Duane Brown (Getty Images)
With questions swirling about whether or not the Texans reached with their first-round pick, Duane Brown helped calm the nerves of fans with his opening performance against the Denver Broncos.
Texans rookie Duane Brown played the first half of Houston’s 19-16 preseason victory over Denver, and was mostly effective. Although it’s only been one game, Brown’s early success has relieved the Texans and their fans alike. Brown’s head coach was hesitant to over-credit the Houston left tackle.
“I have to go back and watch, but it looked like he functioned well in the first half,” said Kubiak in his post-game press conference. “I liked to actually see him get a few more snaps. I don’t think we got many snaps in the first half. I want to say maybe 24 or 26 or something like that if I am right. We’re going to have to go back and take a look, but it looked like the group functioned pretty good throughout the first half.”
Brown was pleased to end the “friendly fire” of training camp for at least one night and hit someone with an opposite colored jersey.
“It felt great,” Brown told reporters. “You try to lay off people after a while in practice, but going against people that you don’t know too much about, you just get in there and get after it. It was a great feeling.”
Although Brown has participated in all of Houston’s OTA’s, mini-camps, and training camp practices, he, like most rookies was surprised at the speed of the game—
“Just the tempo, really. You can practice against it, but there’s really no comparison to an actual game. Everybody’s flying around. Linebackers are really closing the gaps and they’ve just go to go, but I picked it up and I felt pretty good out there.”
The Texans first-round pick has a built-in advantage that few young tackles have. He gets to practice against one of the biggest, quickest defensive ends in the game, Mario Williams.
“Oh, it helped tremendously,” Brown explained to reporters. “You don’t find too many guys with that size and speed. So I was pretty ready for the speed of the defensive ends, but they didn’t have his strength, so it was a bit easier.”
Although Brown was certainly solid against Denver, he still knows that there is plenty of room for improvement. When asked to grade his own performance, Brown responded—
“I’d give myself probably a ‘B.’ I think I did pretty good, especially in pass protection. But I have a ways to go, a lot of polishing up on my technique and everything to get ready for next week against New Orleans.”
Saturday night the Texans take on the New Orleans Saints, and Brown will likely have a more difficult challenge against Charles Grant, Will Smith, Bobby McCray, and the rest of the Saints pass rushers.
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.
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