Vandermeer’s View: Honing at home

Everything you comment on regarding preseason games must always be in context. But on the air it was tough to not get excited about Buddy Howell rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown in the Texans 30-23 win over Detroit.

Howell, who made an impact on special teams in 2018, is still looking for his first regular season carry. But he made the most of his 15 touches against the Lions, capping a road-grating drive with a one-yard touchdown run that gave the Texans a two-score fourth quarter lead.

Howell’s performance was part of a 168-yard rushing output that kept the Lions on their heels much of the night.

The game began almost perfectly, with Deshaun Watson firing his way downfield, icing a 75-yard drive with a four-yard TD pass to DeAndre Hopkins. That’s all we needed to see from those two. One notable positive was that Watson had enough time to scan the field and make plays as the starting offensive line performance was a plus.

DeAndre Carter saw his first action of the preseason and had three grabs for 40 yards. Steven Mitchell Jr. shook off a scoop-and-score fumble to reel in a 28-yard gain on the ensuing series. And Vincent Smith had a crowd-pleasing 31-yard TD catch for a score.

Joe Webb III once again got the bulk of the playing time at quarterback. He overcame a pick to construct the go-ahead TD drive late in the second quarter. And he again threw a block on a nice running play. And, for good measure, completed a pass, left handed, as he was trying to avoid a sack. If you don’t like Joe Webb III, you’re doing football fan-ing wrong.

The defense did plenty to make life tough on the Lions attack. Take away the scoop and score and they only gave up 16 points. David Fales came in at quarterback in the second half and put up good numbers. But the Texans were always able to answer.

Opening night is three weeks away. Joint practices are over. Historically, NFL teams use Week 3 of the preseason to simulate game planning for regular season practice weeks. We’ll see how the Texans handle it.

There are several key players who have injuries that may or may not affect them against the Saints. Time is running out. To paint the picture of how fast this is going I’ll just point out that the last preseason game is one week from Thursday.

These final two tilts are good for honing, fine-tuning and finding out exactly who should be on the 53-man roster. Cuts are in less than two weeks.

Houston Texans take on the Detroit Lions at NRG Stadium for the second game of the 2019 NFL Preseason.

Advertising