Matt Schaub – Simply put, he played a terrific half of football against the Saints. Schaub went 15/18 for 194 yards, 1 TD, and 0 INT. As my radio partner Brad Davies said on the postgame show Saturday night, Schaub just looked a little bit more precise than he did in the first two preseason games. The offense went up-and-down the field consistently, with the only blemishes coming courtesy of two Keshawn Martin fumbles. Simply put, Schaub looks ready for the regular season.
Garrett Graham – He played well in the first preseason game against the Panthers, but this was as good as we’ve seen Graham in a Texans uniform. 4 receptions and 97 yards on the night, which is obviously great production for a TE. Graham was able to somehow get wide-open near the goal-line on the first series of the game, and then caught a 44-yarder a few series later. He just looks like a very natural pass-catcher. I don’t think Graham will be the same blocker Joel Dreessen was for this team, but the third year pick out of Wisconsin will be a bigger threat down the field.
Shayne Graham – It was a good night to be a Graham in the SuperDome (more on that down below). I didn’t expect to be writing about the veteran kicker, but with the news that he will be the starting kicker, Graham’s performance is a definite positive. He drilled a 53-yarder, maintaining his perfection on kicks throughout the preseason. I have reservations about him as a full-time kicker (hasn’t been a starting K in the NFL since 2009), but Graham has been excellent in a Texans uniform so far.
Jonathan Grimes/Lestar Jean/James Casey – None worthy of his own category, but I saw some good things. I will concede that I am reconsidering my position that Grimes has no chance to make the roster. I’m still uncertain as to where he fits, but Grimes has shown enough speed, quickness, and agility to be strongly considered. Jean did a great job holding onto the football on his one catch of the night. Casey has looked steady throughout the preseason, with 3 more receptions against the Saints.
Pass Defense – Granted, this was the Saints offense, but Drew Brees passed for 179 yards and 2 TDs. Most disconcerting was the clinical way Brees took NO into the end zone right before the end of the first half. Nobody on the Texans can really cover Jimmy Graham, but seeing ILB Bradie James defending Graham down the field multiple times was a little bizarre. Also, Kareem Jackson should be happy he won’t see Lance Moore during the regular season.
Trindon Holliday’s fumble – Just an absolute disaster of a play, and really the only way Holliday can fail to make the roster. Gary Kubiak needs to have full confidence in the former LSU star. I mainly worry about fumbles when they come on punt returns (is anyone really “susceptible” to fumbles on kick returns?), but Holliday needs to be careful. Proceed as if he still makes the team, because Kubiak says Holliday will take all the returns Thursday night against the Vikings.
Run Defense – Another shaky effort, this time against the medley of RBs the Saints throw out there. I just got the sense watching the game that the Texans were losing the battle at the line of scrimmage. This observation comes with the obvious caveat that for the second straight game, the DL was missing both Shaun Cody and JJ Watt. The linebacking corp was missing Brian Cushing.
TJ Yates – I am a fan of TJ Yates. If you look at the stat line (6/11, 72 yd), nothing is really alarming. However, Yates took way too many sacks, and the offense scored only three points in the 2nd half of the game. I realize the 2nd-string OL has been shaky in spots, but Yates needs to do a better job of dropping back, planting, and throwing the ball. The hope is that Schaub stays healthy all season, but I want to see Yates bounce back against Minnesota.
Mike Meltser can be heard on MaD Radio from 10am-2pm