New Orleans Saints
8.10.02 | 7pm
New Orleans, LA
August 8, 2002
Texans Come Marching In
by Jimmy Mohr
On Saturday night, the Texans continue their inaugural preseason by traveling to New Orleans to take on the Saints.
Coming off a 34-17 defeat to the New York Football Giants, the Texans have numerous areas of concern. First and foremost is the running game. The Texans’ running backs were dropped countless times in the backfield Monday night and managed just 2.4 yard-per-carry. This forced David Carr into way too many third-and-long situations.
It’s tough enough that Carr is a rookie adapting to the pro game, but having to throw downfield to move the chains only complicates matters. Fortunately, Carr threw only one pick last week in his two quarters of play (and it wasn’t even his fault). You can expect that number to skyrocket if the running game fails to improve.
The good news is the Saints are suspect, at best, against the run. Pro Bowler LaRoi Glover bolted to the Cowboys this past offseason weakening their defensive front. This may help the Texans running game get untracked this week.
When Houston has the ball
Expect to see a healthy dose of running backs James Allen, Travis Prentice and Jonathan Wells. Sorry guys, it’s boring football, but without the run, Carr is a sitting duck. Last Monday, the Texans’ offensive line had trouble opening holes. Now comes word that LT Tony Boselli is out indefinitely and RT Ryan Young could miss up to eight weeks after having surgery on his groin. Both players were expected to make an impact on the offensive line. Jimmy Herndon and Chester Pitts will fill the void, but they are both young and inexperienced.
When New Orleans has the ball
Expect the Saints to test the Texans’ front line. The defensive line did a poor job stopping the run against the Giants. The only question is who will be the man to try and do it? Ricky Williams was traded to the Dolphins in the offseason which means Deuce McAlister will have first crack at the starting job. Considering he never carried the ball more than four times in a game last year, there is a definite question mark in the Saints’ backfield. The Saints biggest potential weapon on offense is quarterback Aaron Brooks. Brooks’ speed and agility can cause problems when he ventures out of the pocket. In fact, he is the only QB ever to have a 400-yard passing game and a 100-yard running game in the same season.
Young 1. Stay Injury-Free
They ran out of stretchers Monday night in Canton. With a lack of depth already a problem, three players were lost to injury during the game, and a fourth, Young, joined them this week. The Texans can ill afford to lose many more players.
2. The Running Game
Not only the key to this game, but the entire season. Not to beat Secretariat, but if the Texans are unable to run the ball, they won’t win. On a side note, the Cowboys’ defense is already licking its chops waiting for September 8th to roll around.
3. Turnover Margin
The Texans only turned the ball over once Monday night (on a David Carr interception), which is great, except the Giants didn’t cough it up at all. Houston’s defense is going to have to force the Saints into costly turnovers. Fortunately, Aaron Brooks proved he can be interception-prone late last season when he threw 13 in his final four games. Pushing that total to 15 or 16 in his last five would be a big help.
Jeff Posey v. Keith Mitchell
Posey was all over the field Monday night, rushing the passer, making plays; Mitchell, who sat out the game, was brought in to help solidify the linebacking unit, yet he was hardly missed. He’s now facing an uphill battle for minutes and it’ll start against his former team.
Texans vs. the Injury Bug
The way it went for the Texans last week, finishing this week’s game with healthy players may be more important than the game itself. With an outbreak of the West Nile Virus in Louisiana, word has it that the players and coaching staff will be wearing Hazmat suits at all times.
Cardinals v. Mets
Hey, don’t get me wrong, Texans all the way… but these games actually count.
HoustonProFootball.com’s hard working… working staff weigh in with their predictions for this week’s game.
Bob: David Carr and Jabar Gaffney hook up on their first touchdown.
Saints 17, Texans 13
Dave: First win eludes Texans as inconsistency and lack of depth remain factors. Saints 21, Texans 20
Jimmy: Texans find it hard in the Big Easy. Saints 23… Texans 13
Keith: Don’t go Kyle Turley on me, but Deuce is two much to handle for the Texans. Saints 27… Texans 17
Ric: Saints’ receivers have a field day. Saints 31, Texans 13
Warren: The Texans cut down on the mistakes, but the quick turnaround is too much. Saints 20, Texans 17 TEXANS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/IN Graham 19 13 131 2/0 TEAM NA NA NA NA RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Allen 135 469 3.5 1 TEAM NA NA NA NA REC NO YDS AVG TD Bradford 31 526 17 2 TEAM NA NA NA NA SAINTS PASS ATT CMP YDS TD/INT Brooks 558 312 3822 26/22 TEAM 562 313 3844 27/22 RUSH ATT YDS AVG TD Brooks 80 358 4.5 1 TEAM 419 1712 4.1 8 REC NO YDS AVG TD Horn 83 1265 15.2 9 TEAM 313 3844 12.3 27 PRESEASON 8.05 GIANTS 17-34 8.10 @ Saints 13-10 8.17 @Chiefs 9-19 8.24 DOLPHINS 3-24 8.30 BUCCANEERS 13-17 REGULAR SEASON 9.08 COWBOYS 19-10 9.15 @ Chargers 3-24 9.22
3-23 9.29 @ Eagles 17-35 10.06 OPEN 10.13 BILLS 24-31 10.20 @ Browns 17-34 10.27 @ Jaguars 21-19 11.03 BENGALS 3-38 11.10 @ Titans 10-17 11.17 JAGUARS 21-24 11.24 GIANTS 16-14 12.01 @ Colts 3-19 12.08 @ Steelers 24-6 12.15 RAVENS 19-23 12.22 @ Redskins 10-26 12.29 TITANS 3-13 OVERALL 4-12 click on a team to read the GameDay Preview; click on the score to read the GameDay Review