The Texans head to Lambeau Field on Thursday night after two days of joint practices with the Packers for game one of the preseason. With starters unlikely to play more than a token series, it is up to youngsters and bubble players to make an impact. The result doesn’t matter, but performances certainly do. Here are five things to watch in the Texans opening preseason tilt…
1) Where does Max Scharping line up?
Second round pick Scharping was seen by some as a reach on night two of this years NFL Draft. The former Northern Illinois tackle is listed as a tackle on the Texans unofficial depth chart but many figure he will kick inside to guard. Seeing where Scharping lines up on Thursday night will give us a clue as to where the staff see his future. The Texans could do with a strong performance from Scharping given their offensive line woes and high amount of draft capital invested in the pick.
2) Who will replace D’Onta Foreman as RB2
Houston sent former Texas Longhorns running back D’Onta Foreman to waivers over the weekend citing lack of effort in practice as the reasoning. This leaves the team with a huge hole behind Lamar Miller on the depth chart. Miller is unlikely to take snaps on Thursday. But two names to watch are former Michigan man Karan Higdon and undrafted Missouri back Damarea Crockett. If either man can have an impact on the game, they will vaunt themselves into the backup role.
3) Can Lonnie Johnson Jr have an impact in year 1?
Lonnie Johnson Jr was selected in the second round of this years draft. The former Kentucky corner split analysts during the draft period and could do with a big performance early on. Johnson Jr has the potential to be a legitimate lock down corner. Flashing these skills could mean he pushes for playing time during the regular season.
4) Can Charles Omenihu add to an already stacked D-Line?
Former Texas Longhorn Charles Omenihu was one of the best defensive players in the BIGXII during his time with the Longhorns. Talked up as an early day two pick prior to the draft, the Texans got good value selecting him in the fifth round. An impressive physical specimen, Omenihu is raw but has the tools to be a preseason darling and regular season contributor.
5) How big will the cheer be for JJ Watt?
Watt is a Wisconsin native, beloved by people in his home state. The former Wisconsin Badger had 74 tackles and 11.5 sacks in 26 games for his college team. A large portion of the crowd on Thursday will also count themselves among the Badgers faithful. They are sure to welcome back their former star with rousing applause.
Houston Texans @ Green Bay Packers starts at 1am Thursday Night/Friday Morning in the UK. It is available to watch on NFL Gamepass for subscribers. Be sure to check back on Ninety-Nine Yards on Friday evening for all the fallout from the game.
Image – Acme Packing Company