The Texans will get a final look at their defensive line depth in their preseason finale against the San Francisco 49ers. With starters getting more reps than in the previous two preseason games, Head Coach Lovie Smith also expects a few defensive veterans to make their 2022 debut.
"We've known that we've had good depth, but you can never have too many good defensive linemen," Smith said. "Most times it's going to come down to them finishing, being able to rush. Their best rush is at the end of the game. Both of our games we've gotten that. This week some of the guys that haven't played as much. Maliek Collins will play this week. Jerry Hughes will, so anxious to see those guys play, too."
With the final roster cut from 80 players to 53 on Tuesday, Smith is pleased with the position group's progress throughout camp and still expects a heavy rotation of defensive linemen.
"Yeah, we have a set number, but numbers are always flexible a little bit," Smith said. "I'll talk gameday more than just keeping. Gameday most of the time, we're going to dress at least eight defensive linemen. We're going to dress at least six linebackers. From there, the numbers get a little bit flexible."
Both Collins and Hughes, as well as veteran Mario Addison, were on the sidelines for the Texans preseason games against the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. Fifth-year veteran Rasheem Green, Michael Dwumfour, Roy Lopez and Jonathan Greenard started in the Texans 24-20 win over the Rams.
Smith does not expect Ross Blacklock and Ogbo Okoronkwo, both dealing with minor injuries in camp, to play in Thursday night's game against the 49ers.
Kickoff is set for 7:15 p.m. CT from NRG Stadium and will be broadcast on Amazon Prime and FOX-26 locally in Houston.