Preseason games are all about learning what your team might do well and might need to work on. It's also nice to win, if you can.
The Texans rushed for 170 yards on their way to a 26-7 victory at Green Bay that gave them a lot of feedback on what they've been working on.
Tyrod Taylor started the game and went 4-4 with three completions to Chris Conley on a promising drive that stalled and ended with the first of Ka'imi Fairbairn's four field goals.
The defense produced two three-and-outs in their first two possessions and special teams had an early spark with a Desmond King 43 yard return.
Davis Mills had some nice moments going 11-22 for 112 yards including a 24 yard pass to fellow rookie Nico Collins to set up a Scottie Phillips touchdown run. On the next drive there were three big third down throws to rookie Brevin Jordan, Keke Coutee and Conley, who had four catches.
Phillips averaged 5.1 yards per carry for 66 yards on 13 attempts. He also had four grabs. Phillip Lindsay started and had 14 yards on five carries while Buddy Howell and newcomer (wait, they're all newcomers!) Darius Jackson ran well with a combined 75 yards including a tough Jackson 25 yard touchdown run featuring blocking from quarterback Jeff Driskel.
We must not bury a big story here – the defense was stout against the run and came up with three takeaways. Jaleel Johnson recovered two fumbles. One was created by a Jonathan Greenard strip sack. Another was off a botched Packer running play. Tremon Smith, who popped a 20 yard punt return in the second half, had a pick to end the final Packer threat.
This was hardly like pitching a perfect game but many of the things that Coach David Culley and his staff have been emphasizing were fleshed out – the ground attack, stopping the run, the takeaways. He still wants to see more 7's than 3's as four drives ended with field goals but there were more than enough positives to build on.
Plenty of would-be starters saw little or no action and the offensive line picked up the slack nicely from three missing tackles who are out because of a COVID-19 situation.
Next up is Dallas and we'll see how the Texans address some of the to-do's resulting from this one and how much more playing time some of the projected starters might get. For now this game has to be looked at as a nice start and an important step in the right direction.