As I said before, I was at the Metrodome to watch your Houston Texans kickoff the 2013 preseason. I sent some text messages out to other staff writers to help serve as notes, but a lot of this is coming off memory. I spent the first half in the upper deck among other fellow Texans fans before meandering down to the lower level. I'll do this in bullet form.
- Metrodome parking could be easier. Hopefully, they'll address this in Metrodome II.
- Metrodome coverage could also be easier. Let's hope they address this, too.
- The Metrodome is so badly outdated.
- I missed the first team due to the parking situation, so I had to watch DVR footage of Matt Schaub and Earl Mitchell.
- Fans nearby told me Shiloh Keo intercepted a pass. This was followed by lots of laughter by me.
- All Texans jerseys seen? J.J. Watt jerseys. They also were Nike-new, so either the Texans have won new fans over, former Wisconsinites favor their prodigal defensive son, or Watt's the official face of the franchise now. You decide.
- Texans fans are also very welcoming if you wear red and blue. Years of David Carr fetal position syndrome has bonded us.
- D.J. Swearinger missed a tackle. Upon coming back to the sideline, Danieal Manning had a talk with him. After that, he sat on the bench interacting with no one before pumping himself up.
- The offensive starters were much more into mentoring the back-ups than the defensive starters. Of special note, Schaub was in T.J. Yates' and Case Keenum's ears all night. Owen Daniels also was around the young tight ends all night.
- Wherever Andre Johnson goes, DeAndre Hopkins is sure to follow.
- I'm normally very composed, especially during preseason, but Hopkins' touchdown pass got me out of the seat, hollering up a storm, and sharing a ton of high fives.
- Prior to the touchdown, I was already chewing out T.J. Yates for his misplaced passes, which looked like they were floating on him. The touchdown pass looked massively underthrown, but DeAndre Hopkins looks for that ball as if it's his last meal.
- Did LeStar Jean realize it's preseason and that's his time to shine? Looked sloppy in his routes, dropped some easy passes, and didn't look like a 53-man player.
- Garrett Graham and Ryan Griffin did a great job of finding open space all night. I was encouraged by their play.
- Sharrif Floyd gave the second line problems, but he's supposed to do that. He's going to be a starter. Overall, the line looked pretty good. I didn't notice too many breakdowns.
- We now know why Roc Carmichael doesn't play often.
- The sideline looked mostly bored, but Antonio Smith, as always, is incredibly animated and doing what he could to entertain himself.
- Case Keenum earned a shot with the second team next week. He looked confident, commanded the huddle, sought out feedback, and took what the defense gave him. I was really encouraged by his improvement.
- I'm dreading if any of the defensive starters gets hurt. I thought Minnesota's second string made them look a bit bad. Lots of bad angles, bad tackles, and head-shaking.
- I know the TV saw how short Randy Bullock's field goal was, but you could tell when he hit it that it stood no chance. 51-yards may be his limit without wind. ((EDIT: Upon watching gamefootage, you can tell Bullock just hit it wrong. I'm still not sold on him as an upgrade....yet. He needs to kick touchbacks on the kickoffs.)
- The kick return team is still bad. There's nothing positive to say about that unit. It just didn't look anything like Minnesota's. Returners didn't hit the lane quick, blockers looked a step slow, and it would be better if they just took a knee in the end zone.
- I could not reach Joe Marciano.
- Terrell McClain's sacks earned a lot of cheers from the defensive linemen.
- Houston's third stringers looked like professional football players. Minnesota's? Well, they may want to find another job. Still, Deji Karim showed quite the wriggle when he was out there. Viking fans who stayed were groaning at how slow they looked in comparison.
On the whole, the Texans looked like they want to hit fast forward. The team looks...anxious to get to the meaningful football. They remind me of last year's Atlanta Falcons. The story there was that the Falcons had to prove themselves in January. They really just had to get there. The Texans have that same sense about them. It was a very business-like demeanor the entire game, Hopkins touchdown aside.
If you have any specific questions, feel free to shoot them in the comments. I'll do my best to answer them. I know I've probably forgot a good moment or two.
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