NFL training camps are set to start like some sort of Arcade Fire song, and unlike previous seasons where things seem settled for Houston entering the preseason, this year there are plenty of questions to be answered, and numerous things to watch for. Who will replace Alfred Blue’s production and the valuable role he filled on special teams? Can Brennan Scarlett make the leap while Jadeveon Clowney sits out without a contract? Are Will Fuller V and Keke Coutee going to remain healthy until the season starts? Is the secondary even going to be mediocre?
Personally, I’m most looking forward to watching the offensive line. Often we watch preseason ball and put too much into something that never ends up mattering once the season starts. Most of this doesn’t resemble actual football and has no place in regular season reality and means nothing once the season begins. The offensive line is so jumbled and jangled that the preseason is the only opportunity to make things make sense. I can’t wait to see if Martinas Rankin added enough weight to play guard, if Juli’en Davenport is stronger and can hold off Matt Khalil, if he’s ever healthy enough to play, at left tackle, where the rookie offensive linemen play and if they can provide anything this season at all. Has Max Scharping learned a NFL pass set yet? Can Tytus Howard handle the speed of the NFL after all those years against subprime collegiate competition? Can’t wait! to watch this unit for a meaningless month.
Anyways, this is what the masthead had to say. This is what they are looking forward to seeing once the gates of camp opens next Thursday.
I feel like the secondary and offensive line - at BEST - are only going to be incrementally better. I won’t say I’m at peace with it, but I’ve come to accept it. So for me, I am most excited to see how a fully-healthy Deshaun Watson takes control of this team in year three and how he will hopefully get sustained time with his weapons to develop more chemistry, timing, etc. The thought of Deshaun having all of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller V, Keke Coutee, and one or more of the young tight ends to scroll through his progressions is actually very exciting. I’ll even say the Texans have the skill position talent to be the top offense in the AFC - too bad about that line and that coaching though.
I’m just ready to see if Deshaun Watson is going to die behind this offensive line. Seriously. Don’t come to me talking about how much time he’ll have in the pocket or how much blocking he will have, I’m worried about his life.
I’m also interested to see if Brain opens the playbook more and realizes the talent he has. I’ve seen plenty of predictable up-the-gut runs and conservative pass plays. I want to see if the Texans actually trust their quarterback. It won’t work when it matters most. Not all 11-5 records are created equal.
I guess it’s becoming a yearly tradition for me, but will this be the year Bill O’Brien finally becomes the Offensive SuperGenius we were told he would be? Is this the year BOB finally lets Deshaun Watson’s peacock fly?
Right now, Watson is an F1 race car being used to fetch groceries. The sky is the limit for Watson, but he needs to be given the chance to soar.
SO, loyal reader, what are you watching for when camp opens up?