Plenty to work on for a few players hoping to make the team

11 Texans-Packers observations

Observations from the Texans preseason opener against the Packers.

Coutee's injury

The Texans might have escaped a serious mishap with Keke Coutee their standout slot wide receiver. He later tweeted, then deleted, he believed his injury wasn't serious. He is a key player for this offense so his health is a huge story going forward.

Crockett claws for more

There is still hope for the young players trying to make the Texans at running back. Duke Johnson only solidifies the second spot, not the third. Crockett had some solid runs.

Max it out

Max Scharping handled himself well in his return home. Plenty of friends of family and he had some nice push on the right side. He looked better today than he has in some practices and he picks things up quick. I am excited to see what he looks like against a stout Lions front in joint practices.

Busted but balling

Tyron Johnson was able to cobble together some catches on some not so good plays for the offense. The above play was a broken one but he kept his focus. Later he came back and won a rep to catch another. He has had a solid camp.

Hot and cold for Tytus Howard

Howard played a ton at left guard even after the starter tonight at left tackle, Matt Kalil, left the game. He did ok. Some nice reps but he had a goal line whiff. When he played left tackle he didn't allow much pressure but one play didn't look great. He has played so much more guard than tackle this seems ambitious to now ask him to play tackle.

Lonnie gets beat

One of the Green Bay touchdowns came at the expense of rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson. The Packers wideout had plenty of space to work and Johnson just misplayed it a little as the Packers player came down with the score.

Mancz hobbles off

Backup center Greg Mancz was injured and didn't return to the game for the Texans. He has been playing a ton with presumed starter Nick Martin also hurt. Zach Fulton is the team's third center. Mancz has not had a very solid camp. This team needs Martin to get back and play well.

Decent start for Roby

Bradley Roby had some good work in the game. The Packers were able to complete a few on him but he also came up and made some stops. He sticks with guys he will just need to make a play or two.

Akins plays well

With no Jordan Thomas and no Kahale Warring the bulk of the fun tight end work went to Jordan Akins who had a couple of catches. He made a couple of defenders miss and fought for a first down. He's a solid player.

Higdon's here

Karan Higdon had some nice plays tonight on special teams and running the ball. There is a long way to go as he is behind after missing some work in the spring but there's a chance for him.

It's not nothing

I get it is preseason and the games don't matter. Bill O'Brien's challenge was a horrible challenge and in a real game would have been terribly costly. It is practice for something like that as well and the Texans, again, bungled it.

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It more of the same from the Houston Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Sunday afternoon provided a high-res snapshot of the state of Houston sports. The Astros, already assured of the best record in the American League, played a game they didn’t need to win. The Astros won, ho-hum, their 104th win of the season.

Meanwhile, eight miles away, the Texans, mired in last place with fan support dwindling, played a game they really needed to win. The Texans lost 34-24 to the Los Angeles Chargers in front of (giggle) 69,071 fans at NRG Stadium. The Texans really ought to stop saying the stands are packed. Every time a team punts, and cameras follow the ball skyward, there are thousands of empty seats on display. I know the NFL methodology for determining attendance, (total tickets sold, no-shows don’t count) but it just looks silly when the Texans announce 69,000 fans.

The Texans came close as usual before sputtering to another defeat. The Texans now stand at 0-3-1, the only winless team in the NFL. It’s the second time in three years they’ve started a season without a victory after four games. It’s telling to note that not one of the Texans opponents has a winning record for 2022.

In other words, the Texans have played four games they shoulda/coulda won. Shouda against the Colts, Broncos and Bears, and coulda against the Chargers.

Should/coulda four wins. Instead, none.

That’s the Texans. They’re in every game but can’t close the deal. Yeah, yeah, on Monday we hear, “the Texans are playing hard for coach Lovie Smith” and “they’re competitive” and “they’re a young team.” These are NFL equivalents of a participation trophy.

Sunday’s loss to the Chargers at NRG Stadium was straight out of the Texans playbook. Fall behind, make it interesting, lose. The Texans stuck to their script, timid play calling, momentum-crushing penalties (nine for 67 yards), self-inflicted drops, lackluster quarterbacking and Rex Burkhead on the field for crunch time. After one play where a Texan player was called for holding, the announcer said, “and he did a poor job of holding.”

Statuesque quarterback David Mills keeps saying “we’re in a good spot” and “we’re improving.” Statuesque as in he doesn’t move – or barely moves to avoid sacks. Sunday saw his first touchdown pass to a wide receiver. He’s now thrown four interceptions in the past two games. Let’s go to the tote board: 5 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 4 fumbles, 11 sacks, qbr rating 28.5 – good for 28th in the league.

A bright spot, sort of. This was the first week the Texans didn’t cover the spread. They’re now 1-2-1 against Vegas oddsmakers, meaning you’ve won money if you took the Texans all four weeks. They head to Jacksonville next as early 6.5-point underdogs.

Meanwhile, Alabama’s brilliant quarterback Bryce Young, who will be available for the Texans when they draft first in 2023 (as Paul Heyman says, that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler), suffered a shoulder injury last Saturday. The Texans need to take out a Lloyds of London insurance policy on Young.

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