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OTA Day 2 Observations

Posted May 28, 2014

Texans Analyst John Harris shared his Observations of Wednesday's OTA.

Day two of OTAs in the books and not much has changed. But there’s so much to watch that it takes a few days to discuss it all. No matter what happens, the best news is that no one has gotten injured, unlike a few other OTA sessions throughout the league.

I’ll start with the least unexpected news of all: Andre Johnson is still a no-show. So, that’s the update and at this point, the only real news will be if 'Dre shows up at any point prior to training camp.

What else? Let’s see if I can drop a few observational nuggets.

Went to a team drill and volleyball practice broke out

During a team passing drill, the defense did its best J.J. Watt imitation getting hands on about four or five passes. That would include Watt who, not surprisingly, knocked down one of the quarterback’s passes. The offensive linemen didn’t get sweet nothings whispered in their ears after the final batted down pass, but without pads, the offensive line is essentially neutered as to what it can do. Regardless, it’s hard to not get excited about what this defense will be able to do when all its parts are reasonably healthy.

 

The (Lab)Hart of an Aggie

A few months ago at Texas A&M’s first Pro Day…yeah, you see there were two Pro Days at A&M, one in which all the seniors participated and one in which, well, you know who threw the ball with Drake playing on the loud speakers…okay, okay, you remember.

Anyhow, I didn’t quite know what to expect at A&M’s first Pro Day as they only had a handful of seniors on hand. But during the workout, former Aggie wide receiver Travis Labhart caught the attention of the handful of scouts, analysts and media on hand. His 40 time was good, not great, but his quickness and change of direction times were strong.

A few of us talked to him after his workout and I remember him clearly saying all he wanted was a chance. I told a friend of mine that he would be a perfect fit in Houston, but didn’t think he’d end up here. He wasn’t drafted but he signed with the Texans after all. Consequently, he had a strong rookie camp and is doing just what he did at A&M.

He runs tremendous routes, displays the speed and quickness many overlooked and catches the ball any time it’s in his vicinity. He still has an upward climb to make the roster but he’s making an early impression. To think, he almost didn’t get on the field at A&M the past two years; he has that former A&M quarterback to thank for pushing the A&M staff to get him on the field. Ol’ what’s his name?

 

Big

NT Jerrell Powe came into the interview room after practice and it’s striking how large he is. In this business, there are big men all over the place. That’s not unusual. But in Houston, there weren’t many 315 lb gentlemen in the building in the past.

But Powe is one of a handful of 330 lb. players and one that moves better than you’d expect. I can’t wait to see the havoc he and former Notre Dame product Louis Nix III can create with their strength and quickness over the nose.

 

The ball didn’t hit the ground

Watching pass skelly late in practice with soon-to-be Texans Radio gameday colleagues Marc Vandermeer and Andre Ware, the former Heisman winner and I made a similar observation when rookie quarterback Tom Savage got his reps.

The ball didn’t hit the ground.

Literally.

Andre noted how comfortable the former Pitt star was making his reads and going through his progressions. If that drill was a pop quiz, so to speak, he passed that portion with flying colors. There was no pass rush and it was just pass skelly, but he looked very much at ease finding open receivers and slinging the rock. Then, he completed each throw. This quarterback battle is just as wide open as Bill O’Brien said on Tuesday and Savage won’t sit idly by the next few months.

 

Blue Footballs

I was asked this maybe three or four times at practice so I figured I’d note it here just in case you see some pictures from the team’s workouts. The running backs went through the individual drills carrying these blue footballs and it had many wondering what it was. The thought process is that the ball is covered with blue silk and it’s difficult to carry if not tucked away properly by the ball carrier. So, if you see a picture of Arian Foster or Alfred Blue or Dennis Johnson with a blue football under his arm, it’s to force those guys to carry the rock “high and tight”.

 

FCS, FBS…whatever it takes

Once in the NFL, it doesn’t matter where a player starred in college. FCS. FBS. Division II. It honestly doesn’t matter and the Texans "found" a few that weren’t featured on CBS each and every Saturday. One of those players is former North Dakota State CB Marcus Williams.

He was one of my players to watch in college football since I first saw him last summer. He doesn’t have great long speed but when the lights are on, he makes plays. Wednesday, he made a couple of solid plays on the ball during 7-on-7 that got his defensive teammates excited. He’s going to be in the mix no matter where he played the last four years.

 

Don’t forget about me

Wearing the number 34 in this town carries a massive responsibility.

Earl.

Nolan.

Dream.

A.J.

Has a nice ring, no? Wait did I say A.J.? As in A.J. Bouye? Okay, I’m not locking up A.J.’s spot on the Team 34 Mount Rushmore, but this guy just won’t allow Romeo Crennel and the defensive staff to keep him off the field. Just as he did last year during training camp, Bouye continues to make plays in the secondary and he’s making it awfully difficult to forget about him.

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