TEXANS CAMP REPORT

Cody Stoots: 11 Observations from Texans training camp for Tuesday, Aug. 14

Will Fuller has been looking good in practice. Photo by Edward Clarke

1. Bill O'Brien was much more pleased with today's practice as opposed to the start of the week. He said he liked the way his guys competed against each other today. The offense struggled a little more early but late found some rhythm and success and ultimately the end zone. It would still be considered a defensive win for today though. 

2. The Texans are managing reps for certain players this training camp. DeAndre Hopkins and Whitney Mercilus fall into that category. O'Brien mentioned it was a focus to manage the workload and to have them ready for the regular season. He noted there is still close to three weeks before the regular season and players fall into different levels of their reps. 

3. Seantrell Henderson is "fine" according to O'Brien despite missing today. Kendall Lamm and Chad Slade are among the names competing for backup tackle snaps. Lamm had some wins today but the offensive line as a whole struggled at times during situational practicing. 

4. Will Fuller had a huge day today. Deshaun Watson found him a few times for impressive plays. Fuller used a double move to escape Kevin Johnson in a one-on-one drill. He also pulled down a corner strike from Watson that required some impressive contortion to stay in bounds and bring it down. Fuller looks much more complete this year and the opportunity afforded him while Hopkins has his reps managed has paid off. 

5. Kevin Johnson had a long day today. A few red zone drills saw Johnson bested by Sammie Coates and Vyncint Smith. Smith had to make a contested catch with Johnson being physical at the point of attack but he pulled it down eliciting loud praise from tight end Ryan Griffin. Coates outmaneuvered Johnson in the corner for a score. Both plays would be unlikely to happen if there was a pass rush but in this instance, the offense got the best of Johnson. 

6. Sammie Coates is moving into the realm where it would be a surprise if he is cut by the Texans. He ran right by Johnathan Joseph in a drill displaying surprising burst and speed. He plays outside wide receiver and is likely competing with Braxton Miller on a near daily basis for the fifth wideout spot. Miller mentioned after practice he aims to listen to the coaches as he is asked to process a lot of information playing inside and outside for the offense. 

7. Aaron Colvin is fun to watch in coverage. The intensity around him is impressive to see and he is focused in his approach. He had a great pass breakup in a drill against Bruce Ellington and he almost stalks wideouts the way he moves around before the snap. He will be a player to watch as the 49ers come to town tomorrow. 

8. Christian Covington and J.J. Watt absolutely mauled the offense on one team play. In a totally live rep, the duo would've easily combined for a sack and their disruption was evident on quite a few plays. Covington looks completely healthy after ending the year on injured reserve last year. He seemed to be hitting his stride and having him back this year will strengthen a strong position group for the Texans. Angelo Blackson flashes in practice a lot as well. 

9. Covington and Watt's teammate D.J. Reader crashed Watt's post-practice podium appearance joking around about Watt. Reader noted Watt is quite the Jeopardy player and Watt hates Reader's dirty locker. He also mentioned Watt was the better soccer player of the two and better at shooting video games when they play, but Reader took the credit for besting Watt at sports video games. A lighthearted and fun moment post-practice. Watt said at the podium today he would be playing in the season opener against the Patriots. 

10. Dylan Cole summarized the Texans emotions and feelings ahead of their joint practices with the 49ers with the notion he was ready to "hit someone else" noting he is tired of talking trash to teammates after practice and they are ready to see fresh opponents. He praised his fellow inside linebackers and said he believes they could be the best linebacker group in the league. Cole also joked people know who he is but not enough to recognize him on a trip to the grocery store. 

11. O'Brien seemed to relish the joint practices beginning. He noted he is fond of those and though he wouldn't go far enough to say they were better than preseason games. He mentioned the specific focus they can take in a joint practice as opposed to a preseason game. He gushed about 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and mentioned he is excited to see his players execute what they have learned and use their instincts with their visitors in town. He also said he and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan have agreed if a player does something that would get him ejected in a game he will be ejected in joint practices as well. 

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Walter will host The Night of Champions. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

In 2014, Austin Walter rushed for 2,704 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Crosby High School. Despite falling short of a state title, Walter was named District 19-4A MVP and finished his prep career with a little over 6,000 rushing yards on 613 carries (6,062 yds). Seven years later, Walter will be returning to his high school alma mater to give back to the community that laid the foundation for an NFL career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's a blessing to be able to come from a small town and be one of the guys who made it out," Walter said. "Not a lot of people made it to the NFL or the NBA from Crosby High School. To be one of the first, it's an amazing feeling. It's a blessing and an honor."

On Thursday, April 15, Walter will host The Night of Champions to benefit the Crosby High School Booster Club from 6-9 p.m. The event will be a weight lifting competition at Crosby High School for student-athletes around the area to showcase their talents and abilities.

In addition to hosting a weight lifting showcase, Walter will also share his life teachings with student-athletes in attendance. Perseverance and not taking no for an answer will be one of the most vital messages the Crosby native will share with aspiring pro-athletes. It's the two virtues Walter has leaned on from little league football to the NFL. And as an undrafted prospect in 2019, it was that same morale that helped him outshine six other running backs during the 49ers rookie training camp that same year.

"Before I started playing football in high school, a lot of people thought I was too small," Walter said. "They thought because we played little league and not in middle school we would not make it in high school. My twin brother [Ashton Walter] and I did not listen to that. We just kept pushing forward."

"When I left Rice, people thought I was going to play in the Canadian league or AFF, and I did not take no for an answer. I believed in myself. And I believed in God. And if I can make it out of a small town like Crosby, anybody can make it...It's the mentality I've had my entire life of not quitting. I feel like that is what got me to the point I am at right now."

Whether their life goal is to play in the NFL or not, Walter's primary objective for The Night of Champions is to be an inspiration and show kids they can find success despite their environment. It is one of the things the former XFL running back (Dallas Renegades) wished he would have seen growing up in Crosby.

After graduating from Crosby High School, Walter went on to have a record-breaking collegiate career at Rice University. He became one of two players in school history to rush for over 1,500 yards (1,744 yds.) and 1,000 kick return yards (1,548 yds.) in four seasons with the Owls. In February, Walter signed a one-year contract extension to re-join the 49ers ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Click here to learn more about The Night of Champions at Crosby High School or support Walter and the Crosby High School Booster Club.

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