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16 Observations: Texans vs. Broncos

Posted Aug 21, 2014

Texans Analyst John Harris shared his 16 observations from the Thursday practice with the Broncos.

After seeing the same faces in a competitive setting for three days, it was smart of the two coaching staffs to put players in shorts and jerseys. "Chippyness" was the buzz word for the past two days and it wasn't quite as bad on Thursday but there was still some leftover hostility.

Hopefully not seeing each other on Friday will allow the warm and fuzzies to return, but I wouldn't plan on it. A short practice will help keep observations in check (16 today, 48 yesterday), so let's roll.

 

1. Texans FB Jay Prosch dropped a pass today. Why is that significant? Well, he's been practicing with a huge club on his left hand after an injury suffered during the first week of training camp. I noted yesterday that I couldn't remember him dropping one pass while wearing that thing. Well, I jinxed him and I felt guilty that I did so. He walked by me as he left the field for practice and I just didn't have the heart to tell him it was my fault. I thought he'd hit me with his club. He started up a new streak after that and I'm not saying another word.

 

2. After stretching, the Texans defense went to one end of the field in three groups. Here they are in shorts and jerseys and the first thing the defense worked on? Tackling. Three different groups doing a tackling circuit for 15 minutes. I smiled.

 

3. I went down to the far end of the field where I could watch both the Broncos and Texans with little interference. As I watched the Broncos offense work out, I saw athe scout team wearing a handful of different colored jerseys with numbers on them: 56, 58, 90, 57, 36 and 21. Look familiar? The Broncos haven't game planned for the Texans this week but it was interesting to see them highlight Brian Cushing, Brooks Reed, Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Tuggle, DJ Swearinger and Kendrick Lewis.

 

4. The Broncos then worked on a drill down on the other end of the field. I assumed it was a defensive drill in large part because Peyton Manning stayed down near us for the second straight day. He threw goal line routes to Montee Ball yesterday and today and also some to WR Emmanuel Sanders as well. On Wednesday, he pointed out some goal line route nuances to Ball as they worked on routes throughout that ten minute period.

 

5. When the Texans offense went into the 7-on-7 period, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick lit it up. He seemed to focus on getting his running backs the ball, in particular No. 23.

 

6. Speaking of Arian Foster, he roasted Broncos Pro Bowl CB Aqib Talib up the near sideline right in front of the Broncos defensive backs. Earlier in the week when Foster was aligned out wide as a receiver, one of the Broncos yelled out "fish out of water". Now, I wasn't sure if that was meant to deride Foster or if it was just an alert that a RB was at a WR position. Either way, that fish out of water looked like found his own swimming pool, burning one of the NFL's best today.

 

7. WR DeAndre Hopkins wanted in on the act too. He made a juggling, toe-tapping grab in the far left corner of the end zone over Chris Harris. The Bronco's reaction was priceless as he turned around thinking there was no way Hop could make the catch and when he did Harris was equal parts shocked and angry.

 

8. QB Case Keenum then went into check down mode for the first few plays of his series, finding Ronnie Brown for two or three straight catches. Then, Keenum threw a dart to EZ Nwachkwu for a touchdown. The former Aggie receiver then took a strong shove from Broncos rookie Bradley Roby and hit his head hard. But he got up and was fine for the rest of practice.

 

9. During 11-on-11, the Broncos defense got the best of the Texans. It's just amazing to me that a pass rusher the quality of Von Miller drops into coverage at all. Thing is he can do it and he does it well. But, like Clowney, I'd rather just see 58 rush the passer all day long. Well, just not on Saturday night, ya know?

 

10. Broncos S Rahim Moore made an impressive break on the football and nearly came away with an interception on a Fitzpatrick pass. But you know what they say about defensive backs and why they're not receivers? Either way, it was a tremendous break on the football and an excellent play.

 

11. Texans rookie QB Tom Savage has thrown the ball well this week, in my opinion. He's really carving out a combination with TE Anthony Denham. Savage threw a dart to Denham for significant yardage during 11-on-11 for the third straight day.  Later he lasered one to WR Joe Adams on a deep dig that hit right between the 8 and the 5 on the last play of the period.

 

12. But, the best play of the 11-on-11 period was Fitzpatrick's aformentioned gem to Foster down the right sideline.

 

13. As I was watching the Texans offense v. the Broncos defense, I missed some shenanigans from the Broncos offensive line with J.J. Watt.

Let's put it this way: every OL in the league wants a shot at Watt but doesn't really want to trifle with him. They poke the bear and poke the bear and Watt just waits until he can embarrass that guy on the next snap. The Falcons couldn't stop him during practice so they knocked his helmet off.

Yesterday, he whipped Chris Clark in pass rush 1-on-1s which caused Clark to "start something" with Watt. Today, apparently, a couple of Broncos did it again, not once but twice. Watt has entered that phase in his career when players all believe they can build their own reputation stopping or slowing him.

Heck, Hard Knocks spent nearly 20% of Tuesday night's show on Watt and the Falcons trying to stop him, in particular. And, by the way, his entrance scene on Hard Knocks is just flat awesome. I was envious because they could've done that for me too. Oh well, next time.

 

14. When situations started, the Broncos went first with :22 seconds left and no time outs, down by two. On the first play of that drive, the Texans defense forced Manning to three pat before he finally released the football incomplete. On the second attempt though, Manning threw a great ball to WR DeMaryius Thomas for a first down and a much shorter field goal attempt.

 

15. The rest of practice was 18 different situations that each team worked through - offense, defense and special teams.

 

16. I can't finish observations for the week without one on Broncos HOF QB and current GM John Elway. He likes sunflower seeds but that makes sense because he was a former baseball player. Yeah, that's all I got.

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