Football Is Back! Texans Preseason Week One: 4 Winners, 4 Losers
Hell, Saturday night alone one local sports anchor mistook Keshawn Martin being the rookie wide receiver who was suspended last year instead of DeVier Posey (tweets deleted), the Houston Chronicle
trolled for hits lamented that the Texans had "SERIOUS problems" after one preseason game (which they won 26-13), and I inexplicably butchered the Twitter name for the uber-glorious Fake Jon Weeks (he's @46longsnap, not @longsnap46, fail by me).
Point being, nobody is immune to the rust of the offseason, not me, and certainly not the Texans players. On the scoreboard, the Texans won their first preseason game of 2012 by a score of 26-13 over Carolina, but in the preseason winning on the scoreboard is not the main issue. Roster spots, impressions on the coaching staff, that's what it's about.
To that end, there were winners and losers Saturday night. Let's take a look:
4. T.J. Yates
This time last year, Yates was a fifth-round rookie with a satchel full of hopes and dreams like all of us. When the season kicked off, Yates was the third-stringer and was more focused on running the opposition's offense than running the Texans' offense.
T.J.'s short run of warm, fuzzy, decidedly adequate play in December and January was a mere gleam in Gary Kubiak's eye at that time. But, my oh my, our little fifth-rounder is all growns up! Now, Yates is the uncontested backup and one hit away (or depending on how you feel about Matt Schaub's durability, one stiff breeze away, one slight tap away, whatever) from becoming the team's starter again. Fortunately, Saturday night, Yates looked ready to go (8/12, 89 yards). Like Schaub, T.J. moved the team pretty well between the 20's, but bogged down in the red zone. In fact, the only touchdown the Texans scored on offense came from....
3. Jonathan Grimes
Earlier this summer in training camp, Gary Kubiak called this set of running backs the best group that he has had since he arrived in Houston in 2006. Now, other than last season, when he had Arian Foster and Ben Tate both go for over 900 yards, it's not as though recent Texans' history has featured a stable of yardage-chewing beasts. (Ron Dayne? Chris Brown? Anyone know what Darius Walker is up to these days?)
But the point is with Foster, Tate, and now Justin Forsett strengthening the third-down back role, making the team as a running back might be tough. But you can tell Kubiak likes Grimes. When asked about him at Sunday's press conference, Kubiak's voice actually elevated a tenth of an octave, which is the Kubiak equivalent of three cartwheels and five screaming fist pumps. Kubiak likes him some Grimes. Hell, I like me some Grimes! We all like us some Grimes! At the very least, Grimes (9 carries, 37 yards, 18 yards receiving on a nice screen pass, one rushing touchdown) set himself up for the "Arian Foster Memorial Sneaky Practice Squad Tailback" spot.