Entering Day Seven of Houston Texans training camp, the big story in camp was the recent injury to J.J. Watt and the excused absence of wide receiver Lestar Jean. Here are some camp notes from today.
- There were plenty of rumors flying around on the absence of Lestar Jean from Thursday's practice, but on Friday he was the first one on the field and was working with assistants on the jugs machine. Jean looked like a totally different player, almost rejuvenated from the previous days. He caught plenty of passes and caught a deep bomb from the arm of T.J. Yates on a play action pass. He will be a player on the radar to contribute and he will be tested in less than a week.
- Brandon Brooks (Heat issues), Jared Crick (neck), Thomas Austin (leg), Greg Williams (leg), Jerrell Jackson (undisclosed), Shaun Cody (rest), Owen Daniels (rest), J.J. Watt (elbow), Randy Bullock (rest), Andre Johnson (groin), Duane Brown (leg), Kareem Jackson (Hamstring), Brett Hartman (ACL), Darryl Sharpton (Hip, quad) did not practice today.
- Andre Johnson did some light work today, caught passes and ran some on the far field of camp. He says he feels great and is ready to return on Monday.
- Kicker Shayne Graham handled all the kicking duties while Randy Bullock rested today. Graham has been under the weather and handled the kickoffs. He was kicking off with ease to the inside the 5 and end zone.
- Justin Forsett, Trindon Holliday, Keshawn Martin and Danieal Manning all worked returning kickoffs today. Manning did the opening kickoff return in the session and did not return another after that. All four are capable to do the job.
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- Forsett has been one of the best signings of the off-season and can contribute in a big way. He needs to tighten up his pass blocking skills, but he has been the most impressive when he touches the football. It will be interesting to see how Kubiak works him into the offense, but expect to see him plenty during the preseason.
- Johnathan Joseph has been really good especially pushing the young wide receivers. Every time I have watched Joseph on one of the young wide receivers, he has not let up on them. He has been physical and in their hip pocket. Even better is how vocal he is with his teammates always encouraging and talking technique.
- Cornerback Alan Ball had a tough day when DeVier Posey and Bryant Johnson both scored on him from passes from Matt Schaub. Ball was visibly frustrated and got back on track when he picked off Yates on an intended throw to a receiver on the sideline. Ball right now is in the middle of the pack when it comes to cornerbacks.
- Rookie Devier Posey has impressed me with his work ethic and what he has done on the field. He had a nice one-handed catch on the sideline with a double toe tap. Posey has gotten out early and stayed late working on his craft. He has caught passes with Schaub, blocked a sled with Coach Kirksey, and worked late today with Jean catching passes. He has done nothing but the right things to get better and make a difference on the field. He has improved since day one of camp and is only getting better.
- Wide receiver Jeff Maehl had a tough day in the pass catching department. He dropped some passes right in his hands, and the big one was when he was coming across the middle and heard footsteps from the oncoming safety. He is really going to have to turn up his play in the coming weeks to be an option, at least for the practice squad.
- One of the camp battles that really intrigues us is the fullback battle, Moran Norris and Derrell Smith. Today is the first day Norris looked like he was comfortable as a lead blocker in this offense, but right now Smith has the early advantage. Smith is learning the position, but there is no considerable difference between him and Norris in the blocking department. Smith has shown better hands out of the backfield and is a little more athletic than Norris, but the game situations will be something to watch.
- Keshawn Martin is just a working man on the field, and has been very steady since day one. He is getting comfortable with the offense and is getting pushed by Joseph every day. Martin has been trying to get on the same page as Schaub and has worked on the inside and outside of the formation. Also, looking to be a punt returner heading into Week 1, Martin is making it look like no situation is too big for him.