After quite possibly the sloppiest preseason game in the Bill O’Brien era, the Texans don’t have many positive takeaways from yesterday’s game. From errant passes to missed tackles to ugly special teams play, the Texans didn't come to play in their first outing. If your were looking for a rejuvenated offensive line with the fervor of competing for their jobs, well you came to the wrong preseason game. There’s enough worry to go around after last night’s game, but such is life. Such is life of a team with $40M of cap space with two developmental draft picks and a ton of underperforming free agents on the o-line.
Let’s not get too down trodden from one preseason game. For most of these players, this was the first time suiting up in the NFL and playing against another team. There were enough surprises, good plays by no-names, and talking points to go around that we can focus on who looked good in the first preseason game.
Austin Exford - S
The undrafted rookie safety out of Appalacian State was the only player on the Texans’ defense who looked like he wanted to be on the field at all. Gotta love a guy buried in the depth chart who plays like he is fighting for his career. Exford had several key plays on defense including a couple hard hits on run plays. He was all over the field and played in a lot of different roles in his first preseason game of his career. Exford primarily played strong safety for most of the game, and if he continues to build off his performance yesterday the team may find a spot for him on this roster. Special teams aside, the coaching staff will like what Exford put on tape yesterday.
Dylan Cole - ILB
It takes a unique player to change the entire scheme of a team solely based on their talents. Cole may be one of those players who the Texans simply cannot keep off the field due to his play making ability and versatility at the linebacker position. Football is about putting the best 11 players out on the field and letting them run wild. Cole is certainly in the top 11 players for the Texans’ defense. Whether it is delivering crushing blows to opposing running backs or locking up tight ends down the field, Cole is an undisputed asset on this team’s roster. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel will be hard pressed to find a way to get Cole on the field this year.
Damarea Crockett - RB
The Texans’ running back room is in shambles, and the preseason game did nothing to support otherwise. Even the Fixer Upper couple couldn't successfully remodel this group into something redeemable. After Taiwan Jones’ fumble on his best run of the day, Damarea Crockett was set up nicely to be positively compared to the veteran running back on the stat sheet. The undrafted rookie running back Damarea Crockett scored in his first preseason game with a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter. It’s not that Crockett did anything mind-blowing like somersault over a defender and carry three defensive lineman on his back into the end zone, but he did have a solid outing when everyone else looked mediocre. Right now, he sits fourth on the RB depth chart behind Lamar Miller, Duke Johnson (if healthy), and Taiwan Jones.
Tyron Johnson - WR
The battle for #4 WR on the Texans offense is as open as the ocean is blue. One player in particular separated themselves yesterday by continually beating coverage and serving as a down field threat for QB Joe Webb III. His catch for 44 yards was a thing of beauty as he came back to Webb on a scramble play. Then he eluded several Green Bay Packers defenders on his way to the biggest play of the night for the Texans’ offense. He plays on the outside, but looks to be comfortable lining up anywhere on the field. The rookie out of Oklahoma State was on my radar as John McClain had mentioned his name several times this offseason, and his performance on Thursday established him as the biggest UDFA to make the Texans 53-man roster.
Only defensive lineman who had some resemblance of a pass rush the entire game.
Going to be hard to not keep him on the team. Especially with Jordan Thomas and Kahale Warring not participating
Did get beat a couple times on the same route, but overall had a good first outing for the Texans. Will be interested when he plays better talent.
Worries about his past deep coverage abilities still present, but he played the ball well in the air and looks to be a nice addition.
A similar post about the Players who were unimpressive in last night’s preseason game will come out on Monday. Hints: ILB, RB, OL, OL, and OL