Saturday night's 17-13 win against the New Orleans Saints finally allowed everyone to see this year's new batch of Houston Texans in action - and one rookie who has grabbed headlines since his arrival did not disappoint.
Second-round safety Jalen Pitre has caught the eye all summer and in just a few plays early in Saturday's game, he flashed throughout with head coach Lovie Smith describing him as having been "outstanding throughout camp" post-game.
The 23-year-old played with boundless energy, instinct, and aggression, racking up four tackles and a tackle for a loss. One key play was a first-quarter stop of running back Dwayne Washington who'd found a lane to his right only for Pitre to power round the edge and stop him in his tracks for a minimal game.
This instinctive dive forward exemplifies Pitre's potential and why everyone is so excited about the former Baylor Bears star.
Praised all summer for his confidence, nickel back Tavierre Thomas recently called Pitre "one of the smartest guys I've seen coming in."
"You wouldn't know that he's a rookie. Like he ain't make like the little rookie mistakes. But other than that, you wouldn't think he's a rookie. When he's not in, he's calling out plays, calling out formations, so he knows the game."
Described by receiver Chris Conley as someone who has "played like he's been the starting safety here for years," Pitre has already been named a starter by coach Lovie Smith, alongside fellow rookie defensive back Derek Stingley Jr.
While Pitre's sample size is small, having only played a handful of snaps against a mixture of starters/backups in an essentially meaningless preseason game, the results are promising.
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