I didn't get to watch the first pre-season football game for the Houston Texans against the Kansas City Chiefs until this morning when NFL Network replayed it, and I had intended to write a complete reactionary piece but that won't be necessary. I really think that the points that everyone made in Tim's post soliciting reactions were right on, and to reiterate them would be useless. There is one thing that I saw that has me slightly worried.
When Steve Slaton showed up to training camp over two weeks ago at 224 pounds, I definitely took notice. He played at West Virginia at about 190 pounds, but weighed anywhere from 210 to 215 pounds in his rookie season. At 5'9", 10 pounds of muscle is a lot. I never heard anything derogatory regarding Slaton's explosiveness throughout camp, so I pushed my concerns out of my mind.
Last night Slaton only played for one series, which I'm more than ok with. With all of the injuries already this year, I'd hate to lose someone as important as Stevie Wonder in a game that didn't matter. In that series, however, Slaton looked sluggish to me. He had two runs for loss and then whiffed on Maurice Leggett when he sacked Matt Schaub to end the first series. Blocking wasn't necessarily phenomenal on his two running plays, but it did seem that there were holes that I would normally expect Slaton to produce at least positive yardage with, especially since it was so hard to stop him behind the line of scrimmage last year.
I am fully aware that this post is probably the definition of needless nitpicking, worrying about a running back who gained over 1,500 yards from scrimmage last year because of a total of three plays. Considering how pivotal Slaton was to the offense last year though, I just want to make sure his great play carries over to this season. It is also possibly a moot argument because Steve has stated that the extra 10 pounds will likely be gone by the end of training camp.
Hopefully this is disspelled in the next pre-season game against the Saints on Saturday. I just wanted to bring it up to see if anyone saw the same thing and if so, are you concerned as well? This is one that I'll definitely be glad if I'm completely wrong.