Hello football fans! KPRC 2 Sports Director Randy McIlvoy here with a breakdown of game one of the David Culley era! Yes it was only a preseason win in Green Bay over the Packers, but it’s a start and a much better one than Bill O’Brien had when he took over.
Let’s break down some of the good, the bad and the ugly from the Texans’ trip to Lambeau Field, which ended with a 26-7 win Saturday night. A handful of starters were either held out or were forced out due to COVID, but it was a first sample size against another opponent. This is a big roster and there are many jobs to be won over the next several weeks.
Starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor played one series and was 4-4 on the drive for 44 yards. He connected three times with Chris Conley.
Rookie quarterback Davis Mills made his debut and it was a step in the right direction.
Running back Scottie Phillips showed he is someone to be considered for a roster spot.
In all, the running attack produced 170 yards on 37 carries which averaged to 4.6 yards per carry.
The defense stepped up against the Packers running game and forced three turnovers.
Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn is ready for the season after drilling four field goals Saturday.
Wide Receiver Anthony Miller suffered a shoulder injury. He was having a great camp. He’ll be evaluated, but early on they believe it was partially dislocated.
Defending the screen passes was a problem Saturday but very correctable.
Not much to say in this column without a total game film breakdown. That’s a good sign in a preseason game. Trust me though that the coaches will have plenty to focus on this week. This team and roster is far from being complete and ready for the regular season.
BREAKDOWN ON DAVIS MILLS
One of the most encouraging aspects from the Texans win was the debut of Mills. It was no secret the rookie from Stanford struggled in the first week of camp but has stacked together some good days recently that led to his debut in Green Bay. Mills came in quickly after one series from starter Tyrod Taylor and played through the first half and into the third quarter. He finished 11 for 21 for 112 yards along with an interception during his extended time. He hurried a few throws, but also showed poise in the pocket and made some nice throws on the run. One nearly went for a touchdown to Anthony Miller that was just off of his fingertips.
Mills showed arm strength and knowledge of this system so far, which is a very good sign. He’s a grinder who will keep working this week and look to build on things Saturday when they play the Cowboys.
TEXANS DEBUT THEIR 4-3 DEFENSE
A very good start for Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith, who is employing a new look 4-3 this season. While a few starters were held out, those who hit the field made plays. What stood out were the three takeaways by the defense who had only 9 in all of 2020. They had an interception and also recovered two fumbles. Ross Blacklock stood out as did the likes of Kamu Grugier-Hill, who had a pair of tackles for loss.
TEXANS RUN DEFENSE SHINES IN WIN
Stopping the run was a big problem in 2020 when they were last in the NFL allowing a whopping 160 yards to opponents. On Saturday, they showed major improvement in this area, limiting the Packers to only 49 rushing yards.
Green Bay averaged only 2.3 yards per carry with their longest run only at 12 yards. Lovie Smith has to love the early results from his unit across the board.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE TEXANS?
The Texans will now look to build off of their success over the Packers and continue to clean up mistakes. Once coaches break down the game tape, there will be a laundry list of items to work on. This week, they return to practice Monday through Thursday before traveling to Arlington on Friday. On Saturday night, they will take on the Cowboys in preseason game number two.