1. Davis Mills Does Not Throw an Interception
All training camp all I've seen are posts about the defense picking Mills off. If the Texans are going to fail this season, it will be because Mills cannot move the ball down the field and forces unnecessary errors.
Davis Mills has two INTs today after a linebacker tipped one of his passes and Blake Cashman came down with the ball.— Cody Stoots (@Cody_Stoots) August 3, 2022
Yes, Mills has thrown two interceptions but the offense has had plenty of success so far. Good start to the day! #Texans #WeAreTexans
These half-baked cookie takes on Twitter remind me of the Ryan Mallet era where everyone was Mr. Brightside in training camp.
2. Dameon Pierce Adjusting to the NFL’s Speed
Sure, Pierce played in the SEC, but he was an RB2 at best and used in limited scenarios. In the NFL, he’ll be exposed for his lack of speed. If you thought D’Onta Foreman was slow, Pierce is a mule. Don’t expect him to start or be the best player on the field. In his first preseason game all we want to know is that he’s up to the task and the level.
3. Seeing the Hype on Jalen Pitre
Maybe the rest of the secondary is trash or Pitre is actually the next Tyrann Mathieu. Whether third overall pick Derek Stingley plays or not is not the matter, it’s what he does when the lights are on. Debatably, Pitre will have a bigger impact on the defense than Stingly this year as he’ll have an impact on every level of the defense.
4. Which New Veteran Defensive End Stands Out
Jerry Hughes, Rasheem Green, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Mario Addison, and Derek Rivers were all brought in this offseason when the Texans passed on drafting a pass rusher in the draft. Texans desperately need a running man to Jonathan Greenard. Hughes and Addison are primary candidates, but there’s a lot of grey in the beards and grey in the depth chart.
5. Linebacker Depth Paying Off In The Second Half
We know Christian Kirksey and Kamu Grugier-Hill are quality starters and will hold down the defense, but what about the impressive depth? Well rookie Christian Harris will probably sit out due to injury, but Neville Hewitt, Blake Cashman, and Kevin Pierre-Louis are all vying for the last but highly necessary positions on the defense. Can last year’s late round draft pick Garret Wallow build upon his success? The sprint through training camp will make or break the defense.
6. Max Scharping and A.J. Cann’s Battle for Starting Right Guard
Cann holds the most up-for-debate spot on the offensive line. Scharping has been disappointingly average after being selected too high in the 2019 draft. Cann didn’t have a great 2021, his worst season actually, but even so is far and away more sufficient than Scharping. Cann is also friends with our new OL coach George Warhop, which puts him head and neck in front of Scharping.
7. Who Emerges as WR3?
Cooks is the guy. Nico Collins appears to be the second guy according to training camp hoopla. But the gap between them and the next pass catcher. Phillip Dorsett can emerge as a quality deep threat, but we haven’t heard much from him. Chris Moore needs more play-to-play consistency. Chris Conley needs more hands. Connor Wedington needs more experience. All in all, it’s a crapshoot in the receiver room until someone decides to revive their career.
8. Lovie Smith’s Defense Cohesion
We’ll finally get a full chance to see Lovie Smith with his hands on the wheel. Last year he was in control of the defense, but now he’s in control of the system and players. He was able to bring in three immediate defensive rookies who fit his system. Here comes an up-tempo, aggressive, and distinct defense.
9. Red Zone Playmakers
Whether it’s Brevin Jordan or Nico Collins, someone needs to stand out as the target in the red zone. Mills needs someone he can rely on in tight areas and in clutch situations. Then, one of the RBs needs to stick out as the guy to get in the end zone. Many offenses use a different guy in the end zone; the Panthers relied on Mike Davis for years to get the job done, and that can be something Pierce evolves into. Regardless of the position, the Texans need to win games in the Red Zone, and they need players to step up immediately.
Look, nothing matters in the preseason, but winning is a behavior. It’s something the team needs to develop a habit. Especially against a team who is beatable, lacks depth, and won’t have their top tier talent playing. We need to see the Texans play a well-rounded, efficient, and methodical style. They aren’t going to be flashy, but they need to be concerted in their play calling and on field decision making. The best that can happen is they look like a cohesive team. The worst? Well let’s say they may need more than a helmet change to cover this up.