Cody Stoots: 11 observations from Texans training camp for Wed., Aug. 22

Deshaun Watson says drafting him in fantasy football is a good move. Photo by Edward Clarke

1. Keke Coutee has returned to practice for the Texans. An injury kept him from practicing with the team since before the first preseason game. He was definitely knocking some rust off on some of his reps, but showed the physical gifts that make him an intriguing player to watch. 

2. Bill O'Brien said he believes Coutee has a "long way to go" after missing time, but at least he's getting back to action. 

3. Sammie Coates returned after his concussion kept him out of practice. There is still a determination on if he will play Saturday. He showed off some of the skills that made him one of the buzzes around camp so far. He is fluid for his size, and the speed is a nice element as well. He can blow past some guys. The footwork drills today showcased his experience in the league, while some of the young guys needed some coaching. 

4. DeAndre Hopkins seems to do something amazing every day. Today, it was a catch where he never moved his hand above his waist, and caught the ball with his left hand. Made it look easy and routine. 

5. Jordan Thomas is fluid for a player of his size. The rookie tight end was a receiver who turned into a tight end in college, but his old position shines on some plays. He and Jordan Akins make everything look simple compared to the other guys not named Ryan Griffin. This might be the best route-running tight end group the Texans have ever had. Now, with the blocking, there is likely some improvement to be had with that aspect, but they can all catch the ball. 

6. Speaking of blocking, O'Brien addressed the approach with the offensive line and the preseason. He said the offensive line is a position that needs reps in a game, as there is only so much that can be accomplished in practice. He mentioned he thought this group has gelled pretty well considering they came from different systems. Julién Davenport doesn't look or play like the same guy that played in two games at the end of last season. The guards and center work well together. Seantrell Henderson has missed some time and Kendall Lamm has seen work at tackle opposite Davenport. 

7. Johnson Bademosi played just over 20 percent of the Patriots snaps last year, and he may not make that number much higher this year. The special teams ace has been pressed into action at cornerback with Kevin Johnson still sidelined. He held his own in practice after the game on Saturday night was less favorable to him. He earned an interception today. Constant action might be a bad situation for him, but he will have his spot outside of special teams. 

8. Tyrann Mathieu was a terror today. He was darting in on running plays and talking to the offense quite a bit. After Jordan Thomas failed to haul in a sideline pass with the defense draped all over him, Mathieu let him know the defense was, how do you say, not there to play today. He's much more vocal and outspoken on the field than how he comes off when away from the field. There is an intensity around him that the Texans have never had in the secondary. 

9. O'Brien likes where Deshaun Watson is at in his progression as a quarterback. He said he is fun to coach and his football intelligence is higher. O'Brien said Watson loves to watch film. It will be interesting to see how Watson develops as he gets to consume more real football footage on other teams. With the offense built around him and the work he has done in the offseason, Watson's education can add focus on the opposition instead of just making sure he is knowledgeable about his own team. 

10. Deshaun Watson graces the Sports Illustrated cover this week. When asked about the SI jinx, Watson brushed it off. "I don't believe in none of that," he said. "I had it plenty of times in college and was plenty successful."

11. "Last year, the people that had me (were) very successful," Watson joked about fantasy football. He said it isn't something he pays too much attention to, but thanks people who believed in him to pick him last year. He ended with "If you have a pick, draft number four, for sure."

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Paying a kicker 17 million dollars? Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Head coach/general manager Bill O'Brien engineered questionable moves during the off-season that already have come back to bite the Texans in the butt. Fans have yet to see the Texans on the right track, at least on television for now. Here are the top three, or bottom three, contracts that have Houston raising eyebrows, shrugging shoulders, and shaking heads.

Randall Cobb: 3 years, $27 million

The 30-year-old wide receiver has been quiet so far this 0-2 season with seven catches for 82 yards. New offensive coordinator Tim Kelly is favoring "12 and 21" schemes which render Cobb the third option behind Will Fuller and Brandin Cooks. This could change now with Fuller nursing a hamstring injury sustained against the Ravens. To be fair, with no preseason games or extended practice, Cobb has not had time to build chemistry with quarterback Deshaun Watson. So let's mark him, "bad contract," but jury still deliberating.

David Johnson: 3 years, $39 million

Johnson has carried the ball 22 times for 111 yards. Normally, these would be acceptable, even commendable stats. However, Johnson carries the burden of being involved in the trade that sent DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona. BTW, Hopkins in tearing it up in Arizona with 22 receptions for 219 yards. Also, more evidence condemning Johnson's contract, the Texans could have made a run at Leonard Fournette (17 carries for 108 yards) or Adrian Peterson (21 carries for 134 yards), both chewing up more turf for less money.

Whitney Mercilus: 4 years, $54 million

Here's another 30-year-old who was being paid big and producing little. He was MIA against the Ravens with no tackles and no sacks, despite being on the field for 70 percent of the Ravens snaps. Mercilus was able to squeeze the Texans for huge money last year when he picked up the workload of injured J.J. Watt.

Honorable Mention

Ka'imi Fairbairn: 4 years, $17,650,000

Fairbairn is the third highest-paid kicker in the NFL. Fairbairn had a rough start against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1, missing an extra point and a deep 51-yard field goal attempt. Meanwhile, up in Dallas, Greg 'The Leg' Zuerlein is being paid half of what Fairbairn makes, but knocking them down from the logo, including a last-second, game-winning field goal to beat the Falcons. Former Texans kicker Randy Bullock is enjoying greater success in Cincinnati for considerably fewer dollars, too. Fun fact: Fairbairn is paid more than most Texans secondary defenders.

But really, the worst, and most regrettable Texans contract of all might be Bill O'Brien's deal- 4 years, $20 million.

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