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Thoughts and prayers for the Texans after preseason debut

The Texans did have a bright spot -- Jadaveon Clowney.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

OK, it's not that bad. But if you heard our radio show this week, you know the "thoughts and prayers" bit. If not, just play along.

Let's start with the obvious caveat: It's preseason. It's meaningless. It should have no impact whatsoever on the Texans team that takes the field against Washington to open the season. No Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, Jonathan Joseph and only one series for J.J. Watt. Those guys will make a difference.

However, the two biggest questions for this team -- quarterback and offensive line -- won't look much different in the regular season. And that's a scary thought.

Yes, there were positives. Well, one positive. Jadaveon Clowney looked like a potential beast in his short time on the field.

But for a team with a new coaching staff looking to erase the stench of 2013's 2-14 debacle, last night's 32-0 drubbing in Arizona did nothing but bring the sewage-like smell of that league-worst group.

A few lowlights:

*Starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. He played the entire first half -- much of it against guys who will be working at McDonald's in a couple weeks -- and generated no points. He was a whopping 6 of 14 for 55 yards and two picks (should have been 3). Quarterbacks are supposed to look good in the preseason. They are rarely blitzed. They face vanilla defenses. In this case, he was facing second and third teamers for the bulk of his appearance. If you want something to be alarmed about, this is it.

*No offense, but...The Texans generated ONE first down in the first quarter. They wound up with nine for the game. (Two of those gifts on penalties from the Arizona defense). They were the only team in week 1 of the preseason to fail to generate a point.

*Flagging discipline....Remember all that talk at camp about discipline and running laps when players make mistakes? Yes, it worked like a charm. The Texans only had 13 penalties for 126 yards, which is more than they generated in the passing game. The barrage of penalties included a ridiculous stretch where the offensive line had five consecutive plays with a penalty. FIVE. I'm not sure i have ever seen that, even in preseason.

*Primary problem? Last year's problem in the secondary rared its ugly head again, and its head is named Brandon Harris, who was simply awful again. This is less of a concern, because the Texans did not show much if any of what we will see of the regular season defense, but sloppy interference penalties and illegal contact calls have to be shored up.

*What does it all mean? Bill O'Brien pretty much summed up the whole game on

"It’s the first preseason game," he said. "There’s nowhere to go but up from where we are over there. Tonight too many penalties, turnovers, couldn’t get off the field on third down, couldn’t get a kickoff return past the 15-yard line. We’re going to get back to work tonight. We’ve got a big week with Atlanta coming in here."

Hey, it's preseason. The defense should be fine. But the biggest concerns about this team -- quarterback and offensive line play -- loom larger than ever. Most observers believe the team did not do enough to address either issue in the offseason. Saturday night did nothing to dissuade that. In addition, O'Brien's offense looked shockingly similar to Gary Kubiak's ineffective unit.

With a team that was so hopelessly dreadful last year, Fitzpatrick's play is indeed the biggest cause for alarm. The other stuff should be correctable, and there is no reason to panic yet. But they simply have to get better quarterback play. Of course, it's possible the eventual starter this season isn't on the roster right now, but the current group simply has to be better than this. Not since the early days of David Carr have the Texans looked this hopeless at the position.

Yes, it will get better. But our first glance at the "new look" Texans sure looked a lot like the old ones.

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