Cody Stoots: 11 observations from Day 2 of Texans minicamp

Cody Stoots: 11 observations from Day 2 of Texans minicamp
Bill O'Brien has elected to cancel the third and final day of practice. Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Texans wrapped up their final on-field workout on Wednesday before training camp begins in West Virginia. They will meet tomorrow and then reconvene as a team for training camp. Here are 11 observations from the final day of practice:

1. Aaron Colvin mentioned after practice that he plans to show off this year. He said he is past talking about his previous NFL stops and how he was viewed, and also said there is something burning inside him to show how good he can be. Colvin stated that some of the league may have slept on him, and he plans to play where the Texans need him, but the opportunity to play outside corner was attractive to him in picking the Texans. He played the slot corner position for the Jaguars last year with Jalen Ramsey and former Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye playing outside. 

2. The line of the day came from Colvin.  His response to what he was going to do until West Virginia was simple. "Grind my ass off."

3. Yesterday, rookie safety Justin Reid mentioned the veteran wide receivers help him get used to how NFL pass catchers will attack him. Today, Colvin said it doesn't matter how old or experienced anyone is when it comes to the advice shared between defensive backs and wide receivers. He mentioned rookie Keke Coutee and All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins as resources for him to get better. The goal he mentioned is for everyone to help everyone get better. 

4. Speaking of Keke Coutee, the veteran corner Colvin said he believes Coutee will be "special" for the Texans. He said the skill set the rookie pass catcher possesses isn't easy to find, and his work in the short area of the field is something he can utilize in which some can't. Coutee and backup quarterback Joe Webb hooked up for a play over the middle where the 5'11" Coutee showed off his 34-inch vertical snatching a ball out of the air. 

5. The wide receiver position is very crowded. Braxton Miller had an extreme display of athleticism in one pass catching drill where he jumped, extended his arms fully, snagged the ball, and was still able to land both feet in bounds in the back of the end zone. Undrafted free agent Vyncint Smith from Limestone College shook loose on a couple of plays today including a huge play in a team drill. 

6. Sammie Coates, the former Browns and Steelers pass catcher, will have a tough time beating out the competition for a spot on the offense, but he showed today, a couple of times, his experience paying off for him. Coates beat Justin Reid on a deep ball for what would have been a touchdown in a team drill, but it was the adjustment that was impressive. Coates readjusted on the ball's trajectory whereas the rookie safety lost the ball. Coates is also the most psychically imposing wideout on the team by his look. He checks in at Hopkins' height, but has more mass than all the other wideouts. 

7. Don't be fooled by the praise for the offense above because the defense won the day in most of the drills. With mostly guys competing for roster spots or playing time getting the reps, the secondary and even a little of the pass rush had a solid day. Will Fuller and Johnathan Joseph squared off early in a drill that saw the veteran defensive back victorious. Also, Justin Reid absolutely mauled Jordan Akins with a jam near the line of scrimmage taking the tight end out of the play. It would have been a completely legal play on a Sunday. 

8. Some live reps in the team drills saw coverage sacks be the end result. A couple of times the quarterbacks had to make decisions after what would have been a sack from the pass rush. There was one coverage sack where the QB didn't even throw the ball. The offensive linemen and defensive linemen were pretty active for players who don't have pads on for practice. Romeo Crennel has to be happy about what he saw from the young and inexperienced players up front today. 

9. The young tight ends, Jordan Thomas and Jordan Akins had the defense's attention today. Akins nor Thomas seemed to get as free as they did yesterday. Thomas had a tough drop after a pass hit him in the hands and fell incomplete. Matt Lengel, a former Patriots and Browns tight end who the team claimed in April, had a great route and got free by a few steps on Kurtis Drummond for what would have been a score. Ryan Griffin looks to be in incredible shape and is faster than previous years. 

10. Yesterday, Troymaine Pope had a nice showing, especially in the passing game catching a touchdown. Today, Lavon Coleman got some reps in minicamp run situations. The room is very crowded though. Lamar Miller and Alfred Blue are veterans of the team, and D'Onta Foreman is supposed to be ready for training camp. Tyler Ervin is still on the team as well. Showing up in June and August could lead to one of the young players earning a practice squad spot. 

11. Deshaun Watson and his knee are fine. Watson said in multiple ways that he feels good about his recovery from the ACL injury, and praised the staff and the plan put together for his rehab. With a year learning under his belt, Watson said he is "light years away" from where he was as a rookie quarterback in understanding the game. He said working on defenses is good, but knows you can only study so much before teams show you something new. He also said his plan to account for teams having film on him is to work "ten times harder." 

Other Notes

The Texans will return from West Virginia after their preseason game with the Kansas City Chiefs as they get ready that week for joint practices with the San Francisco 49ers. 

Second-year linebacker Zach Cunningham knows there are more eyes on him with the departure of Brian Cushing eliminating any potential obstacles to playing time. He also looks a little bigger than last year. 

Brandon Weeden has an absolute rocket for an arm. Some of the throws he makes were misses from Tom Savage last year. I'm not saying to feel comfortable about the backup QB, but it could be better than the Tom Savage situation last year. Joe Webb and Stephen Morris are battling for the third QB spot. If I had to tell you who should make the team, I would say keep an extra wide receiver or offensive lineman and roll with two quarterbacks. 

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Cristian Javier is in better shape this season. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

As the Astros prepare to play their first game of spring training against the Nationals this Saturday, we're starting to see reports about how the players approached the offseason, and what tweaks they made to improve in the 2024 season.

Cristian Javier is a player Astros fans are hoping bounces back this year, as his ERA jumped from 2.54 in 2022 to 4.56 in 2023. Workload was thought to be one of the main factors causing his regression, he dealt with a dead arm last season and threw more innings than ever before (162).

Another explanation could be the pitch clock. This was another new element all pitchers had to deal with last year, and that also likely played a role in his struggles.

But according to The Athletic's Chandler Rome, Javier believes he was carrying some extra weight last season. Add that to some mechanical issues he was experiencing, and his struggles in 2023 make a lot more sense. And to be fair, he wouldn't be the first person to get a little fat and happy after winning a World Series.

In an effort to get back on track in 2024, Javier said he lost around 15 pounds this offseason. With the pitch clock not going anywhere, pitchers need to be in better cardiac shape than ever before.

Hopefully this modification helps Javier return to form and put up jaw-dropping numbers like he did in 2022. This rotation needs Javier to be the dominate pitcher we all know he's capable of being. With Justin Verlander behind schedule and Framber Valdez trying to bounce back from his own down year, Houston will depend on Javier like never before.

The Astros are certainly counting on it after giving him a 5-year, $64 million contract last season. Javier will definitely be a player to watch this spring.

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