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Texans vs Panthers: What To Watch For

By MIKE MELTSER, SportsRadio 610
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credit BOB LEVEY/Getty Images

credit BOB LEVEY/Getty Images

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We’ve talked about the 2012 Texans for about 6 months, and Saturday will finally give us some live action to really sink our teeth into. Here are the areas/players I am focusing on for preseason game #1:

  • Young WRs – I’ve seen Keshawn Martin, Lestar Jean, and DeVier Posey a couple of times in training camp, and all three have shown flashes. This week, Martin has been the talk of the town with his impressive play. Will that translate on the field? Posey is very talented, but played only a few games at Ohio State last season, so I’m anxious to see him with the 2nd and 3rd teams. Jean’s breakout game came last year in the first preseason game against the Jets. He has the look of a good NFL wide receiver, but can he consistently get open? It will be revealing to see just how explosive (or not) the offense is with TJ Yates and these wideouts.
  • Right side of OL – We’ve talked about it since February, given the free agency lose of Mike Brisiel and the very surprising release of RT Eric Winston. Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Butler step in, respectively. You want to see them hold up in pass protection (Caldwell struggled late in the season with this), but I’m also very curious to see how the running game functions. The Texans have started basically the same 5 players over the last two years, and there was obvious chemistry between the OL and Arian Foster/Ben Tate. Will that continue, especially with runs to the right side?
  • Defensive backs – It’s been very apparent during these training camp practices that the loudest/most competitive group on the field is the DBs. Aside from Johnathan Joseph, all of the other CBs will be interesting to see. Kareem Jackson will be lined up against Houston native Brandon LaFell, an up-and-coming young WR. What does Alan Ball have left in the tank after being signed as a veteran free agent? We’ll get a good look at 2nd-year players Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael. Harris has practiced well, but let’s see how he does in the slot in actual games. Sherrick McManis is in a tough spot to make this team based on numbers, but can he make a case in the preseason?
  • Whitney Mercilus – Everyone always wants to see how the first-round pick looks early on. I worry that the expectations may be too high, given the success that JJ Watt and Brooks Reed had last season. The expectation is that Mercilus comes in on passing downs and focuses only on attacking the QB. Cam Newton may be very tough to track down, but Mercilus could get some cracks at Derek Anderson and Jimmy Clausen.

Mike Meltser can be heard on MaD Radio from 10am-2pm

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