Well, that's a wrap. The Texans offseason is in the books and the next time we'll see this group is on the grounds of the Greenbrier at 2017 Texans Training Camp. Coach Bill O'Brien noted that the team's quality work over nine weeks warranted the opportunity to get away a day early as in prior years. Regardless, today's workout was a little, uh, different as well.
Why? Here are my observations from the last offseason practice of 2017.
- When we walked out to practice, it looked like a midseason, midweek workout. There were about 55 to 60 guys out there maximum as the big fellas were rewarded with a little extra time off and by time off, I mean, a session in the weight room. It's been noted how offseason workouts are passing camp workouts, so the coaching staff excused the offensive and defensive linemen...and got some passing game work done.
- I love to see competition in individual drills and there was a lot of that during practice. The defensive backs did a drill that I'd never seen before and it was one of the best drills I've ever seen. They aligned next to one another and then were required to break one way or the other, based on the coaches decision. The player to that side was then the receiver and the player on the opposite side was the defender. It forced the defenders to truly have to burst to, and through, the receiver. I wish I'd had known that drill a long time ago.
- The linebackers worked on a hoop pass rush drill against one another as well. The hoop drill is a simulation that helps the players in bending the edge and getting to the quarterback. This time, though, they set up two different hoops and raced to the finish. In both the defensive backs and the linebackers situations, it was fascinating to see the competitive nature of both groups come to the forefront.
- Safety Kurtis Drummond has had a solid offseason and if he can stay healthy, he's going to be a player to watch during training camp. He's always had the football IQ to understand this defense, but he's making more plays and that appears to have given him confidence along the way too. He truly took advantage of these nine weeks in the offseason as he seeks the opportunity to significantly contribute to the defense in 2017.
- Quarterbacks didn't have quite the day that they had on Tuesday but, again, the ball didn't hit the ground much at all. And, they were brilliant on Tuesday, to say the least.
- During 7-on-7 (which was the entire day, really) Tom Savage's best throw of the day was a laser to DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans pass catcher beat man coverage and Savage drove one right into his hands. It was a 98 mph fastball.
- Later in the same period, Savage made a tremendous throw to rookie tight end Zach Conque on a deep out route but the cover linebacker held on the play and kept Conque from being able to make the catch.
- DeAndre Hopkins laid a beautiful deep ball down the field to rookie Chris Thompson. I mean it was a majestic parabola down the field, but defensive back Robert Nelson came up with an impressive recovery and break up. Thompson has some serious jets, like most of the receivers on this roster but the recovery speed shown by Nelson was impressive.
- Deshaun Watson showed his moxie, in my opinion, today. He got picked off on his second to last play in the period. However, on the very next play, the last one in that period, Watson made a tremendous throw on an curl or dig route to Dres Anderson. It might have been the best throw he made all offseason. He drove the ball off his backfoot, delivered with some serious RPMs and hit Anderson who found an open hole in the defense.
- I didn't mention the defense much yesterday but today, that group was excellent. They had a couple of coverage sacks along the way, which is about the best a defense can do during 7-on-7.
- Linebacker Brian Peters had the lone interception in the past two days as he read Watson's eyes on an inside route. The defense went nuts as Peters snatched the errant pass and headed for a pick six.
- Tight end Stephen Anderson had more catches than I wanted to even count in my notes. He got some kudos after his final catch of the day from the coaching staff. He was held by safety Corey Moore at the top of the route, but Anderson worked through it to get his hands free and snatched the reception on the throw from Brandon Weeden.
These are a little short as the team was on the field for less than an hour, but there will be plenty for you in about six weeks, as we head to the Greenbrier for training camp. In the words of the infamous Bart Scott "CAN'T WAIT!!" See ya then.
Check out some of the best shots from the second day of veteran minicamp.