Nothing better on a Saturday morning than football with your morning paper. Okay, so it's not really "the paper" anymore and it's not quite real football, just practice, but we're inching ever so closely. Next weekend, the 2014 Houston Texans crank it up against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale. That deserves a Ric Flair "WOOOOOOO!"
But we still have a week's worth of work to get in before we get there and two and a half hours of hot and humid joy on the practice field today. Except it wasn't really hot, now was it?
Regardless, with no radio today, I locked in and had my best day yet...30 observations. That's a record, ya know? And no, I didn't cheat by breaking them up either. C'mon, y'all know me better than that, right?
1. Players not practicing, coaches and staff were all wearing "Texans for DQ" T-shirts to honor
2. Situations were again the theme of the day. You name the late game situation, the Texans worked on it today throughout practice. They started the day down by two 23-21 with 20 seconds on the clock and no time outs. Since it was just the walkthrough portion of practice, they ran a play, ran the FG team out as the clock wound down and knocked it through. Well,
3. Got a chance to finally watch some halfline run game work and again, OLB
7. During the team's first 11-on-11 team period, Clowney knifed into the backfield and landed a glancing blow on RB
8. Oh, and on scout team, he blocked a punt. I've never seen that happen. I couldn't tell whether the coaching staff was happy or not, maybe it was in shock just like I was.
9. First play of 7-on-7 "going in", S DJ Swearinger jumped a short route PERFECTLY and picked off
10. The next play, Fitzpatrick threw a laser on the same route for a first down.
11. WR EZ Nwachuwku can blaze but where he's really improved is his route running. During 7-on-7 against zone coverage, he found the soft spot at around 13-15 yards, curled up and caught a first down pass from
12. Speaking of Keenum, he probably had his best day, making a number of strong throws to different spots on the field.
13. When Bill O'Brien got the job here, I thought a key in this offense would be Ke. I mean,
14. The refs at practice are a necessary evil, yet more important than at first glance. The side judge
15. During the up-tempo period, RB
16. Late in the up-tempo period, CB Hal knocked away a deep pass intended for WR
17. As I've noted this week, G Xavier Su'a Filo has bad intentions in mind if you're in his sights. During another team period, ILB
18. As the offense moved the ball down inside the five, ILB
19. The first of many
20. Before I go any further, this was Hop's day, pure and simple. That backshoulder catch was impressive but he made two, maybe three deep catches as well, victimizing Harris each time. There's no telling what he can do this year but if this was an example of it, look out. Fantasy owners, take note and...you're welcome.
21. During the team period, it seemed the offense's multiple personnel groupings and alignments had the defense scrambling a bit. But the communication was still strong, even though it appeared sort of Fire Drill-ish.
22. Later in that period, Keenum got a bad snap, caught the ball on one hop and all in one motion fired a dart to RB
23. Keenum then hit WR
24. Speaking of Adams, he hasn't been here but for two days so WR coach Stan Hixon is staying close to him to help him with the play call and route he needs to run. It's like a X's and O's coaching version of Cliff's Notes.
25. I haven't spoken much on DE
26. The OL and DL have worked on stunt pick-up pass protection since pads went on. T
28. I noted earlier the type of practice that Hopkins had, so just know that I wrote down "Hop...full-on stud - deep ball from Fitz". So, there's that.
29. Myers and Fitzpatrick botched a snap on the goalline that didn't sit well with the head coach. If there's one thing that's most evident to EVERYONE watching practice, it's that you won't make a mistake without being accountable.
30. I mentioned Nwachukwu earlier and he showed up again during one of the many situations at the end of practice. The situation: 23-21, :25 seconds left and no time outs. EZ caught a tunnel screen and housed it. Drill over. Well, coaches never expect THAT to happen, so they just put the ball at the first down marker and started over again. EZ was flying up the field. He split a seam and...woosh. I used to be that fast. Wait, no, it was that I WANTED to be that fast, yeah, that's it.