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Texans v. Cowboys: Five Things To Watch

Sure it's the fourth preseason game, and sure, there aren't going to be many starters playing, but there's still plenty to watch when the Houston Texans line up against the Dallas Cowboys. Here are the five story lines that we are most interested in studying during the game.

Two future starters?
Two future starters?
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys will be hosting our Houston Texans tonight.  If this were any week other than Week 4 of the preseason, it'd be a big deal but, it is, so it isn't. Even then, this won't stop rabid fanboys on both sides from somehow claiming bragging rights from the other, no matter who wins.

Durga knows I remember Texans fans prancing around like peacocks on Prozac after the Texans beat the Cowboys during 2010's Week 3 preseason match... only to get absolutely trounced one month later when the two teams played during the actual season. Not a good look.

So with all that said, here's what we'll be looking for during tonight's showdown.

5. Xavier Su'a-Filo and anyone -- anyone -- else to step up at OL

It's safe to say that when a guy named Jeff Adams is slotted to be your starting LG for the season, your depth at offensive line is questionable. No disrespect meant to Adams, who's obviously worked his butt off to get the attention of the coaching staff, but this job should rightfully belong to former second round pick Xavier Su'a-Filo. The problem is that he's done exactly zero (0) things to earn it.

Here's the latest on him from Bill O'Brien:

"I would say hopefully we get Xavier back to playing the last preseason game. He will not play this week. Hopefully, we would get him back to be able to play against Dallas. That’s the hope. Now, I wouldn’t etch it in stone because, again, he’s injured. There’s no doubt about the fact that he’s injured and he’s trying really hard to get back. A great kid, we believe in Xavier and we’re hoping he can get back to be able to play in the game against Dallas."

I'll also be keeping an eye on newly acquired OT Chris Clark. O'Brien has already named him the swing tackle for the season.

4. Jaelen Strong

Last week's performance was quite promising for the rookie. He'll have plenty of opportunity to keep it going tonight. Have the Texans ever drafted a quality wide receiver in the middle rounds? All he's gotta do is have a better career than Jacoby Jones and Texans fans will adore him.`

3. Louis Nix III

As awesome as Vince WIlfork has been during his short time with the Houston Texans, it would be nice if that third round pick we spent on Nix in 2014 paid some dividends. After a lost rookie season, Nix has a chance to learn from one of the best and carve out some time behind Wilfork.

Thus far in the preseason, Nix has remained fairly invisible with his ~70 snaps, notching just a handful of tackles. We're hoping he'll get some substantial playing time to gauge his progress.

2. Charles James II, Chandler Worthy and other potential special teams contributors

Undoubtedly, James has been BRB's Camp Star of the Year for 2015. His TV charm via Hard Knocks, plus his high motor on special teams, has earned him a healthy-sized fan base. He'll surely be getting plenty of time on all three sides of the ball as he continues his quest to make the final roster.

Worthy caught a TD pass against the Saints, but it's his return work that we're eager to see. He had two punt returns for 34 yards, and two kickoff returns for 50 yards against the 49ers in Week 1 of the preseason. Can he do it again?

1. Tom Savage

He's got a cool name and a smokin' hot fiancée; we're watching for him every week by default. He'll be getting the start tonight and we're eager to see his poise, progression and decision-making... not to mention the howitzer strapped to his shoulder. Fourth round quarterbacks shouldn't normally get this much attention, but when you're as hungry for a franchise QB as we are, we'll take anything.

So that's my list.  Dyou have anything specific that you'll be watching? Let us know down in the comments. Happy game day. The regular season is only a week away!

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