Tonight, the Saints will have gone over 500 miles when the day is done and also suffered four turnovers and four sacks in their 27-14 loss to the Texans at Reliant Stadium. Although the Saints began the game by running the ball up the Texans gut quite effectively, they never recovered from Drew Brees' fumble in the red zone on that first drive. Halfway through the (pre)season and the Texans are undefeated! So what do we know halfway through the scrimmages?
We know that the Texans still have a pretty damn, good offense, especially if Arian Foster, Andre Johnson and a non-rusty Matt Schaub are playing. Foster had 5 carries for 47 yards and 2 TDs and looked like he is in 2010 form already. We learned that Andre Johnson can call "do-overs" in the huddle... and that only makes him even more awesome. He also had 100 yards on four catches. What broken finger? We learned that Ben Tate has been worth the wait. According to at least one broadcaster (Spencer Tillman?), Tate is like "particles that bounce through holes" or something like that. Science. Go figure. Take the jump like a bouncing particle to discuss the science of the latest Texans' preseason victory.
I may not know much about history or science (or the french I took), but I do know that Chris Ogbonnaya is going to have a tough time making the roster unless Tate or Ward get injured. Tate had 95 yards on 9 carries and a TD. With all these weapons (Foster, Tate, Johnson, Daniels, Schuab et al), only a offensive madman (or genius?) like Kubiak would deploy a freak of nature like James Casey against NFL defenses. Kubiak's monster can line up at TE, FB or HB. Get used to seeing the three TE set. I think Dorin Dickerson has the WR4 spot locked up and I think Devard Darling just complicated the WR5 battle.
What do we know about Wade Phillips' new defense? Last preseason, the Texans had eight sacks and 5 turnovers (+0 turnover ratio) in all four games. The new defense has 11 sacks and 6 turnovers in their first two games. We finally have a pass rush that is generating QB mistakes and sacks. That's good.
But the new defense has also given up over 200 yards rushing in that same time. The problem definitely seems to be the ILB position and the NT spot. When Earl Mitchell is at NT its slightly better but I think we need better play at the ILB position. I was disappointed in pretty much all of the ILB guys tonight. Brian Cushing looks bad and DeMeco Ryans didn't look back to speed against the Jets on Monday (he sat out tonight with a "minor" elbow injury). Xavier Adibi wasn't the force he was Monday night, but he was disruptive... and flagged for a few needless fouls. Maybe he's too evil now.
The outside looks a lot better. Watt and Smith are getting the job done admirably as the anchors on the line (especially Watt, he's a grown man in case you didn't know). The OLBs are wreaking havoc and we seem to have depth there. Tonight's star OLB was Brooks Reed, who had a pair of sacks and a pair of forced fumbles and was harassing Chase Daniels all night. Tim Jamison played like a man possessed and even got a sack. Did he earn himself a roster spot? The secondary held up, but got burned too many times tonight... especially Jason Allen.
Who stood out to you tonight? Who helped their cause and who took a step back in their quest to make the 53 man roster? Did anyone get a buzz?
edited 8/20/2011 11:18pm: I plan to write a proper review of the game tomorrow after I have the chance to review the game on my new NFL Rewind account. Upon further review, I missed a lot in the Jets game (like Smith lining up at the 5 tech spot almost exclusively) so I want to review tonight's game and give better feedback tomorrow evening.