Again, without names and logos on the helmets, just so we don’t get into that discussion like we did after veteran minicamp.
Regardless, at worst, the seeds of optimism were planted on Tuesday. At best, the seeds of a championship ball club were dropped into the fruitful earth. Or maybe it’s somewhere in between but I’ve got to admit, I liked plenty of what I saw. Here are a few observations from the first day of practice.
The one we didn’t see
It wasn’t a huge surprise that Dre didn’t show at OTAs, having alluded to bypassing the voluntary sessions a few weeks ago. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times that his absence allows for opportunity for
JD fits in
An innocent bystander watching practice with a trained football eye wouldn’t ever know that No. 1 pick
He does need to learn a few pet pass-rush moves but with no contact allowed until training camp, he’ll have to be a quick study in late July/early August. It’s a mouthful but after seeing him drop, rush and play the run, he should be one of defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel’s key chess pieces this season.
You’re my boy, Blue
Okay, that one is almost too easy to be honest, but former LSU product
I’ve been here since 2007 and I’ve not seen a back with Blue’s burst to-and-through the hole. Now, that’s easy to show when no one is ready and willing to introduce you to the turf when the pads are on. That said, don’t expect Blue to shy away from contact when the Texans don the pads later this summer. If he stays healthy, he could truly add a different wrinkle to the backfield this season.
The Texans had four sixth round selections in the 2013 draft but only one made an impact on the
During last year’s training camp, whether it was as a backup receiver or as a punt returner, Bonner had everyone’s attention. After missing the year, Bonner looks as healthy as ever and caught my attention on day one again. He’s so explosive running his routes and caught nearly everything. As such, it’s evident that he makes defensive backs uncomfortable with his route running. Taking advantage of the expected emphasis on utilizing a true slot receiver, Bonner might be of more value to this staff than the previous one.
Did you bring your juice?
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer constantly asks his players whether they’ve brought their juice to the field. You know, juice – their energy, their passion and their heart. Ever since I heard him use that phrase, I wonder what teams, players and coaches have brought their juice to the field. Well, Bill O’Brien, Meyer’s old B1G foe, demanded that from his squad and it answered with a resounding yes.
This group brought a ton of energy to the ballyard, fed off the music and competed intensely all morning long. The coaches did too, which I’ve always said is a good sign. I’ve often said show me a team that finds a way to compete in every single thing it does and I’ll show you a team that hates to lose. I’ll take that team 100% of the time. What makes it more impressive is that a football team typically needs to pop the pads to get going, but O’Brien’s crew was juiced without one physical hit.
Chopped: Linebacker style
One of my favorite current television shows is the show Chopped on the Food Network. The jist of it is
Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is that chef and he just opened his linebacker basket. It includes a star inside linebacker that missed most of the last two seasons, a three year veteran that has a world of talent but still isn’t total sure of himself at outside linebacker, a four year veteran that
To me, this is the most interesting puzzle to watch this coaching staff solve and if all are healthy and right, there are a million different combinations that could ultimately make sense, which showed some of itself on Tuesday. But,
So, again, good luck, Romeo. Let’s show the judges what you’ve made.