Kareem Jackson – I didn’t see a ton of improvement out of the 2nd-year cornerback on Monday night. Again, too much cushion allowed to wide receivers, allowing Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason to get inside position consistently. Kareem looks like “just-another-guy” way too frequently on the field. At this point, I want to see him get some extended action over the next few preseason games. Jackson needs the reps.
Special teams – We have a few weeks to sort out the punting competition between Brett Hartmann and Brad Maynard. My main area of concern is special teams returns. The Texans averaged 15.4 yards per kick return, which is a horribly low number. It seemed like Quintin Demps had defenders racing at him as soon as he got to the 10 yard line. In comparison, the Jets averaged 28.5 yards per kick return.
On punts, Houston gained only 11 yards on 3 returns. Granted, Demps took a terrible route back on one, circling the wrong way instead of heading immediately upfield. Still, this has the feeling of what we saw last season, with no holes on KR and a pedestrian PR.
I know people will say that I should wait until Danieal Manning and Jacoby Jones start doing the returns, but those guys also need blocking.
Secondary depth – At this point, I would advocate keeping 6-7 cornerbacks on the roster solely due to the uncertainty of how good some of these players are. Brandon Harris and Rashad Carmichael are locks to make the team, along with Johnathan Joseph, Jackson, and Jason Allen.
Sherrick McManus did look improved against the Jets, especially from a physicality standpoint. The questions come with players like Brice McCain and Antwaun Molden. McCain showed ball skills and make-up speed, but did get beaten on a few plays down the field. Molden had an INT called back, but also allowed an easy TD reception and almost another one to Michael Campbell.
Offensive line depth – With today’s news that Antoine Caldwell and Kasey Studdard will miss extended time, that means the Texans are suddenly very thin along the offensive line. Rick Smith may need to go out and sign one or two guards, because I’m not sure how comfortable they are with the likes of Cody Wallace, Shelley Smith, and Darius Morris.