Vandermeer's View: Preseason crunch time


Bill O'Brien said this would be a big week and he's right. With the next game at New Orleans Sunday, there'll be almost zero practice prior to the preseason finale at Dallas a week from Thursday. Then it's on to opening week. There's much work to do and the team is running out of time.

Regarding the latest outing, to paraphrase what O'Brien says from time to time 'They're not sending this tape to Canton.'

After all, it was a preseason game and these are more about learning than winning. But the truth is we really won't know who the 2015 Texans are until we see all the bullets firing. No starting quarterback has been named yet and Watt, Wilfork, Clowney have yet to play a down.

The Texans run what they call a 'game plan' offense. But if they don't game plan much in the preseason should we be terribly surprised they have difficulty moving the ball against one of the best defenses in the NFL?

Neither Ryan Mallett nor Brian Hoyer duplicated their efficiency from the previous week. They didn't stink it up either. It must be tough for both QBs in this battle when they aren't really out there long enough to play through some of the ebb and flow of a game as they would if they were getting starters' snaps. Tom Savage has already played two full halves of football, an entire game's worth of action in two weeks. And he's looked good.

The fact that O'Brien doesn't want to play either of his top two signal callers into the second half shows you how highly he regards them. He doesn't want to expose them to injury. That, however, makes Savage the beneficiary of the extra reps.

To make matters tougher, the running game never got rolling against Denver. Alfred Blue had that nice early gain but was held in check on three other carries. Chris Polk and Jonathan Grimes looked solid. Again, it wasn't easy moving the ball against last year's 3rd rated defense.

Defensively it was a mixed bag. The Texans never allowed Peyton Manning to catch fire. Brock Osweiler had the 57 yard touchdown pass but was also pick-sixed by Kourtnei Brown, who had two sacks in the opener. Certainly Trevor Siemian's game winning drive will not go over well in the defensive team meeting room. But allowing 14 points against three depth chart layers of a Super Bowl contender shouldn't be a sign of doom.

Which brings us back to the offense. Do they need to find rhythm against the Saints to gain confidence or will they game plan their way to a productive opener regardless? The story now moves to week three of the preseason with plenty of unfinished business to address.

View the best game photos from the Texans-Broncos game Saturday night at NRG Stadium.

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