Houston Texans Report Card – Preseason Game 4

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Line:  D+

J.J. Watt didn’t play of course, but one player really stepped up tonight. Jeoffrey Pagan, the 6th round showed some play that we have yet to see from him in a Texans uniform with 7 tackles and showed great speed for a big man in pursuit. If he hadn’t already, Pagan may have solidified his spot on the roster. Julius Warmsley, who may have been bumped off the bubble by Pagan, continued to play well also and should make practice squad.

As a group they did not get a sack but did apply some pressure. The run defense as whole was very poor allowing 191 yards on the ground.

Linebackers:  D+

In one respect the linebackers have to share the blame as a group for the 191 yards rushing by the 49ers. There were bright spots though. Whitney Mercilus continued his strong play for a 2nd game with a huge sack and 2 tackles for loss. Mercilus is starting to look comfortable in Romeo Crennell’s system and is looking more like a linebacker than just a rush specialist in run support. Jason Ankrah also continued to impress at his outside linebacker spot, with a sack and also had 2 tackles for loss. It’s a tough battle between Ankrah and Quentin Groves although both have played well enough to make it.

Few inside linebackers, key in run support stood out. Max Bullough played well. He and Akeem Dent managed 5 tackles each but the rest of the inside linebackers did almost nothing. The linebacker pass coverage was terrible as they gave up 2 touchdowns in the 2nd half to the 49ers long snapper of all people. The Texans should once again consider moving Brooks Reed to inside linebacker.

Secondary:  B

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The secondary was possibly the brightest spot on the team tonight. They did surrender 195 yards in the air but 2 of the touchdowns were on the linebackers. Shiloh Keo, who honestly I thought had lost his job to Eddie Pleasant, really stepped up with 2 big tackles on special teams and 11 tackles total. Keo, who has struggled in the past when asked to play too much in the secondary and has taken many bad angles, looked as if he saved his job against the 49ers. Eddie Pleasant, who is vying with Keo for a backup position, also chipped in 6 tackles. But 17 tackles from 2 safeties tells you all you need to know about the defense of your front 7 on this night.

Andre Hal solidified his spot on the team as one of the reserve corners and special teams player. Hal delivered his 2nd pick-6 of the preseason. It’s nice to have those on the Texans side as opposed to last year. Corner Marcus Williams also looked good in coverage on a couple plays. The Texans may take their lumps with their corners beyond the top 2 but with Hal, Williams and A.J.Bouye the ability is there for them to grow up this season.

Special Teams:  C-

Special teams allowed a punt block and failed to put together strong returns. However the coverage teams continued to play well. Josh Victorian, Jay Prosch, Shiloh Keo and Andre Hal all had tackles in coverage.

More from Houston Texans

Randy Bullock was 1-for-1 on field goals but hit his career long of 53 yards and it looked as if it would have been good from 63. Chris Boswell also knocked one in from 41-yards out.

The Texans began using EZ Nwachukwu on kickoff returns. EZ is likely the fastest player on the team. It will be interesting to see how he develops if he makes the team or practice squad.

This game was ugly for the Texans. But on the positive side a few players that we weren’t sure were going to make the team did step up quite possible save their jobs.

Click here to see preseason week 1 report card

Click here to see preseason week 2 report card

Click here to see preseason week 3 report card