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.

Deshaun Watson to DeAndre Hopkins highlights the work in the second preseason game

11 observations from Texans-Lions

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Easy does it

The Texans capped off an 11 play, 72 yard drive with the above play. Deshaun Watson had all the time in the world on the drive and on one play he moved around and found DeAndre Carter for the first down. It was smooth without any hiccups.

The line that started

Left to right it was as follows: Roderick Johnson - Tytus Howard - Zach Fulton - Max Scharping - Seantrell Henderson

They did an excellent job on the first drive they had with Watson. There was one hiccup where Howard missed an assignment it seemed but overall they were sturdy.

Matt Kalil was not dressed to play.

After the game Bill O'Brien said Matt Kalil is the team's starting left tackle. O'Brien said Kalil will play next week. Kalil has not practiced particularly well recently but O'Brien and the team still seem committed to the veteran. His week ahead and any work against the Cowboys will be interesting to see if he is or can be pushed by Roderick Johnson.

Tim Kelly calling plays

Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly had the headset and the play sheet for this game. Bill O'Brien has always maintained the offense is a collaborative effort but he's been the one calling the plays. It was interesting to see O'Brien give up the reins to Kelly and if this is something we will see more of in the future.

After the game. O'Brien noted yet again it is a collaborative effort and that sometimes when he has the headset Kelly makes calls and sometimes when Kelly has the headset he calls some plays.

"He did a nice job. He got the play in quickly. There were no hiccups with substitutions or anything like that."

Easy work for Whit

The Lions will be happy they don't have to see anymore of Whitney Mercilus. He was incredible all week against Detroit and he made it happen in the game this time. He's the team's second best pass rusher behind Watt and that might even be when Jadeveon Clowney is back with the squad. Mercilus should have a very nice year.

Charles Omenihu flashes

The late-round defensive linemen got some pressures against the Lions and it was a nice development for him. He looked a little slow and plodding last week but he looked much better this week. The hope would be he can factor into the pass rush packages soon.

Adams deserves a roster spot somewhere

Jerell Adams' agent did him wrong. When he signed to the Texans there were two 2018 draft picks and Ryan Griffin here. The team then drafted another guy and signed a blocking tight end. Jerell Adams is good enough to be on someone's roster, it just won't be the Texans.

Smith's big make

Vyncint Smith hauled in another impressive catch against the Lions. He had a nice week of practice though he has been up and down overall in camp. A big catch like this has to get him extra eyeballs on his work.

Tyron Johnson's big miss

Rookie wideout Tyron Johnson dropped what would have been a huge play. It looked almost as if he got nervous with the impending contact. He also had an offensive pass interference later in the game. He was given a chance to return a kick and had a nice return after the game too.

Jordan Thomas working back

The touchdown didn't count but Jordan Thomas made a nice play. However, he got snaps after Darren Fells and Jordan Akins. He is behind after missing time with an injury and it wouldn't shock me to see him have to work out of the hole. He had a couple of plays where he looked a little sloppy on his routes, which O'Brien mentioned post game, and let the defensive back bat the ball away. He has the most potential of the tight ends though so he will need to keep working his tail off.

Play of the day: Jerell Adams

Vyncint Smith hauled in one heck of a catch but I love a good stiff arm. We go with the Jerell Adams stiff arm. Peter Kalambayi gets an honorable mention for a huge stick on a special teams play.

Quote of the day: Me

"Is that Brian Gaine?"

Me when I saw former Texans general manager Brian Gaine in the press box Saturday. Gaine is a member of the Buffalo Bills front office and was there scouting. He was cordial when talking with the people who came to speak with him from Texans employees to media members. He took notes, took the game in from the press box with binoculars, and spoke at length with another Bills staffer who was seated next to him.

O'Brien loses pass interference challenge

​Bill O'Brien lost his pass interference challenge during the game. He said he believed the Lions player hooked his player's arm and it was pass interference. O'Brien speculated it would need to be an egregious foul to be called in review.

No Lonnie Johnson

Bill O'Brien said Lonnie Johnson was banged up and didn't play but expects him to play next week.

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