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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Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

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