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Countdown to Kickoff: Houston Texans vs Arizona Cardinals

Battle Red Blog

Houston heads into Week Three of the preseason with a 2-0 record. They will face their toughest preseason opponent so far as the Arizona Cardinals visit NRG Stadium. Today’s game will offer the most accurate look at the Texans starters prior to the start of the regular season.

Txns battle CB

Image: HoustonTexans.com

With so many moving pieces along the offensive line and within the special teams, Houston will take another step towards solidifying their depth chart this afternoon. These are the key developments to keep an eye on in Week Three:

Offensive Line:

Duane Brown may not return in time for the regular season opener, and Nick Martin had surgery this week that will cost him his rookie year. Houston’s OL has a series of moving parts, and today we will get a longer look at what could be the starting lineup for Week One. A major focus of the game will be the performance of second-year center Greg Mancz , who is stepping in to replace Martin. The chemistry and depth of the Texans OL will both be tested against the Cardinal’s offensive weapons.

Clowney:

The former first-overall pick had an outstanding game last season, making his presence felt and reminding Texans fans how explosive he can be. Now the real question will be whether he can play at that level on a consistent basis. Week Three of the preseason will give us another long look at Clowney as he looks to build on his impactful Week Two performance.

“Legion of Zoom”:

DeAndre Hopkins will finally have the opportunity to make a significant contribution this week. We will also potentially get longer looks at Jaelen Strong, Will Fuller and Braxton Miller with Brock Osweiler at the helm. Route-running and offensive chemistry will be the focus against the top-tier Cardinals defense.

Running Backs:

Outside of the starting role, the RB position is largely surrounded by questions. Akeem Hunt and Kenny Hilliard have both surprised with their playmaking abilities, while Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimeshave been non-factors. The developments in the run game, as well as special teams performance, will help to determine which RBs make the final 53-man roster.

Special Teams:

Over the past few seasons, Houston has been unable to find an explosive option at the kick/punt returner position. Tyler Ervin has been largely uninspiring (despite the hype surrounding him in the draft and how much I like him), while Hunt and Wendall Williams have shown flashes of exceptional speed and potential.

More Osweiler:

The Texans QB should get his most significant chunk of playing time to date this week. Focus will rest on his command of the offense, and the hopes of seeing another TD connection before Tom Savage comes in to cement his status as the backup QB in Houston.

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