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|HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson’s performance in just a few games as a rookie last year has everyone looking forward to what the Houston Texans quarterback can do in a full season.
Perhaps no one is more excited about Watson’s potential than DeAndre Hopkins James Bradberry Jersey , Houston’s top receiver who has suffered through a revolving door at the position since he was drafted in 2013.
“The possibilities, what we can do is limitless,” Hopkins said.
Watson threw for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns and ran for 269 yards and two more scores in seven games, with six starts, before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in right knee in practice last season. He’s healthy now and determined to help the Texans bounce back from last year’s injury-plagued 4-12 season, their first losing record since 2013.
“I’m very excited for the new season and the potential that we have,” Watson said. “Now we’ve just got to go out there and perform and do it on the field.”
After he was injured last season Watson remained a fixture at the facility. He spent countless hours studying film, picking the brains of coaches and teammates and doing everything he could to continue his development while his knee healed. Coach Bill O’Brien loves that work ethic and believes the time Watson put in to improve mentally will pay dividends when he’s back on the field this year.
“I really can’t say enough about the guy. He’s a great guy,” O’Brien said. “He’s worked very hard to understand the system going into his second year. He’s the type of guy that’s always going to show up to work. He loves football. He’s got great questions. He’s been great since the day he walked in the door here.”
Some things to know about the 2018 Texans.
WATT’S RETURN: While Watson returns on offense, the Texans should also get a boost from the return of J.J. Watt to lead the defense. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is healthy heading into the 2018 season after playing just eight games over the last two years because of a back injury in 2016 and a broken leg last season.
He made his preseason debut in Houston’s third game against the Rams and has said he’ll be ready to go for Houston’s opener against the Patriots on Sept. 9.
The defensive end said he’s feeling great, and was asked if he thinks he’ll be the same player he was before the injuries, when he piled up 38 sacks and 116 tackles combined in 2014-15.
“Any way I answer that question Jesper Bratt Jersey Kids , I’m screwed,” he said. “You want me to say: ‘Yeah, it’s going to be incredible,’ then you’re setting insane expectations. I say: ‘No, I think I’m going to suck,’ that doesn’t bode too well for myself either. There’s really no good way to answer that question so I’m literally focused (on) what I can control.”
“Through all my injuries, that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned, is control what you can control,” he said. “All I can control is today; workouts, practice, meetings, and then tomorrow I’ll be able to control that.”
HONEY BADGER IN HOUSTON: Houston’s biggest offseason acquisition was free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu, the Honey Badger.
Mathieu joined the Texans after spending his first five seasons in Arizona Adidas Claude Giroux Jersey , where he played 66 games with 57 starts. The Texans hope, Mathieu, who has 11 career interceptions, will improve a secondary that allowed 215 yards passing a game last season. Though he’s new to the team, Mathieu has tried to step in and help mentor some of his younger teammates.
“I just want to bring some energy,” he said. “I want to make as many plays as possible … I just want to be the ultimate leader for those guys and just show those guys that I’m going to show up every day.”
Hopkins is a big fan of Mathieu and has enjoyed sparring with him in training camp this year.
“He’s the quietest and (most chill) guy outside of the football field, but once he’s on the field he’s the Honey Badger,” Hopkins said.
CLOWNEY’S ENCORE: The Texans are hoping for another big performance from Jadeveon Clowney after the top overall pick in the 2014 draft had the best season of his career last year.
Clowney sat out most of training camp after offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, but returned last week and played against the Rams.
The defensive end anchored Houston’s defense last season with Watt out, finishing second in the NFL with a career-high 21 tackles for losses and his 9 1/2 sacks, 21 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles were also career bests.
He thinks Houston’s defense will be tough to deal with now that Watt is back and he’s playing at such a high level.
“If we stay healthy, I don’t see much bad going wrong with this defensive line and this secondary we put together,” he said. “I’m excited about this team and this defense.”
ATLANTA (AP) — Dolphins coach Adam Gase won’t be shopping elsewhere for his backup to starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
“It’s going to be one of those two guys Ian Thomas Jersey ,” Gase said after watching Brock Osweiler and David Fales split the playing time in Miami’s final preseason game.
Osweiler enjoyed the more impressive final audition, leading three first-quarter touchdown drives in the Dolphins’ 34-7 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.
Osweiler completed each of his first six passes for 65 yards, including a 1-yard scoring pass to Buddy Howell , on Miami’s opening drive. He added a 14-yard scoring pass to Francis Owusu on the final play of the third quarter.
Osweiler said he didn’t think Gase and his staff would need the preseason game to evaluate his potential as the team’s backup.
“I think I’ve started enough games in this league to be able to see what I’m capable of doing, you know what I mean?” Osweiler said. “I don’t think the coaches are going to look at just one game, but you’d have to ask them what they’re really trying to look for.”
Osweiler completed 16 of 25 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns for the Dolphins (1-3). He had 25 career starts in 42 games in six seasons with Denver and Houston before signing a one-year deal with Miami.
Fales completed 13 of 20 passes for 94 yards and one interception.
Gase was impressed by the first-half production of the offense, led by Osweiler, Howell and running back Kalen Ballage, who had a 9-yard scoring run . Howell also ran for a touchdown.
“They had a good tempo going,” Gase said. “They took advantage of some of the calls versus the coverages they ran. They got some explosive plays. It was good to see.”
Each team rested most starters in the final preseason game.
The Falcons (0-4) had little offense with their starters, including quarterback Matt Ryan, running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman and wide receiver Julio Jones, watching on the sideline. Atlanta was held to nine first downs and 185 yards.
“Obviously not the night that we wanted and not the energy that is needed and certainly not the energy that our fans deserve Youth Sebastian Aho Jersey ,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said.
The Falcons also finished 0-4 in the 2017 preseason before advancing to the playoffs.
Kurt Benkert played most of the game at quarterback and may have lost ground in his effort to win a roster spot behind Ryan and Matt Schaub. He threw two interceptions while completing only 10 of 25 passes for 103 yards.
Benkert’s first pass of the second half was intercepted by Jordan Lucas on a deflection off the hands of receiver Reggie Davis.
Linebacker Stephone Anthony’s interception of Benkert’s pass late in the first quarter set up a 1-yard scoring run by Howell.
A rare offensive highlight for Atlanta came late in the first quarter when Benkert completed a short pass to running back Malik Williams, who jumped over Lucas for a 16-yard gain. That possession ended when Williams was stopped on fourth down.
Benkert’s 13-yard pass to Devin Gray set up Williams’ 8-yard scoring run with 25 seconds remaining in the half.
“That’s the big back we were hoping to see when we saw him coming out of Louisville,” said Quinn of Williams, an undrafted rookie.
Dolphins WR Rashawn Scott suffered an ankle injury in the first half and did not return.
For Atlanta, Williams and cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson left in the second half with shoulder injuries.
Dolphins wide receivers Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills embraced after each took a knee during the national anthem, continuing their protests of social injustice through the preseason. All Falcons players stood during the anthem.
Miami’s Jason Sanders, competing with Greg Joseph in a competition of rookies, kicked a 56-yard field goal in the fourth quarter.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s roof was open for the game. The roof was closed for every game after the Falcons’ opener in the 2017 debut for the $1.5 billion stadium. The complicated camera lens-type design on the roof has been fine-tuned and is ready for more action this season.
Dolphins: Miami opens its regular season with a home game against Tennessee on Sept. 9.
Falcons: Atlanta opens its season on Sept. 6 at Philadelphia. The Eagles beat the Falcons in the playoffs on their way to winning the Super Bowl.
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