In the past, preseason games have been a tiny glimpse of what your team could possibly look like in the regular season. But now, for so many teams, these are largely developmental games.
And as they would say on Seinfeld, "not that there's anything wrong with that."
After all, you need to groom young players and get them reps so you can see who might turn into consistently productive pros. The trend around the league is for the vets to take part more in joint practices, when possible.
Don't fret about not seeing too much of the starters this preseason. I'm not sure what the snap count was for the Texans starters in the four days they had joint practices, but the coaches certainly know. And that amount gave them a lot of looks at what they might expect when the regular season starts next week.
The 2019 opponents, however, are very much in the dark as to what the Texans will unveil come September 9th in New Orleans.
Sure, they can look at last year's video and draw conclusions. But the fact is that the Texans will practice in front of no one but themselves until then and can implement anything from the wishbone to the run and shoot.
And I'm not even joking that much. The running back situation could dramatically affect scheme. Or maybe not. There are a lot of options on the table. To say Bill O'Brien likes to run the ball is like saying water is wet. But you're not going to know how he tries to do it. Or maybe he doesn't do it as much. You see where I'm going here?
As far as the offensive line goes, you can have a speculation fest on the starting five but you probably won't find out until kickoff. Oh, they release a depth chart, you say? That's just a guideline.
I always go back to O'Brien's first game here in 2014 and Demaris Johnson starting at slot receiver after being plucked off the waiver wire that week. In a win! They didn't exactly put out a press release that that would happen. You never know!
The final preseason game was a 22-10 loss to the Rams that saw some fun moments from the running backs and the defense took the ball away three times.
Seeing the young Texans make plays you got the feeling that while it's tough for any player who might be released, the coaches can't like it any better. There are a lot of players on both sidelines giving it their all to hang on longer and prove their mettle. It can't be fun to release a player who has given max effort but gets caught up in a numbers game.
As the Texans get their roster to 53 players, game planning will rev up. It's almost time to play for keeps. Plenty of work has been done so far. But this next week is obviously huge for preparation. And we won't know much about the details. We'll all find out together September 9th.
Houston Texans take on the Los Angeles Rams at NRG Stadium for the fourth game of the 2019 NFL Preseason.