? 
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