STOOTS ON TEXANS

11 observations you need to know about from Houston Texans training camp

11 observations you need to know about from Houston Texans training camp
Rookie guard and first round pick, Kenyon Green, returned to practice. Photo via: Cody Stoots.

The Houston Texans had a lighter practice ahead of preseason game two. Here are 11 observations from the workout.

1. Lovie Smith explained the team treated this practice like they would a Friday in a normal NFL game week. There wasn’t nearly as much full-speed work as there have been at previous workouts. It was mostly a simulation of game scenarios with mixed and matched depth.

2. The third preseason game is when you can expect to see the most playing time from players who will start week one for the Texans. There will be quite the layoff between the final preseason game and the season opener, so the team doesn’t have to be as cautious as in previous years.

3. Lovie Smith did say there is a chance the team will play a few more players and play some players longer than the preseason opener. This would include the potential for Derek Stingley to make his preseason debut.

4. Kenyon Green returned to practice. The first-round pick didn’t do a lot of work, but Lovie Smith said he was a full return. Smith said yesterday on Sirius radio, Green had been dealing with a concussion. It was a light day so nothing too exciting to glean from Green’s return.

5. Lovie Smith still feels confident in Green, despite the injury setback. He mentioned the rookie offensive lineman still needs to play, but he’s made good progress. This bodes well for his chances to overtake Max Scharping or Justin McCray for the starting job.

6. Pharaoh Brown has a hamstring injury. The tight end impressed in training camp plenty, but the roster is short on tight end help. I still believe there could be another tight end addition to this roster, especially if Brown’s injury lingers.

7. It would be nice to see Teagan Quitoriano play a lot in the preseason. The rookie was behind starting training camp with an injury and has practiced a little more recently. With his draft pick investment, he has an inside track on a roster spot. A few reps with Davis Mills and Kyle Allen on Friday might do him well.

8. Nico Collins had a nice play in one of the livelier reps. Collins snagged a ball in tight coverage ripping it down for a reception. He is alone in tier two of the pass catchers on the team. Brandin Cooks is alone in tier one. All the other wideouts are tier three.

9. Desmond King is a great depth piece for this team. King has the versatility to play inside and outside. I am not sure how much he plays cornerback unless there is an injury, but he is a factor in the return game as well.

10. Derek Stingley was all over a pass to Brandin Cooks in the red zone. Cooks was owning Stingley early in camp, but I would say the rookie has earned his fair share of wins in recent weeks.

11. The second preseason game brings a few more opportunities for playing time, and hopefully some wideout clarity with Kyle Allen playing. Also, let’s see if Dameon Pierce can impress again.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Astros defeat the Rangers, 9-2. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

Kyle Tucker doubled twice and had three RBIs and Jose Altuve added three hits and drove in two runs as the Houston Astros used a seven-run seventh inning to break a tie and coast to a 9-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

The Astros snapped a four-game skid and bounced back after allowing the Rangers to score their season high in a 12-8 win in the series opener.

Altuve said he hopes this game can help get the Astros on a roll after their early struggles.

“We as a team are very confident... this is the kind of team we are, we have done it before,” Altuve said. “I don't see why we can't start doing it again.”

It was tied at 2 and the bases were loaded with one out in the seventh when pinch-hitter Victor Caratini’s RBI single to right field off José Ureña (0-1) put the Astros on top.

Altuve followed with a double to the corner of left field to send two more home and push the lead to 5-2. Austin Pruitt took over and intentionally walked Yordan Alvarez before Tucker doubled to center field to score two more.

Houston made it 9-2 when Alvarez scored on a sacrifice fly by Yainer Diaz.

“That was great,” manager Joe Espada said. “That’s the offense that I’m used to seeing. When we get pitchers against the ropes, we've got to put them away and that’s exactly what we did today.”

Ronel Blanco, who threw a no-hitter in his season debut and pitched six scoreless innings Sunday, gave the Astros another solid start Saturday. He gave up two runs in the first inning before settling down to pitch five scoreless frames. He allowed five singles with three walks and five strikeouts.

It was a much-needed performance after Houston’s starters had allowed 31 earned runs with a 20.93 ERA across 13 1/3 innings in the last five games.

“It started with Blanco,” Espada said. “He set the stage and then our offense got some big hits.”

Texas starter Andrew Heaney yielded four hits and two runs while walking four in 3 2/3 innings.

“I’m fighting myself a little bit right now, mechanically, mentally, just having a hard time getting some traction, getting going,” he said. "So I’m just going to keep working.”

The Rangers loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but Bryan Abreu (1-1) struck out Evan Carter to escape the jam before Houston took the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Rookie Wyatt Langford had two hits and an RBI for Texas and Adolis García added two hits.

Houston’s José Abreu, who is hitting just .122 this season, had two hits with a double for his first multi-hit game this season and his first extra base hit of the year.

Blanco walked Evan Carter and García with two outs in the first before giving up his first run of the season on an RBI single by Josh Smith. Langford followed with a run-scoring single to push the lead to 2-0.

Abreu opened the fourth with a double and moved to third on a groundout by Jake Meyers before scoring on a groundout by Mauricio Dubón to cut the lead to 2-1.

Heaney then hit Altuve and Alvarez with pitches and was lifted for Jacob Latz. Tucker lined a double into center field to score Altuve and tie it at 2-2.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: LHP Brock Burke was placed on the 15-day injured list Saturday after breaking his right hand punching a wall after a poor outing Friday night. … Pruitt had his contract selected from Triple-A Round Rock to take his spot on the roster. … INF Justin Foscue (left oblique strain) was transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day list.

Astros: 3B Alex Bregman missed a second straight game with flu-like symptoms. … RHP Shawn Dubin (forearm strain) was reinstated from the 15-day injured list Saturday to take the spot of RHP Joel Kuhnel, who was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land.

UP NEXT

Texas RHP Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.45 ERA) opposes RHP Cristian Javier (1-0, 1.10) in the series finale Sunday.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome