12 observations: Tuesday's OTAs

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Although this was only the second day that we've seen the Texans on the field this offseason, they're clearly well into phase three of the off-season program. Or is it phase four? I lose track after a while but I just know that it was another brick in the wall of the 2016 season. Well, the beginning of it anyway. Here are just a few observations from the day.

  1. Much has been made of the tight end position since Coach Bill O'Brien and his staff took over in January of 2014. Considering the success O'Brien had with tight ends in New England and at Penn State, a lot was expected from this group. It's not worked out as well as anyone would've hoped. Today, though, was another solid outing by the group. C.J. Fiedorowicz caught a few balls, but the majority of the receiving action went to Anthony Denham and rookie Stephen Anderson. Both former Pac-12 tight ends are willing and able pass catchers and can get open against linebackers and/or safeties.
  1. During his post-practice press conference, Coach O'Brien went into great detail about how the tight end slot is actually segregated into three different positions. As such, all are asked to do different things in this offense. Denham and Anderson are in a similar bucket, so to speak, but they can be used to create mismatches in the gameplan and that makes both of them valuable to the offense. Anderson made an excellent catch on a throw from Brock Osweiler and Denham made a handful of catches during team and 7-on-7 periods.
  1. Brock Osweiler spun the ball well and seemed extremely comfortable in team situations. It feels like he thrives in competitive situations with all the chaos happening around him. He seemed to have a good amount of zip on his throws and threw tight spirals throughout practice.
  1. When Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last season that DeAndre Hopkins was one of the most natural throwers he'd ever seen when Weeden was with the Cowboys, people scoffed. But, honestly, he wasn't far off the mark. I've seen hundreds of quarterbacks over the years and very few throw with that amount of zip and with such ease like Weeden. I love to watch that guy throw the rock.
  1. The one consistent aspect of all three quarterbacks was the decision-making. They all seem to be seeing/reading the defense and making sure decisions rapidly, which is a must in this offense.
  1. It's becoming more and more clear that Osweiler is starting to understand where each receiver would like the football, in particular Pro Bowl wideout DeAndre Hopkins.
  1. Speaking of Hopkins, he and cornerback A.J. Bouye went at each other for the majority of practice. They've seen one another a bunch since each came into the league in 2013 and today was another fun competition between the two. Hopkins has mastered how to use his body to gain leverage downfield and create contact and a flag. Bouye, though, challenged Hop all over the field, even coming up with a pass breakup.
  1. But, it was nice to see Brock and Hop getting their timing down on certain routes that might become commonplace in this offense.
  1. I mentioned safety Andre Hal last week as a guy who could really shine in 2016 and one of the main reasons is that he's completely in charge in the back. He's truly responsible for getting everyone in place and communicating with the entire secondary. And, it's not as if he has his full complement of defensive backs with him either. At one point, as he tried to get the attention of a young defensive back, his voice went up an octave or two to get the DB's attention. But, he did and the coverage went off without a hitch.
  1. Lamar Miller's addition to this offense will assist the running game and that's quite clear - just turn on last year's Dolphins' win over the Texans. But, he has a pair of natural hands and it's clear why the Dolphins used him more and more over his four years in Miami. Miller can be a weapon in this pass game and be a true three down running back warrior. How they ultimately use him, in particular, where they use him in the passing game, could create a ton of issues for opposing defenses in the near future.
  1. Rookie wide receiver Tevin Jones, from Memphis, had a solid workout, making multiple catches throughout the day. He's an interesting candidate at the receiver position, even amongst a logjam at the position.
  1. Linebacker Brian Peters is well known for his special teams play and it's no surprise that he can fly. He was a college safety so that's not out of the norm. That speed manifests itself in coverage and his smarts and intelligence make him an excellent cover linebacker. He was in the hip pocket of a running back on one of the last reps of the day.

Alright, that's enough for now, we have to start Texans All-Access, now on every single day from 6-7 PM on our flagship SportsRadio 610. See ya next week, everyone!

View some of the best shots from Tuesday's OTA session.

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