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1. Derek Newton. There are times at practice when Newton looks like the second best tackle on this team. There are other times though when he looks like a raw 7th round pick who spent most of his rookie season blocking on special teams.
Gary Kubiak is giving Newton his chance to start at right tackle Saturday night. Newton is bigger and more physical than Rashad Butler who was the next man up when the team cut Eric Winston for salary cap purposes. But Butler is more polished and entered training camp as the starter.
If Newton is going to deliver on his enormous potential this season, he needs to start this weekend.
2. Lestar Jean. Keshawn Martin, the Texans fourth round pick out of Michigan State, has inched ahead of both Jean and fellow rookie Devier Posey in training camp. The coaches love Martin’s hard work and no-nonsense attitude. Jean has been bothered by inconsistency, making too many mistakes on the practice field.
In Saturday’s preseason opener in Carolina though, Jean made two excellent catches down the field, leading the team with 50 yards on two receptions. Jean is a bigger target down the field. He has good hands too. He just needs to prove he has what it takes, on and off the field, to be the Texans 3rd receiver this season.
3. Trindon Holliday. Holliday’s 90-yard kickoff return was the highlight of the game last Saturday. But he still hasn’t locked down a roster spot.
Coming into training camp, the odds were against the coaches reserving a roster spot for a player who is only useful for returning kickoffs and punts. The former sprinter at LSU has not shown any ability as a receiver in practice. But with a couple more electric returns this preseason, Holliday could force them to create space on a roster that will be tighter than ever.