DESHAUN WATSON SHOWING TREMENDOUS ACCURACY

11 observations from Texans training camp, July 29

Photo by @edclarke03/Eddie Clarke.

If you missed the coverage from Sunday July 28 you can find it here

Justin Reid returns

The second year safety was back out for the Texans after missing a few days. It is likely Reid would have been ready, but he was hit by a drunk driver while driving before camp started. He mentioned the team was being cautious with him by not having him start camp active. His wrist still has a cast, but he said after practice that was a precautionary situation.

One handed no problem

Justin Reid found himself with an interception on a target that seemed to be intended for Keke Coutee. The young safety was all over the field as the Texans like to move him and fellow safety Tashaun Gipson around. Reid has frequently heaped praise on Gipson and every time sounds excited to play with the veteran.

Watson whipping it

Deshaun Watson can sling it, and he is better than he has ever been throwing the ball. Sometimes in previous camps he had missed a spot here or there. Misses are the rarest of rare and his decision-making is better than we have seen. He finds the open man. No locking in on one player.

The other tight ends

Jerell Adams has had a very nice past two days for the Texans. The once highly touted prospect came to camp as an afterthought but as opportunities have presented themselves he has made big play after big play. His hands look really solid and though he has a long long road ahead and needs some luck to make the team, he is helping his chance to stay in the league.

Darren Fells is the best blocking tight end on the team. That's why he is here, not to catch. That being said he made up for some disappointing receiving performances the past couple days. He had a couple of nice snags today and one late in the workout Sunday.

Henderson solidifying

Right tackle Seantrell Henderson was a player, despite his history, I believed in coming into last season. Then he was lost for the year in game one. With hopefully a full camp ahead of him, Henderson seems to be the favorite for the right tackle spot. He had a couple of rough reps against J.J. Watt today but found himself a victory before the day was over against Watt. Not saying Henderson can't be caught at right tackle, but he's in the lead now.

Paying for your mistakes

Tytus Howard had a false start today and was then shown to the sidelines for the mistake. Hard to tell on Howard's overall performance today, but he held his own on more than a few snaps. He's not struggling regularly which is a good sign.

Watson magic

In some situational work for the team today Deshaun Watson's Houdini-like powers were at work again. The offense needed a first down and after surveying the field for a moment or two Watson took off rushing for the 16 yards needed to get the first down. Nobody was anywhere close to him. Now, would J.J. Watt have annihilated Deshaun Watson and stopped the play dead if it was a live rep? Probably. Can he do that in practice? No. We will call it a draw ultimately.

Tyron Johnson continues to push

"13 big play" is something I frequently write in my little notebook while watching practice. He hauled in a touchdown catch in team drills today. When the team is far away and the offense makes a lot of noise and signals touchdown we frequently ask "who caught that?" It is quickly answered when Johnson comes running out of the end zone with the ball tossing it to the coaches.

Veteran factor at running back

Taiwan Jones would make this team if the cuts were tomorrow. The ninth year veteran has actually played running back sparingly in his time in the NFL. He has just 44 rush attempts in his career and just once since 2016. But he's a special teams contributor at a high level, and played for the Texans special teams coordinator Brad Seely. Well, he might have matched half his career total in rushes the past couple of days. He can also catch the ball too. Jones is a threat to beat out young players for a spot.

Play of the day

Will Fuller skied for a pass, contorted his body sideways, landed on both feet, and kept running. It was smooth, seamless, and frankly looked easy for him.

Quote of the day

"Different strokes for different folks...with all those running backs with the exception of Lamar (Miller) it's special teams. Where are they on special teams? What type of effort do they give? When you watch guys like Taiwan Jones, Josh Ferguson, (Karan) Higdon, (Damarea) Crockett, and you see the effort they give on special teams that goes a long way. (Cullen) Gillaspia, obviously at fullback. That's a big part of it too."

When asked about what he is looking for in a backup running back Bill O'Brien mentioned each running back by name except for D'Onta Foreman and Buddy Howell.

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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