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49ers-Texans preview: Battle Red Blog tells us who to watch on Sunday

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We know who we’re watching on the 49ers roster. Who should we watch on the Texans roster? We chatted with Battle Red Blog.

Chip Kelly and the San Francisco 49ers make their preseason debut on Sunday when they face the Houston Texans at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers will not be game-planning against the Texans, instead focusing on offensive and defensive installation, and the various roster competitions. We will be focused mostly on that as well, but it’s still helpful to know a little bit about the 49ers opponent.

We took a few minutes this week to exchange some questions with Brett Kollman of Battle Red Blog. He talked about how Brock Osweiler is coming along, fan expectations for 2016, and what players to watch in the fourth quarter of this game when the bottom of the roster is getting snaps.

Niners Nation: What has OTAs, minicamp, and a week of training camp told Texans fans about Brock Osweiler?

Battle Red Blog: First and foremost, we've learned that Brock is a leader of men. MMQB outlined it pretty well already this week, but in short this entire team is already following Osweiler as if he's been "the guy" for years. He has taken the time over summer to develop chemistry with his receivers in private throwing sessions, he has been in constant communication with his coaches and offensive linemen to learn protection calls, and he has done absolutely everything in his power to finally be the stabilizing presence (both on and off the field) that this franchise has lacked for several seasons.His goal was to emulate Peyton Manning's leadership style as much as possible once he was given a starting gig, and so far he has done just that.

NN: Is Lamar Miller going to be the work-horse back for Houston? How will the coaches use the big free agent addition?

BRB: Lamar Miller ironically turned down more money elsewhere to come to Houston specifically because they promised him a boatload of carries. Bill O'Brien wants Miller to touch the ball no fewer than 20 times a game, and if their usage of Arian Foster in the past is any indication, he will hit that number easily. He's capable of excelling in both zone scheme and gap scheme runs, and he is already a well-established receiver out of the back field. There is literally nothing that Miller can't do in this offense, so expect his usage to be much, much higher than his days in Miami.

NN: What do we make of J.J. Watt's multiple offseason surgeries? What is going through the mind of Texans fans about Watt, and the defense as a whole in 2016?

BRB: Honestly, we just want him to be healthy. There is already an absurd amount of talent on this defense that can cover for his absence for a few weeks, so most fans don't want J.J. even touching the field until he is fully ready to do so. If he misses a month of the regular season, so be it, but his health is more important than anything right now. Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus are more than capable of picking up the slack while he's gone.

Once he is finally back though, oh baby just watch out. This defense is talented enough to be an "all-time" level of special.

NN: What players should we be watching in the fourth quarter of this game?

BRB: Will Fuller, Braxton Miller, and Tyler Ervin. They have all made big contributions in training camp as receivers, and all three of them seem primed to play a massive role in this offense even as rookies. Fuller is almost guaranteed to see a few deep shots per game, while Ervin is already becoming Bill O'Brien's own little version of Darren Sproles. With the starters likely only playing one or two series in this game, expect to see a whole lot of Texans rookies catching the ball on offense in this one.

NN: What are fan expectations for the 2016 season?

BRB: A playoff win would be wonderful, but if health stays on Houston's side they have a legitimate chance to go all the way. Rick Smith and Bill O'Brien have accumulated incredible depth of talent at every position group (both offensively and defensively), and really the only missing piece was a quarterback. Well...now they've got one. If Brock Osweiler plays like I think he will, then the Texans have the ability to beat anyone in the league.