The time is now for the final 53 man roster and practice squad spots to be claimed for the upcoming season. The Houston Texans will be traveling to Arlington to take on the Dallas Cowboys, and it will be a showcase of all the younger players that have made it to the last game of the preseason.
The process to the NFL for the majority of these players started in late May with rookie mini camp and will potentially come to an end on Thursday night with the final preseason game.
Texans To Watch
The rookie defensive tackle has been hampered by a calf injury that has held him out of the last two preseason games. There is a consensus that Jones has a slim chance, if any, to make the final roster. Jones has shown that he can play the interior and, more importantly, heat up the quarterback with his pass rush. Injuries have slowed him but he has shown at training camp that he can make things happen on the inside. He will get plenty of work on Thursday and will have to use all his time on the field to make that final impression.
This is for nothing more than to see him back on the field after his achilles injury. Seeing him on the field could give the full insight on how well he looks. Early talk says he is ready to go. Having a healthy and ready Posey for the 2013 season could be an overall upgrade to the wide receiver group and he could be the third wide receiver of the group. His return could mark even bigger things for an already talented wide receiver group.
With Alec Lemon being placed on the injured reserve, Nwachukwu has the inside track to take a spot on the practice squad. He has the speed that NFL teams look for and he has been playing on special teams quite a bit since the start of the preseason. Nwachukwu is one of the few undrafted rookie free agents who has been getting time in the preseason games in some form, either on offense or special teams. Look for more time on the field for the former Aggie to make his final impression.
In our minds, another sleeper to find his way on this team. Collins is what you want in a depth linebacker. He has speed, plays tough on the inside and is good on special teams. He was slowed at the early part of preseason with a hamstring injury but played well in the game against the New Orleans Saints. Collins could unseat a veteran for the final inside linebacker position or end up back on the practice squad. At 6-2 and 246 lbs., Collins is a good athletic and young piece that could help out the team in 2013.
There should be plenty of work for Montgomery on Thursday night to help get him into the flow of a football game. His physical ability is not the question, it is wondering if he will get a shot on the field. He is a high motor player and can provide help for this team at some point, but it will take time for him to get involved. The ankle injury did no favors for him early in camp, but now he can solidify his roster spot with a good showing on Thursday in Arlington.
If there is one player who needs the biggest game, look no further than Williams. He has been behind the curve since day one and has been trying to get acclimated to the NFL game. Seeing him focus on the game of football and looking comfortable is the biggest thing he needs to do. There has been plenty of times where the thinking process has really slowed him on the field. He is a natural speed player but he has shown none of that on the field. Despite being a 4th round draft pick, expect him to be on the roster bubble heading into the final cuts.
Roster Spots Battles
Deji Karim vs. Dennis Johnson vs. Cierre Wood
This is one roster spot that seems unsettled and all three have things to work on. Karim still holds the upper hand because of his special teams capability. Keep an eye out for the number of carries each gets against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday. Anything can happen, but right now Karim and Johnson hold the upper hand.
A.J. Bouye vs. Roc Carmichael
This has been an ongoing competition and rookie A.J. Bouye has made the most of his opprotunites, especially on special teams. Bouye has been a good gunner on the punt team and has been a decent tackler, when needed. As for Carmichael, he has struggled in coverage and looked lost at times. If anything, Carmichael needs more playing time but time could be running out. The Texans could keep both of them on the roster but, if they had to choose, Bouye has the slight upper hand at the moment.