Week One Review of Texans OTAs
Patrick D. Starr
Three of the ten OTAs that the Houston Texans are allowed from the NFL are in the books and concludes the first week. There has been plenty to see and discuss from the three OTAs and what Head Coach Bill O'Brien has brought to these new look Texans.
There has been news flying out of the Methodist Training Center and much of it has revolved around how O'Brien has shaped the culture of the organization.
Pace, Pace, Pace
Head Coach Bill O'Brien has stressed the importance of pace for the offense when they hit the field. It changes things on the field to keep the defense on its toes, and when it is used during practice O'Brien pointed out it helps the defense. The defense has to speed up their communication to line up to the offense and what we have seen in the past, the Texans' defense had trouble with teams that went no huddle on them.
Bill O'Brien's iPod Is More than Just What's on His Playlist
There are plenty of others getting caught up on what is exactly on O'Brien's 350 song iPod playlist played during practice. O'Brien has made it known that it is his iPod being played and he has even talked about the music that he enjoys.
The music is loud but it is forcing all the phases of the Texans team to communicate early and often. The music sounds like you are at a live concert but it turns into multiple hand signals and yelling amongst players to communicate calls, simulating real crowd noise during an NFL game.
Many will get to enjoy the music but it is just another tool used to get his team ready for Sundays.
The Coaching Staff is Versatile
Compared to the previous staff, there is not one head or position coach standing around not coaching. Special teams are where the fun begins because the majority of the position coaches are helping with gunners, blocking assignments and returns, all in one drill. It is really a sight to see the staff coaches on the run forcing players to correct their mistakes on the field.
No stone is left unturned and the attention to detail is paid to every position group on the field.
Quarterbacks Have Freedom
No longer are the quarterbacks' hands tied to run the play that is called or kill it to a run play. The quarterbacks have more control of the offense than this franchise has ever seen. Quarterbacks are required to call protections, read coverages and check to other plays to take advantage of mismatches.
The offense and its production falls on the quarterback to make smart and quick decisions. The teaching from George Godsey (QB coach) and O'Brien is constant and there is continuous instruction on footwork, ball placement and the nuances of route packages. The position is finally turning into what NFL quarterbacks need to be, a playmaker.
The Defense is Adaptable
One thing that is being over looked is the personnel the Texans have brought in and added to their hold overs from last season. This Romeo Crennel run defense has personnel to defend against the run, rush the passer and cover teams that spread the field. The amount of bigger players they have added to help against the run added better pass rushers off the edge and the ability to use some secondary players to play inside the box, cover in the slot or deep over the top of cornerbacks.
There will be more than just 12-13 players used in the defense and there could be many combinations to make the defense work. When the defense hits the field in full contact, we will start seeing it come to life.
Players Are Starting with a Clean Slate
There is a consensus that players from last season's team will not be here under O'Brien, but the fact of the matter is all the players have a clean slate with their new staff. Until they don't meet the expectations of O'Brien and his staff, players who struggled in 2013 will have every opportunity to start.
The evaluation has started and is an ongoing process and there is a chance that some players that this town wanted run out-of-town will still be here when the season opens.