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Houston (CBS Houston) – The Houston Texans are looking to battle one of the top offenses in the NFL as they host the New Orleans Saints at Reliant Stadium, Sunday.
The third preseason game is usually where you see the most accurate picture of what your team will look like headed into the regular season.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak knows the importance of this game for the starters, “It’s always important. You want to be stepping forward. Everything you’re doing, I think, veteran guys kind of know, guys that have played and know how they want to feel as they move in the preseason.”
“We still have some tough decisions to make,” Kubiak continued. “We’ve got to look at a lot of players in the second half, so we still need to continue to do that.”
Coach Kubiak said he’ll concentrate on getting starters ready in place for week one against the San Diego Chargers, but there will be some rookies sprinkled in to see if they can handle the 1st team competition.
“All of the pieces won’t be in place when you’re talking about (RB) Arian (Foster) and (DE) Antonio (Smith). You’d like to have them all out there, but we’ve got to keep plugging. We’re going to face issues during the season too and we have to respond to them, so this is a good opportunity to do that and we’re playing a really good football team, so a great test for us.”
Here’s the matchup I’m watching Sunday: Texans defense against Drew Brees’ offense
Saints head coach Sean Payton is back with his future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees and this year they’re looking for redemption.
“You’re going against one of the top quarterbacks in the game for the past 10, 12, 14 years, however long (Saints QB) Drew (Brees) has been playing, defensively for us,” Kubiak said on how this matchup is a perfect lithmus test. “It’s a heck of a test and they’re a very fast football team, turf-built football team. It’s a challenge for us, but we’ve played them a lot. Hopefully, in a way, we’ve helped each other get ready to play each and every year. It’s a good test. The fact that we’re playing Sunday afternoon puts us in our normal routine, so to speak. All the indicators help us get ready for opening day.”
The Saints’ offense is a complex hybrid West Coast offense that is always ready for that explosive play or run that the Texans’ have to be prepared for if they want to face high-powered offenses in the post season.
Joe Mays, former Denver Broncos Linebacker, has to have a good showing Sunday for a position in this linebacker corps. This game he can show if his pass coverage has improved. Willie Jefferson is a rookie that will get to show what he can do off the edge. If Jefferson can pressure Brees like he has in the past two preseason games, it’s safe to say he solidify his job.
If the Texans’ defense can stop the Saints’ offense then I say lift your head a bit higher Texans fans, your deep postseason hopes are warranted.
Follow Julie Takahashi on Twitter: @Julie_Takahashi