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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Houston drops the game to Arizona

D-backs outslug Greinke and Astros to take series opener

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

With the series win over the Rangers by taking two of three games in the middle of the week, the Astros welcomed the Diamondbacks to Minute Maid Park for a three-game weekend series, Houston's final three regular-season home games. Here is how the opener unfolded:

Final Score: Diamondbacks 6, Astros 3.

Record: 25-26, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zac Gallen (2-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1, 2.53 ERA).

Houston scores first, but Arizona grabs a lead against Greinke

Houston would get on the board first on Friday night, with George Springer reaching base in the bottom of the first on an error, moving to second on a walk, then to third on a single, as the Astros loaded the bases with no out to threaten a big inning. Instead, they would come away with just one run, with Springer taking home on a wild pitch, grabbing the 1-0 lead, but leaving runs on the table.

They doubled their lead in the bottom of the third, getting a two-out RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to make it a 2-0 Houston lead. The D-backs responded in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles to lead off the inning before a three-run homer by Kole Calhoun off of Zack Greinke would put Arizona in front, 3-2. Greinke would finish one more inning before Houston would move to their bullpen, striking out the side to bring his total to nine on the night, making the bad fourth inning the one blemish on his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 89 P.

Astros tie it, but D-backs take the opener

George Springer would get Greinke off the hook in the bottom of the fifth, leading off the half-inning with a solo bomb to tie the game at 3-3. Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and retired Arizona in order for a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh but would allow a leadoff single, RBI-triple, and wild pitch to bring in two runs. He would face two more batters, allowing a double and getting a strikeout, before Dusty Baker would come out to get him, now down 5-3.

Blake Taylor would make his return from the IL after Garcia, getting back-to-back outs to finish the inning. He continued on in the 5-3 game in the top of the eighth, but allowed a one-out solo homer to Calhoun, his second of the night and fourth RBI. That made it a 6-3 D-backs lead, which would go final as Houston would go scoreless after Springer's home run back in the fifth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Luke Weaver (1-7, 6.70 ERA) for Arizona and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.22 ERA) for Houston.

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