In five drives, Mitchell Trubisky deleted five months of hot takes about his worthiness. The No. 2 overall pick stopped being a talking point and started becoming an NFL player, however early in his development Trubisky might be.
The best result any rookie can hope for in this organized tease called the preseason is to make his coaches want to see more. Even John Fox must be intrigued after Trubisky’s opening statement. Before diving into the rest of the winners and losers of Preseason Week 1 below, I wanted to highlight seven rookies who made me want to see more this month.
The paper could not get a comment from O’Brien on a recent ProFootballTalk.com report that the coach and quarterback got into a verbal/borderline physical altercation in the Texans’ locker room during a Week 17 matchup against the Titans. The site described it as the “last straw” in a decaying relationship that didn’t turn out as planned.
O’Brien probably didn’t even need to throw out the terse remark — a trade of this type says it all. For those who might have forgotten, last week the Texans shipped Osweiler and a second-round pick to the Browns. Cleveland is basically eating the salary and looking to dump the 2012 second-round pick.
So much for the heady offseason notion that Houston was primed and ready to step up in weight class this season and start punching with the heavyweights of the NFL. If ever first place in your division felt like a distinct disappointment, meet the 2016 Texans, who are 3-2 and proving themselves eminently capable of finishing a mediocre 9-7 for the third consecutive year.
Overmatched is the only word that really fit Houston’s 31-13 loss at Minnesota on Sunday, as the 5-0 Vikings toyed with Bill O’Brien’s club, rolling up a 24-6 halftime lead before seeming to lose interest in the final 30 minutes. If this was a measuring stick game for the Texans, you guessed it, they didn’t remotely begin to measure up.
As I wrote last week, Bouye was a late-bloomer who is done working his way up through the depth chart. The league has recognized his ability as a top-flight cornerback and, given the expected competition on the open market, should dictate a very lucrative contract for the 25-year-old former undrafted free agent.
Bouye picked off a pair of passes in the playoffs, giving him three interceptions on the season along with 16 passes defensed and a sack. Along with veteran Johnathan Joseph, Bouye helps allow the Texans’ dominant pass rushing tandem of Jadeveon Clowney and cheap jerseys and J.J. Watt to function properly. Houston will just need to pay dearly for that privilege again in 2017.
The Texans went on to finish the regular season with the fewest touchdowns (25) by a playoff team in a non-strike season since the NFL season expanded to 16 games in 1978.
Godsey will take the fall for O’Brien and general manager Rick Smith after free-agent acquisition Brock Osweiler turned out to be a $72 million boondoggle in his debut season with the Texans.
Vrabel spent 14 seasons as an NFL player, most notably eight seasons with the New England Patriots. After retiring, the linebacker joined the Ohio State coaching staff for three seasons before joining the Texans in 2014.
The 41-year-old is considered one of the rising stars among defensive coaches. The Los Angeles Rams actually had an interest in interviewing Vrabel for their head coaching position. The Chargers and 49ers were looking at him for their defensive coordinator position.