Mike Meltser’s Positives and Negatives from Texans-49ers
Lestar Jean – It was important for me to see Jean show the ability to bounce back from a good performance against Carolina and do it again the following week. Saturday, he showed some chemistry with Matt Schaub and the first-team offense, snagging 4 balls for 42 yards and a touchdown. On the score, Jean caught a pass at the 5 yard line, bounced off two defenders, and landed into the end zone. It’s hard to over-emphasize how key the 2nd year wideout is for this team. If he and Keshawn Martin can play well, that’s terrific depth behind Andre Johnson. It’s almost repetitive to keep saying it, but Jean really has the look of a good NFL WR.
Trindon Holliday – At this point, we have to proceed like Holliday is going to make the Texans roster. Why? Simple: we haven’t seen a single player other than Holliday return kicks and/or punts through two preseason games. I don’t really know how to evaluate his roster spot other than to point out that he’s the only proven punt returner on the team. Martin, Justin Forsett, and maybe a few others can return punts, but we haven’t seen them do it in any games with the Texans uniform on.
Sometimes with a returner, you catch lightning in a bottle over a 1-3 year span; Jerome Mathis in Houston, Dante Hall in Kansas City, Chad Morton in New York. With the explosiveness and quickness Holliday has shown so far this preseason, maybe the Texans have found their guy.
Matt Schaub – He went 11/14 for 128 yards and 1 TD against one of the better defenses in the NFL. I think Schaub has looked fairly crisp in the first two preseason games, a few shaky red-zone trips notwithstanding. This is a really big season for Matt, and his proving ground will be the big games against elite teams, but he certainly looks 100% healthy.
Andre Johnson – No matter how many games or practices he misses, when Andre Johnson is on the football field, he always produces. Saturday night, the franchise’s best player had 2 catches, and one was a 43 yard bomb against two San Francisco defensive backs. If anyone questions whether he’s lost a step with age and injury, his play certainly has to give you some relief. If Andre stays healthy, he’s going to have a big season.
Keshawn Martin – Another productive game with 3 receptions and 36 yards. Even though it’s still early, I’m very confident going into the season with Keshawn as the #3 WR playing in the slot. The fact that the coaches moved him outside all week to learn the offense should demonstrate to fans that they believe the rookie is ready to go. He has good hands, he’s quick, and he gets open.
Rushing attack – Arian Foster had 10 carries for 46 yards, but 24 of the yards came on a single carry. On the other 9, Arian had 22 yards. I don’t think his struggles are because of veganism; I didn’t see many holes opening up. It’s not really a cause for concern, because the 49ers may have the best run defense in the NFL. Just something to keep an eye on, considering the changes on the right side of the OL.
Run defense – The 49ers ran for 118 yards on 24 carries, a 4.9 yard average. It seemed like the Texans’ run D was a little off balance the entire night. After the game, Danieal Manning pointed out that the D is accustomed to facing their own zone running scheme during training camp. In contrast, the 49ers are much more of a downhill attack, and they seemed to hurt Houston with draws and traps. One thing to note is that the team was missing 2/3 of its starting defensive line, with both Shaun Cody and JJ Watt recovering from injuries.
DeVier Posey– Or lack thereof. I don’t know what the deal is, but Posey has played on the 3rd string through the first two preseason games. It’s almost impossible to really grade his performance on the field, but the fact that he’s playing so late gives us an indication of where he is on the depth chart. Posey is going to make this team (he’s a 3rd round pick), but he make take some time to develop.
Reserve OL – The 2nd-string offense appeared very out-of-sorts when they were on the field. This does happen, because most NFL teams keep 8-9 offensive linemen, so a reserve unit is going to include a few OL who may not be capable NFL players. Brandon Brooks had two penalties on one drive, TJ Yates was sacked twice, and 3 points were scored (most of the yardage coming on a pass interference call). On the bright side, rookie Ben Jones looked pretty good as the backup center.
Mike Meltser can be heard on MaD Radio from 10am-2pm