Some people expected new Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler to light it up in his debut on Sunday night in Santa Clara against the 49ers. Some thought – even seemingly hoped – that he would crash and burn. Still others took the pragmatic approach, which seems to make the most sense; Osweiler is a young signal-caller on a new team playing his first preseason game, so don’t expect much.
Well, for those of you who want to over-think his debut, NFL.com has a video of all seven passes, parsed into a tidy little 50 second video for your paralysis-by-analysis enjoyment.
On Brock’s first attempt, he’s unable to hook up with DeAndre Hopkins on a sideline route that seems to suffer from poor timing, solid read/coverage by the DB and Brock’s insistence on sticking with a receiver who didn’t quite get open. Sure, it’s D-Hop, but I don’t know if Fred Biletnikoff and a bucket of Stickum could have hauled that one in.
Number two was a crossing route misfire to former Ohio State superstar Braxton Miller. Again, it looks like a timing problem between a quarterback and receiver who simply haven’t had enough time to gel. While the video doesn’t show enough for us to see if Brock had any other targets, suffice it to say that pass wasn’t one he and Miller will want to remember next February. The replay during the game, however, shows Will Fuller flying down the sideline, apparently wide open. If Brock had seen Fuller and adjusted, Houston would have had an easy 6.
The third bullet went to Miller again, this time for a quick four-yard buttonhook. Miller caught it and was tackled immediately. That one will go down in the history books as Osweiler’s first completion as a Texan as well as Miller’s first reception as a pro. Hardly the play that will cement a future Hall of Fame career, but it was a positive play nonetheless.
Brock’s fourth pass was a thing of beauty. Not by him, mind you, as he put it where his receiver, C.J. Fiedorowicz had to spin to catch it in stride. That was the thing of beauty in question--one of the most athletic catches by a Texans tight end in recent memory. It was also Brock’s biggest gain of the night.
The next shot was fired to Jaelen Strong for a modest seven yards, followed by another short completion to Will Fuller.
Osweiler's final pitch was a simple out route to Braxton Miller. Not sure if Miller didn’t run the route properly, Osweiler threw it too late, or if George Godsey called a play that took up too much real estate on that side of the field. If I had to bet, I’d say it was Osweiler’s fault on that one, but I can only base that on what I can see on film.
Other than Osweiler completely missing Will Fuller wide open down the sideline early in the game, there were no glaring errors that I saw. I’m sure Houston quarterback coach George Godsey and El Jefe Bill O’Brien are disagreeing with me right now behind closed doors.
On the flip side, there was nothing here to write home about. That’s for sure.
What was good to see was solid ball control, a decent ability to check out of plays pre-snap when the defense wasn’t showing a favorable match-up, and most importantly, Brock’s ability to not get killed behind a patchwork offensive line that was missing three of its starters – including all-world left tackle Duane Brown.
While we (im)patiently await this weekend’s game against the New Orleans Saints, let us know in the comments below what you think about Brock’s debut. Are you ready to anoint him the GOAT? Preparing your Brock doll for a BBQ effigy? Still wishing Houston had drafted Christian Hackenberg? Or are you just killing time waiting for live rounds to start firing when the Texans take on the Bears in their regular season debut?
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