Cody Stoots: 11 Observations from Texans training camp for Wed., Aug. 15

Deshaun Watson and the Texans got in some work against the 49ers. Zach Tarrant/Houstontexans.com

1. DeAndre Hopkins and 49ers DB Jimmie Ward fought after the first rep of joint practices. Ward jammed Hopkins hard and went under the chin and dislodged Hopkins' helmet. After the rep was over Ward swatted at the ball eliciting a shove from Hopkins. The Texans wideout shoved Ward in the face and the fracas was on. Ward took some swings at Hopkins and the two tangled and went to the ground. Hopkins ended up on the bottom of the pile with Ward on top of him and coaches and teammates pulling the two apart. Both were sent off, though Ward returned to the sidelines. Oh, and Hopkins caught the ball. 

2. “Ridiculous. We gotta move on from that quick" was Bill O'Brien's response. 49ers head man Kyle Shanahan lamented the missed opportunity for those two in practice. Tuesday O'Brien said anything eliciting an ejection in the game would see a player leave practice. In a game, both would have been ejected. 

3. The defenses were the big winners today with the offenses having minimal consistent success. Not to say there wasn't any, Jimmy Garoppolo and Deshaun Watson both threw some beautiful passes today, but chalk up a win overall for both defenses. 

4. The Texans had no luck running the football today against the 49ers. The team lacked consistent gains on the ground and often found themselves with the line of scrimmage as their best result. The offensive line struggled to protect Watson a few times in the middle of practice but picked it up near the end where Watson was able to stand and deliver a few nice passes. 

5. J.J. Watt is no stranger to being the driving force behind a "welcome to the NFL" moment and today he was at it again. 49ers rookie tackle Mike McGlinchey had very limited success against Watt. He was mauled in a one-on-one drill by Watt and in some team reps Watt flew by the rookie for what would have been the end of Garoppolo. Watt has looked fantastic this preseason and much closer to pre-back Watt than last year's version. 

6. Angelo Blackson again had a solid day as he works into the defensive line rotation. He won a few reps in line drills and in some team drills flashed penetration which would have ended with a sack in a game. He even batted a ball down as well. He has a great shot to make this team and could easily be one of the backup defensive linemen for the Texans. 

7. With no Jadevon Clowney or Whitney Mercilus in team drills, the Texans have to be thrilled with that their pass rush looked like today. Watt was a monster as usual. Brennan Scarlett is making the most of his opportunities and is annoying offensive linemen. Rookie Duke Ejiofor flashed a nice pass rush move or two today as well. It may not be until the season debut against the Patriots, but watching this Texans pass rush is going to be fun.

8. The Texans wide receivers had one heck of a day in drills and even in some of the team portion. Even without Hopkins, they should count today as a big win for them over the 49ers secondary. Almost every wideout had a play or two to be proud of in drills.  

9. The Texans secondary can chalk up a win as well for today. Though they had a few breakdowns in the latter portion, they did well against a fairly talented 49ers group. Marquise Goodwin is a freak for the 49ers and seems like he will end up the No. 1 target there. He didn't have a lot of success today though. Kurtis Drummond had a pick-six for the team and Tyrann Mathieu took a Garoppolo pass back to the house in a team session. 

10. Sammie Coates and Braxton Miller didn't do anything to separate themselves from each other in their quest to round out the pass catchers. Miller shook loose on more than a few 49ers and left them looking for their jocks. Coates ran right past a DB catching a beauty of a pass from Brandon Weeden for a touchdown in a one-on-one drill. Bruce Ellington had a shake on a 49ers defender than nearly broke his ankle as Ellington ran free. A good day for the pass catchers on the Texans. 

11. Ryan Griffin seems like he could end up being an under the radar fantasy option from the Texans. Watson found him again and again and Griffin hauled in some tough catches. The two linked up a little last season and with Griffin the clear-cut No. 1 he is creeping up the rankings of Watson's favorite targets. Rookie Jordan Thomas is huge and it almost looks awkward but he's very athletic. He caught a pass off his shoelaces today that was an absolute bullet from Watson. 


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Carlos Correa had a big home run Saturday night. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With four wins in a row, including the first two of this series, Houston had a chance to keep their momentum going to lock up a series win on Saturday in this four-game set. Although Texas would make it interesting late, the Astros would hold them off to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Rangers 5

Astros' Record: 23-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dane Dunning (2-3)

Action in the first

After getting trounced the night prior, the Rangers managed to grab early momentum with a run to start the scoring Saturday night against Luis Garcia. It came after a one-out triple set up a sac fly, giving Texas a 1-0 lead. Houston quickly took control back in their favor, though, putting up four in the bottom of the inning on a two-RBI single by Alex Bregman and a two-run homer by Carlos Correa, making it 4-1 Astros.

The scoreboard went quiet after that inning, with both teams slowing down at the plate. Garcia put together a decent night, allowing just the one run over five innings of work, erasing some runners throughout the night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 94 P.

Rangers tighten it up late

Bryan Abreu was the first reliever to enter for Houston, taking over for Garcia in the top of the sixth. He worked around a leadoff single, keeping it a three-run game, then returned for a 1-2-3 top of the seventh. Correa led off with a double in the bottom of the inning, setting up a two-run Kyle Tucker homer, extending his recent hot streak and the lead to 6-1.

Ryne Stanek took over on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth but worked himself into trouble with a single and walk to set up a three-run homer by Joey Gallo to make it a two-run game at 6-4. He would manage just one out before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Brandon Bielak. Bielak would allow a run while getting the final two outs, making it 6-5.

Astros secure the series

After a scoreless bottom of the eighth, Ryan Pressly would try to notch another save and close the door on the Rangers. He would get the job done, sitting the Rangers down in order, keeping Houston's winning streak intact.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game set will start at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers JR. (3-1, 3.10 ERA), fresh off of a recent gem, will look to continue his success for the Astros, while Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.28) will try to stay perfect on the season for the Rangers.

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