The last solo work before the Lions get to town

11 observations from Texans training camp for Aug. 12

@EdClarke03/Eddie Clarke

Jordan Thomas Returns

@EdClarke03/Eddie Clarke

Jordan Thomas made his return to the field today after missing quite a few dates with an injury. He looked a little rusty but he was athletic in a near one-handed grab in the end zone. He has some catching up to do. He's clearly behind Jordan Akins and Darren Fells has situations where he is more useful.

Deshaun on the move

Good thing the Texans have a quarterback that can move. Watson was running for his life on a couple of plays today. His ability to throw and move is fantastic and he is making better decisions on when to take off. It will be interesting to see if he can translate this to the regular season. If so some of the concerns about his injuries can go away.

Henderson holding up

Seantrell Henderson had more wins over J.J. Watt than I have ever seen in camp. Henderson fought Watt to a tie a few times and held up the Texans excellent pass rusher a couple of times. I feel much better about Henderson than most members of the line. I, of course, was high on him before last season too. The only concern here is health.

Kalil's day off presents opportunity

Matt Kalil seemingly got a veteran day off on Monday for the Texans. With him out Roderick Johnson and Julién Davenport worked the majority of time at left tackle in Kalil's absence. If either player stood out there is a chance Kalil would be out of a job. They have a long way to go before they could supplant Kalil. This is a big week for Kalil to keep his spot at left tackle.

Welcome back Mr. Carter

DeAndre Carter is a breath of fresh air. He can do almost everything Keke Coutee can do from the slot and won more than a few reps today. There was a play where he absolutely worked the defensive back and quarterback Jordan Ta'amu missed him much to the chagrin of some coaches who pointed out Carter's win.

Tyron Johnson's roles

Tyron Johnson got some work in the return game and one of the biggest things is he doesn't miss reps. Luck has been on Johnson's side with health and he's been getting plenty of good work in. He had an amazing catch today with Deante Burton in coverage. He used his off hand to keep Burton at bay and came down with a very nice catch with Burton right there.

Fulton a man of many talents

Zach Fulton is playing center while Nick Martin and Greg Mancz deal with injuries. Fulton filled in at center in 2017 for the Chiefs. I wouldn't be shocked if he is actually the best center on the team. With him at center there has been plenty of work for Max Scharping at guard and the rookie has been paying off on those opportunities.

Gillaspia's fingertip catch

Fullback Cullen Gillaspia had a catch today that was again impressive in his ability to do those things. It looked like it was out of his reach but he was able to haul it in and beat his man to the front of the end zone for a touchdown. His ability to haul in passes has impressed me and while I was high on that aspect of his game he's got more potential there than I realized.

Crowded room for Johnnie Dixon

Johnnie Dixon hasn't had a bad camp but by comparison to others he hasn't stood out. He has a lot of physical gifts and his quickness is certainly an asset. He had a probable fumble in a drill today that got the defense excited. There have been others who have shined brighter but I think there's something there, maybe just not for the Texans.

Play of the day

Tyron Johnson coming down with the ball in coverage or Cullen Gillaspia's fingertip snag.

Quote of the day

"I'm still having fun."

Texans defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel who has no plans of slowing down approaching his 37th season in the NFL. Crennel has a tall task this season but hopefully his experience can cover up some of the potential shortcomings on the team. Also, I imagine if the defense didn't look good this season he would be coaching year 38 in the NFL somewhere else.

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship good, bad and ugly

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The NFL Conference Championship Weekend is their Final Four. You don't get the games played in the same place, but there is a buzz in both stadiums because each team knows theyarethisclose to a Super Bowl. Here are my observations:

The Good

-Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the real deal. We gawk at his arm strength and ability to make throws in spaces and from angles that'll challenge physics. But his athleticism and escapability are underrated. Prime example was his 27-yard touchdown run right before halftime. Not only did he evade the rush and scramble to the outside, but he tightroped along the sideline, cut back inside, then carried a couple defenders across the goalline. He led the Chiefs in rushing yards with 56.

-49ers running back Raheem Mostert has played on five different teams in his five year career. In his second stint with the 49ers, he's turned himself into an valuable piece of that offense. Although they use a stable of backs, it was Mostert who set a new team postseason rushing record with 196 yards and there was still almost 20 minutes of football left to play!

-We will have a great matchup of coaches in the Super Bowl. Head Coaches/Playcallers: Chiefs' Andy Reid vs 49er's Kyle Shanahan; defensive coordinators: Chiefs' Steve Spagnuolo vs 49er's Robert Saleh. The meeting of the minds with two weeks to prepare should give us a good game. Key word: should. Please guys, no blowouts.

The Bad

-Derrick Henry was dubbed "King Henry" after his recent rushing performances. He was unceremoniously removed from his throne by the Chiefs' defense. 69 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown with a long run of 13 backed up the tough talk from Chiefs' defensive end Frank Clark who said earlier in the week leading up to the game that Henry wasn't hard to tackle.

-Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers looked a little off. He missed a few key throws, including an interception that ended any hope they had of coming back because it led to the 49ers having a short field and going up by four scores instead of the Packers being down by two scores. It was a minute before halftime, but the way the 49ers were running the ball, that pick was a backbreaker.

-The NFL fined Chiefs' offensive lineman Eric Fisher $14,037 for an unsportsmanlike conduct for his double-fist beer touchdown celebration during last week's win over the Texans. I thought they turned the corner when they started allowing more touchdown celebrations. So let me get this straight: you can choreograph a dance routine with the whole team, but can't pretend to chug beer from a league sponsor? Talk about hypocrisy.

The Ugly

-With the score 28-17 Chiefs with 7:44 left in the game, 3rd&6 on the Chiefs' 40-yard line. Titans' corner Tramaine Brock Sr. fell down and was called for a holding penalty on Sammy Watkins as he was falling. The worst part of that play: Watkins broke open and Mahomes found him for a 60-yard touchdown. Later when they were down by 11 with 3:59 left, Brock was called for a 41-yard pass interference on 3rd&10 with the Chiefs on their own 19-yard line. Those plays sealed the deal for the Titans.

-49ers running back Tevin Coleman was carted off the field in the 2nd quarter with an injury to his right elbow. An arm injury must be pretty damn bad if you're carted off. Thoughts and prayers to the running back I thought the Texans should've signed. Major props to him wanting to come back to the sidelines to be with his teammates wearing a sling.

-The 49ers outrushed the Packers 185 to 51...IN THE FIRST HALF! They were up 27-0 and had "only" passed for 40 yards. That's all they needed since the Packers couldn't stop the run. Mind you, they ran the ball 22 times to get the 185 yards. Packers defense looked like wet brown grocery bags trying to hold two gallons of milk.

And then there were two. Through all the strife and struggle, we have our Super Bowl 54 will be a matchup of arguably the best on their respective sides of the ball: 49ers and their defense vs the Chiefs high octane offense. However, don't sleep on the 49ers' ability to score, or how well the Chiefs' defense has been playing as of late. Ultimately, I have the sads. We only have one meaningful football game left. Hopefully the 49ers and Chiefs give us something to talk about. I won't mind seeing a 24-21 or 31-27 game. As long as we don't get a multiple score blowout, I'm good. Props to the Titans and Packers for putting up a good fight. It just wasn't good enough. From 32 to two. And there will only be one.

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