"It's never as bad as you think it is and never as good as you think it is" said Bill O'Brien to us on Texans Radio at halftime of Houston's preseason win over Arizona. It was a first half of offensive and defensive fireworks that proved all the offseason hard work from acquisitions to OTAs to training camp was really starting to pay off.
Sure the Texans gave up some yards but they pounced on key turnovers, scoring on one with John Simon's 'Pick-6.' And yes, they want to run the ball better. But guess what? The passing game is beginning to heat up.
DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Braxton Miller are generating offense like a productive line in hockey. Expect to see plenty of this trio of receivers on the field at the same time. Collectively they create some significant match up issues for the opponent.
Fuller had a drop at the 50 that might have gone for six, but ultimately it didn't matter because he eventually caught a TD anyway The rookie first round pick had another big game at home. Miller is looking like he's going to be heard from a lot this year. And DeAndre Hopkins is still DeAndre Hopkins. When the Texans get the run game cranked up the way they want, this offense will be in the running for the most improved side-of-the-ball unit in the league.
Brock Osweiler ends his preseason with nearly 300 yards on 69% completions with two touchdowns and last week's interception. He's gotten better in the system every week. And O'Brien and George Godsey probably haven't even gotten past the C's in their phone book-sized playbook.
Special teams was another plus as Shane Lechler continued to punt like he's 25. The return game had a jolt with Tyler Ervin's 59-yard kickoff return, longer than any regular season run-back since 2009. Ervin finally had the good outing he's been seeking. He even held things down as pass protector for the last two scoring drives of the half.
O'Brien was quick to point out after the game that preseason records have little or no bearing on regular season success. Sort of like your stock broker warning that past performance is not an indicator of future results. He knows that the run defense must get better. That turnovers cannot be counted on consistently. That getting yards on the ground will have to happen or pass protection will be extremely difficult. And that they can't afford to absorb too much more in the injury department.
But there are plenty of other reasons to be bullish on the Texans. They have yet to take the field with their starting tackles, not to mention they haven't yet had the services of the best defensive player on the planet. The number one pick from two years ago looks like he's ready to explode.
That said, the starters will be spectators for the preseason capper Thursday night at Dallas.
It's time to get ready for Chicago and start this new, exciting chapter of the franchise.
Check out the best photos during #TexansGameday vs. the Cardinals.