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Texans – Cardinals: In A Nutshell

By Paul Gallant, SportsRadio 610
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(Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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I imagine most of you were frustrated with the way that Saturday night’s preseason opener went. You should be. The Texans stunk up the joint.

Still…I’ve got to be honest. I needed to see a game like that. I don’t know if it was the smell of the grass out at training camp – or some other sort of grass – but I was getting far too optimistic about this teams’ chances in 2014. An ice bucket of reality was exactly what I needed to cool down my jets.

Yes it was just preseason game number one. And yes, Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing, Johnathan Joseph, and Brandon Brooks didn’t play. Unfortunately, the reality is still this: no matter how easy the schedule or pathetic the division, the Texans AREN’T going to be good this season. The sooner you accept that, the less stress you’ll feel over the next five months.

THE GOOD
An Opposing Quarterback May Die This Year

No one wants to see a guy get Joe Theismanned on the field – even if he is a complete jackass. But if you think you’d enjoy J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney out-muscle linemen to annihilate quarterbacks/running backs, it looks like you’re going to be in for a treat this coming season. Watt and Clowney rushing off the same side resulted in an early sack (by Watt) of Carson Palmer on the Cardinals’ first drive. Later on, Clowney exploded into the backfield to take down Stepfan Taylor for a five yard loss. He’ll need to work on his coverage in Crennel’s 3-4, but if there was anything positive to take out of Saturday night, it’s that Clowney appears to be the real deal.

And The Running Game? Not That Bad

Despite Blaine Gabbert-esque quarterback play and jack diddly poo out of the Texans’ guards, Jonathan Grimes and rookie Alfred Blue were surprisingly effective when called upon.

Grimes isn’t flashy, but he runs north and south and fights for yardage. And considering guard Alex Kupper’s inability to do anything Saturday night, Grimes deserves a lot of credit for amassing 39 yards on 10 carries. Blue had an off day in the receiving department with a couple of drops. Still, he had 5 carries for 30 yards.

The good news? The Texans seem to have a pretty good idea of the two backs that will back up Arian Foster…even if they can’t decide who will be the backup or third stringer. The bad? For the fantasy football peeps out there – Blue led all Texans with 4.4 points on the night.

THE BAD
The Sieve

My biggest reservation about the Texans going into 2014 – other than the lack of a real quarterback – is the secondary. They were a train-wreck last season – and were far from aggressive in bolstering the group in the off-season. Those issues were BRUTALLY OBVIOUS Saturday night.

I doubt Romeo Crennel called any exotic coverages Saturday night – something he’ll likely do a lot more of in the regular season. And when your defensive calls are vanilla, you’re going to have problems (see Wade Phillips last season). Still, whatever was called doesn’t excuse how completely ineffective the Texans were in slowing down Arizona.

The mediocrities known as Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, and Logan Thomas – behind a raggedy offensive line – eviscerated the Texans to the tune of 326 yards and 3 touchdowns. They converted 11 of 17 third downs and had the ball for a PREPOSTEROUSLY long 42 minutes. The stats don’t lie – the secondary was putrid. And neither did the tape. Outside of a handful of plays by Elbert Mack, the entire secondary AND linebacking corps were getting toasted play in and play out. Most notably: Brandon Harris and D.J. Swearinger.

Kupper-ware: Wearing Thin On My Patience

Alex Kupper should never play start in the NFL. The majority of problems the O-Line had Saturday night seemed to involve him.

Dear Brandon Brooks,
Bro. Figure out your life/health/whatever and get back on the field.
K thanks, bye.

Paul

The Quarterbacks…

…Are what they are.

And The Massive Elephant In The Room

Whitney Mercilus didn’t start. He worked with the second defensive unit. That’s not news to anyone who’s been at training camp. What WAS news: He was completely invisible against second and third stringers. That’s a HUGE problem for a former first round pick entering his third season. And makes me seriously wonder if he’ll be ANY factor for the Texans in 2014.

Paul Gallant hosts the “B-Straw and Pauly G” show – weeknights 7-11 PM – with Brien Straw. Get in contact with Paul on Twitter – @PaulyGSays – or on Facebook – Paul Gallant.

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