Last Saturday was hectic. I was making beans. Publishing posts. Cleaning a stinky house. I merely existed during the Texans-49ers game. There was no pen, pencil, paper, or rewinding. It was scoreboard checking and clock watching.
Last night was different. All week, I yearn for Sundays. It’s quiet. The light is thick and golden and flows in slats through the windows like it does in northern California forests. I don’t talk to anyone. It’s just me, my words, and other people’s words until it cools down enough for me to scamper around the neighborhood and listen to the new Foxing album. Last night I was able to go back and watch the game with a pen and paper in hellraising condensed fashion. This is what I saw:
—I still can’t get over watching Deshaun Watson play for the Texans. It doesn’t seem real. My brain struggles to compute that a Texans quarterback can place the ball in the perfect spot, and can like, you know, lead a wide receiver, putting the ball away from the defender. Amazing. You don’t have to throw it directly at the receiver. Brandon Weeden and Joe Webb III are comfort food. That’s the Texans’ quarterback play I’m used to. On half of their throws, I have no idea who they are throwing to. Anyways, Watson looks ready for the 2018 season.
—Kevin Johnson looked like a Grand Theft Auto protagonist leaping out of a zooming car, rolling and tumbling and flopping through a polygon street when he leaped after Marquise Goodwin. Johnson was playing one-on-one off man coverage and still was outrun down the sideline. His leap was a Hail Mary attempt to correct getting beat, an attempt that left him frozen and surrounded. It’s been reported that he’s okay after suffering a concussion from his self-created fall. Great. The problem is Houston is counting on Kevin Johnson’s playl last year being an aberration, and they need Johnson to play well this season. So far things already look like a continuation of last year.
—Aaron Colvin having heavy feet at the goal line doesn’t help secondary confidence either. He gave up a touchdown after reacting slowly to a simple slant route. My confidence interval that this season for Houston is going to depend on the health of the pass rush was 95%. It’s now 96% after watching this preseason game.
—The years, the years, the years, the years go by. And as they blew past, I hollered that Kareem Jackson should move to safety. For the past few seasons, Jackson has struggled in man coverage. He’s never had great footwork. This issue has been exacerbated since his body has grown creakier and he’s lost some speed. No longer can he recover and look for the ball after taking inerrant steps once the receiver makes his break. Additionally, Jackson is a master tackler, one of the more physical defensive backs in the league. This preseason, he’s still been a great tackler. It already looks like the move to safety was the right one.
—Kyle Shanahan is so, so good at creating wide open throws. Anybody can play quarterback for him.
—How do you say “Beathard” in your head? It’s never BETH-HERD in my head. It’s always BEAT-HARD.
—I didn’t see much involving the Texans’ offensive line. That’s a good thing. During the game, you don’t want to notice the OL. You want things to just work, for players to run fast and run far. Then afterwards, you sit down with a monocle and really dig in on what the OL did. At first glance, there isn’t much to say. Without the All-22, there isn’t a way to rummage further.
—After Duke Ejiofor’s performance in Week One, I went back and watched the GIFs I made of his college career. One of the things I forgot during this summer haze was how good of an inside move he has. It was on display last night. He split a double team and put pressure on the quarterback by feigning the edge rush and swimming back inside. He also took on half the lead blocker to abolish a cute end around play. It’s looking like it’s time to pull the funding on the Brennan Scarlett experiment.
—This was also the second week in a row Houston’s front seven controlled the line of scrimmage. Even that collection of warm bodies has been raucous.
—Bruce Ellington is a September WR4 but an August WR1.
—I still can’t believe Bill O’Brien went for it on fourth down. Hopefully he’s learned something. Hopefully this isn’t some preseason, we need to practice playing in this situation coach speak instead of something he’ll consistently do in 2018.
—Seeing Braxton Miller catch screen passes and run for a first down is something I want to see more of. I don’t think we will, but hey, boys and girls can dream.
—Oh, 3rd and 15 draws, I missed you so.
—It’s looking like this Tyler Ervin thing is never going to happen. It’s a shame, too. He had some great video coming out of San Jose State, especially his game against Auburn. I don’t think we’ll ever see Houston employ an exciting third down running back.
—I’m so glad kickoffs are back again after the NFL tried to kill them by moving the kickoff up. I have no idea how the new kickoff rule works, but I sure do love it.