11 observations from the Texans' 20-14 win over the Cowboys
The Houston Texans earn another win in the preseason game as players begin to separate themselves in the quest to make the roster.
1. Jacob Martin's strip-sack on the first drive was a welcomed sight. Martin is a speed demon off the edge so in clear passing situations these are the types of plays the Texans need from him to make his reps have meaning. Martin beat the Cowboys starting right tackle on the rep as well. It should be expected Martin will be in the defensive line rotation.
2. It's a small criticism, but in a quick-change scenario like a fumble, the Texans can do more. The first play out of the takeaway wasn't a deep shot or attempt at the end zone. A quick change like a fumble allows you to take a shot, but offensive coordinator Tim Kelly ran a play with a handful of shorter routes. It would have been nice to see a shot to the end zone or a potentially bigger play.
3. The fourth and short aggressiveness was nice to see. The Texans will have to win some of those risk-taking situations to beat teams this year. The play calls on the two fourth and short plays though left a lot to be desired. I won't be too critical since you don't want to show your good stuff in the preseason, but I would've liked to see a throw on the second attempt.
4. Mark Ingram is the first running back who will play for this team, and he has plenty of juice left in the tank despite his long NFL career to this point. Ingram will surprise some opponents this season with his catching ability, he's flashed it in practice. Ingram being in a rotation should keep him fresh all year.
5. Maliek Collins flashed more than a few times in his first preseason action. 97 looks like a weird number, but get used to seeing it as Collins will be an important piece of this Texans defensive line.
6. The Texans could have some tough decisions to make on the interior defensive line. It feels like almost every player on the defensive line has had some good stretches. Perhaps the team can store someone they cut on the practice squad as the expanded practice squad rules are in effect this year.
7. Speaking of first preseason action, how about the eye-popping play of Charles Omenihu? The former Texas product annihilated a tight end and took down the Cowboys quarterback. Omenihu must be great this season for this defense to be good. His growth as a pass rusher is one of the most important aspects of 2021's season.
8. Desmond King has flashed more than a few times as the returner for this team. There could be some thought given to keeping an additional wideout, someone like Chris Moore, instead of Andre Roberts who was signed as a returned specialist. King's success in games, and practice, is hard to ignore.
9. Davis Mills, nor Tyrod Taylor for that matter, made very many highlight-reel plays. Mills locked onto his receiver far too much but had a few nice passes. The whole offense felt disjointed most of the night. Third down was putrid, and Texans head coach David Culley mentioned blitzes affected how they were operating in the money down. The team needs to be efficient and make third downs manageable. They don't have the talent to overcome long third downs.
10. Lonnie Johnson's interception was one of the many takeaways the team had. Don't call them turnovers, not to defensive coordinator Lovie Smith at least. This team will have to capitalize on takeaways almost every time to beat most teams. Johnson's interception is a huge play for the third-year player who has to play well for this team in 2021.
11. The tight end group is an easy decision at this point, as I see it. Cornerback is shaping up pretty well too. Most of the other positions will come with some difficult decisions. It will be a fight to keep certain players in the organization while some will easily find themselves looking for a new team.