HOUSTON — Quarterback Brock Osweiler appeared to have much better control of the Texans’ offense in Saturday’s 16-9 victory over the Saints.
Osweiler, who signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Texans in March, led the Texans down the field in the first quarter and went 4-for-4 for 51 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass to rookie receiver Will Fuller.
His worst throw of the game was a pass intended for Fuller, and that was intercepted by Saints cornerback P.J. Williams. Even so, the game was a step in the right direction for Osweiler.
Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney looked explosive in his return, especially when he beat Saints tackle Andrus Peat to sack Drew Brees for a loss of 14 yards. Head coach Bill O’Brien gave him extended snaps in the game to make up for the reps he missed while out for a week with a sore left knee.
QB depth chart: Osweiler got more of a chance to show his knowledge of the offense against the Saints than he did in the preseason opener. He finished 12-for-19 for 124 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The touchdown pass to Fuller in the first quarter was a nice spiral to the right corner of the end zone. On the interception, it looked like he didn’t give Fuller enough room to catch the pass in the corner of the end zone. The interception was Osweiler’s last attempt, and he was replaced by Tom Savage after fives series. Savage looked OK, and his longest drive was seven plays that resulted in a field goal. He finished 7-for-12 for 75 yards, with no touchdowns or interceptions. Backup quarterback Brandon Weeden took over with just under 10 minutes left in the game and had a nice 15-yard pass to receiver Keith Mumphery in his first series and an 18-yard throw to receiver Josh Lenz.
Maybe that dude could start: Defensive end Christian Covington, who started in place of the injured J.J. Watt, impressed for the second straight week. Covington had a sack and two tackles for a loss on Saturday. The second-year player missed time earlier in training camp because of a concussion, but he has looked good in practice and the first two games since he has been back.
What’s happening: The final practice open to the public (with a valid ticket) begins at 1:50 p.m. This is the first of four practices before the Jets face the New York Giants.
What’s hot: One of the many storylines from Friday night’s game was the DNP for rookie quarterback Christian Hackenberg. Coach Todd Bowles had said “the plan” was to get Hackenberg a few snaps, but he decided to play only three quarterbacks. “Coach’s decision,” Bowles said after the game, explaining why the second-round pick was kept in mothballs for another week. Pressed, Bowles reiterated, “Coach’s decision.”
It’s an interesting dynamic. I’m sure general manager Mike Maccagnan would like to see the potential quarterback of the future in action, but his coach’s job is to evaluate players for the present. The Jets will be closer to a regular-season mode as they prepare for the Giants, meaning another week of watching and learning for the rookie. Hackenberg probably won’t play until the preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Naturally, we’ll be monitoring the division of practice reps between Geno Smith and Bryce Petty, whose emergence has added intrigue to the backup-QB situation.