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.
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 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.
Ronald Acuña Jr. and Corbin Carroll just got a little more dangerous. Same for Bobby Witt Jr., Elly De La Cruz and the rest of baseball's fastest players.
Major League Baseball wants umpires to crack down on obstruction, and the commissioner's office outlined plans during a call with managers this week. MLB staff also will meet managers in person during spring training to go over enforcement.
The increased emphasis is only on the bases and not at home plate. The focus is on infielders who drop a knee or leg down in front of a bag while receiving a throw, acting as a deterrence for aggressive baserunning and creating an increased risk of injuries.
“I think with everything, they’re trying to make the game a little safer to avoid some unnecessary injuries," Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said Friday at the team's facility in Florida. “The intentions are always good. It comes down to how it affects the players and the games. I’m sure there will be plays where one team doesn’t like it or one team does.”
With more position players arriving at spring training every day, the topic likely will come up more and more as teams ramp up for the season.
“We'll touch on that. We'll show them some video of what’s good and what’s not,” Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “You know, it’s going to be a little adjustment.”
Making obstruction a point of emphasis fits in with an ongoing effort by MLB to create more action. Obstruction calls are not reviewable, which could lead to some disgruntled players and managers as enforcement is stepped up, but it also means it won't create long replay deliberations.
A package of rule changes last season — including pitch clocks, bigger bases and limits on defensive shifts and pickoff attempts — had a dramatic effect. There were 3,503 stolen bases in the regular season, up from 2,486 in 2022 and the most since 1987.
MLB changed a different baserunning rule this offseason, widening the runner’s lane approaching first base to include a portion of fair territory. MLB also shortened the pitch clock with runners on base by two seconds to 18 and further reducing mound visits in an effort to speed games.
“Last year, you know, a lot of our preparation was around like, especially just the unknown of the clock and making sure like we’re really buttoned up on that," New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "These guys are so used to it in so many ways that sometimes I even forget.”
Increased enforcement could lead to more action on the basepaths. But a significant element of MLB's motivation is injury prevention.
Top players have hurt hands or wrists on headfirst slides into bases blocked by a fielder. White Sox slugger Luis Robert Jr. sprained his left wrist when he slid into Jonathan Schoop's lower left leg on a steal attempt during an August 2022 game against Detroit.
“It’s been happening for a while. It’s been getting out of control," Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “I know some of the players complained about it the last two years.”
While acknowledging his reputation as a significant offender, Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott didn't sound too worried about his play.
“We like to fight for outs at second base,” he said. "It’s never on purpose, blocking the base. For me, or someone covering second to the shortstop side, it’s a natural move for your knee to go down to reach the ball. It’s never intentional. I guess we’ll figure out how to maneuver around that.”