Countdown to Sept. 9
Finding something meaningful in the fourth game of the NFL preseason is rarer than many comets.
Miami Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill would have an easier time listing off the NFL's divisions.
But the Houston Texans hope they unearthed just such an unusual revelation in Thursday night's preseason finale with the Minnesota Vikings. For DeVier Posey — the third-round draft pick out of Ohio State who Texans general manager Rick Smith thought could be another unexpected difference maker — finally made a play.
On a night when any NFL wide receiver thoughts focused on one of the deposed diva's Twitter whines, Posey actually made a play.
Posey watched as receivers drafted after him and once forgotten zoomed past him on the depth chart.
And not just any play. Try turning a short pass from third-string quarterback John Beck into an 80-yard touchdown bolt. And not just any 80-yard touchdown burst. Posey knocked off two Viking defenders right after making the catch and turning upfield.
Hey, there's a reason Posey (for all his anonymity) is still in Madden 13 and Johnson is not. (Or at least, not obviously enough in the game for Johnson to find himself).
"You have only so many opportunities and when time is running out, you have got to make the most of them," Posey said afterwards.
"First off, it was a great play by the quarterback," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said of a quick-blitz read by Beck.
For Posey, it was the first catch of an ultra-forgettable preseason. He spent most of it showing just how hard it is to get back up to game speed after missing almost an entire season due to some self-righteous NCAA suspensions. He watched as receivers drafted after him (Keshawn Martin of Michigan State) and once forgotten (Lestar Jean) zoomed past him on the depth chart.
Still Posey swears it didn't bother him, insists that he never felt jealousy.
"Those are my boys," Posey said of Martin and Jean. "We're in this together."
Posey was never in any danger of losing a place on the 53-man roster. You don't cut third round picks in their first training camp. But he was in danger of being largely pushed to the side until the 2013 season.
Maybe, no more.
One catch against a third-string defense — even an 80-yard one — doesn't change everything for Posey. But it gets him back in the game.
"Typical rookie preseason," Posey said in describing his struggles. "Big learning curve."
And now, finally, a big catch.
Posey threatened to become the on-field story of a tragic game that the red-clad University of Houston devotees assumed would be all about Case Keenum's NFL quest. Until Trindon Holliday (the new Devin Hester) returned another one for a touchdown.
"He's going to be a big weapon for us," Posey said. "He deserves the attention."