Cody Stoots: 11 observations from Texans training camp for Thu., Aug. 16

Cody Stoots: 11 observations from Texans training camp for Thu., Aug. 16
The Texans have had trouble running the ball the past two days. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

1. DeAndre Hopkins started off against the 49ers much better today than yesterday. The only fight today was against gravity as Hopkins shook his man and skied for a one-handed catch that is amazing to most but seemingly routine for the Texans star. Later Hopkins found himself working hard in teams as Deshaun Watson went to him over and over again. 

2. Hopkins addressed his altercation with Jimmie Ward after practice. He said it was "nothing" and joked they were actually playing tic-tac-toe. He went on to say it was just a scuffle and "that's football" before saying he and Ward were cool. 

3. Richard Sherman and Deandre Hopkins squared off late in the practice. Sherman looks so weird in 49ers gear and he was quite the match for Hopkins. After the practice Hopkins said it is nice to see guys like Sherman in practice because they are an elite talent and then he gets with those players to find out what he can improve on. Hopkins said it is an information exchange in those situations. 

4. The Texans pass catchers started fast and furious against the 49ers. Hopkins, Will Fuller, Bruce Ellington, Braxton Miller, and Sammie Coates all started the drills portion with consecutive catches. The wideouts didn't stay dominant though as the 49ers DBs caught up and pulled out some wins of their own. Keke Coutee is missing a ton of opportunity with his injury and it may be opening the door for Braxton Miller or Sammie Coates to make the roster. Coates had a wonderful over the shoulder catch and Miller shook loose with ease a couple of times. It is the most interesting battle in camp and gets even more interesting when Coutee returns and takes some reps away from the other pass catchers. 

5. Bruce Ellington is hard to cover and his movements once he gets the ball are fluid and sudden. There hasn't been a 49ers player that could cover him in space yet. Ellington hasn't played a ton in the NFL but the Texans seem to trust him with various wideout duties including the slot. 

6. The running game was again disappointing. The Texans got very little going on the ground once again. Troymaine Pope has some nice wiggle in the tight spaces and shot through on a few reps but his size might make that difficult to replicate in a full go game. Alfred Blue made some people pay on the line of scrimmage today. 

7. Kareem Jackson had an interception off Jimmy Garoppolo today. The 49ers started a team portion by taking a shot deep only to find the Texans new safety patiently waiting for the ball. Kurtis Drummond had another interception today as well in team drills. 

8. A scary moment for Brandon Weeden as a 49ers linebacker fell onto his legs as Weeden headed to the ground. Weeden was animated in his displeasure with his opponent as touching the quarterbacks is off limits. Weeden hit an amazing play-action pass to Braxton Miller after a successful run and still, despite his age, has a cannon. 

9. Speaking of cannons, Deshaun Watson almost put a hole in Ryan Griffin in a red zone rep. With his head surveying left to right and a pass rush closing in Watson fit a rocket into the tightest window we have seen since the Texans arrived back in Houston. Between two 49ers players and almost through Griffin. Touchdown Texans. 

10. Justin Reid earned a hearty congratulations from Tyrann Mathieu after he popped a 49ers player to end a rep. Reid said after practice the first game was a great experience because now he can start adjusting to the speed of the game and see the level at which he can compete. He had a great pass break up on a long Jimmy Garoppolo pass to a tight end. 

11. Bill O'Brien explained the "starters" would play "about the same" as the first preseason game. He explained they got a lot of game-like action over the past two days making it less important for them to play in the preseason game. He said it was just "really good work" the past two days. 

Looking ahead: The 49ers play the Texans Saturday night. The players to watch will be Sammie Coates (18) and Braxton Miller (13) as they battle for a spot on the team and on defense pay attention to Duke Ejiofor (53) to see if he is more consistent and Angelo Blackson (97) to see if he is still causing mayhem on the defensive line. The team needs to be better at rushing the football so pay attention to that as a whole for the offense. 

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With both Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers making their way back from surgeries that sideline that Astros pitchers last season, and given the team's thin depth in their starting rotation, Houston fans and media have waited on bated breath for scraps of information to leak out of the notoriously secretive organization regarding their progress.

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Shifting from the health questions of the starters to the performance questions of the bullpen, some Houston fans have voiced concern via social media that Astros big-ticket 9th inning pitcher Josh Hader is not looking like a "shut-down" closer. Hader gave up more home runs in the first week of July (3) as he did the entire month of June (2).

In this week's episode of Stone Cold Stros, Charlie Pallilo and Brandon Strange discuss how the fluid dynamics of Astros pitching is impacting the competitive landscape of the division race. To watch the conversation, just click the video YouTube embedded in this article. To listen to the entire episode on podcast, search "Stone Cold Stros" in your favorite podcast app or click one of the following links.

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