Bill O'Brien makes no bones about treating preseason games unlike many other coaches. He acknowledges that most coaches look at game three as the 'starters play for three quarters' outing.
He feels the work his squad gets in practice is high quality and plenty effective prep for his starters to gear up for the regular season.
J.J. Watt, Jonathan Joseph and Vince Wilfork didn't play in the first two preseason games and you can probably imagine what their status might be for this one. But don't think they're getting these weeks off, sunning themselves.
The Texans are in pads a lot. A Lot. O'Brien wants his team to be tough but there's not much to prove in a preseason game other than showing your hand for the regular season.
Think about it. Other than about a 30 minute period to mostly watch individual work, practice has been closed all week. The Texans are able to run their best offensive plays against Watt and the defense and vice versa. They don't have to hold back schematically. No one is watching. If they do the same stuff in a game, everyone gets a video. Including the Saints, who happen to be on the regular season schedule.
Not that these games are a waste. They are terrific to continue to help the offense try to get into a rhythm and adjust on the fly. It won't be fun pass protecting without Duane Brown but it's good practice. And how many times do your defensive backs get to test their skills against a quarterback like Drew Brees and not be overly concerned with the results?
The other big test this week is the road environment. The Saints have one of the best home field advantages in the NFL. Hoyer gets a chance to exercise his arm and his lungs with his new team mates. This will be a good dress rehearsal for the next dome stop that counts, Atlanta on October 4.
So enjoy the show. Only two more to go before the Texans really go on the record for 2015.
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 4/16/2021)