The first preseason game of the 2011 schedule is in the books for your Houston Texans. They ended up beating the New York Jets 20-16 on Monday Night Football. Rookie quarterback T.J. Yates found rookie wide receiver Lester Jean for a 27-yard strike that set up Chris Ogbonnaya for the game-winning one yard touchdown with 1:56 to go in the fourth quarter. A win is very nice for morale, but that is not the key focus of the preseason. The key is how the first team offense and defense look and who came out ahead in position battles.
The first team offense played the entire first quarter resulting in two-plus drives. They didn't score any points, but they did move the ball. The second team offense, led by Matt Leinart, finished the third Houston drive with a 49-yard field goal from Neil Rackers. Matt Schaub went two-for-five for forty yards and had two of his incompletions bounce off the hands of Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter.
The first team defense held the Jets to a field goal in a quarter of action. No one player stood out, except for Kareem Jackson being picked on again, but the defense as a whole seemed to get more pressure on the ball - resulting in a first team sack for a bigger and healthy Xavier Adibi.
Adibi was one of the stand-outs for Houston as he would add a second sack later and a tackle in the backfield. Houston finished the game with seven sacks. Aside from Adibi's two, the others came from rookie Steven Friday (1.5), Earl Mitchell (1.0), Jesse Nading (1.0), and rookie Bryan Braman (1.5). Another defensive stand out was the improved Brice McCain who broke up a pair of passes and played tight coverage on a few more. Overall, the defense seemed to please new coordinator Wade Phillips who had a smile on his face more often than not.
In the second quarter, Leinart tossed a touchdown to Ogbonnaya. The former Texas Longhorn, who played the majority of the game thanks to multiple running backs suffering from injuries, ended the night with six receptions for 67 yards and two touchdowns. The aforementioned Jean also took an edge in the receiver position battle with 53 receiving yards.
As to be expected, there was some sloppy play, but there was nothing too concerning or troubling. Most of the issues can be ironed out in practice and/or resolved if some players got healthy At the end of the day, the Texans, from top to bottom, played a full game, came out with no major injuries, and won a football game.
Head over to Battle Red Blog for more coverage and reaction. Check out SB Nation Houston throughout the week with more opinions and analysis on the evolving position battles.