Texans vs 49ers: 5 Things to Watch

Texans face the 49ers on Saturday at NRG Stadium


HOUSTON – The Houston Texans and the San Francisco 49ers will go head-to-head for the third time in four days when they meet in the second preseason game for each team on Saturday.

It'll be their 3rd time lining up against each other since the team's spent Wednesday and Thursday in joint workouts for several hours each day.

Here are five Texans to watch on Saturday night:

1. More Deshaun Watson. Although not a whole lot more than his five snaps in the preseason opener at Kansas City last Thursday. Best guess is he gets between 10-15 plays. The best news on Watson is the same news on Watson, there is no concern about his knee and no limitations on what he can do.

2. Troymaine Pope. Pope, a third-year running back,  has spent time with the Seahawks, Jets and Colts since going undrafted out of Jacksonville State, but has yet to play in an NFL regular season game. With D'Onta Foreman likely starting the season on the PUP list, there should be a spot on the roster for an additional ball carrier. Lamar Miller will remain the starter and Alfred Blue is a near-certainty to be the next man up. Pope has impressed with his versatility running and catching the ball out of the backfield. He's the shiftiest runner they have. It'll be interesting to note the snaps they give to Pope versus those given to third-year back Tyler Ervin. 

3. Local linebacker. The Texans have to be pleased with what they've seen from outside linebacker Duke Ejiofor, their sixth round pick out of Wake Forest and Alief Taylor. Ejiofor had 18.5 sacks and 32 tackles for loss in his final 2 seasons with the Demon Deacons. He's shown burst off the edge and with Whitney Mercilus currently not practicing (undisclosed injury), Ejiofor is already getting a lion's share of those snaps.

4. Joe Webb. The Texans released QB Stephen Morris, who was running 4th string, earlier this week. Webb has already shown the ability to be a part of the special teams unit if needed. He also displayed his excellent scrambling ability against Kansas City. But more importantly, can he throw the football. He connected on just six of 13 throws vs. the Chiefs and he's thrown just 7 regular season passes since 2011. Despite his versatility, he might not warrant a roster spot if they'd be reluctant to put him under center in a pinch.

5. Seantrel Henderson. He's slated to be the starting right tackle for the Texans and has made 27 starts in his 4-year NFL career, though 16 of them came as a rookie three seasons ago. Henderson is a big body and is certainly strong enough to handle things on the edge, but his ability to move laterally with speedy edge rushers is something to keep an eye on. Would expect the first team offensive line to get several series together against the 49ers.