It dawned upon me either by reading the comment section of an article or listening a replay of the preseason game against the Rams that teams usually cut their 90 man roster to around 51 players and add one or two guys who were cut by other teams. With the Texans being the 4th team on the waiver wire, they are bound to have the opportunity to nab a talented athlete in the over 1,100 players are cut from NFL rosters on September 1st.
The implications for Rosterology are immense. This is true March Madness bubble bursting insanity recreated in August/September. If we take into account two more players to be dropped from last week’s edition of Rosterology, Sammie Coates and Troymaine Pope would be exiled from the Houston Texans roster. Neither of which the Texans could put on the practice squad.
For the sake of consistency and an inability to predict the future (isn’t that what we are doing anyways?) I am going to only consider players on our current roster and not project the Texans release two extra players. If you want to consider the potential outcome of an over-cutting of the roster, just take two from the Last Four In and call it a day.
As always, here are some updates before we resume. Although my Texas Longhorn pride is rhapsodical, D’Onta Foreman’s recovery process forces me to predict him landing on the Physically Unable to Play (PUP) list. This means he will not be available to see the field until Week 6 (vs Bills). I could of started this article hooping and hollering about Kayvon Webster. For college basketball bracketology reference, he is your mid-major school that wins its conference as the 5th seed and knocks out a school on the bubble. Unless his achilles is reinsured, he becomes the illustrious 5th CB on the roster. I cannot write this article without mentioning the random yet pertinent punter battle that has appeared out of nowhere between Shane Lechler and Trevor Daniel. Do I care? Sure. Does it keep me up at night? Just about never. Does it make the Rosterology? Only up to this point.
Editors note - Trevor Daniel beats out Shane Lechler for the starting job, and I am 0-1 in my predictions.....
Here is the final version of Rosterology and my prediction for the 53 man roster.
Safe, But In Position Battles
[More: Texans fans, sign up for Battle Red Blog FanPulse]
Welcome back Braxton. After reading Matt’s article today on Braxton, I thought it only fitting to bring him back into the fold of this article. There are visible improvements in his game. He seems more comfortable and durable than ever before. Imagine if the Texans only keep five wide receivers - either Miller or Coates would not make the team. The decision on Miller will come down to the Texans projected use of him compared to what they will already have in Keke Coutee and Braxton Miller. I have thought Braxton would make this team for a while now, now it is just up to the organization to decide his fate.
Just when I call him sour milk he makes me drink my own metaphor with a solid performance against the Rams on Saturday. He rushed for 45 yards on five carries and ran in one short yard touchdown to basically seal him in for a spot on the 53 man roster. With D’Onta Foreman being on the PUP in this scenario, it is basically impossible to not see Blue on the roster come September 1st. Then again, more surprising things have happened in the game of football.
I never thought I would say it, but I actually feel confident with Coates playing wide receiver on the outside. His special teams abilities make him a lucrative prospect to have. Watching Coates make sideline grab after sideline grab this preseason has been something of a revelation. If the Texans decide to keep six wide receivers, he has definitely separated himself from the pack, a numbers game will make or break Coates.
In my last two preseason notes, I have eight notes specifically mentioning Watkins. Two excellent. Two good. Two bad. Two miserable. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be. Watkins can rush the passer as effectively as ineffective he is in the run game. The backup to J.J. Watt in recent years has been a relatively active position, so having faith in his consistent play is something of a concern. It is not that Watkins did enough in the preseason to make the roster, it is more of a fact that there are better players in front of him and other players have taken advantage of their opportunities. I will be waiting with bated breath to see if Carlos makes the team.
Last Four In
Even though he messed up on the goal line on third down, Pope looks NFL ready and provides dynamic speed to Houston’s offense. He can catch the ball better than any other running back on the roster, and he’s probably the fastest as well. Pope needs to work on his blocking, as he has a tendency to lock his feet into the ground right before he makes contact instead of keeping them active. I think he makes the team, but you never know who can get snubbed.
He only participated in two plays on Saturday...
Either the Texans are moving away from the fifth year fullback because the offense has changed, or his talent his replaceable, or he was injured on Saturday, or even that the Texans were trying to save him a little - any of these could be true and I will worry about him making this team. Yes special teams is a factor and yes he is more valuable than a 3rd string corner (I read the comments), but if the Texans do not need a lead blocker for more than 10 plays a game why would they keep one? He could easily be a casualty to a free agent roster pick up.
No movement on Quessenberry. The coaches like him, he has played well, and you will be hard pressed to find a better story in athletics. Offensive lineman on this team are honestly all fighting for a roster spot. Quessenberry is highlighted because I do believe his talent is replaceable, but he utilizes every ounce of his height weight and speed to its maximum potential. Texans have placed him on IR for the past couple seasons, and this year they have to make a tough decision as to whether to finally keep him or not.
The Texans are probably not going to risk a draft pick in the open market, making the OLB the last man on the roster. He is getting closer to putting it together but ultimately needs a ton of development. When the Texans started the Rams game in a nickel set with four down lineman, Jadeveon Clowney was basically a DE, if he is considered a defensive lineman, the OLB group becomes smaller and in need of insurance. I liked watching him play linebacker in the Cowboys game as more of a stand up interior linebacker. He will most likely not suit up on game days but at least he will be a part of the team moving forward.
First Four Out
Watching hours of preseason tape to make this the most accurate 53 man roster took a lot of diligence, but one player stood out to me that I rarely noticed in the live flow of the game: Angelo Blackson. His intensity at the point of attach is better than Carlos Watkins. Blackson’s ability to control the man blocking him and disrupt the run is better than Watkins. Heck, he may be more ready to help now than Watkins is, but the Texans will keep with their investment in Watkins and the tools that the young defensive lineman has. Blackson could easily find work in the league during the season when team’s depth begin to dwindle.
No player improved more each and every week than Chachere. The undrafted rookie free agent played his best football last night and it may be good enough to earn him a roster spot if a couple things fall his way. Him and Ibraheim Campbell are the two secondary players most likely to make this team. I think the Texans need more help at corner and would be more likely to add depth there than safety. Chachere is a sure tackler and is making strides in trusting his instincts. Even though the Texans drafted his counterpart in Jermaine Kelly Jr. at San Jose State, Chachere has been the one performing like a NFL level athlete.
It is hard to see the Texans keeping ten offensive lineman. Last week I wrote that “I thought Fuller played a less consistent game against the Niners than he did against the Chiefs” and I think he followed the same trend on Saturday. The progress is there and so are the flashes of talent but he relies on his upper body too much to compensate for lack of balanced footing. What happens is when a defender, usually the 6’2”, 315 pound variety, makes contact with his chest he thrust his arms out to create extension, but does not adjust his feet and therefor is hinged backwards and off balance. Depending on an excellent preseason game against the Cowboys, Fuller is right on the edge of making the roster.
A disappointment to many, but Keyes will not be on this team for various reasons. First, he is a liability in the pass game at Brian Cushing levels. It is easy to fall in love with a hard hitting, gusty, and physical athlete in an era when that type of play is discouraged. The Texans are also thoroughly secure at inside linebacker and having five on the roster is something of a superfluous concept.
Also players to note and not be surprised if they make the roster: LaTroy Lewis, Ibraheim Campbell, Keenan Gilchrist, and Tyler Ervin.
The receiver out of Limestone College has balled out this preseason, making it a very tough decision for this coaching staff. He has definitely impressed the team from an early stage and enjoyed him time at training camp, but if the Texans can stash him on the practice squad that would be ideal. He racked up 94 yards and a touchdown in three preseason games. The tall, rangy receiver is not afraid to catch a ball over the field and is elusive enough to distance himself in the open field. Smith has a future in the league. It is a matter of his talent trajectory compared to what we could get from either Sammie Coates or Braxton Miller.
Being the worst of the best only gets you as far as mediocrity is allowed. A new Texans regime may not be so content with “the guys we have in the locker room” as before. With the Texans adding Kayvon Webster, the achilles injured corner who won a Super Bowl with the Broncos, Texans are more secure at cornerback than they were a week ago. He just gets targeted by opposing quarterbacks too often and even the announcers were noticing. His off-man coverage is not effective and he is not fast enough to play press-man.
Although he can play multiple positions, he has not shown his ability to play any of them this preseason. It has been difficult to watch as Slade becomes instantly overwhelmed by a blitz. It simply comes down to the idea of trust: do the Texans trust Slade to come in relief of an injured player more than the others on the roster? Simple answer to a simple question is no. I do not think the Texans would be interested in putting him on the practice squad.
Players to Watch
The most likely-unlikely player to get cut from this current roster below would be Kendall Lamm. I thought he looked fast off of the ball but weak during contact. I know that many media outlets have been praising his play at offensive tackle, but if the Texans find a better option in the open market they may go ahead and let go of Lamm. Since Martinas Rankin can play multiple positions, Lamm could wind up an outlier.
LDE: J.J. Watt, Carlos Watkins
NT: D.J Reader, Brandon Dunn
RDE: Christian Covington, Joel Heath
LOLB: Whitney Mercilus, Brennan Scarlett, Peter Kalambayi
ILB: Benardrick McKinney, Brian Peters
ILB: Zach Cunningham, Dylan Cole
ROLB: Jadeveon Clowney, Duke Ejiofor
CB: Aaron Colvin, Kevin Johnson, Kayvon Webster
CB: Jonathan Joseph, Johnson Bademosi
FS: Justin Reid, Kareem Jackson
SS: Tyrann Mathieu, Corey Moore, Kurtis Drummond
QB: Deshaun Watson, Brandon Weeden, Joe Webb III
FB: Jay Prosch
RB: Lamar Miller, Alfred Blue, Troymaine Pope
TE: Ryan Griffin, Jordan Akins, Jordan Thomas
WR: DeAndre Hopkins, Keke Coutee, Braxton Miller
WR: Will Fuller, Bruce Ellington, Sammie Coates
LT: Julie’n Davenport, Kendall Lamm
LG: Zach Fulton,
C: Nick Martin, Greg Mancz
RG: Senio Kelemete, David Quessenberry
RT: Seantrel Henderson, Martinas Rankin
LS: Jon Weeks
K: Ka’imi Fairbairn
P: Shane Lechler