The first day after the weekend provided us the opportunity to watch another Texans OTA practice. Again, no pads and no contact, yet competitive in nearly all aspects. Here are my observations from the day's workout.
- J.J. Watt noted last week that he hoped that he could get back on the field for practice some time before the end of this phase of the offseason. Monday was that day as Watt made his return to get some on the field work done.
- On his very first rep of the day, Watt knocked down a pass as he has done so often in his career. He doesn't really need to announce his presence with authority as Nuke LaLoosh once noted in Bull Durham so many years ago, but he did. Again.
- Brock Osweiler continued to show how much more comfortable he is with this offense and leading that group on Monday. As we only see every third workout, it's quite evident the work that he's put in to make sure he's on top of things. When he was decisive with his reads and made quick decisions, he got this offense flowing. He threw some darts. He threw with touch. It's not perfect and he'll tell you, as he did to the assembled media after practice, that there's still a ton to work on before the season. But, the work he's already done is paying dividends.
- At one point during a goal line passing drill, Osweiler threw three straight touchdowns to three different pass catchers to end his reps during that drill.
- Although it still takes a second seeing him in No. 21 (as opposed to No. 34), cornerback A.J. Bouye had one of the defense's picks to end an early drill in practice.
- In his press conference after practice, head coach Bill O'Brien noted the progress that Tom Savage has made and the difference in him year over year over year. That's been clear watching Savage during OTAs. He appears to be so much more at ease than I can ever remember seeing him. The ball is coming out of his hand hot and on time. The level of comfort, to the untrained eye, seems much higher than it's been since he's been here "on campus."
- He hit wide receiver Jaelen Strong a number of times during practice on various types of throws. Savage is spinning it extremely well and Strong was a beneficiary throughout the workout.
- There comes a point with all first year players when you can see the light start to go on. Things aren't just a blur on a daily basis. As such, it definitely seems there's a flicker of a light going on with Will Fuller. At Notre Dame, he made a living on deep throws and short catch and run screens. But, he's showing much more than just that each and every day. He made an excellent catch for a touchdown in the far corner and followed that up with a catch at the back of the end zone for another touchdown on consecutive plays. Progress...that's all you want from a rookie and he's making it.
- Another rookie that continued making an impression was F-TE Stephen Anderson. He's gotten a ton of reps with a couple of tight ends out due to injury. With every single rep, he continued to shine in the passing game. What's been consistent from the time I first watched film on him at Cal through today's workout is his ability to get separation in the passing game. He has glue sticks for hands and comfortably catches the ball out away from his body. He might have the best hands on the team for a pass catcher not named DeAndre Hopkins. For rookies, though, it's about consistency all the way throughout. When the pads come on, he's got to prove he can continue to get open and make catches at the same rate. If he does that, he's going to find a way to impact this offense in 2016.
- The defense didn't get a ton of turnovers in practice, but the coverage in team and 7-on-7 drills forced the Texans quarterbacks to scramble and throw the ball away a number of times. Considering the fact that there's really no pass rush, the second and third level coverages have to be completely on point, and were, to be able to do just that.
- One player's progress that intrigues me is former Michigan State star safety Kurtis Drummond. As with most second and third year players, he's much more comfortable in the defense and that shows when he's out on the field. He always seems to be in the right spot in coverage and we've seen how physical he can be when he's attacking the run from his safety spot. He's going to be a player to definitely watch during training camp later in July.
- I mentioned rookie wideout Tevin Jones last week and he made another couple of touchdown catches on Monday during the workout. Over the weekend, I just happened to have a couple of Memphis games on my watching calendar, including the win over Tulsa, in which he had four receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns. Like Fuller, he's more and more comfortable with each rep in practice.
- Keith Mumphery held on for a tremendous catch in the back of the end zone on a throw from Brandon Weeden. The former Oklahoma State star signal caller also hit Anthony Denham a couple of times for catches.
The only thing better than seeing an OTA practice is seeing a second OTA practice this week. We'll be back on Friday with more from the final OTA workout of 2016. Then, it's on to minicamp, the last week of the Texans offseason.
Check out some of the best shots from Monday's OTA workout.