Houston Texans Report Card – Preseason Game 2

2 of 2

Aug 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (90) is defended by Atlanta Falcons tackle

Sam Baker

(72) as Falcons quarterback

Matt Ryan

(2) drops back to pass at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line:  B+

J.J. Watt suited up but didn’t play and in this case it didn’t matter. Jadeveon Clowney again showed why he was the #1 overall pick and dominated on several plays getting a huge hit on a running back behind the line of scrimmage and came right back on the next play with a sack of Falcon’s QB Matt Ryan. In 2 games Clowney has showed that he cannot be blocked by a tight end and is too quick for a pulling guard to get to him. Even left tackles are struggling to adjust to his speed and power coming off the edge. It’s not hard to envision the Texans having 2 of the top 5 pass rushers in the league if this continues.

Jason Ankrah again showed well again as did Julius Warmsley with a couple pressures on the quarterback. The rest of the line was solid but unspectacular in run defense allowing 90 yards on the ground.

Linebackers:  B

The linebacking group again playing without All-pro Brian Cushing played well also. There were few if any glaring mistakes. Recently signedOutside linebackers Lawrence Sidbury and Quentin Groves played well and Groves showed elite speed on the edge with a couple QB pressures.

In the middle once again rookie Max Bullough made a strong case for making the final roster and continues to push to move up the depth chart with 3 tackles and an interception when he dropped into underneath coverage in front of a Falcons receiver. Akeem Dent, who was acquired from the Falcons in exchange for T.J. Yates saw his first action in a Texans uniform and made 2 tackles.

Secondary:  B

The secondary played much better this week although they did have a few hiccups in coverage. Once again top cornerback Johnathan Joseph sat this one out. A.J. Bouye started in his place this time as Brandon Harris was bumped down the depth chart due to his play last week. Bouye didn’t fare a whole lot better getting beat several times in coverage. While the secondary play was better, the Texans are struggling to find their 3rd cornerback behind Joseph and Kareem Jackson.

Aug 16, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive back Andre Hal (38) returns an interception for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at NRG Stadium. The Texans defeated the Falcons 32-7. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Victorian redeemed himself from last week with a nice play where he jumped a route and batted down a pass, however it appeared he could have possibly had a pick-6 on the play if he had gone for the catch, but a strong play nonetheless. Rookie Andre Hal stood out with an interception where he did take it to the house for the pick-6. However he was also beaten pretty badly on a couple plays in man coverage, one of which was fortunate to be overthrown by Yates or would have been a touchdown.

The safeties played well in run support with Chris Clemons, Eddie Pleasant and D.J.Swearinger all logging 4 tackles. Texans also got some nice play from free safety Kendrick Lewis who delivered a big hit on one play as well as a broken up pass play in coverage on another.

Special Teams:  A-

No, you’re not dreaming. There IS an A in the special teams grade! The Texans got a huge play on a blocked punt from backup tight end Anthony Denham who got a hand on a punt as well as a heads-up play by running back Jonathon Grimes to catch the punt which made it only 10 yards or so past the line of scrimmage and returned it for the touchdown

Texans also got a blocked field goal from Jawanza Starling when he and Josh Victorian both bolted through the offensive line. The punt return game was improved as well and got solid punt returns from Keshawn Martin, Travis Labhart and Grimes.

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It didn’t end there. Unlike last week where the Texans only kicked off once in the entire game, we saw good kick coverage as well as solid punt coverage. Rookie cornerback Andre Hal again showed up making tackles on special teams as well as Grimes, Victorian and rookie cornerback Marcus Williams.

The one negative was Chris Boswell, the rookie kicker from Rice, who missed 2 extra points, which with the NFL trying out extra points from the 15 yard line in the preseason which are essentially 33 yards field goals. Boswell definitely hurt his case for making the team.

Overall, it was a much better effort from the Texans. The defense has a chance to be very good when Watt, Cushing and Joseph are back on the field. The offense was efficient and moved the ball for the most part without turning it over in areas of the field that kill them. And special teams is largely improved. The Texans finally have something to build on and are beginning to create hope that they can win several more games this year and be competitive in most.

Click here for last week’s report card