On Saturday, Gary Kubiak will take his Denver Broncos on the road to do battle with the team he coached for almost eight years—the Houston Texans. It will be the Broncos second preseason game of the year and we can expect to see a very different product on the field in the first half.
Peyton Manning is expected to play for most of (if not all) the first half, along with many of the starters who sat out last week, including Demaryius Thomas. Kubiak said not to expect to see Emmanuel Sanders but Owen Daniels will suit up vs. his old team. We should see DeMarcus Ware and if Chris Harris, Jr.'s hamstring is feeling better, he wants to play.
There will be a lot of emotion in the Broncos locker room, as the players will want to exact some kind of payback on behalf of their team leader, Gary Kubiak. It's only preseason. But as we saw when these two teams met last year in August, it's competitive football—and as such, emotions and intensity can run high.
I recently sat down with Patrick Starr, the Publisher of StateoftheTexans.com, our Houston sister-site, to get the insider's take on what we can expect from the Texans.
You can find Patrick Starr on Twitter @PatDStat.
MHH: Has there been any clarity on the Texans quarterback situation? Which QB can Broncos fans expect to see more of on Saturday?
Starr: The quarterback situation continues to be the million dollar question and Head Coach Bill O'Brien has any indication of who the starter could be under lock and key. The team continues to alternate days for Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, making both of them work with first and second team units.
The rotation has started since OTAs and has not stopped. With the way last week went, the expectation is Hoyer will get the bulk of the work coming off the bench against the Broncos. Mallett was named the starter after the first preseason game and had plenty of work in the opening game. Hoyer will get extended time on the field, especially with the second team.
MHH: With Jadeveon Clowney practicing again, albeit in a limited participation, will he see any snaps against the Broncos?
Starr: Jadeveon Clowney just returned to practice this week, Monday was his first activity on a football field with his team in over eight months. Clowney should not see any time on the field—the Texans are content on getting him back slowly. If he does find himself on the field, expectations should be a very limited amount of time.
MHH: What rookie or lesser-known Texans player(s) should Broncos fans keep an eye on to breakout Saturday?
Starr: As for the rookie to keep an eye on—defensive tackle Christian Covington, who is in line to help as a sub package pass rusher. Covington played college football at Rice University in Houston, so there is added intrigue with the hometown player.
As for a veteran to watch, keep and eye on former Broncos draft pick Mike Mohamed. Mohamed has found a home with the Texans and is one of the defensive staff's favorite pieces of the team. He is the team’s best coverage player from the linebacker position and is a key piece for the second year in a row. Mohamed has bounced around the NFL, until the Texans gave him a shot and he has not disappointed since entering the starting lineup.
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