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Vandermeer's View: Roster deadline reveals improved team

There’s no such thing as the final 53-man roster. This thing might be changing as I type this. But the Texans got down to 53 well before the deadline and raised some eyebrows along the way.

First, many of the ‘surprises’ were things John Harris and I have been yapping about on Texans Radio for weeks, if not months. I don’t say this to radio-brag (ok, maybe I’m bragging a little). I say this as a reminder that you need to be listening to Texans All Access each weeknight at 6 pm on Sports Radio 610 to stay plugged in to what’s going on with the team (or listen to the podcasts of the shows).

It’s hard to tell a player not to ‘take it personally’ if he’s been released. But I’m thinking Jay Prosch should just understand that the Texans probably weren’t going to use his services in the backfield much with Deshaun Watson at the helm. Sure, you’ll see some offset ‘I’ formation, but it’ll be a tight end at fullback, as that position can go out for an array of pass routes.

Speaking of tight ends, there are four. MyCole Pruit survived the cuts because he’s tough and versatile and maybe the team kept in mind what happened after week one last year when all the tight ends were unavailable for the second game.

Six receivers are on the 53. Sammy Coates seemed to catch everything thrown his way. And he’s going to be a factor on special teams. Vyncint Smith was impossible not to notice during camp. His size, speed and hands make for a tantalizing combination. Bill O’Brien acknowledged Braxton Miller had improved but these are the tough decisions of limited spots on an NFL roster.

The team hit the deadline with eight offensive linemen, so there might be an acquisition on the way. They simply kept their best eight. It was difficult to see David Quessenberry walk out of the building. Kendall Lamm has graded out better on the analytics sites and apparently by the team as well.

In the secondary, Jermaine Kelly is a rookie corner who’s been banged up but they like him enough to give it a go on the initial 53.

And another surprise to some was the release of Shane Lechler. Anyone watching closely could tell you that Trevor Daniel had been punting the ball to the moon. Now he needs to do it with games on the line. Lechler still punted well enough to keep playing but Daniel was that good.

It’s a good time to point out how quickly teams evolve. There are only eight players left from Bill O’Brien’s first season in 2014. Eight! And only 16 left from 2015, the Hard Knocks season. It’s the new and improved Texans and they’re ready to take the field against New England September 9th.

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