After going 2-14 last season the Houston Texans open up the preseason Saturday night in Arizona against the Cardinals.
Neither Arian Foster or Andre Johnson are going to play. However, top rookie Jadeveon Clowney says he will play after returning to practice on Thursday. He was recovering from off-season sports hernia surgery.
The preseason is usually not treated with much importance by NFL teams, but Greg Koch of Sports Talk 790 says the Texans might be the exception rather than the norm this year, “When you are coming off a 14-game losing streak, Bill O’Brien is trying to install a new winning culture, so he may play the starters longer than some other coaches.”
Normally, what you see in the preseason is fairly basic, but Koch said O’Brien, in his first year as an NFL head coach, might try to set the tone early on, “He may try to go more all-out to win a game. It’s important to get off to a good start and not have a losing streak of fifteen games.”
That said, if you blink, you’ll miss most of the Texans starters on the field.
“Usually they put you on a play count if you’re a starter. So they’ll be on the field for most of the first quarter.” Koch explained.
It’s the backups that will have to prove themselves. And maybe no player has more on the line during the preseason than quarterback Case Keenum, the former University of Houston star.
“These games are very important for Case. I think he’s on the bubble as far as making this team is concerned.” Koch said.
The games usually make for heated debate on sports talk radio. But, Koch says what fans want to see and what the coaches are looking for are usually two different things, “They’ll look at things you might not see the rest of the season. It’s strictly evaluation to see who the best 53 men are to go into the season with.”
“From a players standpoint this is nothing more than a scrimmage.”
But, some of the lesser known names will get their only real playing time during the month of August, and Koch says it’s important for them to show the coaches something, “This is the time for a lot of guys. They have to make the most of it if they can, especially if they are not a high draft choice.”
Kickoff Saturday night is at 7:30PM.