Texans rookie safety Jalen Pitre grew up watching and admiring quarterback Russell Wilson he was with the Seattle Seahawks.
So it will be a little special when he steps on the field Sunday against Wilson, who is now with the Denver Broncos. But it’s all business after that.
“It’s a blessing,” Pitre said of sharing the field with Wilson during Sunday’s clash in Denver. “God put me here for a reason so I’m going to show up and show out come Sunday.”
Both Denver and the Texans are coming off disappointing starts to their season last weekend. The Texans couldn’t get anything going offensively in the fourth quarter and overtime to prevent a 20-20 tie with Indianapolis, which had trailed 20-3 going into the fourth quarter.
But Denver’s season opener against Wilson’s old team, the Seattle Seahawks, may have had the most curious ending of any game during the season opener. Wilson, who was traded to Denver in the offseason, had marched the Broncos into Seattle’s territory in the final minutes of the game only to have new head coach Nathaniel Hackett pull the plug on the drive for a hope-and-a-prayer 64-yard field goal attempt. The attempt failed and Denver fell to Seattle 17-16.
Many have questioned all week how Hackett could justify not giving Wilson the chance to win the game after the franchise gave him a five-year $245 million contract for those exact moments.
But as far as Texans coach Lovie Smith is concerned, it’s a new week and it’s the same challenging preparation to get ready for the talented Wilson. While his debut with Denver didn’t go as hoped, Wilson was still himself in finishing the game completing 29 of 42 passes for 340 yards and one touchdown.
“It’s been that way for some time,” Smith said. “I had an opportunity to go against him, of course we played him last year. I’d say we’re dealing with some similar things offensively with him. As I mentioned, mobile, accurate thrower, smart decisions, that kind of opens everything else up.”
After watching film from Denver’s season-opening loss, Smith says he sees a lot of similarities in the new-look Broncos with the Seahawks team the Texans faced last season. Wilson came into NRG Stadium, completing 17 of 28 passes for 260 yards and two touchdowns against Smith’s Tampa 2 defense during the 33-13 Seattle win.
“It doesn’t matter where you are, the person doesn’t change a lot, maybe some of the calls have,” said Smith, who is looking for his first win with the Texans on Sunday. “I see a similar offensive attack when we played the Seahawks last year.
“Nowadays, quarterbacks have a big say in what teams do, especially guys that have been around the game for a while. We’ll rely on our video. Even if you don’t know, or have not played against him, you watch the video, you start to get a picture in your head pretty quick.”