The flow of practice looks much better and that comes with understanding the new routine of Head Coach Bill O’Brien.
Today we took a close look at Day Six from OTAs.
Two Cornerbacks to Watch
The Texans are working on making depth on this team count and cornerbacks Elbert Mack and A.J. Bouye have started to stand out with their opportunity. This opportunity was created with Johnathan Joseph and Brandon Harris missing time due to unspecified reasons.
Elbert Mack made his mark with the team last year on special teams but he has shown that he can play on the outside of the defense. He has shown some solid coverage skills and most importantly understanding what is needed to be successful in this new defense.
As for A.J. Bouye, he is so smooth on the field and has that “it” factor in coverage. He plays with a nice confidence but is still learning on the run which is good because he looks very similar to what he did last year during camp.
Players like Bouye and Mack are giving the Texans confidence to play them when needed and are finally give the Texans a chance to develop real depth in the secondary.
Kareem Jackson Working at the Slot Corner Position
Head Coach Bill O’Brien finally let out that Kareem Jackson has been working the slot cornerback position. There is some thinking that Jackson could help the majority of the time in the slot, but at the moment it seems like the team is trying to cover all bases with players. Jackson could easily help out at the slot position with his ability to play physical and be a factor in run support. This is something to watch when Joseph and Harris return, but it is just another way the defense is thinking outside of the box.
Kofi Hughes Catching Up
Rookie wide receiver Kofi Hughes has started to catch up to the rest of the wide receiver group after being claimed off of waivers less than a week ago. He caught the ball with confidence today and showed he can stretch the field when needed. Still working to polish his route running, Hughes has the acceleration to get in and out of breaks.
There is a wide receiver log jam but Hughes has stood out among the wide receivers during day six.
Shane Lechler Putting on a Show
Punter Shane Lechler was putting on a show with his directional punt game during special teams practice. He was consistently putting punts inside the 10 yard line and showing how well he can make the ball kick back when it hits the ground.
C.J. Fiedorowicz Impresses
The rookie tight end out of Iowa has been very impressive with this group of veterans. His versatility has been on display and as OTAs has progressed he has shown he can work inline, outside or in motion. His overall skill set gives the offense a new wrinkle that could give every offensive set he is in the option of run or pass effectively. Not known as a pass catcher in college, Fiedorowicz is a natural pass catcher and can create mismatches in the middle of the field like Texans linebacker are finding out right now.
Brandon Harris and Louis Nix III Return
Both Harris and Nix III returned to practice today after sitting out for undisclosed reasons, and the focus was on the rookie nose tackle. Nix III looked good and showed some nice moves when the defensive line went to working on stunts. He has some good short area quickness for his size but his real value will show when the shoulder pads are put on and he has to play the run.
Ricky Sapp Holding Steady
The outside linebacker has struggled with injuries during his career and he might have found a shot with the Texans this season. Sapp has been called upon early to work opposite of Whitney Mercilus during OTAs and he is pushing to work into the outside linebacker rotations. He has some pass rushing ability and that has been missed the past few seasons for the Texans defense. He has a good first step off the edge and is a faster piece to the defense. Sapp provides real edge speed for a defense that lacked team speed in recent seasons.
Jadeveon Clowney Showing Why He was #1 Overall
Jadeveon Clowney news has been quiet in terms of other 1st round rookies from his draft class but his talent and football I.Q. are on display every day. Clowney is learning the position and seeing him understand how to drop into coverage and what to look for in routes has been a sight to see. He can cover ground in a hurry with one step and his on field speed makes the defense that much faster on the edge.
When Clowney is allowed to work on his pass rush, his first step when the ball is snapped is unreal. Today he worked fellow rookie offensive tackle Brian Witzmann when he blew by him during a pass play before Witzmann was even able to get out of his stance. He has the speed and his technique is still being refined day to day. He has everything that the scouts have talked about, untapped potential.
- Linebacker Jeff Tarpinian will help this team in some form this season on defense and special teams. His coverage value from the linebacker position is the best on the team at the moment.