The final week of voluntary workouts got underway

11 observations from Texans OTAs

Photo by Edward Clarke

These are the 11 observations you need to know from the third week of the Texans OTA workouts.

Undrafted wideout battle

Tyron Johnson from Oklahoma State and Johnnie Dixon from Ohio State are fun to watch for different reasons. They both have a legit shot at the last wideout spot and are kind of fighting each other for it and kind of not. Texans wide receiver coach John Perry mentioned Johnson can play both outside spots while Dixon can work inside and outside.

They both have had their moments so far in camp. If I had to say one was ahead of the other I would look to Dixon being slightly ahead of Johnson due to the inside-outside ability. Johnson might have more eventual upside due to his height and physicality. They have been a fun watch.

The toughest tight end matchup on the Texans

Jordan Thomas won almost every rep against every type of defender he went against today in the passing drills. Thomas looks worlds different than last year from a movement standpoint. He's fluid and physical and his routes look a lot more solid. I am not sure there will be many defenders who can cover him without some trouble.

If his blocking is improved, he will be on the field a ton for the Texans. While he isn't the most experienced tight end currently on the roster he seems to be the most complete from a total production potential. He will be a fun watch this year if they development continues.

The "other" Jordan

Jordan Akins looks smooth. Texans tight ends coach Will Lawing said it is fun to coach a room with so many players with different talents and styles. Akins is another player who has done a lot to improve his body in the time from year one to year two.

Akins is very athletic, this isn't a surprise, but his receiving skills have smoothed out compared to last season's work. While he doesn't present a huge physical mismatch like Thomas does he won't be an easy cover for linebackers or safeties however teams decide to defend him. It will be interesting see the different ways Bill O'Brien uses him.

Watson whipping it around

Deshaun Watson was tossing darts around the field. A couple of throws didn't go the offense's way in one drill and responded by drilling a laser to three different receivers. He has had a lot of solid throws in the workouts and plenty of them as responses to a poor play or play made by the defense.

It will be awesome to see Watson work with the full offense. The passing potential of this group is very high and Watson having a real offseason, instead of one filled with rehab, will be huge for him.

Long way to go, but something to show

Jermaine Kelly is an interesting player to watch going forward. Last week Bill O'Brien mentioned he is basically a rookie after missing his whole first year with an injury. Well today, he made a veteran play that had the defense going wild.

Kelly made an athletic leap in front of a wideout near the sideline snagging an interception. The defense went wild celebrating the big play mobbing Kelly and even treating it as a regular season interception with some players running to the end zone to pose for the camera. The energy level was high for the defense after that. Kelly also had some nice work against Vyncint Smith in a couple of drills. He has a lot to work on but is a name to watch heading into training camp.

Tytus' timeline

Tytus Howard continues to work into various roles with the team. He had one rep today, again not live and without pads, where he stymied a rusher with pure technique and footwork. It was impressive and rusher eventually just gave up. He wasn't afraid to get physical, as physical as the drills allow, either. He had a nicer day than some of the other tackles. I don't know if he has shown that he is better or worse at any given position. There is a lot more to evaluate in joint practices and preseason with him.

Get used to Watson to Coutee

The more work Watson and Keke Coutee get the better. Remember how good Wes Welker was for Bill O'Brien's offense in New England? I am not saying that is Watson and Coutee but this is easily the best QB-slot WR combo the Texans have ever had. With Watson's mobility Coutee is never going to be out of a play.

The next thing the offense needs to work with on Coutee is getting him deep from the slot. At Texas Tech, he was one of the best in the nation at attacking the middle of the field deep. There is hope with the chemistry he and Watson are building they can soon add that to the offense.

Peter Kalambayi continues to impress

Peter Kalambayi is a load for offensive linemen to handle. The defenders are always a little more physical in these drills and that worked to his advantage but the linebacker is a player to watch going into camp and the season. He has flashed some coverage ability as well as the talent to rush the passer.

He blew up one play today that would have resulted in a live rep sack. If he can carry this over to camp and even the season the Texans have a nice young player to provide depth at linebacker and play on special teams.

Catch of the day: Vyncint Smith

The catch of the day was an absolute beauty. Smith cooked the defense, was a few steps clear, and perfectly caught the over-the-shoulder pass. He is a totally different guy than the wide-eyed rookie from Limestone. Anyone challenging him for his roster spot will have a tall mountain to climb.

Backup slinging it

A.J. McCarron has a short memory. A couple of bad plays in a row didn't bother him as he hit a dime across the field down the sideline to move the offense in a drill. He isn't afraid to take a big shot downfield and try to make a play. This is a good development for the wideouts trying to make an impression as they will end up working with McCarron a lot during camp.

No (K)ompetition here

Ka'imi Fairbairn nailed his opportunities kicking on Tuesday. He made the most field goals in the league last year missing just five total. Hopefully the Texans won't have to call on him as much this year but if they do you can feel confident in John Christian Ka'iminoeauloameka'ikeokekumupa'a "Ka'imi" Fairbairn.

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Another win for the Coogs! Photo by Getty Images.

The Cougars were supposed to play a game in Tampa against The University of South Florida on Jan. 14th, but this contest was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the USF program. Houston was able to take advantage of the extra time off to rest their players and prepare for their next game against UCF.

Their previous game against the Knights in Orlando on December 26th was a close matchup which saw UCF and the Cougars tied at halftime. The second half was a back-and-fourth contest between the two teams, but Houston was able to come away with a nine point victory.

This game however was nowhere near as close and their previous meeting.

Houston immediately got off to a 12-0 start thanks to four straight 3-pointers from DeJon Jarreau (2x), Marcus Sasser & Quentin Grimes.

The Cougars continued to surge past the knights and at one point led 38-9 with 3:43 left to go in the contest.

Houston led 45-19 at halftime, their largest first half lead of the season.

The Cougars were able to maintain their commanding lead with both efficient scoring early on and elite level defense. Houston forced UCF to commit 20 turnovers that resulted in 22 points for the Cougars.

The Cougars won most of their games this season with commanding defense, dominating the boards and superior guard play. All three boxes were checked as Houston was able to secure a 75-58 victory.

UCF did outscore Houston in the second half 39-30, but the Cougars' lead proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome for the Knights. Essentially, Houston was on cruse control the second half of the game and never saw their lead drop below double digits.

Grimes scored in double figures for his 11th straight game after opening the season with eight points against Lamar. Senior forward Justin Gorham scored a season high 15 points as well.

Houston has now won its fourth straight game since its loss to Tulsa and now remain in sole position of 1st place in the AAC.

The Cougars moved up from No.11 to the 8th ranked team in the country as multiple top-ranked teams suffered losses over the week.

Kelvin Sampson passed former Houston coach Tom Penders as he earned his 650th career win. This also moves him into sole possession of 41st place on the NCAA wins list. He is also the second winningest coach in Houston Cougars Men's Basketball history behind only the great Guy Lewis.

UP NEXT: Houston looks to exact revenge against the only team to defeat them this season as they host Tulsa at the Fertitta Center on Wednesday at 7pm.

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