There was some rust to knock off but there was a better intensity from the team shown today than there was all last week.
The Texans continued to install their offense and defense and the primary focus this week was on 3rd and longs, pass protection and their team defensive blitzes and offensive plays when the team was backed up deep in their own territory.
According to Head Coach Bill O’Brien, the Texans ware still on schedule with everything they need to accomplish before OTAs are finished.
Day Four Review
Tom Savage Returns
Despite missing the final practice last week, Tom Savage returned to Texans practice and struggled some getting back into the flow of practice. Some botched snaps from center did not help his cause but he once again threw the football with confidence and purpose. He has a quicker release than most will give him credit for and he is putting the footballs in place where his receivers can catch them.
He took a minor step back due to not being at practice but it was out of his control.
Ez Nwachukwu Full Speed Ahead
If there is one thing Nwachukwu brings to the offense, it is his straight line speed on the outside and today he displayed how he can flip the field in a hurry. Today from the arm of quarterback T.J. Yates, Nwachukwu was in a one on one situation on the outside where he used a stutter and go to blow past the cornerback. Yates threw a perfect pass to the streaking Nwachukwu in stride and the defender was in chase position.
This was his first action of OTAs since being held out rookie mini camp where he had an undisclosed setback. It will be a tall task for the second year wide receiver to make the team, but his top end speed is impressive to watch.
Posey Trying to Make His Mark
If there is one wide receiver who has benefited the most from a certain players absence look no further than DeVier Posey. It has been a mixed bag for Posey since he arrived to Houston two years ago. Now entering his third year with the team, he is grasping the new offense.
His time on the field has been increased and he is making some good connections with the quarterback group and that is key for his production on the field at the moment. Posey looks fully recovered from his Achilles injury that slowed him last season and he has been steady on the field.
Posey has to make as much headway as he can before Andre Johnson arrives back to camp where his time will once again become limited.
Mike Thomas Still Impressing
The slot wide receiver still has to be ironed out and veteran Mike Thomas has impressed early for the Texans.
Thomas has the veteran presence that the younger ones will follow and he has done a good job of balancing his role on the field. While still pushing for a spot on the team, there is visible evidence on the field of him talking to the younger players and giving pointers.
Thomas is pushing for the slot wide receiver position and is doing it once again by running crisp routes and catching everything. At 5-8 and 198 lbs., Thomas fits the mold of the position and it appears he is the leading candidate for the position.
There are times during practice that can raise some interest and seeing Watt and Clowney work side by side is one of them. There are no full pads and players are trying to protect each other from injury, but the sheer speed these two moving side by side is tough not to be excited about. Both have a first step that give offensive lineman issues and both will easily benefit from each other on the field.
The Texans are onto something defensively with these two and if they can produce it can only open up more for other players on the Texans defense.
The Return Game
Bill O’Brien made it clear today in his post practice press conference that it is an “ongoing evaluation” in regards who is going to do the return duties for the Texans. Despite Keshawn Martin doing most of the return duties last year, it appears that the competition is open which makes a key difference when filling out the roster.
Players like Mike Thomas, Shiloh Keo, Andre Hal, Marcus Williams, Dennis Johnson and Alan Bonner are a few names that have return experience at the NFL or College levels that can easily factor into the discussion.
Installation Schedule Prior to Training Camp
Texans Head Coach Bill O’Brien said the Texans are still on track with their installation schedule for OTAs.
Week 1: 1st and 2nd down offense
Week 2: Situations on first and second downs, third down, being backed up and red area. Five man protections against different blitzes that the defense uses under Romeo Crennel
Week 3: Focus on more red area work and two and four-minute offense.
Mandatory Mini-Camp: Everything learned during OTAs will be put together.
- Rookie offensive guard Xavier Su’a-Filo is still finishing up school at UCLA and is expected to be in Houston for Mandatory Mini-Camp.
- Rookie safety Lonnie Ballentine is still learning the defensive system, but at 6-3 he has some impressive length for the position. It comes into play, like this morning, when he high pointed the ball in an interception drill.
- There is no time to blink in regards to how the offense runs. Quarterbacks are the key and getting the ball out in a hurry is paramount which has been on display since OTAs has opened.
- Rookie defensive lineman Louis Nix III missed practice today and O’Brien said the following.
“I think has something wrong with him but I’m not sure what it is. There is something there. I think he’ll be fine. I don’t think it is life threatening.”