I had a chance to ask some questions of SB Nation's Houston Texans blog, Battle Red Blog, in anticipation of our Saturday night preseason clash. Since we're playing the Texans again so soon in the regular season, we limited it to three questions instead of the usual five.
Blogging The Boys: The Texans are coming off their best year in franchise history, so what are the expectations for the upcoming season?
Battle Red Blog: My initial response would be that the expectations are a playoff appearance for the Texans, and I think the coaches, players, organization, and many fans would echo that thought. There are, however, a fair number of skeptics (realists?) in the Texans fan base, and many of those folks are expecting yet another non-playoff season. Which, to be honest, isn't an unfair position to take. It's not like the team has a rich history of postseason success.
Actually, I guess I could've just ended that previous sentence at "postseason." The "success" was a bit unnecessary, what with the single winning season in the annals of franchise lore and all.
BTB: How would you evaluate the team's performance so far through the preseason? Any big position battles going on? Major injuries?
BRB: To be kind, I'd rate the Texans' preseason performance thus far as mixed. The first team looked unbelievably good against Arizona; the second and third teams nowhere near as solid. Last week's performance against New Orleans was, in a word, execrable. The only unabashed positive to come out of it was that no one was lost for the season.
In terms of position battles, the biggest one is probably at kicker, where Kris Brown, coming off a very poor 2009, is squaring off against Neil Rackers. The two starting guard spots are also up for grabs on the offensive line (Antoine Caldwell will likely snag one of the starting gigs, but Wade Smith/Mike Brisiel/Kasey Studdard are competing for the other), and the Texans are still trying to figure out what they're going to do at LB for the first two weeks of the season while Brian Cushing will be, uhhhh, otherwise indisposed.
In terms of major injuries, Ben Tate was lost for the year in the first preseason game, and Trindon Holliday was IR'd earlier this week with a bad thumb. Coming off that ACL injury suffered last November, Owen Daniels won't play for the rest of the preseason, but he was medically cleared on Wednesday and should see the field once Week One arrives.
BTB: This will be the third preseason game for the team, will the starter's be playing a significant amount? Anything special the team hopes to get out of this game?
BRB: Kubes has said his starters will play "a good majority of the football game," which I'm guessing means three quarters or so. Given that our respective squads will be squaring off again when it counts in a few weeks, I'd expect the Texans (and Dallas, for that matter) to play things pretty close to the vest. In terms of what the Texans hope to get out of the game, I'd guess (1) health; (2) some clarity on the aforementioned position battles; and (3) robust concession sales.