The second day of open camp lead to the Houston Texans waiting on a much awaited arrival of reinforcements on the inside linebacker position. The deal was finalized yesterday and it led to much anticipation for today's morning practice.
- It didn't take long for people to realize who Joe Mays was and despite his short stature he is built solid. Mays stands at 5-11 and 245 lbs. and looks the part for what the Texans want to team next to Brian Cushing. Whispers say the Texans are not interested in starting Mays because of Darryl Sharpton, but this feels like an open competition for the position. He was thrown right into the mix in drills next to Cushing which is a good indication of what the Texans want from Mays. They will give Mays every opportunity to win the spot for week one.
- Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had his best day of training camp with his performance versus Johnathan Joseph. Today in one on one drills Hopkins outplayed Joseph in red-zone work, especially in the jump ball situations. Hopkins has the ability to snatch the ball with authority out of the air and he put that trait on display today. Also he was matched up on Danieal Manning in the slot and he was too quick in space for Manning to control and it led to a nice catch and run. Hopkins showed today what he can bring to this team and it could be a big boost for an offense who needed youth infused into the lineup.
- Quarterback Stephen McGee struggled today in the passing game and his passes were erratic. Some were high and some were low for intended receivers and right now he is on the outside looking in. He has been average since the start of camp and with three better quarterbacks on the roster it could be a short stay for McGee.
- Brandon Harris had a strong day today in coverage and was breaking up passes left and right. Harris played strong in one on ones against Lestar Jean and he carried it to the team portion of practice. Harris needs to get off to a good start to hold his spot in the depth chart. Harris also had a nice interception off the arm of T.J. Yates on a pass intended for Alec Lemon. Both Lemon and Yates hesitated and gave Harris the room to make the interception.
- Deji Karim, Danieal Manning, Keshawn Martin and Alan Bonner all worked on returning kickoffs today during special teams.
- Also, more about Deji Karim as a runningback should not be over looked. Much of the focus has been put on the younger players at running back but Karim has slowly adapted to the offense. He can catch out of the backfield and fits well into the zone scheme of this offense. Throw in that he has a good idea about the return game, Karim is one player not to write off for the final spot of the runningback position.
- It was a step to increase Brian Cushing's workload when he lined up with the defense in team drills against the offense. He worked through blitzes and went full speed on the field with his teammates. Still no contact for Cushing, the team is slowly easing him back into the swing of things before the start of the regular season.
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- Nose tackle Earl Mitchell looks confident as his first year as the starter for the Texans. His technique and confidence have gotten better and it shows despite no contact in practice. Mitchell does a good job of keeping the center off of him and using his arms and strength to shed blockers. Also, his quickness to get off the football is impressive and his days of being a college fullback show with his ability to turn and run.
- Tight End Garrett Graham participated in his first practice of training camp after sitting out for 5 days with a virus. It is said that Graham has lost about seven pounds with the illness but getting Graham back on the field is important for the offense.
- Rookie cornerback A.J. Bouye answered the call after a down day yesterday. Bouye intercepted a pass in one on ones and almost had a near interception in team drills that popped loose when he hit the ground. He has looked good early and seeing him respond like he did today is an encouraging sign for the young rookie.
- Wide receiver Lestar Jean has been the same player that we saw last year at training camp. He does everything well but there is not one trait that really stands out. Jean's future with the team hinges on if DeVier Posey can come back before the season from his injury, but the clock is ticking on Jean.
- Duane Brown returned today after a slight twisted ankle yesterday during a team session. The team held him out yesterday after the scare but today he returned with no noticeable issues with the ankle.
- J.J. Watt surprised fans by coming out from the crowd to get to the field. He took a detour from the regular entrance from where the players enter the field.
- Sam Montgomery (ankle), Jeff Maehl (Hamstring), Delano Johnson (Groin) and Whitney Mercilus (Hamstring) all sat out of practice today.
- Rookie tackle Brennan Williams who had an MRI yesterday on his kneehad the same knee drained. Williams has a history of injuries in college and he has started slow at training camp.