What to Watch: Texans Preseason Opener Against the Panthers

Deshaun Watson, which really does not need to be explained.

Bill O’Brien and how the offense runs with him at the helm. O’Brien made the change this off-season to take over the offense and since the start of rookie min-camp, he has been next to Deshaun Watson coaching him up. O’Brien has worked hard to get the offense organized and pointed in one direction. Moving toward training camp, O’Brien pushed for perfection from the unit and makes it clear every practice. With the offense struggling over the past three years, 2017 will be the first year that O’Brien has been involved to this degree. O’Brien will want to see changes with the offense and it all starts against the Panthers.

The rookie free agents to watch is always an event that is fun for the preseason, seeing players who are already behind the 8-ball fighting for their NFL lives makes for riveting drama. It started in camp and if there is a way for these rookies to get coaches' attention, it is to flash when they are under the lights. Players like Dayon Pratt, Riley McCarron, Dylan Cole, and Bryce Jones are in good spots to make their mark and possibly be a bigger part of the team moving forward.

The Texans are going to depend on D’Onta Foreman, Zach Cunningham, and Carlos Watkins early in the process and them getting caught up to the NFL game will be the key for the Texans to start strong this season. The three rookies have had a solid camp but getting acclimated to game-like expectations is the next step for the group. Expect to see the trio used plenty over the preseason to get them ready for the regular season.

There are expectations rising for the offense and that falls on Braxton Miller, Jaelen Strong, and Tyler Ervin to make individual jumps to collectively help the offense. This offense was stripped down too far and had no veterans to lean on. Now nearly two years into the process, it is going to take players like Miller, Strong, and Ervin to make strides. It starts against the Panthers and any success will be an added plus moving forward.

Can Tom Savage continue the success he had during training camp and continue to produce positive results? Savage rarely had a mistake during training camp, very few negative plays, and only one interception during the entire stretch of off-season into the start of training camp. Savage has been solid - not flashy, but everything a coach would want from their quarterback at this point. For all of the questions to be put on hold, Savage has to lead the offense to touchdowns and not field goals. It is an important stretch for Savage as the official starter for the Texans.

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