Texans Training Camp: Day Four
Patrick D. Starr
The first full day of pads and the Houston Texans started showing some tried legs out on the field. ESPN's Sportscenter was live from camp today and added to a busy day at the Methodist Training Center.
- Andre Johnson, Johnathan Joseph, Owen Daniels and Antonio Smith were all healthy watchers today at practice.
- Nose tackle Terrell McClain had a big day today for the defense on the first full day of live play on the field. He disrupted play in the back field and in team drills he was making non stop plays. McClain has had a real good four day stretch to open up camp and has looked like the 3rd round pick talent he was supposed to be three years ago.
- New fullback Greg Jones showed today why he will be a key piece in the Texans offense. He gave the linebackers all they wanted today in team and 9 on 7 drills in the run game. Jones is still learning the offense but he has shown some good promise in his first full day of pads. He was given the day off yesterday on the first day of contact.
- J.J. Watt is a special player and it is evident on the field in team drills. His speed, quickness and power are literally unblockable by the offensive line. Watt shows it in pass rush drills and now with full contact he takes over with the small amount of time he gets on the field.
- Outside linebacker Willie Jefferson keeps making a positive impression on the field as a rookie. Right now he is matched up against Duane Brown in one on one pass drills to work the Pro-Bowl tackle. Jefferson has long arms and good speed for his 6-5 frame and has a good initial burst off of the football. Jefferson struggles in the run game defense with his light frame (233 lbs.) and will have to get better technique wise to continue to get better. One thing is for sure, Jefferson has been a bright spot on this team in the early going.
- Rookie wide receiver Alec Lemon has just been steady as a player out on the field. Lemon runs great routes and has impressed the staff with his consistency on the field.
- Safety Orhian Johnson returned to the field for the first time since training camp opened. He was not in pads but took part in drills with his position group.
- Tight end Adam Schiltz showed some promise today as a pass catcher in 7 on 7 and team drills. He was able to work safeties and make some big yardage on some catches, and looks to be getting comfortable in the offense.
- Brooks Reed looks ready to go after resting yesterday with a sore foot. Reed is a force on the edge controlling the running game and looks to have a better grasp of what he needs to do off the edge. His strength is his best asset and he is able to control blockers by shedding them with his arms to make plays. Reed has helped his cause by dropping a few pounds to make himself quicker on the field.
- Safety Danieal Manning has had two good days of practice. Yesterday he intercepted a pass and today he caused a fumble that was recovered by Tim Jamison. Manning looks comfortable in the box in 9 on 7, and has shown some life after a down season in 2012. Pressure will be taken off of Manning with the addition of Ed Reed and D.J. Swearinger to make impact plays, all three have the capability to make game changing plays.
- Defensive End Jared Crick looks like he is passed a neck issue that slowed him his rookie season. Crick is able to move and bend well playing at defensive end and this is with an added 10 pounds. Today during 1 on 1s, Crick put on a nice clinic with some new pass rush moves. He has taken a good step as a player over the offseason.
- Center/Guard Ben Jones has been working at all three interior offensive line positions. Jones' best position is at center and it looks like he is getting the idea at the guard position. Once Jones gets a position he can concentrate exclusively at, he will be better off for the Texans. He will be used to fill in at any of the spots just in case of an injury.
- Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus is day-to-day with a strained hamstring suffered on the first play of practice. It is not considered anything serious but Mercilus needs to be on the field getting as much work as he can before week one. Mercilus is still learning the game and he has plenty to work on with his pass rush moves. He has improved with his run defense off the edge which was an issue last season.
- Today in between practices the Texans worked out and signed free agent linebacker Joe Mays.
- Kicker Randy Bullock was impressive with his field goal attempts today. He kicked with accuracy and confidence and even got some cheers from this teammates after drilling the last kick from a good distance. (Couldn't tell exactly but Bullock started on the team logo.)
- Matt Schaub has started to get the feel for new wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Schaub stood tall in the pocket and hit a full speed Hopkins in stride on a 30 yard pass in between two defenders. Every day the two have gotten more work in after practice to get timing down and it is starting to show on the field.
- Rookie tackle Brennan Williams still has work to do and is trying to get up to speed with the offense. Considered a threat to take the right tackle position, it is clear that Derek Newton and Ryan Harris are in line once again to take the snaps there. Newton and Harris have both looked good in the run game next to Brandon Brooks. Having both back for the upcoming season should help the Texans running game with another year in the offense.
- Brice McCain had a solid day and made it tough for wide receivers to get good looks at passes headed their way. McCain played on the outside today with the absence of Joseph and he did not disappoint.