Three things: Texans at Panthers

Three things to consider as the Texans play in Carolina tonight:

Matt Schaub: These are his first snaps in a game situation since Nov. 13, 2011. Camp has not given us any indications that his surgically repaired foot presents any sort of lingering issue. So it would be good to see him looking comfortable and showing some sort of chemistry with at least one of the receivers they are looking to emerge -- Keshawn Martin, DeVier Posey or Lestar Jean. They should get some snaps once T.J. Yates takes over the huddle as well.

Outside linebacker depth: Expectations are high for Connor Barwin and Brooks Reed after breakout seasons in 2011 when they were huge parts of a consistently swarming front. But after Mario Williams was lost early on, the Texans asked too much of Barwin and Reed in terms of snaps and were fortunate to get away with that. First-round pick Whitney Mercilus gives the team a legitimate third player at OLB. I want to see how comfortable and effective he looks at this point in Wade Phillips’ scheme.

Field goals: The Texans spent a fifth-round draft pick on kicker Randy Bullock of Texas A&M, but he’s hardly outdone veteran Shayne Graham, who’s got less than a stellar history. Odds are they alternate kicks, but it’s hard to compare guys if one gets a 19-yarder and the other gets a 51-yarder. However it begins to play out here, the Texans need their draft pick to prove worthy and make a strong showing.