With the Houston Texans training camp in full swing, we take a look at eight things we learned through the first week of camp.
Deshaun Watson is the Clear Cut Leader
This is not real news but it is always good to get a reminder on how special Deshaun Watson is. Watson is able to infuse confidence into a team, encouraging his teammates on both sides of the football. Now in year two, it is clear he is the leader of the Texans and the singular voice the team will be depending on week to week.
Tight End Group
The tight end group is one of the more interesting position groups for the Texans, especially with what the team needs to run the offense correctly. Ryan Griffin is a clear-cut favorite to land back on the 53-man roster, waiver claim Matt Lengel is the only true Y (inline blocker) of the group, and Stephen Anderson is the pass catching option of the group. After adding in rookies Jordan Akins and converted college wide receiver Jordan Thomas to the mix, it is a complete coin flip to see who the last players standing will be. Akins was a favorite of Bill O’Brien at the Senior Bowl and has been holding up his end through the first week of camp. The Texans have kept four tight ends on the 53-man roster in the past but the work is just beginning heading into 2018.
New Look Secondary
The Texans are finally understanding how difficult the safety position is to fill in the NFL these days and are fortunate that they were able to sign Tyrann Mathieu after he was cut by the Arizona Cardinals. Mathieu has the experience of playing the nickel position and moved around with Arizona, but in Houston he is being asked to be a safety only. Across the field, the Texans could theoretically be employing up an entire secondary with players who have a cornerback background, giving the entire group coverage ability.
Revamped Strength and Conditioning
Will Fuller, Deshaun Watson, and Johnathan Joseph have all made a splash with their remade frames heading into this season. With an improved strength and nutrition plan, the Texans are hoping to cut down on injuries during the season. Remember, the Texans were the walking wounded in 2017 and set a NFL record with 78 players used during the season. The injuries that piled up in 2017 were too much to overcome and that led to a total revamp of that area heading into this season.
Apparently the ousted quarterback from last season has the clear path to be Deshaun Watson’s primary backup for the season. Weeden was disgruntled last season when he was cut by the Texans and went to Tennessee for 2017 as their backup. Weeden wanted to be in Houston and this season he is back; expect him to be here as the backup.
Julien Davenport and Seantrel Henderson
The Texans grand plan is to have Julién Davenport and rookie Martinas Rankin as their bookend tackles for the coming season but were more than pleased to have a veteran like Seantrell Henderson in camp. At this rate, Davenport and Henderson will be the starting offensive tackles for week one.
Running back Troymaine Pope was on the practice squad with the Texans in 2017 and during that time he started not only to get comfortable with the organization, he started showing a good enough skill set to land a futures/reserve deal for this season. With D’Onta Foreman on the mend from this Achilles injury, Pope is putting together a strong first week at training camp, especially in the passing game. Where Pope ends up when the off-season ends is yet to be seen but his future could be tied to what occurs with Foreman’s status on the active/PUP list.
If there has been a mid-round draft pick drafted for a clear purpose, Coutee's background playing the slot receiver position at Texas Tech led to too easy of a fit for him between DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Coutee has speed and quickness from the slot and most importantly, an ability to understand coverages from the middle of the field. His experience at Tech gave Coutee the groundwork to learn the slot position with the Texans. When coupling his experience with his route running and skill as a vertical threat, the addition of Coutee could mean an even more explosive offense for the Houston Texans.
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