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VanderBlog: Learn and Move On 


This is where I really come in handy. Having lived, breathed and personally called every preseason game in the history of the franchise, I can tell you that any performance this time of year is never as good or bad as you think it is.

Yes, the Texans 28-3 defeat at the hands of the Dolphins will put plenty of items on the to-do list of DeMeco Ryans' coaching staff. But there were also some encouraging and exciting moments that could provide a great glimpse of things to come.

The thing about preseason games is that once a bunch of the starters check out, you never know how the universe would have changed had they stayed in.

No one wants to give up 200+ rushing yards through all layers of the depth chart. But there's also no game-planning and no true way project what happened into a regular season context.

At halftime, with the Texans down 21-3, some Dolphins media stopped me. I thought they might gush about Skylar Thompson or how Salvon Ahmed had a 65-yard run. But they were raving about Will Anderson Jr.'s backfield explosion, forcing a fumble for his first NFL sack.

After the game, Johnny Harris pointed out that Anderson was trending on Twitter, or X, sorry. I wasn't surprised. 

The game's beginning was the kind you dream about. The crowd loved it when Denzel Perryman picked off Tua Tagovailoa on the first snap from scrimmage.

The offense turned it over on downs, followed by a 93-yard TD drive by Miami. But C.J. Stroud and the offense followed that up with a field goal march.

The rookie QB made some good plays, including this strike to Noah Brown.

It was a positive step forward for Stroud, who will get a ton of work in New Orleans this week in practices with the Saints and the ensuing game (Sunday, August 27, 7pm Sports Radio 610, The Bull 100.3 FM, FOX 26).

Clearly, stopping the run for the defense and catching the ball better on offense are going to be addressed by the staff. And the Texans were 2-12 in 3rd down tries while allowing the Dolphins to operate at a 60% clip in that department, 9-15.

The Saints will give the Texans another great look at NFL competition. And the Texans need it. Being in the Superdome, even in preseason, will serve as excellent prep for a loud Ravens crowd on opening day. Onward and upward.

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