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Cody Stoots: Latest Texans 53-man roster projection

Lamar Miller heads up the running back group. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Texans have one preseason game to play but if they had to make the cuts today and get to 53 players this is how I see it shaking out. 

Quarterbacks - 3

Deshaun Watson

Brandon Weeden

Joe Webb

Analysis: Joe Webb is making it as a quarterback but he is here because he can do a lot of different things. He can help on special teams whereas a typical third quarterback would be inactive or useless when the other two quarterbacks are healthy. Webb really earned this because of his versatility and showcasing it during the preseason. One of the fun stories in camp. 

Running Backs - 3

Lamar Miller

Alfred Blue

Troymaine Pope

Analysis: D'Onta Foreman will start the season on the physically unable to perform list unless he miraculously gets healthy. Alfred Blue doesn't do anything spectacular but the current staff seems to like him for special teams and trust him to do the basics of being a running back. Troymaine Pope is a pass-catcher and has seen some return action. Tyler Ervin has gotten a ton of reps as a returner despite showcasing little as a ball carrier but with the abilities of the pass catchers someone else can do what he has done. 

Fullback - 1

Jay Prosch

Analysis: For a little time I thought the Texans would finally go without the archaic position of fullback. I can't see Bill O'Brien really pulling the trigger this year. He played 13.2 percent of snaps last year. So, he's here, well, to do whatever fullbacks do in 2018. 

Wide Receiver - 6

DeAndre Hopkins

Will Fuller

Bruce Ellington  

Keke Coutee

Sammie Coates

Braxton Miller

Analysis: Keke Coutee's injury opened the door for the Texans to need to keep six wideouts. Sammie Coates is on this team. He played his way onto the team and is the lone true backup at outside wide receiver. Braxton Miller has been up and down throughout the preseason but his versatility to help outside and inside and potentially on returns earns him the spot until Coutee is fully ready to play. Bruce Ellington is on the team without a doubt and it would be a shock and mistake to let him go. 

Tight Ends - 3

Ryan Griffin

Jordan Thomas  

Jordan Akins

Analysis: One of the easiest calls on the team. These three have separated themselves from all the other tight ends. Jordan Thomas seems to be slightly ahead of Jordan Akins. 

Tackles - 4

Julie'n Davenport

Seantrell Henderson

Martinas Rankin

Kendall Lamm

Analysis: Kendell Lamm is making this team because Martinas Rankin missed a few weeks with this injury and the team can't afford that much inexperience as the swing tackle. Seantrell Henderson's irregular health makes this tackle situation one that requires bodies with experience. 

Guards - 4

Zach Fulton

Senio Kelemete

David Quessenberry

Chad Slade

Analysis: Chad Slade can help at tackle and David Quessenberry has played his way onto the roster. Kyle Fuller didn't do enough to make the roster considering both of the team's centers can help at guard in a pinch. The team held Fuller over from last year but he didn't outplay those in front of him. 

Center - 2

Nick Martin

Greg Mancz

Analysis: Easy decisions here. There wasn't much competition. 

Offense (26)

Defensive Line - 6

J.J. Watt

Christian Covington

D.J. Reader  

Angelo Blackson  

Carlos Watkins  

Brandon Dunn

Analysis: Joel Heath and Brandon Dunn are really fighting each other for this spot and this likely is a tough cut as both can help out a team and deserve a spot on a roster. Dunn has been more consistent but Heath has more upside. This will be a tough decision and don't be surprised to see both of them end up making the team at the expensive of another position. 

Outside Linebacker - 4

Jadaveon Clowney

Whitney Mercilus

Duke Ejiofor

Brennan Scarlett

Analysis:  Jadeveon Clowney gets counted as an outside linebacker despite his versatility and ability to help the defensive line. Whitney Mercilus has been out with an injury but should be ready to go soon. Duke Ejiofor flashed early but consistency is going to be key with him. Brennan Scarlett has improved over last year. 

Inside Linebacker - 4

Benardrick McKinney

Zach Cunningham

Dylan Cole

Brian Peters

Analysis: Josh Keyes flashed early and likely stayed on the radar but I can't see him making it when there is pressing needs on offense he literally becomes player 54. Brian Peters is back because of experience with the team and his help on special teams. Peters also showed a little when pressed into playing inside linebacker. The other three have been beasts this preseason. 

Cornerbacks - 5

Johnathan Joseph

Aaron Colvin

Kevin Johnson

Johnson Bademosi

Kayvon Webster

Analysis: Dee Virgin couldn't get it done in camp with his opportunities and no other players flashed enough to make the roster over the practice squad. Kevin Johnson should be back soon. Johnson Bademosi has gotten some solid work in the preseason with Johnson's injury but he is here for special teams. The third side of the ball gets better if Kayvon Webster can contribute. He was a special teams player for the Broncos championship team. 

Safeties - 5

Tyrann Mathieu

Kareem Jackson

Justin Reid

Corey Moore

Kurtis Drummond

Analysis: Treston Decoud has a lot of tools but a lack of results that can't justify him being on the roster over Corey Moore and Kurtis Drummond. Moore has plenty of experience, despite getting benched and falling out of favor last year.  Drummond has played well and his experience at safety helps him make the team over Decoud. 

Defense (24)

Specialists - 3

Shane Lechler

Ka'imi Fairbairn

Jon Weeks

Analysis: Almost had an upset here but I just can't see this team going with a young kicker and a young punter. If there was some way to guarantee Trevor Daniel would be on this roster and ready for next year after Lechler likely hangs it up. I'm not wishing he would stub his toe really hard and end up on injured reserve but it wouldn't be the worst result ever. 

Hopeful Practice Squad Signees

WR Vyncint Smith

WR Jester Weah

CB Andre Chachere

CB Jermaine Kelly Jr.

OLB Peter Kalambayi

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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