Texans QB Brock Osweiler makes progress in second preseason game vs. Saints

Who got hurt? Several players, including defensive end Watt (back) and tackles Duane Brown (quadriceps) and Derek Newton (hamstring) did not dress, but there were no injuries announced during the game.

A surprise player who impressed: Fifth-round pick D.J. Reader, who played just 18 snaps last week and had not made much of an impact during training camp, played well Saturday. He finished with three tackles, and though he won’t start, the nose tackle looked like he could hold his own if starter Vince Wilfork were to miss any time.

When it was starters vs. starters, the Texans looked …: much better than they did last week. It wasn’t just Osweiler, either. The defense’s work on tackling during practice this week paid off, and veteran inside linebacker Brian Cushing was all over the field, with six tackles and a pass defended in the first quarter. The starters played a little longer than they did last week, and most importantly, they came out of the game without injuries.

One reason to be concerned: The starting offensive line is not getting playing time together. Tackles Duane Brown (quadriceps), Derek Newton (hamstring) and center Nick Martin (ankle) all missed Saturday’s game. Right guard Jeff Allen was not at the game due to a death in the family. Although missing preseason games isn’t too concerning, the starters have not had an opportunity to play together so far in training camp. O’Brien pointed out earlier in the week that it has been good for the backups to get more reps, but he acknowledged that it is important for the starters to get reps together soon.

RB Tyler Ervin is getting chances on kick and punt returns: O’Brien said earlier in camp that one of the reasons the Texans drafted Ervin this year was because of film they saw on punt returns during his time at San Jose State. O’Brien gave Ervin plenty of opportunities Saturday, but he did not make much of an impact. He did muff a punt last week but was clean Saturday.

Kicking battle: O’Brien gave kicker Nick Novak the chance to attempt all three field goals, and he hit all three (from 49, 46 and 36 yards). Rookie kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn, who made the Texans’ only field goal last week, did not attempt a kick. O’Brien has not yet named a starter and said he does not have a deadline in mind to do so.

SEATTLE — Prior to the Seattle Seahawks’ second preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night, running back Troymaine Pope chatted with his 3-year-old daughter, Cassidy, who had a request.

“She called me before the game, told me she wanted a playroom full of toys,” Pope said. “So I’m trying to go out here and get it for her.”

Pope, an undrafted free agent out of Jacksonville State, was the Seahawks’ leading rusher in their second preseason game, carrying 10 times for 86 yards and a touchdown.

As recently as a few weeks ago, friends and family were urging Pope to consider alternate career paths. He attended an orientation for a factory job near his hometown of Anniston, Alabama. Pope didn’t want to give up on football, but he had a daughter to think about.

“[The Seahawks] called me, and I just broke down crying,” Pope said.

“I was working at a car factory, working on cars and putting tools and stuff together for cars, something like that. But it was just something I didn’t want to do. … It was hard labor. I really didn’t want to work the job, but I had to provide for my daughter, so I was willing to do anything for her.

“I’m never going to move on past this game. This is something I love. My family was trying to convince me to get a job, but I took a long time to even attempt for a job because I knew this was what I wanted to do.”

Pope is still a long shot to make the roster. Thomas Rawls and Christine Michael are in line to be the Seahawks’ top two backs. The team also spent three draft picks on running backs — C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins and Zac Brooks.

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