There is work to be done but there will be a short period where the coaches will take a short break before gearing up for camp. Players will go their separate ways to get vacations in and work on their own to stay in shape.
We did learn some things about the Texans despite no contact during these sessions and more questions will come out when training camp opens. What did we learn? The Texans are no longer a team that we have grown accustomed to the previous seasons and this is a good thing. Bill O'Brien's imprint is all over this team preaching team, team and more team. The Texans look like they have bought into what O'Brien wants from the team and, most importantly, from leaders like Arian Foster, Duane Brown, Chris Myers, Johnathan Joseph and Brian Cushing to get on board quickly.
The 53 Man Roster
The focus of O'Brien's new thinking is to try to increase the 53 man roster to its full potential. Players will be expected to do more than one thing for this team. Also, expect some names that are not familiar to Texans fans that were here last year to be contributors more than most expect.
Roster spots will be at a premium and how this roster shapes up at each position is pretty much in the dark. One thing is for sure, roster spots will be used to make this team a deep one in terms of talent. Finding the right combination will be key but expect a roster of players that will be expected to produce.
Rolling With Fitzpatrick* (Note the asterisk)
It should be no surprise that Ryan Fitzpatrick was named the starter but that does not mean he cannot get beat out. Despite being named the starter, Fitzpatrick has to keep his job and prove he is the man for week one. The move was made to put the noise to rest over this break and move forward with a clear picture for the team.
Developing a pecking order for the offense so the team could move on was a good move for O'Brien, but Tom Savage could be a factor to watch. If Savage can put together things in a hurry, he could easily unseat Fitzpatrick for the starting job.
Arian Foster's Arrow is Pointing Up Once Again
Arian Foster is tweeting and looking like his old self in practice, especially from a health standpoint. Foster did not miss a rep or a practice and showed up to all 16 practices this offseason.
If there is one player to take any attention away from Fitzpatrick, it is Foster. He still has not taken a hit but seeing him talking to O'Brien when needed and smiling with his teammates is a refreshing sight for a player who had offseason back surgery.
The Defense Will Be An Evolving Group
This defense under Romeo Crennel will be fun to watch and expect use of players when needed in every situation. The Texans in recent seasons went up to 13-14 players deep on defense and limited rotations on the defensive line.
Expect a team that will have a defensive line rotation and a secondary that will push deeper into the depth chart to contribute on defense. Situational players from the linebackers to give the defense a chance to match up with offenses and not have a defense that is a cookie cutter you see what you get type of defense.
Special Teams Will Be Just as Important as Offense and Defense
They will be one of the more refreshing things for a franchise who the past few seasons struggled with special teams play, especially in the coverage part of the game.
The focus by O'Brien and his staff to make this a better unit is evident with the work they put in as a team working on special teams. The players are buying into what it takes to be real contributors on special teams and it starts with a coaching staff that all contribute to coaching the group when practicing.
The Coaching Staff Has Plenty To Prove
Half of this coaching staff is currently in their first season coaching in the NFL and throw in O'Brien as his first season as a head coach. They have plenty to prove just like the team they are coaching who is coming off a terrible 2-14 season.
The work mentality this staff shows everyday on the field is rubbing off on the players and seeing the mentality change for the team in less than a season leaves hope.