Examining the Houston Texans' roster:
A well-oiled 74-yard touchdown drive plus two-point conversion was cause for optimism about Savage. Savage said one of the things that kept him calm throughout that drive was the support he had on the sideline, not just from his coaches, but from the man with whom he's competing to be the Texans' backup quarterback. The quarterback room has been a smooth one this offseason and Texans coach Bill O'Brien believes Fitzpatrick's leadership is a big part of that.
RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (5)
Blue got the start against the Denver Broncos -- a surprise start. He didn't even know until after warm-ups. Blue did well to convert a fourth down on a drive that ended in a touchdown. "It's fourth down. The coaches expect you to get it. Don't get denied. There's a lot of pressure. You have to get in your mind, I ain't getting denied. If anything it's going to be the defense, their defense is going to stay on the field." He didn't get the touchdown, but Grimes came in and got it shortly thereafter. Blue has some work to do toward becoming a more complete running back, but has the ability to back up Foster. I like Ronnie Brown's presence on this roster in a reserve/teaching role.
Something interesting happened at slot receiver this week. Martin got a lot more playing time in the slot. Thomas had been a shoo-in as the Texans' slot receiver, but Martin took a step during Thomas's absence and surpassed him, in the coaches' eyes.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
The Texans opened their game Saturday with two tight ends in -- Fiedorowicz and Graham. Those are clearly their top two tight ends right now, and two they used together several times. It's interesting that Fiedorowicz's pass-catching ability was a question. That was mostly because Fiedorowicz didn't do much of it in college. He's showed now that given the opportunity, it's something that comes naturally to him.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
Having gone back and listened to an interview I did with O'Brien during training camp, I noticed he mentioned eight offensive linemen. For a while I'd been wondering how to finagle the roster to include more skill players, and if the Texans are comfortable that they have enough offensive linemen with multiple skills, they could do that.
DEFENSIVE LINE (5)
This exercise gives me an appreciation for how difficult cuts will be this week. I would love to include Ricardo Matthews on this list as he's had a nice preseason, but I don't know that the Texans will keep him over Nix.
Mercilus got a chance to start Saturday because of Clowney's absence. He has had a difficult preseason as he adjusts to life as a non-starter.
No changes to this position group. Saturday was tough for them -- well all of them who played as Joseph sat out as part of his rehab plan. Mack had an excellent week of practice. He had several pass breakups and one interception returned for a touchdown that delighted his teammates and coaches.
Lewis made a nice play during the game, with some help over the top during one pass that could have been a touchdown. His familiarity with the Texans' new defense has been big both for himself and for the rest of the defense. Pleasant took the heat, along with Bouye, for Peyton Manning's two touchdowns in the final minute and a half against the Texans, but O'Brien said on that play, the receiver was primarily the cornerback's responsibility. He added some blame for the offense for putting the defense in that position at all.
This group had a fun weekend in Denver with its high altitude and thin air. Boswell did quite a bit of punting and did well. Still, the kicking job is Bullock's to lose.