Even after everything J.J. Watt has accomplished in football http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/dak-prescott-jersey , he still relished the chance to walk on 鈥?and off 鈥?the field for his first game action since breaking his leg.
Todd Gurley, Jared Goff and the rest of the Los Angeles Rams' offense won't get any action at all in this preseason, but they insist they'll still be ready for the games that count.
Rookie John Kelly rushed for 64 yards and two touchdowns, and the Rams briefly debuted their new defensive stars in a 21-20 preseason victory over Watt and the Houston Texans on Saturday.
Watt started and made a tackle roughly 10 1/2 months after he got hurt in the Texans' fifth game last season. The chance to catch up with former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was just a bonus on an exciting day for the veteran superstar.
"I liked that I came off (the field) under my own power," Watt said with a grin. "It's football. It's where I feel the most natural. It's where I feel at home."
Houston's first-team defense looked sharp, but the Rams' backup offensive players put together enough points to win it. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney were long finished by the time Nick Rose missed a 57-yard field goal at the gun in the Texans' first loss of the preseason.
"I mean, they didn't have Todd Gurley out there, or Jared Goff," Watt said. "But we flew around. We had fun. We did what we're supposed to do. We had three series and held them to 2 yards, and we got a pick. We'll take that. That's what we expect to do with their offensive all-stars sitting out."
The Texans were thrilled to see Watt looking healthy and happy.
"He's really worked hard to get back to where he's at right now," Houston coach Bill O'Brien said. "I think he's playing at a real high level, from what we've seen every single day. From what I could see today Zach Miller Jersey , the first-team defense went out there and did a nice job."
Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, but he didn't get to see the current holder of the award. Aaron Donald is still deep in his second consecutive contract holdout from the Rams.
Los Angeles' first-team defense also excelled despite Donald's continued absence. Ndamukong Suh and cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib all got their first action with the Rams early in the first quarter, and Suh managed to hit Deshaun Watson as the quarterback uncorked a long throw that was intercepted by Lamarcus Joyner on the Texans' second series.
But the Rams rested 10 of their presumptive offensive starters for the third straight week, keeping the wraps on the team that led the NFL in scoring last season. The decision all but ensures Gurley and Goff will go into the regular season without taking a snap in a preseason game.
"When you balance the risk/reward, we felt like as a coaching staff this was going to be the best thing for us," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "You do have 10 of 11 starters returning (from last season). You don't take anything for granted ... (but) this is what we felt like is best for our football team. Might not be for everybody. Might be disagreements, but this is what we talked about as a coaching staff, and this is the decision we made."
Alfred Blue rushed for an early score for Houston, and Braxton Miller caught a TD pass from Brandon Weeden, who went 10 of 17 for 108 yards with an interception after Watson's brief action. Quan Bray caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Joe Webb with 5:54 to play for the Texans, but Ejuan Price sacked Webb on the ensuing 2-point conversion attempt.
Rose's last-second kick was his second missed field goal as the Texans wait for Ka'imi Fairbairn to get healthy.
Pharoh Cooper caught a TD pass from Sean Mannion, who bounced back from an 0-for-5 start with a bad interception to Kareem Jackson. Mannion finished the first half with 10 consecutive completions http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/devin-hester-jersey , but he has been inconsistent in the preseason, raising some concern about the Rams' backup situation behind Goff.
Kelly, the Rams' sixth-round pick from Tennessee, continued his breakout preseason in Gurley's absence with another impressive game. He finished Los Angeles' 19-play drive that consumed 12:06 of the third quarter with a spinning 15-yard TD run.
Sam Shields made an interception in the veteran cornerback's next huge step in his comeback from multiple concussions. Shields missed most of the past two seasons and was dropped by the Green Bay Packers during his laborious return from at least four recorded concussions. He picked off Weeden's pass late in the first quarter and returned it 13 yards before celebrating on the sideline with teammates who understood the importance of the moment.
There were no apparent protests during the national anthem.
Texans: WR Will Fuller sat out with a minor hamstring injury. ... LB Ben Heeney left the field on a cart during the first half. He has been fighting injuries in training camp.
Rams: DL Ethan Westbrooks had a strong first half before getting shaken up on a play shortly before halftime. He went to the locker room early. ... LB Matt Longacre completed his long comeback from injury by starting for Los Angeles. He hurt his back late last season and then struggled with a biceps injury in training camp.
Texans: Finish the preseason at home against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.
Rams: Finish the preseason at the New Orleans Saints on Thursday.
Derrius Guice walked onto his new home field taking cellphone video of his surroundings and waving to fans.
It's the kind of moment he could have had on stage at the NFL draft had he gone in the first round as projected. Instead, the LSU running back slipped to late in the second round amid some off-field character concerns and will now give the Washington Redskins a very motivated rusher.
"I already ran angry and now I'm going to run angrier than ever," Guice said Saturday. "It's going to be tough for a lot of teams to bring me down."
In getting a run-stuffing defensive tackle in Alabama's Da'Ron Payne at 13th , a powerful running back in Guice at 59th and Louisville offensive tackle Geron Christian at 74th, the Redskins hope to solve problems in the ground game on each side of the ball. They were worst in the NFL in stopping the run and fifth-worst in rushing.
"I stop the run for a living, so I think that's going to be something easy," Payne said.
The Redskins addressed most of their needs in one way or another at the draft, trading down to recoup the third-round pick they traded for quarterback Alex Smith, adding Guice to their backfield and stocking up on defensive depth.
Guice could end up being the best value J'Mon Moore Jersey , considering that the SEC record-holder for most 250-yard games dropped amid reports of an argument during his visit with the Eagles. Philadelphia general manager Howie Roseman denied there was any altercation, and Washington was satisfied enough in its meetings with Guice that it ended his freefall.
"No one wants to hear their name be slandered like that," Guice said, repeating that he didn't know where the reports came from. "(The Redskins) didn't just go off rumors, they didn't just hear everything and believe it because they met me. They know me as a person, so they already know who I am as a person. Just to see a team not let rumors and stuff like that affect their decision to bring me in, I have to give my all to these guys. They changed my life, they believed in me, they trusted me."
NEED FOR SPEED: Washington added speedy Penn State safety Troy Apke with its fourth-round pick 109th overall to add to a group that already includes hard-hitting D.J. Swearinger and Montae Nicholson. Apke's 4.34-second 40-yard dash was the fastest among safeties at the scouting combine.
"I think my speed will help with everything," Apke said. "I'm going to make a name for myself on special teams first, and then after that, just make my way into playing safety there."
ON GUARD: Coach Jay Gruden saying that Christian will remain at tackle makes it a strong likelihood that Ty Nsekhe moves inside to fill the hole at starting left guard. That was the Redskins' one starting job left open going in.
"You can never have too many big bodies Kevin Hogan Jersey ," Gruden said. "I believe that, and it's about protecting the passer (and) running the football."
ROLL TIDE: Taking Payne and then inside linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton in the sixth round gives the Redskins four Alabama products over the past two drafts. Payne joked that former teammates and 2017 picks Jonathan Allen and Ryan Anderson were more excited about the Crimson Tide defensive reunion than he was.
"It should be a lot of fun," Payne said. "Just being able to come in and already have some guys that I know there ... they'll help me out with little things and just guide me in the right direction."
NEW D: Swearinger was so happy about adding Payne, Apke, fifth-round defensive tackle Tim Settle, seventh-round cornerback Greg Stroman and Hamilton that he tweeted : "Welcome to the rebirth of the new and improved Redskins defense." Time will tell if he's correct, but after injuries in 2017, at the very least, Washington has more depth.
STILL NEED: Tight end depth and a developmental quarterback prospect. Injuries to TE Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis being 34 make it a position to watch well into training camp, along with QB, if the front office wants to start thinking about the post-Smith era.
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