From the day that Brock Osweiler came to Houston, he has impressed with his work ethic, his leadership and his chutzpah, for lack of a better word. What's stood out more than anything, though, has been his steady improvement day after day after day.
That improvement was evident against the Cardinals in the third preseason game, but it also gave us a glimpse of what Osweiler can do that many didn't think was possible.
Well, within reason, mind you. When a scrambling quarterback is mentioned Ben Roethlisberger or Cam Newton immediately come to mind, not so much the Texans quarterback. However, Osweiler is an all-around athlete who originally committed to Gonzaga to play college basketball, so he has more than adequate mobility. In the win over the Saints the week prior, Osweiler made some excellent reads and throws, including his first touchdown pass as a Texan on a fade route to Will Fuller V.
What he showed early in the game against Arizona, though, was another layer of the Osweiler quarterback onion, if you will, pulled back for opposing defenses to digest in the future. The other aspect of this play was the fact that Osweiler came through on fourth down with a timely and important throw.
The Texans' second year safety Andre Hal intercepted Carson Palmer on the Cardinals first drive, giving the offense great field position. But, three plays only netted seven yards, leaving Coach O'Brien with a decision to take the points or go for it on 4th and three.
He rolled the dice and put the ball back in the hands of Osweiler.
On fourth down, the Cardinals lined up in man free (safety D.J. Swearinger is in the middle of the field as a free safety, looking to help wherever needed). The Texans four pass catchers and running back Tyler Ervin were all accounted for with that particular coverage. Ervin circled out of the backfield to the right and he was initially covered by Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon.
Osweiler took the snap and the Cardinals locked up on receivers across the formation, including Braxton Miller who drew the attention of two Cardinals in the middle of the field.
The key here, though, was Cardinals pass rusher Markus Golden, who was matched on Texans right tackle Kendall Lamm. Golden attempted to speed by Lamm up the field to get to Osweiler.
Lamm, though, did an excellent job riding Golden past Osweiler, which opened up a lane for the Texans quarterback to potentially run for the three yards and the first down. When Osweiler saw the hole, he darted up into it and looked as though he was about to do his best Usain Bolt imitation.
As he did that, Miller worked his way past one defender and was moving up the field against Cardinals nickel cornerback Mike Jenkins.
When Osweiler moved up in the pocket, Bucannon redirected to stop Osweiler from running. The key to the whole play was that Osweiler kept his eyes up the entire way, even though he did think initially about running. Because he did that, he was able to see Miller break open around the five-yard line.
He threw a dart before Bucannon could even approach him in the open field. The result?
Miller made the catch and carried it to the one-yard line. Running back Lamar Miller scored on the next play and the Texans took a 7-0 lead and went on to win 34-24. Osweiler may not run like Roethlisberger or Newton, but his ability to move in the pocket and make a play off-schedule is a definite asset for this offense on into the future.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 12/29/2020)