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Texans-Saints Preview: Four Things To Watch

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The second preseason game is coming up tomorrow night, so what should Texans fans be focusing on this week?

Josh Lenz has made some believers.
Josh Lenz has made some believers.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After a trip out to Santa Clara and a win over the San Francisco 49ers, the Houston Texans return to NRG Stadium to host the New Orleans Saints. The first week of preseason had plenty of teething problems that Bill O'Brien looked to work out this week in camp.  Here's what to keep an eye on against the Saints.

1. Fundamentals

I can only imagine the expletive-riddled speech the Texans received after the game against the 49ers and that embarrassing display of tackling. Bill O'Brien preaches getting the basics right, and tackling is one of those things.  The Texans simply did not deliver in that aspect on Sunday night. The number of missed tackles must have been in double figures, and many lead to big plays.

I expect to see a huge improvement in fundamentals come Saturday.  It will be a way for those vying for positions on the roster to solidify their chances at getting one or moving up the depth chart.  Tackling was a huge letdown for us early in the 2015 season, and O'Brien can't afford for the same to happen again.

2. Josh Lenz - Genuine chance or just the new Campstar Jean?

Lestar Jean, better known as Campstar Jean around here, was the last Texans UDFA wide receiver to make a name for himself in training camp and preseason. Ultimately, he was nothing more than a camp standout.

Josh Lenz certainly flashed talent on Sunday with three receptions for 52 yards. He has clocked a 4.36 40 in the past, and it showed. With media outlets taking notice of his impressive displays at training camp, it appears Lenz may have a genuine chance of making the roster. The Saints game marks another major opportunity for Lenz to put some more plays on tape and impress coaching staffs, both in Houston and elsewhere in the NFL.  Whether or not Lenz can continue that, or if it was a one-off performance, will be worth a watch on Saturday night.

3. Kenny Hilliard

I've talked about Kenny Hilliard's chances of making the roster before, but I think he has taken a big step forward from last year. On his first carry against the 49ers, I thought it was still Lamar Miller back there. Hilliard looked a lot quicker. Whether he's shaved some weight off or is simply more decisive, he certainly appeared a little more explosive. He was given the majority of the carries last week, with O'Brien perhaps wanting a better look at him in a game situation.  With those opportunities, Hilliard managed 40 yards on his 12 carries. While only good for 3.3 yards per carry, he had a couple of good runs in there. Hilliard will need to continue impressing in these preseason games to stand a chance at making the team, but how he stacks up against the Saints will be worth a watch.

4. Brock Osweiler

Yes, that man again.  We need to start seeing him throw down the field sometime soon. The Texans are happy with him in camp, but he didn't get a chance to show much on Sunday. His completions were all short ones, no further than five yards down the field. He did attempt a couple longer ones and went incomplete; none of them were particularly bad incompletions, as nothing was wildly off target.

That said, Brock looked like he had command of the offense and looked to be adjusting at the line.  Still, the playbook looked very vanilla. Hopefully the reigns will be loosened a bit this week and Osweiler will be allowed to throw down field more. Will he look smoother next week?

What are you wanting to see out of this second preseason game?

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