By Seth Payne (@PayneNFL)
The Texans looked pretty good Saturday night. Sure, it was only a pre-season game — an utterly meaningless endeavor to the outside world. It probably doesn’t predict much about the future, but it matters intensely to those of us in the thick of it. It’s exactly like high school. So in the spirit of high school, here are the Preseason Week 2 Superlatives.
Best Rick Grimes: given to the player who performs well despite being draped in zombies
- Jadeveon Clowney had himself a night, and he did it despite various offensive linemen trying to drag after him like he was a ski boat. He also did an admirable job fighting through double teams, and unselfishly soaking up blocks when he was the penetrator on stunts. This freed Christian Covington up for a hurry at least once.
- I know people want him to develop more of a repertoire of moves, but he’s such a unique athlete that I’m not worried about it. Here’s what he does right now.
- Bull rush
- Speed rush
- Speed rush converted to bull rush
- As long as he’s healthy, that’s enough for offensive linemen to poop their pants. You get dumped on your ass like New Orleans tackle Zach Strief did, it’s in your head the rest of the game. That poor guy’s parents were watching that play.
Best Zika Virus: given to the guy who did some damage, but I’ve only recently learned of his existence.
- Brendan Scarlett. He was signed last week. I think. Hustled down the line to make a tackle for no gain in the second quarter, then showed up a few more times. I hope he’s good enough to stick around, ‘cause that’s a great last name for puns.
Best Al Roker: given to the guy who is not as fat as I thought he’d be
- DJ Reader. Moves down the line on zone running plays better than I thought he would. Especially important in the NFL, where umpires try to take away defensive lineman’s last defense by calling us for holding.
- Had a stuff in the 2nd quarter where he split a double team perfectly and stuffed the running back for no gain.
- The entire defensive line did a better job of holding their ground on double teams.
Best Sith: Given to the pass rusher who makes somebody look like a hologram.
- Whitney Mercilus. Mercilus was robbed of a strip sack in the first quarter, but his rush was a work of art. Sure, it was versus Coby Fleener, but he “ran the hoop” so fluidly that Fleener couldn’t even slow him down. He made Fleener look like a mirage who disappeared into the ether.
Best Bull Rider: given to the guy who isn’t all that big, but is tough as nails.
- Kevin Johnson. Johnson shows tremendous play recognition on throws to the flats, and snuffs them out before they can develop by arriving on time and with form tackles.
- Christian Covington. We’ve always looked at Covington as a guy who would make the team based on his ability to rush the passer, but he has been noticeably stout versus the run in these two first pre-season games. He’s got a real shot at winning the starting spot at right defensive end.
Best General Contractor: given to the guy who doesn’t possess great skill, but coordinates the people who do.
- Brock Osweiler. Not incredibly skilled, but good at getting all the sub-contractors coordinated. Will Fuller was like the guy you bring in from Portugal to do intricate marble work. It was a good hire by Brock.
- Showed very good pocket presence last night. Wasn’t hurried, Wasn’t holding onto the ball too long. Had a good sense for when to dump it off.
- Good to see him connect on some of the underneath crossing routes. That’s a hallmark of what they do in New England, and it’s worked out pretty well for them.