The preseason is over. It’s finally over The roster is soon to be whittled down to 53 players. The practice squad will be finalized soon. Regardless, before all this happened, several members of the BRB masthead set out to answer the following two questions.
Is there anyone on the bubble you are hoping makes the team? Is there anyone you hope gets snipped and left off the roster once the 2018 season begins?
The Texans’ special teams have been a constant headache since what seems like forever. An astronomical problem has been the punting game. Since 2013, when Shane Lechler joined the roster, the Texans’ punting unit has been a disaster. It doesn’t matter who the gunners are, who the special teams coordinators are, who the long snapper is...whatever, it doesn’t matter, it always sucks.
The one constant during this entire time has been Lechler. Sure, he grades out well in yards per punt, gross punt yards, and whatever. But it’s all a lot of kicking it far. Too often punts are returned, not driven towards the destination of the punting team, and punts that should be downed inside the 20 end up in the back of the end zone. Yeah, Lechler is cool and all. He’s from Texas. He went to that maroon major college. He is covered in spit dribble and Coors Banquet, but that doesn’t change the fact that the punting unit has been a disaster since he’s been here. As a punter, he’s the major component to that part of the game.
So please, please, please, give me someone new. I want Trevor Daniel to take his spot. Lechler has hid behind the shroud of a red dirt road for too long. Daniel has been a better punter than Lechler this preseason. Even then, Lechler has a long history of leading a terrible punting unit over the course of five years. Let’s see it happen. It needs to happen for Houston to finally crawl out of the cellar of NFL Special Teams rankings.
Diehard “I Cried When Manu Ginobli Retired” Chris:
I’m torn on the bottom of the wide receiver depth chart. I was very excited when the Texans drafted Braxton Miller, but like everyone else, I’ve gone cold on him due both to performance and injury. All reports out of camp suggest something has clicked with him. If it comes down to him versus Bruce Ellington, like anyone else I’m typically going to go with the younger, higher ceiling guy. Watson and Ellington seem to have good chemistry, but I think a ton of people completely ignore the fact that what goes down in practice is just as important. Maybe Braxton has been aided by vanilla defenses in preseason, etc. So gun to my head, I guess I hope Braxton makes the team but in reality I’m guessing the last WR on the roster will be inactive most game days anyway. I haven’t really seen enough of Sammie Coates to have much of an opinion.
Trevor Daniel looks like he might be a long-term solution at punter, but I’m not as down on Lechler as many of the Masthead are. Again, how has he looked in practice? Has he been consistently better than Lechler? We don’t know. Of course you know Daniel would have to be SIGNIFICANTLY better than Lechler for the Texans to part ways with the old head... apparently, despite being a punter, Lechler is quite the team leader and we know he’s crazy-popular with his teammates.
I hope the third edition of Joe Webb makes the cut. He’s got a shot as a backup quarterback and can likely play receiver in a pinch. He’s an all-around football player.
In stark contrast, I think the Braxton Miller experiment has drawn to a close like the thud of of an underinflated soggy football hitting the Ship Channel after being dug out of a muddy ditch and abandoned with disgust.
I’d love to write that Alfred Blue is scheduling his departure, but with D’Onta Foreman still not ready for action, Blue is probably safe on the 53. Besides, you just know the Texans will keep Alfred around until he’s eventually playing the tireless butler/advisor extraordinaire for Bruce Wayne (Cal McNair).
I have really liked what I’ve seen from Troymaine Pope so far this preseason. He will be competing directly with Tyler Ervin for a roster spot long-term, but even if the coaching staff decides to go with someone else for 2018, I think Pope has more than earned a practice squad spot and another shot in next year’s camp.
As far as who I want gone, does Nick Rose count? Because if so....Nick Rose. Fairbairn better not get hurt again, because I really, really don’t want to deal with more uncertainty on field goals like we did back in the Fat Randy days.