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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After another poor performance from former Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson, the Cleveland Browns' season is starting to look like an uphill climb. Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb is out for the year, and Cleveland fans aren't too pleased with the way Watson is playing, especially considering the massive contract extension he signed with the team. And we didn't even get to the off the field drama that comes with Watson.

However, Houston fans are invested in the Browns' season outcome as well, with the Texans holding the Browns' first round pick in 2024, and having sent their own first rounder to the Cardinals in the Will Anderson trade.

So each loss for the Browns, means a better draft pick for the Texans!

For Houston, it looks like they have their QB of the future in CJ Stroud. And he'll be on a less expensive rookie contract for the next several years, giving the Texans more cap space to upgrade the roster.

With all of this in mind, is it fair to question if the Texans dodged a bullet when Watson demanded a trade?

DeMeco Ryans vs. Lovie Smith

Plus, we're only two games into the season, but Lovie Smith's defense was much better (with a similar roster) than what DeMeco Ryans' defense has shown thus far, and DeMeco has the benefit of Will Anderson rushing the QB.

Are the struggles on defense more about the roster GM Nick Caserio has put together, or does this slow start fall on DeMeco?

Don't miss the video above as we break it all down!

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