The Houston Texans, coming off a 32-7 win in their last pre-season game against the Atlanta Falcons, are on the road for a matchup in Denver. It’s the third game of the pre-season, and that’s normally considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season. But, since the team has been practicing against the Broncos all week, new coach Bill O’Brien may decide to go about things differently.

“Bill O’Brien may consider the week like it’s a game appearance and sit starters once again,” Sports Talk 790’s Lance Zierlein said. “You get to find out whether or not guys can cut it against NFL starters when they are facing backups in other games. I just don’t think O’Brien wants to put his players in game situations unnecessarily.”

If that’s the case, there will be a lot of focus on the backups behind starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Case Keenum and rookie Tom Savage have been fighting for the backup role, and Zierlein says Keenum needs a good performance in Denver.

“He needs to have a big game to secure a roster spot. If he doesn’t win the backup job, I don’t see the Texans keeping him as a third quarterback,” Zierlein explained. “It’s incredibly important for Keenum. I just don’t think there’s anything he can do right now to lock that position down.”

Running back Arian Foster still hasn’t made his pre-season debut after having back surgery last year. But Zierlein isn’t worried if Foster doesn’t play.

“I’ve never been concerned about running backs missing pre-season time,” Zierlein said. Foster is a veteran. He’ll be ready to go. I don’t think he needs to take snaps in the pre-season.”

Another player looking to return from injuries is linebacker Brian Cushing.

“I think that Brian Cushing needs the reps to get back into the type of football shape he needs to be in,” Zierlein stated.”

Kickoff on Saturday night is 8pm.