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Texans Minicamp, OTA’s and Preseason

CloakNNNdagger

Hall of Fame
McClain: A chance to evaluate more starters for Texans vs. Cowboys
John McClain, Staff writer
Aug. 20, 2021Updated: Aug. 20, 2021 11:25 a.m.

ARLINGTON — Coach David Culley said this week healthy players who didn’t get on the field in the Texans’ preseason victory at Green Bay will play Saturday against Dallas at AT&T Stadium.

Culley didn’t say how much they would play against the Cowboys, but fans can expect to see a lot of starters participating for the first time.

No position will be under the microscope more than quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills.

Taylor is the starter, and he was efficient in his one series in the 26-7 victory over the Packers. He’s expected to get two or three possessions against the Cowboys.

Mills, the third-round pick, played five series and one play on a possession at the end of the first half against the Packers. Culley, offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and passing game coordinator/quarterback coach Pep Hamilton want to see more of Mills as the Texans get closer to their regular season opener Sept. 12 against Jacksonville.

The coaches hope to see a similar performance from Taylor. They want to see improvement for Mills, who was inconsistent in his debut. Jeff Driskel, who completed 1 of 6 passes for 2 yards, may get mop-up duty again and could be replaced before the season begins if general manager Nick Caserio finds another quarterback he likes better.

Taylor, who’s playing in his 11th preseason, has developed confidence in Kelly’s system and has convinced the coaches he can be consistent operating the offense.

Taylor and Mills should have more weapons at their disposal. Running backs Mark Ingram II and Rex Burkhead, receiver Brandin Cooks and tight ends Jordan Akins and Pharaoh Brown should play for the first time.

With Cooks, the Texans’ leading receiver, and Brown and Akins, their top-two tight ends, the offense could be even more productive than it was at Lambeau Field. The Cowboys are expected to play more starters on defense than the Packers did, so this should be more of a challenge for the offense and a better barometer of where the Texans are on that side of the ball with regular season approaching.

THE REST OF THE STORY
 

Speedy

Former Yeller Dweller
McClain: A chance to evaluate more starters for Texans vs. Cowboys
John McClain, Staff writer
Aug. 20, 2021Updated: Aug. 20, 2021 11:25 a.m.

ARLINGTON — Coach David Culley said this week healthy players who didn’t get on the field in the Texans’ preseason victory at Green Bay will play Saturday against Dallas at AT&T Stadium.

Culley didn’t say how much they would play against the Cowboys, but fans can expect to see a lot of starters participating for the first time.

No position will be under the microscope more than quarterbacks Tyrod Taylor and Davis Mills.

Taylor is the starter, and he was efficient in his one series in the 26-7 victory over the Packers. He’s expected to get two or three possessions against the Cowboys.

Mills, the third-round pick, played five series and one play on a possession at the end of the first half against the Packers. Culley, offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and passing game coordinator/quarterback coach Pep Hamilton want to see more of Mills as the Texans get closer to their regular season opener Sept. 12 against Jacksonville.

The coaches hope to see a similar performance from Taylor. They want to see improvement for Mills, who was inconsistent in his debut. Jeff Driskel, who completed 1 of 6 passes for 2 yards, may get mop-up duty again and could be replaced before the season begins if general manager Nick Caserio finds another quarterback he likes better.

Taylor, who’s playing in his 11th preseason, has developed confidence in Kelly’s system and has convinced the coaches he can be consistent operating the offense.

Taylor and Mills should have more weapons at their disposal. Running backs Mark Ingram II and Rex Burkhead, receiver Brandin Cooks and tight ends Jordan Akins and Pharaoh Brown should play for the first time.

With Cooks, the Texans’ leading receiver, and Brown and Akins, their top-two tight ends, the offense could be even more productive than it was at Lambeau Field. The Cowboys are expected to play more starters on defense than the Packers did, so this should be more of a challenge for the offense and a better barometer of where the Texans are on that side of the ball with regular season approaching.

THE REST OF THE STORY
I'm really interested to see how they handle next week. Last preseason game, starters don't usually play. This year, however, there's a 2 week gap between the last PS game and the opener. If starters don't play next week, it will be 3 weeks of no live game action going into the game against the Jags.
 

Corrosion

Idealist
Staff member
None of us can say confidently that he won’t take another snap for the Texans. Those same people said he wasn’t going to show up for camp. Right now all of us are speculating. Now those speculations can be true. But there’s a strong chance he will play for the Texans. They have him in the building as well as direct communication verses that indirect crap that was going on this off-season. He’s also giving pointers to all the quarterbacks as well as receivers. Don’t be surprised if he’s under center next week.
I was always of the belief that he would show up when it was mandatory. Its a terrible move financially not to as he gets fined and potentially gets suspended and loses a season when the odds are that you will end up on the CEL at some point & get paid for sitting at home.

What I didn't expect was Goodell not putting him on the CEL ... I still expect that to happen but after he's indicted.
 

Number19

Hall of Fame
I was always of the belief that he would show up when it was mandatory. Its a terrible move financially not to as he gets fined and potentially gets suspended and loses a season when the odds are that you will end up on the CEL at some point & get paid for sitting at home.

What I didn't expect was Goodell not putting him on the CEL ... I still expect that to happen but after he's indicted.
I'm still expecting CEL by August 31, when teams have to be down to their 53 roster.
 

Speedy

Former Yeller Dweller
It's the new 3 game pre-season with two weeks between the start of the season. A lot of teams are to be doing this as their starters tuneup for the season.
I know. I've pointed that out several times. Was just curious how it would be handled by teams.

I agree the 1's need to see way more snaps than they have, and I like that they're playing at least a half, especially since it would be 3 weeks between games if they didn't play in this last one Saturday, but at the same time, the shorter preseason doesn't allow many snaps at the end for these guys fighting for roster spots. Of course, I think a lot of those decisions may already be made, and what we see in the 3rd and 4th quarters will be those guys on the bubble with 1 last chance to change some minds.

I assume the Bucs will do the same? At least this secondary would finally get to measure themselves against a real QB. Though I don't think Brady needs as much to get ready as others might need.
 

Number19

Hall of Fame
I know. I've pointed that out several times. Was just curious how it would be handled by teams.

I agree the 1's need to see way more snaps than they have, and I like that they're playing at least a half, especially since it would be 3 weeks between games if they didn't play in this last one Saturday, but at the same time, the shorter preseason doesn't allow many snaps at the end for these guys fighting for roster spots. Of course, I think a lot of those decisions may already be made, and what we see in the 3rd and 4th quarters will be those guys on the bubble with 1 last chance to change some minds.

I assume the Bucs will do the same? At least this secondary would finally get to measure themselves against a real QB. Though I don't think Brady needs as much to get ready as others might need.
Yeh, I'm thinking the first half will be like a real game. It'll be a test for our team and a good indication how we'll play against our tough, quality schedule. Just hope we come out without any injuries.
 

thunderkyss

Just win baby!!!
Staff member
Contributor's Club
Yeh, I'm thinking the first half will be like a real game. It'll be a test for our team and a good indication how we'll play against our tough, quality schedule. Just hope we come out without any injuries.
Nope. It’s preseason. Still won’t be played like a real game.

Preseason has absolutely no bearing on a real game. It’s like video poker & real poker. They look similar & you can convince yourself they are the same.

But the are fundamentally different games.
 

Number19

Hall of Fame
Nope. It’s preseason. Still won’t be played like a real game.

Preseason has absolutely no bearing on a real game. It’s like video poker & real poker. They look similar & you can convince yourself they are the same.

But the are fundamentally different games.
Yes, to the extent that neither team will open up their playbooks. But it will be their ones going against our ones for an entire half and for the my purpose of evaluating our team's prospects for being a bottom dweller, or a mid level, team, it's going to be revealing in the evaluation of the individual players.
 

Speedy

Former Yeller Dweller
Yes, to the extent that neither team will open up their playbooks. But it will be their ones going against our ones for an entire half and for the my purpose of evaluating our team's prospects for being a bottom dweller, or a mid level, team, it's going to be revealing in the evaluation of the individual players.
Right. Getting the reps in against top competition is what you take out of it. Of course it's still not the same game, as in no real game planning, vanilla plays, etc. But you can judge things a little better than how it's been done so far. All of these turnovers everyone's excited about that the Texans are forcing, 5 of the 7 have come against guys named Benkert and Dinucci. Does that give you any indication that this defense is going to force a lot of turnovers this season? It shouldn't. All it should tell you is that Benkert and Dinucci will likely see zero NFL regular season snaps combined the next 5 years. Now if they get a pick or 2 off of Brady, it may still not mean much, but that's a lot better sign you might have something. Certainly a better sign than picking off a 4th stringer 3 times.
 

mws

Waterboy
Right. Getting the reps in against top competition is what you take out of it. Of course it's still not the same game, as in no real game planning, vanilla plays, etc. But you can judge things a little better than how it's been done so far. All of these turnovers everyone's excited about that the Texans are forcing, 5 of the 7 have come against guys named Benkert and Dinucci. Does that give you any indication that this defense is going to force a lot of turnovers this season? It shouldn't. All it should tell you is that Benkert and Dinucci will likely see zero NFL regular season snaps combined the next 5 years. Now if they get a pick or 2 off of Brady, it may still not mean much, but that's a lot better sign you might have something. Certainly a better sign than picking off a 4th stringer 3 times.
While I agree with you I have to say that getting picks against Benkert and Dinucci beats the hell out of not getting turnovers against them. We have played the same kind of scrubs in the past without getting the takeaways.

Does this mean we'll lead the league in turnovers? Of course not. But I'm cautiously optimistic that we should be a lot better at it than we were last year. And who knows, the right turnover at the right time can steal a game you should have lost.
 

Lucky

Not like this. Not like this.
Staff member
Does this mean we'll lead the league in turnovers? Of course not. But I'm cautiously optimistic that we should be a lot better at it than we were last year. And who knows, the right turnover at the right time can steal a game you should have lost.
Cover 2 is historically a good defense for coming up with INTs. The key of course is getting a pash rush. And the key to that is being able to stop the run and force 2nd and 3rd and long conversions. Basically, if you have a good defense, you will get turnovers. Last year, the Texans had a sorry defense, and got loose change.

So will the Texans defense this season be able to stop anyone? No one knows for sure. But based off past performances of the guys currently on the roster, there's little to suggest they will become even a solid defense. We can hope Lovie can turn these guys into chicken salad. But that's just hope talking.
 

House of Pain

May never see it
I completely agree that the top end of the roster is pretty slim on talent (at least what they have done up to this point) but what is the point of having talent if it's wasted by misuse? The front office should be ashamed of themselves for letting BoB near their roster. Why it that this new coaching staff is doing no brainer things like letting players play in their best position instead of hammering a square peg in a round hole?

A better coached team, with less talent, should yield as good, if not better results. Not having a franchise QB may hinder that expectation. Does mean the team is going to be any good, but clearly whatever you call what that was last year was pure s***.
 

Lucky

Not like this. Not like this.
Staff member
The Bears were top 10 in takeaways 7 of the 9 seasons that Lovie was the head coach. But...he had some pretty good players on that defense. When the Texans acquire good defensive players, I'm pretty confident Smith will have defenses that can create turnovers.
 

Mr teX

Hall of Fame
The Bears were top 10 in takeaways 7 of the 9 seasons that Lovie was the head coach. But...he had some pretty good players on that defense. When the Texans acquire good defensive players, I'm pretty confident Smith will have defenses that can create turnovers.
Urlacher, Briggs & Tillman were really the only studs on those defenses. Tommie Harris had a few standout years, Everybody else..were just guys tho. Talent for the Texans ain't as far off as you might think.
 

Mr teX

Hall of Fame
Yes, just a HOFer and two All Pros. The Texans are almost there.


lol, get a grip bro. Tampa’s SB winning bad ass defense had exactly 1 pro bowlers/all pros on it last year…unless you wanna count Suh’s old ass & More often than not, this is the case with really good defenses B/c it’s more about effort, and guys understanding how to play together/off each other than it is about talent & scheme.
 

76Texan

Hall of Fame
lol, get a grip bro. Tampa’s SB winning bad ass defense had exactly 1 pro bowlers/all pros on it last year…unless you wanna count Suh’s old ass & More often than not, this is the case with really good defenses B/c it’s more about effort, and guys understanding how to play together/off each other than it is about talent & scheme.
Did Lovie coach the TB Superbowl defense?
 

TexansBull

Hall of Fame
lol, get a grip bro. Tampa’s SB winning bad ass defense had exactly 1 pro bowlers/all pros on it last year…unless you wanna count Suh’s old ass & More often than not, this is the case with really good defenses B/c it’s more about effort, and guys understanding how to play together/off each other than it is about talent & scheme.
I may be wrong but Tampa’s defense looked that much better because of the o-line injuries. Didn’t they lose both their tackles or something?
 

76Texan

Hall of Fame
Wasn’t his point. He was saying they didn’t have a bunch of top elite defenders on that defense. Come on 76 you knew what he was saying. Lol
I know what he said.

My point is that if you don't have enough talent, you have to be a great coach to make it works.
 

TheRealJoker

Hall of Fame
Is he though? Is he?

Article was from 2015 but…

“ In 13 of Smith's 18 seasons coaching in the NFL, he has helped form a top 10 defense according to Football Outsider's DVOA, which takes into account numerous factors, including strength of opponent.”

Depends how you use the term “great” but i’d say Lovie Smith has a well-earned reputation as a highly regarded defensive mind in football. We haven’t seen him as anything but a head coach since 2003 though… so we’ll see if reducing his responsibilities enables him to build an overachieving unit this season.
 

steelbtexan

King of the W. B. Club
Contributor's Club
The Texans have been pretty lucky with good defensive coordinators aside from the early Richard Smith, Frank Bush years of Kubiak.

Vic Fangio, Wade Phillips, Romeo Crennel not a bad list!
The defense will be better under Lovie. The Tampa 2 fits the personnel better than the 3-4. But since Lovie has solid players but no superstars he's going to have to do a great job with schemes for this defense to be effective.
 
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TheRealJoker

Hall of Fame
The defense will be better under Lovie. The Tampa 2 fits the personnel better than the 3-4. But since Lovie has solid players but no superstars he's going to have to do a great job with schemes for this defense to be effective.
I agree. I would also say its easier to get production out of his scheme with lesser talent than man heavy scheme like we’ve ran a lot in the past.

Zone coverage CBs can be found in later rounds of draft than man.Very rare that someone like Jalen Ramsey or Darelle Revis who can lock down an opponent’s top WR slips in the draft after showing that capability in college.

That’s not to say Lovie is running exclusively Tampa 2 coverage. He’ll mix in different coverages like man as well. But our secondary will be protected much more from their deficiencies.

Also in the 3-4/4-3 piece its easier to find someone who will fit. Too often we’re drafting players who played with their hand in the dirt in college hoping they can stand up in the pros. Sometimes it works (Mercilus 1st round pick), most times it don’t (too many to list all the Sam Montgomery types).

I feel a lot better about Greenard as a player knowing he’ll be asked to do what he did in college (when he was successful) than projecting to what he might do in a pro scheme he’s never played in.
 

OptimisticTexan

2021 Building Block 1 / Go Texans
Might’ve been fun watching a Texans defensive front 4 featuring, Watt, Wilfork, Reader, and Clowney…..they were all there at one point. Not to mention, the Texans wouldn’t have had to convert Clowney from a DE to 3-4 OLB. That would’ve been a tough as nails front line. In all honesty…..Clowney is probably clicking double digit sack totals right along with Watt.
 

thunderkyss

Just win baby!!!
Staff member
Contributor's Club
The front office should be ashamed of themselves for letting BoB near their roster
They should be ashamed of taking so long to realize he was out of his depth.

It's OK to make mistakes. We all do. I don't even have a problem with trying to fix those mistakes. But when you pencil him in as GM, basically doubling down on that mistake... too far sir. You have gone too far.
 


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