GOAL LINE WORK FOR TEXANS

11 observations from Texans training camp, July 31

@edclarke03/Eddie Clarke

If you missed the observations from Monday, you can find them here

No more worry about Warring

Texans third round draft pick Kahale Warring made his debut for the team today. It was his first practice with the team. He is a physically imposing tight end from the looks but his development will be interesting to watch going forward. He will need to make strides in a hurry after missing almost a week's worth of practices.

Ok, maybe worry a little bit about Warring

Bill O'Brien was not willing to praise Warring just yet. He mentioned he didn't feel like he moved around as well as some have said he did today. O'Brien stressed he thinks being available and on the field is one of the most important factors for the young players.

I was impressed with the little we saw Warring work. He didn't have any awful blocking reps from what I saw. He had one really bad drop that would have been a nice play. It hit in the hands and bounced off of them to the turf. He might be one of the patented members of Bill O'Brien's rookie doghouse.

D.J. Reader is a scary monster

The coaches on defense have to be smiling ear to ear when they see Reader work in camp. He has been fantastic in all his reps. Rarely is a lineman beating him or pushing him to a draw. He wins rep after rep. If Reader keeps this up, the Texans defensive line could be even stronger than it has been.

Pads down, have fun

The Texans finally did goal line work with a full complement of their offense and defense. It is later than some years for the first goal line work but it was still very entertaining. I would say the offense and defense each had things they should be proud of but also a few things to work on here or there. It was the most fired up we have seen the players in a few days.

Damarea Crockett's good day

A really solid day for Damarea Crockett the rookie from Missouri. He had some juice to his runs and in the goal line work he really shined darting through whatever holes he could find to gain yards or score. He is in a dog fight for the chance to make the roster and there have been a few backs taking turns at that third running back spot. It was a good day for Michigan rookie Karan Higdon too as he had a nice jump cut to the crease and took off.

Know the name

Angelo Blackson's contract was a bit of a surprise this past offseason but the defensive lineman has had a nice camp so far. Today he announced his presence with authority in the goal line drills. He darted past the offensive line cutting through blocking to blow up a play. Blackson needs to be a factor for this team's rotation.

Physical vet

Matt Kalil wasn't an exciting addition to the Texans, but he has been more than solid at camp. He got smoked by Whitney Mercilus on one rep today but held his own for the rest I saw. One play saw him throw a defensive lineman down, then block another downfield as he cleared the way for the running back. If the Texans had to play a game tomorrow, he would be the left tackle.

Peter do-it-all-ayi

Peter Kalambayi is making this team and could have a key role. Wednesday saw him do a little bit of everything. He was running step for step with backs in coverage, filling the hole in the rushing attack, and darting through the line to make a backfield tackle. He was perhaps a surprise addition to the roster out of camp last year but there will be no surprise with his status going forward.

Not Rankin real high so far

Martinas Rankin is struggling in camp. He is getting work on the interior of the offensive line but he has yet to put together an impressive or solid performance. He disappointed last year after getting hurt and missing some camp. He has seemingly been healthy, but he hasn't shown much. The numbers game is getting tight on the offensive line and Rankin might have to hope the investment, a third rounder last year, gets him some leeway.

Play of the day

There are two today really so I will cheat a little here. Angelo Blackson's huge stuff in the goal line drills is the first one. The second one was rookie on rookie crime as Tyron Johnson put Lonnie Johnson in a blender and cut outside for an easy catch.

Quote of the day

"It was alright. They miss all this time and they come out there. What you may think is moving around well, I'm not sure that I would agree with you...Getting him out there, that was a miracle in and of itself."

Texans Head Coach Bill O'Brien on his third-round tight end who practiced for the first time today. O'Brien was obviously joking with the last part but Kahale Warring clearly has some catching up to do.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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