Walking from NRG to the practice fields, I immediately knew Sunday's workout would be a tad bit different. After months of seeing offense in blue jerseys and defense in white, I saw one of the Texans tight ends in white just ahead of me.
There was a definite method to the madness as head coach Bill O'Brien used Sunday's workout to get a ton of team and situational work done. The workout was a little shorter and the team was not in pads, so the observations are a little all over the place. Still rocking 17 though, just for you.
1. I often keep my thoughts to things I've observed out on the field that day, but one I omitted from Saturday's practice was the addition of former Oklahoma G
2. An offensive lineman update: OT
3. Another practice, another long period of situational work for all three groups - offense, defense and special teams. I know O'Brien has the situations he wants his team to work on but I wait with baited breath to hear the next one. I want O'B to take the situations to the next level with "ALRIGHT, FANMAN FLEW INTO THE STADIUM AND LANDED ON FOSTER WHO CAN'T MOVE AND WE HAVE NO TIME OUTS AND WE'RE DOWN BY 5 WITH 20 SECONDS LEFT...PLAY IT OUT". Hey, it's happened before...in a boxing match.
4. One of the first offense's initial situations was two minute, one time-out, ball at the minus 20...get in FG range for a game winner. Old school end of game situation but one thing that stood out was how fast the offense executed. It ran one play, lined up, got the play call and ran the next one. I counted anywhere from eight to 10 seconds in between plays when the ball stayed in bounds. That's blazingly fast. QB
5. When the second offense replicated that situation, QB
6. The second offensive line had trouble picking up the varied pressures the first defense threw at them. Then again,
8. Playing fast is one thing, but playing fast AND in total control is another. Anything slow is not going to cut it on this roster. The main distinction Fitzpatrick and Keenum, in particular, is that Fitz is doing everything fast and is still in total control. Fitz can see the change that needs to made, voices the changes to the offense and executes. That process is tripping Keenum up at this point. On a 3rd down and ten, he didn't change the play fast enough. O'Brien whistled a delay game penalty and ended the drive on the spot.
9. To that point, that play truly made clear what O'Brien expects and wants from that position. See it, change it, call it and go. When he and GM Rick Smith said they wanted smart football players, they weren't blowing smoke. But beyond that, they want players to digest quickly and react accordingly. Take the quarterback position and multiply that by ten.
10. Sometimes the intelligence is found in little things. I saw ILB
11. The first offense came back on the field and started a drive heading toward us in the south end zone. Fitzpatrick threw a pass with bad media intentions; that one was taking one of us out. Well, until
12. The refs weren't on site today but had they been, Harris would've been flagged a few times for holding as he was on Saturday. After a meeting with NFL referee Tony Corrente and other NFL officials on Friday, it's evident that there's no bigger point of emphasis than DBs getting "handsy". Expect a lot of holding or illegal use of hands flags until DBs make the adjustment.
15. The first offense's next drive lasted one play as
17. There were a number of big names sitting out on Sunday and one of those was LB