It felt like it took forever for Texans training camp to get here this summer. If you're a football junky, it feels that way every year. Once it finally arrived, it felt like it went by in the blink of an eye. Four weeks worth of practices and three preseason victories later, the general feeling seems to be that the Texans' offense is still a problem, the defense looks to be greatly improved, and there are finally some young pieces worth watching.
That was all hammered home Thursday night in a 17-0 win over the San Francisco 49ers at NRG Stadium. Davis Mills didn't do a ton to cement the team sticking with him beyond 2022, the defense was elite (albeit against really poor quarterback play), and Dameon Pierce (6 carries, 37 yards, one touchdown) can run for mayor.
Now, the cuts begin, as Nick Caserio will try to whittle this roster down to 53 players over the next four days. Tuesday at 3 p.m. is the deadline. Here is my prediction for the 53 that will get the good kind of text from the GM:
QUARTERBACK (2): Davis Mills, Kyle Allen
RUNNING BACK (4): Marlon Mack, Rex Burkhead, Dameon Pierce, Troy Hairston
TIGHT END (3): Brevin Jordan, Pharaoh Brown, Teagan Quitoriano
WIDE RECEIVER (5): Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins, Chris Conley, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Moore
OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Laremy Tunsil, A.J. Cann, Kenyon Green, Tytus Howard, Justin Britt, Charlie Heck, Justin McCray, Austin Deculus, Scott Quessenberry
DEFENSIVE LINE (10): Roy Lopez, Maliek Collins, Jon Greenard, Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Thomas Booker, Rasheem Green, Kurt Hinish, Obo Okoronkwo, Michael Dwumfour
LINEBACKER (7): Kamu Grugier-Hill, Christian Kirksey, Garret Wallow, Christian Harris, Blake Cashman, Kevin Pierre-Louis, Jake Hansen
CORNERBACK (6): Derek Stingley, Jr., Steven Nelson, Tavierre Thomas, Desmond King, Tremon Smith, Isaac Yiadom
SAFETY (4): Jalen Pitre, Eric Murray, Jonathan Owens, Terrence Brooks
SPECIALISTS (3): Jon Weeks, Cam Johnston, Ka'imi Fairbairn
Indeed, no changes from the last iteration of the 53 man roster
. I don't think that's ever happened before in the history of Pendergast Roster Predictions. A few thoughts:
Not much happened Thursday night to change my mind
The only swap out I had from the previous iteration was a change in the seventh linebacker, switching out Eric Hansen and replacing him with Neville Hewitt, about as ho-hum a swap out as you could possibly have. Right now, with injuries to Garret Wallow and Christian Harris, I figured keeping seven linebackers made sense. I also toyed with the idea of a fourth tight end, with undrafted rookie out of Houston, Seth Green, making the squad.
It was really tempting to swap out Rex Burkhead
Burkhead, whose Wikipedia page says he is 32 years old but who runs like he is 52, had 10 carries for 28 very uninspiring yards, most of them as the Texans were inexplicably just running out the clock for the final four minutes of the first half on offense. I think Dare Ogunbowale has more juice than Burkhead, and I would keep him over the vet. At this point, if Burkhead makes the team, it's very clear that it's almost a modified player-coach role for him. There is nothing about his game that remotely threatens a defense.
The end of the line is here for Ross Blacklock
The second round pick out of TCU didn't play in the game on Thursday night, and I would say that sitting and watching his teammates play constituted Blacklock's best performance of the preseason. When he actually plays, bad things seem to happen. The end of the line may have been here for Blacklock even if undrafted rookie Kurt Hinish wasn't racking up multiple tackles for loss and sacks, but Hinish IS doing these things, and I think the rookie out of Notre Dame accelerated Blacklock's ouster.
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