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Houston Texans: 5 Reasons Preseason Game vs. Saints Should Matter to Fans

Ben LaymanCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2012

Houston Texans: 5 Reasons Preseason Game vs. Saints Should Matter to Fans

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    The Houston Texans face another formidable NFC opponent in this week's preseason game.  Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will undoubtedly test the Texans defense with their juggernaut offense.

    The third week of preseason is always the most entertaining for fans.  Out of all the preseason games, the third game is treated most like a regular season game.

    In the Texans case, there are still a few important questions to be answered at key spots.

    Here are five reasons why this week's preseason game against the Saints should matter to fans.

Trindon Holliday

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    The 5'5" return specialist is finding a way on to the Texans roster this preseason.  

    After initially appearing to be a roster long shot, Trindon Holliday's two electric touchdown returns in preseason have allowed him to stand out.

    It isn't just the two returns for touchdowns.  He's running harder and smarter on returns than he ever has since joining the team. It's pretty clear Holliday will have an extremely difficult time finding snaps on offense.  He will have to make the team as a specialist.

    Gary Kubiak plans to expand his role as much as possible on special teams.  Holliday is now being asked to cover punts, as Kubiak stated in his Sunday press conference on the Texans official website.

    The expanded role could give Holliday even more of a shot to make the team.

Lestar Jean

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    It's hard to say any more great things about Lestar Jean without sounding redundant.  He looks very, very special.

    Gary Kubiak nearly said as much to the Houston Texans official website in his Sunday press conference.

    Well, the size and ability, that’d be easy to talk about. But I think one thing you never know about players is some guys just when the lights go on, they get a little bit better. It seems like this is that type of young man.

    The question for Jean going forward now is how many snaps will he get once the season starts.  Will Jean and Kevin Walter split the snaps?  Can Jean eventually wrestle away the majority of the snaps?

    Jean can continue to build his case for being a bigger part of the offense by flashing more in this week's game.

Battle for the Kicking Job

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    The kicking competition between Shayne Graham and Randy Bullock continues this week.

    Graham has been perfect in the first two preseason games, making all four of his field goals.  Bullock missed his first field goal last week, but also made an impressive 52-yarder in the first game.

    This may not be the most thrilling position battle for fans to watch.  Regardless, it's one of the most important position battles on the team right now.

    This could end up being one of the tougher decisions for the staff to make.  If Graham wins the job, the Texans would likely cut Bullock, a fifth-round pick from last April's draft.

Right Guard and Right Tackle

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    The battles for the starting spots on the right side of the offensive line could take clearer shape after this week's game.

    Antoine Caldwell seems to have a pretty good hold on the right guard job.  His competition, Brandon Brooks, had some struggles last week with the second unit.

    Caldwell appears more comfortable in the offense, as he should.  Caldwell's experience and play in the preseason so far should help him win this battle.

    The right tackle battle between Derek Newton and Rashad Butler is much closer.  Newton struggles in pass protection far too often.  Butler has looked much more consistent, but has not played well enough to clearly distinguish himself from Newton.

    Butler's experience playing in regular season games with the first unit, as well as his experience playing next to Caldwell for a few years, should give him the edge in this position battle.

Run Defense

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    The Texans will face a physical Saints offensive line this week.  It will be a great test for the run defense, which has been somewhat of a disappointment so far this preseason.

    Bradie James needs to show he is capable of holding up against the more physical rushing attacks in the NFL. The absence of J.J. Watt puts much more pressure on the front seven to be physical and disciplined in the run game.

    Tim Jamison, who is filling in for Watt, is much better suited for a part-time role on more obvious passing downs.

    Regardless of how their run defense has looked in preseason, the Texans should have one of the top defenses in the NFL this year.

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