Vandermeer's View: Hollywood dress rehearsal

Practice this week had a bit of a regular season feel to it. Scout teams were running plays to give the offense and defense a look at what the Rams might be throwing at them. Camp hadn't officially broken, but with practice indoors and at least a bit of game planning going on, you could sense that the regular season was right on the horizon.

With the Texans opening up two weeks from Sunday, they'll give most of the healthy starters a chance to get on the gridiron on Saturday as they tune up for the Patriots. Many things have gone well so far through four weeks of practice and two preseason games. But there's still a lot of work on the agenda.

The fact that the Texans haven't given up a sack is notable. They'll look to keep that going against a Wade Phillips coached defense that's peppered with names you know. Forget about vanilla formations in preseason ball. This is game three, the one most resembling regular season competition. And it's not far fetched to presume that Phillips would love to see his new and improved defense attempt to unleash some fury on the Texans attack.

While the Houston offensive line has been pass protecting well enough, Bill O'Brien wants to see more production on the ground. It won't be easy against an L.A. team that finished fifth against the run in 2017 and appears to have only gotten better through free agency.

Houston's defense has been effective in point prevention, allowing 10 and 13 points in the first two games. Yet you can't read much into it as starters don't play much, if at all. In the last outing, yes, Jimmy Garopolo marched down the field to start the game. But you also have to take into consideration that the Texans were playing without seven projected starters on defense.

The early going of this next game will be at least a slightly better indication of where the Texans stand, as Sean McVay said he would finally get his starters a taste of the action.

Don't forget the game is at 3 pm CT. The Rams are playing in an under-reconstruction Coliseum, with a make shift press box and lighting issues. This is actually one of the great stadiums in the USA, but it's hardly stood the test of time. USC needed to upgrade the facility as the Rams will eventually flee to their permanent home.

It'll be a blast to see Deshaun Watson in L.A., where we wish he could have appeared last year. But the real focus is on overall preparation. The Texans need to be ready for September, as three of their first four games are on the road and the first two are against playoff teams.

We're running out of runway. Time to put the throttle down.

The Texans invited two families from the United Way who were affected by Hurricane Harvey to watch practice and receive autographs from players.

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