The Texans will jump on the plane for the first, and only, road preseason game of the year against the Rams. SoFi Stadium is new to nearly everyone wearing white on Friday night but the trip there is just another step in the process that is "Texans Camp/Preseason 2022". So, let's take a quick preview glance at game number two.
It'll be good to get Kyle Allen back for this one after missing last week with COVID. Trying to figure out how much Davis Mills is going to play is still a bit of mystery, especially given the fact that the Rams treat their first teamers like glorified fans for preseason games. So, here's hoping that Mills can produce a drive or two of quality offensive football, then give way to Allen for a few quarters. Then, Jeff Driskel will drive it home in the second half.
Rookie Dameon Pierce popped off last Saturday night when he got in the game, while Marlon Mack played sparingly, and Rex Burkhead didn't play at all. Royce Freeman led the way with 12 carries in the win over the Saints so he should see the rock plenty in this game as well. I'm expecting a similar mix at RB, now sans B.J. Emmons, who joined the team late last week but was waived on Monday.
I'll reiterate what I said last week with the fullbacks…I'd imagine that all three fullbacks will see plenty of time and maybe, just maybe, there's a carry or a reception out there for either Paul Quessenberry, Andy Janovich and/or rookie Troy Hairston. The rookie got the one carry last Saturday, so we'll see if there are more carries/receptions to go around in LA.
Last week, Brandin Cooks didn't play against the Saints and I'd be surprised if he takes the field on Saturday night. If he does, it won't be more than two to three plays, or one reception, whichever comes first, as I noted last week. Rookie Drew Estrada is still on the mend, but Chester Rogers did get back to practice this week. Was it enough to get on the field? I'd guess yes, for a bit, but I wouldn't expect to see him for long. Rookie Johnny Johnson III stole the show late against the Saints and should get another opportunity to push to make this roster. Jalen Camp had an excellent game last week against the Saints and he'll have plenty of opportunities to do the same out in LA.
The biggest thing I want to see from the tight end group is the involvement of rookie Teagan Quitoriano. He continued to ramp up his work in practice this week so here's hoping we get a decent look at the rookie from Oregon State in game action. He didn't play last week against the Saints, so it's not totally clear if he'll 100% be ready to rock. The other key thing with the tight ends is that they're all a little banged up. Antony Auclair has been out since early in camp. Quitoriano is still working back to 100% in practice. Pharaoh Brown missed practice during the week. Brevin Jordan didn't appear to be quite 100% this week either. Rookie Seth Green and Mason Schreck may see more time than they've seen throughout camp/last preseason game.
I'm not a betting man but I'd bet we won't see Laremy Tunsil on Friday. Again, he's ready. Much the same could be said for Justin Britt. I'm not planning on seeing him at all, honestly. Tytus Howard might play but not a ton, mimicking last week and nearly the same can be said for veteran A.J. Cann. The good news this week was the return of rookie first rounder Kenyon Green, but I don't foresee him playing on Friday night as he hasn't practiced in a little over a week. As I tried to figure out what my 53-man roster if the regular season started today, I struggled paring down the OL so there's plenty of competition still at hand. As such, Friday night could be a separator for this group. The one player who these eyes will watch closely on Friday is veteran Cedric Ogbuehi, who missed last week against the Saints.
Three veterans - Maliek Collins, Jerry Hughes and Mario Addison- will more than likely watch the action on Friday. That opens plenty of opportunities for LA homeboy Rasheem Green to get plenty of time out on the edge. The rookie/young veterans DL - Kurt Hinish, Thomas Booker IV and Michael Dwumfour - showed out in the pass rush arena last week, but that group must be even better against the run against the Rams. The Saints ran for 133 yards and that's not going to fly. Consequently, that trio needs to step up in that regard. Derek Rivers is always a fun watch in the pass rush game and Ogbo Okoronkwo will return to SoFi for the first time since being a Ram last year.
I wouldn't imagine either Garret Wallow or rookie Christian Harris will see the field on Friday as they both rehab from injuries suffered during training camp practices. Furthermore, I don't know how much Christian Kirksey and/or Kamu Grugier-Hill will play, if at all. Blake Cashman who has been healthy, and awesome, honestly, in camp, took full advantage last weekend getting a significant number of reps in their stead. This week, that could open things up for rookie Jake Hansen, who has gotten my attention plenty in training camp, and Tae Davis, who forced a key fumble deep in Houston territory against the Saints.
After not playing last week, rookie Derek Stingley Jr. may see the field this week and there's nothing I'm more pumped about than seeing the #3 overall pick in the 2022 Draft out on the field. Tremon Smith had a pick last week and rookie Jalen Pitre was more than impressive in his preseason debut. That said, this week, my focus is fully on Stingley and the corners against this Rams passing attack.