In a perfect world, Lovie Smith would play veterans over rookies, but there's no such thing as a perfect world.
The Texans Head Coach said his squad will likely have several first-year players play extensively, if not start, this regular season. The preseason schedule is complete, the roster cut from 85 to 53 is a day away, and Smith met with the media Monday morning at NRG Stadium. He was asked about several rookie standouts and their prospects at starting.
"A lot of rookies are hungry and our rookies really are," Smith said. "Just don't think we're going to be limited with what we do with them. I don't think we're going to have to adjust what we like to do based on the amount of rookies that we play."
Houston drafted nine players in late April, though second-rounder John Metchie III will miss the season with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia. Of the other eight, several saw starting time, or a significant amount of reps during the preseason. First round selections Derek Stingley Jr. and Kenyon Green were impressive at cornerback and offensive line, respectively. Defensive Back Jalen Pitre (2nd round) emerged as a playmaker, and Running Back Dameon Pierce (4th round) was electrifying with the ball in his hands. Linebacker Christian Harris (3rd round) is injured, but impressed when he was on the field and in the facilities. Defensive Lineman Thomas Booker IV (5th round), Tight End Teagan Quitoriano (5th round) and Offensive Lineman Austin Deculus (6th round) all flashed in preseason action as well.
Ultimately, whenever any of them hits the field, they'll be ready.
"If we play a rookie, we're saying he can take everything and he's ready to go," Smith said. "I think we're going to have a few that will be in that position."
The Texans practiced Monday morning in the rain at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Their first game is Sunday, September 11 against the Colts at NRG Stadium.
Browse tickets for Texans-Colts season kickoff on September 11 at 12:00 PM.