EVERY-THING SPORTS

How 4 key factors could change how you measure success for Texans against Patriots

Houston Texans CJ Stroud
CJ Stroud will start at QB for Houston. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

We have Texans football back! Rejoice people! The wait is over! Some have said this must be what it feels like waking up after hibernating and a nice meal is waiting on you. Preseason football is better than no football. It's also a welcomed sight when the team you follow has been down a while and is finally trending upward. New coach & coaching staff, two high first round picks, and a slew of other new faces. There's a reason for hope and renewed optimism.

When he was drafted at number two overall, most thought it was a forgone conclusion C.J. Stroud would be the Texans' day one starter. When the coaches met with the media after the draft and before mini camps, it was said there will be a quarterback competition. Davis Mills truthers held onto hope he could retain his position in the driver's seat. He hasn't. Those that have been at practices have said they see why Stroud was named the starter and why Mills wasn't.

My sincere condolences to my buddy Dune and all the other Mills truthers out there. I know it must be a difficult time for you all. The rest of the Texans' fan base is over the moon! The next thing they're looking forward to is the REAL announcement that Stroud will be the week one starter. THAT will be the day this franchise can finally turn another page!

Speaking of that first preseason game, I'm looking forward to seeing a few things when they square off against the Patriots:

Speed and Quickness: I'm looking forward to seeing how quickly C.J. gets the ball out of his hand and makes decisions. I want to see how fellow first rounder (number three overall pick) Will Anderson Jr gets off after the snap. I want to see how fast Derek Stingley Jr recovers, flips his hips, and runs with a receiver down the field and running routes. I want to see how quickly the plays get called in on both sides of the ball. Pace of play tells you a lot. I want to see these guys play fast and give other teams fits.

Health: Your best ability is availability. Not sure who gets the credit for that statement, but it's true. I want to see guys get some work in, but come out healthy. Especially when it comes to the guys that'll actually play, that the team is counting on for this season. There's a CVS receipt long list of guys sitting this one out. I hope they don't pull anything, clapping or drinking water on the sidelines.

Dawgs: Who's got that dawg in 'em? Who's one, or more, of those guys that jumps out at you when watching the game? Every year on every team, there are guys that were afterthoughts that end up playing their way onto a team's roster. Whether it's standing out on special teams, making a play to help turn the game around, or making a highlight reel play, these guys may have been numbers 54-90 during camp, but they'll force their way onto the final 53.

Compete: Win or lose, competing is a non-negotiable. You don't have to have that dawg in you, but at least compete. Show everyone why you're one of the few people on this planet that are worthy of wearing that helmet and uniform. Business decisions will be made because it's preseason. However, the majority of guys playing need to prove themselves. It could be to the team he's currently playing for, or another team. Show up and show out. You never know who's watching.

We're entering an exciting time for the Texans. Things are looking up. Now we're a few steps closer to real games that matter. Coming into 2023, there hasn't been this level of excitement since the season when nasty man signed his extension right before we all found out he was an alleged perv. The team was headed in the right direction and optimism abounded. I know it seems so long ago, but better times are ahead. Better yet, they're here.

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Astros defeat the Orioles, 5-1. Composite Getty Image.

Ronel Blanco pitched seven strong innings and Chas McCormick homered twice to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Yordan Alvarez added a two-run shot to help Houston extend its winning streak to four games.

Blanco (8-2), who threw seven hitless innings in his last start, allowed four hits and a run with three strikeouts for his third straight win.

Alvarez put the Astros on top with his 16th homer, which came off Corbin Burnes (8-3) in the third, and McCormick made it 4-1 in the fifth. McCormick got his fifth career multihomer game when he connected again in the eighth.

Burnes allowed five hits, including a season-high two homers and a season-most four runs in seven innings to snap his career-best streak of 10 consecutive quality starts. He was 5-0 in seven starts since a loss at Washington on May 7.

Jordan Westburg homered in the second for the Orioles, who set a franchise record with 21 straight games with a home run to surpass the 1998 squad's 20-game streak.

Baltimore had troubled stringing hits together Saturday after scoring 28 runs combined in the last two games. The top four batters in their order combined to go 1 for 13 against Blanco and Houston's bullpen.

Ryan Pressly threw a scoreless eighth before Josh Hader struck out two in a perfect ninth to end it.

Westburg connected off Blanco with one out in the second to put the Orioles up 1-0.

Yainer Diaz opened Houston’s second with a triple on a line drive to right field. The Astros tied it when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Mauricio Dubón with one out.

McCormick singled with no outs in the third and the shot to center field by Alvarez came with two outs to put Houston on top 3-1.

McCormick’s home run to the seats in left field extended the lead to 4-1 with one out in the fifth.

Cedric Mullins tripled off the wall in center with one out in the seventh. Colton Cowser hit a sharp line drive, but was robbed of a hit when shortstop Jeremy Peña made a leaping catch for the second out. Blanco then retired Ramón Urías to end the inning and leave Mullins stranded.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Jake Bloss, who made his major league debut Friday night, was placed on the injured list with right shoulder discomfort.

ROSTER MOVES

Astros: RHP Nick Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land on Friday night. ... LHP Bryan King was selected to the MLB roster and RHP Luis Contreras was recalled from Sugar Land on Saturday. … RHP Alex Speas was designated for assignment.

UP NEXT

Houston LHP Framber Valdez (5-5, 3.91 ERA) opposes RHP Albert Suárez (3-1, 2.05) in the series finale Sunday.

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