Notes from Day Eight from Houston Texans Training Camp

Patrick D. Starr

As many of you know we couldn’t make it out to West Virginia due to doctor’s orders. As tough as it has been not only in getting back to my feet, watching from afar has been tough to do. 

but….

Lucky for us a loyal follower and friend to the site over the years, Karthik Prasad (you can follow KP here), who lives in Houston but travels took him by the The Greenbrier, decided to be our eyes while we are currently on the PUP list. Big thanks to Karthik for taking time out to jot down some notes and get a better look at what is going on with the Houston Texans. His first post can be read here from the second day of training camp. Read Here

-pds

KPs Overall takeaways:

Today’s practice was a rainy one at the Greenbrier - the Texans chose to wrap practice after just over an hour, with Bill O’Brien keeping the troops out there to experience the elements.

As a result, practice was more focused on situational football, with specific play calls, situations, defensive assignments, and special teams circumstances. Rookie Keke Coutee missed practice with a hamstring injury. Jadeveon Clowney continues to work back, but was operating at quarter speed given the rain. Texans rightfully were cautious with how they practiced today given the inclement weather.

  • Deshaun Watson continues to be in charge He threw the ball well in the rain, and was in constant command at the LOS in each of the situations. The offense walked through several end of game goal-line situations, and then executed vs the 1st team defense. Deshaun and Hopkins connected for a pretty corner route in the back of the end zone, beating Kareem Jackson, just as they had walked through minutes before. Was great to see the practice pay off at full speed. During one play, Alfred Blue did not take the handoff on the right side, instead veering left. BOB and Deshaun called the play dead and Deshaun’s leadership was on display as he communicated with Alfred to make sure things were good for the next play. A small thing, for sure, but speaks to the comfort level and confidence the Texans finally have at the QB position.
  • Rookie TEs continue to be thrown into the fire Jordan Thomas (6th round) and Jordan Akins (3rd round) continue to get prominent snaps, with Thomas starting to play in the role CJ Fiedorowicz as an inline blocker and pass-catching TE. Thomas’ size, mobility have already stood out in pass-catching drills, and BOB has alluded to his growing ability as a blocker. If he can grow in that role, Texans might have found themselves a gem late in the draft. In the red zone situations practiced today, it was evident that Deshaun trusts Thomas a big target, and given the gravity of Hopkins, Fuller, and Lamar, the Texans now could have one more mismatch to use.
  • Young linemen continue to improve 3rd year NT D.J. Reader has already drawn praises from coaches for his current shape and ability to anchor in the run game, but his movement skills have surprised, even in team drills. If he continues to grow, he could be in for a big year. 2nd year OT Julién Davenport has entrenched himself at the LT position - he’s shown steadiness there in pass blocking drills and understanding the play call. More to evaluated against real opponents, but his overall physicality, technique have continued to improve each day. There hasn’t been a situation in my two days where he’s looked overmatched, unsure, or overwhelmed.

Other observations:

  • Name to continue to watch, a week later: still Troymaine Pope, who continues to get prominent snaps and looks sharp catching passes from the backfield. He’s got a solid frame, and his pass-blocking ability will be something to watch as the preseason starts. Do well there, and as Drew Dougherty put it “The Texans may have something in that guy”
  • Sammie Coates continues to catch everything thrown his way - much was made of his inconsistency catching the ball prior to arriving in Houston, but given his size (6’1, 210), he is able to present a big target for QBs on the perimeter. With the battle at WR after Hopkins, Fuller, Coutee, and Ellington wide open, Coates has a real opportunity to make the roster, especially with his prior special teams experience.
  • Corey Moore and Johnson Bademosi (go Stanford!) teamed up for some great coverage in red-zone drills, blanketing the second unit offense and Moore picking off Weeden. The two have already been praised for their steady work and its evident that they are starting to work together as a unit. Their progress is important as the Texans build depth in their secondary.
  • Whitney Mercilus, Zach Cunningham, and Benardrick McKinney got some separate work as a starting trio on linebacker cover drills, working on communication vs different play calls, with RAC overseeing. Was evident that shoring up the middle of the field with seamless communication is a priority for the defense, and those three are working hard to build chemistry in coverage.
  • Tyrann Mathieu and Aaron Colvin have fit right in as veteran leaders. Along with Kareem Jackson, Jonathan Joseph, and Kevin Johnson, the crew is constantly talking to each other about how to improve, etc. Given the versatility with which the Texans hope to play defense, their growth will be something to monitor going forward.
  • Texans WRs continue to display the “versatility” Bill O’Brien mentions, and equally impressive is their consistency. Guys like DeAndrew White, Jester Weah, Braxton Miller, are all catching the ball consistently, while displaying crisp route running. And in the inclement weather today, the lack of dropped passes stood out. It’s evident that through the WR depth chart, guys are working hard to improve. The battle for those final roster spots will be something to watch as this preseason unfolds.

The Texans will remain practicing at the Greenbrier through next Wednesday, with weather expected to improve this weekend, in preparation for their first preseason game vs Kansas City.

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