Cody Stoots: 11 Observations from Texans training camp for Monday, Aug. 13

Deshaun Watson looks healthy and mobile. Photo by Edward Clarke


1. The defense were the big winners today in team drills. The offense never really got anything going on a consistent basis having just small spurts of success. Bill O'Brien was not happy after the practice and said they'd be working today to fix what happened in the morning session. When asked about why his team was sluggish O'Brien simply stated to ask the players about the sluggish play. 

2. J.J. Watt would have sawed Deshaun Watson in half if it was a full live rep in team drills. Watt skirted around a mass of blockers and defensive players and slowed up just short of eliminating Watson. Instead, he held up his giant paws forcing Watson to alter his trajectory. 

3. Tyrann Mathieu is so quick and description of his movements often lands on sleek. He fires through on blitzes and rarely sees himself far away from the ball when the play is headed his way. His versatility from the safety spot will give the defense a fun chess piece to play with. 

4. The inside linebacker trio of Benardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham, and Dylan Cole is an absolute blast to watch play. This might be the most athletic the Texans have been at inside linebacker ever. Cunningham joked after the workout he almost came down with an interception off Deshaun Watson. Cole is sudden in his arrival to the play and squeaks through if offensive linemen aren't careful with him. 

5. Kareem Jackson is a veteran and despite newly being at safety he can still impart knowledge from his new position. He had a teaching moment with Cunningham on a play where he and the second-year linebacker got together after play with what looked like Jackson suggesting a different approach to the play to Cunningham. Watson nearly threw one to Cunnigham later in practice. Jackson looks natural at safety with Mathieu and Justin Reid. 

6. The defense had a tough time catching Deshaun Watson today on his pocket movement. There were a few plays where Watson showed off his mobility in short pocket movements and flat our evasion of the rush. The plays didn't often end up as big positives for the offense, but it was nice to see Watson move around with ease. 

7. Watson has a unique ability to change his arm slot and complete passes. One play he ended up scrambling and fired a pass into the end zone in what looked like an unusual throw but it ended up getting where he needed it to be. This isn't a habit as much as a tool for Watson. Traditional looking throws are as pretty as ever. 

8. Jadeveon Clowney was in some position reps early in practice as he works back into form for this team. 90 appears to be on schedule to get some good practice done and play in the first week of the regular season. 

9. Sammie Coates got a lot of work today. He is in an uphill battle to steal a wide receiver spot on the team but with rookie Keke Coutee out and Chris Thompson dealing with a concussion, Coates found himself running plenty of routes. He stands out among the wideouts as the most physically impressive. He made a diving catch on a broken play from Watson but had an end zone drop and was on the wrong page with the Texans QB once. With the potential to contribute on special teams, Coates may carve out a roster spot. 

10. Duke Ejiofor and a few other players mentioned they are excited about the 49ers coming to town for joint practices Wednesday. Ejiofor said he is thrilled to be healthy and is working on the consistency the coaches demand from him. He mentioned he talks with veterans and other pass rushers about what moves might be more effective against certain offensive linemen. 

11. Former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was taking in Texans practice today. He was clad in Texans gear as he spent time with Bill O'Brien early in the workout. He is the older brother of John Pagano who is the team's Senior Defensive Assistant and outside linebackers coach. 

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Houston's losing streak extended to five games

With key Astros missing, Detroit completes the series sweep

An overall bad day for the Astros on Wednesday. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros received a big blow to their chances in the series finale against Detroit and potentially longer. Five players: Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, and Robel Garcia would all be moved to the IL due to health and safety protocols, leaving them scrambling to get a whole team together for the game against the Tigers.

The Astros would not be able to overcome both the loss of players and the onslaught of another strong start by Detroit in Wednesday's game which put them too far out front for Houston to come back from to avoid a series sweep.

Final Score: Tigers 6, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 6-6, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Michael Fulmer (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1)

Tigers knock out another starter early

Detroit continued their success of making Houston's starter work hard in early innings, getting after Lance McCullers Jr., and giving him an early exit. After a lengthy fist, they broke through in the second getting two hits, a walk, a hit batter, and an RBI groundout to put up three runs on 34 pitches.

He would have a quicker 1-2-3 third, but after giving up a single, a walk, and hitting another batter to load the bases and reach 87 pitches, he would be removed in favor of Joe Smith. Smith would allow all three of the inherited runners to score, adding those runs to McCullers Jr.'s final line: 3.2 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 87 P.

Astros try to claw back into it

After Smith would go on to load the bases again in the inning, still with two outs, Houston made another pitching change to bring in Brandon Bielak to get the third out and stop the bleeding at 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the fifth, getting a runner on base to set up a two-run homer by Jason Castro to cut the lead to 6-2.

Bielak remained in the game to try and eat up as many innings as possible. While he continued to hold the Tigers to their six runs through the six innings, the Astros clawed back into the game. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put their first two batters on base with a walk and single before an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to make it 6-3. They would threaten for more but be held there for the time being.

Astros can't cash in, Tigers complete sweep

Ryne Stanek was Houston's next reliever in the top of the seventh, getting a 1-2-3 frame to keep it a three-run game, as did Brooks Raley in the eighth. In the home part of the inning, the Astros put their first two runners on base on an error and a walk, then loaded them with a one-out single by Carlos Correa. They'd waste their chance to make something happen, though, with an inning-ending double-play.

Ryan Pressly, who had no save opportunities in recent games, entered to get some work in the top of the ninth. He worked around a leadoff double for a scoreless inning, sending the 6-3 game to the bottom of the ninth. The Astros had yet another chance to make something happen, loading the bases with no outs to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. After two outs, Yuli Gurriel would bring one run in with a walk, but that's as close as they'd come, extending their losing streak to five games and getting swept by the Tigers.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off tomorrow to try and leave this poor homestand behind them. They'll pick things up in Seattle on Friday, with first pitch of the opener of three games at 9:10 PM Central. The expected pitching matchup is Jose Urquidy (0-1, 5.23 ERA) for the Astros and Yusei Kikuchi (0-0, 3.75 ERA) for the Mariners.

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