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Minicamp Day 1 Observations

Posted Jun 18, 2014

Texans Analyst John Harris shared some of his thoughts following the first day of minicamp.

When OTA sessions concluded last Friday, head coach Bill O'Brien made as definitive statement as he had since arriving in Houston as it pertained to the Texans right tackle spot.

"Derek Newton is our starting right tackle".

Little did we know at the time that his comment on Newton was just the start. At an 8 a.m. team meeting on Tuesday, O'Brien introduced Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starting quarterback heading into training camp and led off his afternoon press conference with that news.

He and the Texans weren't done.

Later that afternoon, the Texans parted ways with veteran quarterback T.J. Yates.

We've been clamoring for clarity, in some sense, for months and we just got plenty of it. The news just hasn't stopped.

Oover the past seven days:

1. David Quessenberry was diagnosed with lymphoma

2. Jadeveon Clowney flew to Philadelphia for sports hernia surgery

3. J.J. Watt slightly hyperextended his knee on Thursday

4. Newton was named the team's starting right tackle

5. Former Dolphin tackle Will Yeatman signed a two year deal with the Texans

6. Fitzpatrick was named the starting quarterback

7. Yates was no longer a Texan.

...and Andre Johnson remains away from the team. No offense, but I'll take staid and boring over the last two mini-camp days than anything resembling that list above. Training camp can't get here fast enough.

That said, other than DQ's crushing diagnosis, the rest of news isn't insurmountable, to be honest. Clowney should be near 100% by training camp. Watt was back in practice on Tuesday, diving for interceptions during team drills (yes, the best defensive player in the world laid out for a pick in "no pads" practice). Newton looks quicker and lighter on his feet and a different player than last year (more on this in a moment). Yeatman made strides in Miami before an injury sidelined him in 2013 and he can move. Many expected Fitzpatrick to be the starter heading into training camp and one of either Yates or Case Keenum would be let go.

Clarity, right? Well, with one potential Hall of Fame wide receiving exception. Luckily, there's still time to figure that out before Training camp Day one, but it'll make for some stressful days over the next five weeks.

The news about the quarterbacks took center stage after day one of minicamp, but Friday's news on Newton had my attention. O'Brien's declaration about Newton was met with expected resistance. Had I not seen Newton over the past four weeks of OTAs and mini-camps, I might've had trepidation about the statement. However, as I mentioned above, he just looks different. He appears unburdened. He's talked about it in post-practice interviews as he admitted to how difficult 2013 was on a number of different levels. He's more than a year removed from his knee issues. He's moving more fluidly and his footwork is more consistent. Yes, without the pressure of collisions and contact and he'll be under the microscope until he plays consistently throughout July and August.

Now is "looking different" the answer? C'mon, y'all know me better than that. But, it's a start and Newton needed a completely new one after last season. Will Newton be the starter when the Redskins come to NRG Stadium on September 7th? Like Fitzpatrick and 20 other players, he'll start if earns the job when the pads go on during training camp.

Over the next two days, I'll have my eyes on a few players that continue to make consistent progress.

Wide receiver Alec Lemon catches everything in his radius and made a great catch on a deep ball from Keenum on Tuesday.

Offensive lineman Xavier Su'a Filo is on site after graduation at UCLA.

Inside linebacker Max Bullough got all the coaches' attention with an excellent strip on a goal line passing drill.

Quarterback Tom Savage will get more reps over the next two days, increasing the pressure on him before training camp.

Safety Chris Clemons missed a number of OTA practices.

Just a few on my agenda.

Content on HoustonTexans.com does not necessarily represent the views of the Houston Texans front office staff, coaches or executives.

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