The problem, Houston said, was more about stamina. Maybe he fooled himself at times, because he had moments the knee felt great. Strong. But those moments wouldn’t last.
The knee gave him flashes, but a defensive star like him is expected to play every snap, all three downs, maybe 75 plays per game. You never know which of those can turn an outcome, good or bad. A year ago, the more the game went on the more Houston’s knee gave out.
“I didn’t have no endurance in my leg,” he said. “It would feel good, but then after the first quarter it would die on me. No endurance.”
"The offensive line did a nice job," coach Andy Reid said. "The runners were hitting it hard. We played aggressive. With this group, you just have to tell them that you're going to run the ball and they challenge themselves. That's a beautiful thing. You've got to be able to do that in this league. When you need to run you've got to be able to run.
“We treated it for what it is,” Smith said after the game. “We had a chance to have a dress rehearsal against a really good team. We hadn’t game-planned for them. We just kind of wanted to come out put up some of our good stuff and see if we could execute it. I thought coach put a good, concise little plan together for us that we could go out and execute. It was nice to see it.
As I was getting giddy on Twitter, one of you PrideHeads tweeted at me that, “He’s playing third team competition.”
And I get that, you guys.
But that’s the hand he’s been dealt at this point and the only thing he can do is play it—and he performed well.
After the game, Smith was asked if Mahomes – who spent the evening scampering away from Bengals and making absurd throws – is frustrating to chase after.
“Oh man – c’mon,” Smith said with a laugh. “I hit him once and said, ‘Why won’t you just fall?’ But he’s an elusive quarterback. He’s the 10th pick. That’s why he went (10th), because he was moving and stuff like that. That’s one thing about it – we tried to get after him.”
Belichick was asked point-blank if O'Shaughnessy could be a contributor to this offense.
"Sure, if he performs well enough, absolutely," Belichick said. "That’s what training camp and preseason games are for. It gives players an opportunity to compete, and they earn what they get. They earn the right to play more based on their performance, so if a player goes out there and establishes a performance and production both in practice and preseason games, then he earns more playing time. Anybody can do that. If they don’t and other players do, then players will receive those opportunities ahead of the ones that didn’t produce as well or show quite as much.