Observations: Texans’ preseason loss to Cards

Observations: Texans’ preseason loss to Cards
August 9, 2014, 10:45 pm
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(USA Today Images)

The Bill O’Brien Era didn’t get off to a great start on Saturday night in Arizona.

The first-team offense was bad and the first-team defense couldn’t stop the Cardinals offense. And it didn’t get any better from there. The Texans ended up losing 32-0 and will go at least 335 days in between wins. Their next chance is next Saturday against the Falcons.

It might be a new era of Texans football but on Saturday night, they looked a lot like the 2-14 version from 2013.

Here are some observations from the preseason loss:

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick played the entire first half and wasn’t good. Fitzpatrick, who was signed by the Texans this offseason, completed 6-of-14 passes for 55 yards. He also threw two interceptions and finished with a passer rating of 14.6.

His second interception came late in the first half after Fitzpatrick helped drive the team down the field. But he made a poor decision and threw the ball into traffic.

Fitzpatrick made two good plays. One was a 24-yard pass to Mike Thomas. The other was a 23-yard run. Fitzpatrick is faster than most think.

  • The Texans had 13 penalties for 126 yards. (They had 172 yards of offense.) That was a major problem in 2013 and it looks like it crossed over to a new regime. There were plenty of bone-head penalties too.
  • A bright spot for the offense in the early going was Jonathan Grimes, who got the start. Grimes wasn’t able to practice at the beginning of training camp because he was on the Non-football Injury list but from the moment he got to practice, he has looked good. He had 10 carries for 39 yards. Alfred Blue had five carries for 30 yards but did drop a couple passes.
  • Jadeveon Clowney started the game and showed why he was the No. 1 pick. On one particular play, he was able to get into the backfield as Stepfan Taylor took the handoff. Clowney got him for a five-yard loss. Clowney has done that a few times during training camp.
  • A couple times, Clowney lined up on the same side as J.J. Watt and the two wreaked havoc. That’s how Watt picked up his sack in the first quarter.
  • Clowney did struggle in coverage, which is to be expected. He gave up a touchdown on a wheel route but it was called back for a penalty.
  • Clowney wasn’t the only one struggling in coverage. In fact, pretty much everyone did but no one struggled more than Brandon Harris. Harris is a former second-round pick but he’s in serious danger of getting cut before this season. He gave up a touchdown to Larry Fitzgerald and was called for an obvious pass interference a little later. It was a rough day for the secondary as a whole.
  • D.J. Swearinger struggled in coverage earlier too. That’s the weakest part of his game and it showed again on Saturday. But he did do what he does best on special teams. He leveled a punt returner in the first half.
  • Jerrell Powe was one of the most intriguing players heading into Saturday night’s game. He has looked extremely strong during training camp practices. He’s doesn’t have much experience but looked just as strong against the Cardinals. He got good push most of the night and picked up a sack in the third quarter.
  • Case Keenum took over in the second half and got the ball at the 10-yard line. But before getting a play off, the team was flagged for a delay of game. They were flagged for a delay of game coming out of halftime! That’s hard to do. The entire second-team offense might have to run a few laps for that when they get back to Houston. Keenum didn't do much. He completed 3-of-5 passes for 29 yards.
  • Because the first-team offense played poorly and was out there for the entire first half, snaps were limited for Keenum and rookie Tom Savage. Savage was on the field for a very brief time. Savage was 2-for-3 for 14 yards. On his last snap, he was sacked (crushed) in the end zone for a safety.
  • Alex Kupper got the start at right guard but really struggled on Saturday night. He’s still likely to make the team because of a lack of depth but certainly didn’t help his case to earn a starting job. The team is without David Quessenberry (cancer diagnosis) and Brandon Brooks (Non-football Injury list). Xavier Su’a-Filo, the second round pick from UCLA, saw time at guard and tackle against the Cardinals. The Texans have problems on the O-line.
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