No way to sugar coat it, this game was ugly. The Houston Texans offense struggled to move the ball and the defense for the most part struggled to stop the Cardinals 1st, 2nd or 3rd teams. Offensively, it’s back to the drawing board to get things straightened out. Defensively there was a few glimpses of hope mainly from J.J. Watt & Jadeveon Clowney that the defensive can be very good, particularly once Brian Cushing and Jonathan Joseph are on the field. Special teams was improved from what we saw last year in terms of coverage on punts. Kick returns however, left a lot to be desired.
Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled to move the offense and was only 6 for 14 with 2 interceptions. Bill O’Brien was forced to play him the entire 1st half with the hopes of getting anything positive from his projected opening day starter at QB. Fitzpatrick best play was a scramble where he picked up 23 yards. The rest was mostly throws off target or ill-advised. As a result and as a result of not having the ball very long (time of possesion for entire game was 42 minutes to 18), Case Keenum and Tom Savage fared only slightly better than Fitzpartick in very limited opportunities.
Running Backs: B-
With Arian Foster held out of this game, Jonathan Grimes and Alfred Blue got the bulk of the carries. Grimes showed some quickness and ability to stay on his feet. Blue flashed some of his ability and was the best player on offense, averaging 6 yards per carry on 5 carries. Blue also showed decent hands with a couple catches out of the backfield. Free Agent signee Andre Brown did not get a carry. Dennis Johnson missed a blocking assignment that led to a Tom Savage sack. But Grimes and Blue did show enough to be optimistic about the backup running back spot.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: D+
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends failed to show anything of significance. The best receiver was Mike Thomas who following up what has been a strong camp so far and appears to have the inside track on the slot receiver position, had 4 catches for 40 yards. No other receiver had more than 1 catch and only 8 catches total for the entire group. With Andre Johnson held out of this game with a mild injury, DeAndre Hopkins did not get a catch nor was he even targeted.
Offensive Line: D+
First team offensive line was not terrible, but they weren’t good either. Alex Kupper was over matched trying to fill in for the injured Brandon Brooks. The 2nd and 3rd team offensive lineman struggled to protect the quarterback or open running holes of much significance. It’s not clear why 2nd round pick Xavier Su’ a-Filo is not simply plugged in at left guard and allow Ben Jones to fill in at right guard until Brandon Brooks returns.
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