by: Garret Heinrich (@GarretHeinrich)
The Houston Texans will face-off in their second preseason game against the New England Patriots and while there is still a lot of figuring out to do for the Texans before they kick off the regular season on September 10th against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This game against the Patriots does give the team a chance to answer some of those questions.
1. Who Is The Starting Safety?
It looks like Marcus Gilchrist will be plugged in alongside Andre Hal. And while Gilchrist didn’t play against the Panthers this game gives him the opportunity to show he deserves to start after coming in after Training Camp began.
2. Can Jaelen Strong Be The #2 Reciever?
The Texans need some clarity at wide receiver. After Will Fuller broke his collar bone and then Braxton Miller got injured in the first preseason game, the team is looking at Strong and a bunch of minimal experience guys to take some pressure off of Deandre Hopkins. If Strong can show his strong hands and ability to get open and make plays he should be cemented into the role.
3. Who’s The Kicker?
This probably won’t get figured out, but if Ka’ami Fairbairn can make a few distance field goals, he will put some pressure on Nick Novak. Novak is the safe choice, but can’t really give the Texans an option over 45 yards. Fairbairn needs to show he can make big kicks from distance and a few short kicks with accuracy if he wants to unseat the veteran.
4. More Time For Watson?
We suspect that Deshaun Watson will once again get a good chunk of playing time with in this game, like he did against the Panthers. His performance this week could determine if he deserves to get even MORE playing time in week 3 of the preseason, maybe with the starters. He’s been impressive on the practice field and showed signs of his high ceiling in his two-plus quarters of game action, will he do enough to really kick off the “Start Him Now” chants.
5. Who Is The Backup Running Back
Both Alfred Blue and D’Onta Foreman showed high promise in the first game. A bad game for one of them might put them into too much of a hole to dig out of before the season starts. No fumbles and good blocking and forward running will be key for these two.