I've been chilly once at a training camp practice and that was in 2015 in Richmond, VA during/after a torrential downpour when we visited for practices with the Redskins. Today was the second day. A beautiful day in the Valley with temperatures in the low 60s was the highlight of the day, even it was a bit chilly. Here are my observations from the team one day before a well earned day off.
- It was a no-pads day, so Marc Vandermeer wins the bet. I thought the team would be in pads Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday...so I missed today. As such, there was really no physical aspect to practice, so my observations are more OTA/minicamp-like, if you will.
- The foursquare competition before practice is getting more and more fierce by the minute. When the horn blew to start practice, there was a huge cheer from the players. My assumption was that no coach won. It didn't matter what player won; the players just don't want to see a coach win, especially as defensive line coach Anthony Weaver had held the title recently.
- A young man held up a sign that read: J.J, I came all the way from Delaware to play 4-square with you." So, Watt brought him out of the stands and he stayed in the game for a few turns.
- Practice was wrought with situations. Any type of situation that the team could work on - late game, late in a half, down and distance, behind in the game, ahead in the game - both units worked on these for about a half hour at the end of practice.
- About halfway through practice, Coach O'Brien started giving instructions to the players where he wanted everyone to go. Then, he realized that he had overlooked a scheduled special teams period. Immediately, he dropped to do push ups and took some good natured ribbing from a few of the Texans players. The rumor is he did 30 for this mistake.
- The quarterbacks threw the ball well throughout the day; it was perhaps their best day in camp, navigating the defense, finding open receivers, with better than average ball placement, especially down in the red zone.
- Defensive lineman D.J. Reader couldn't have had more of a gift fall into his hands during a team drill. He couldn't get to the quarterback so he started to pursue while the quarterback (I believe it was Savage) still had the ball in his hands. Trying to find a receiver breaking open, Savage threw late and Reader was right in the throwing lane. He...dropped it. Immediate regret and pain came over him because when is he going to have another chance at a pick?
- After that, though, the quarterbacks went to work, up and down the field. Savage ended his first team drill with a perfectly thrown ball to Ryan Griffin for a touchdown Griffin beat the safety and had a step but with not much room to stick it into Griffin, Savage dropped it right on the fifth year tight end.
- Just prior to that play, Savage hit Griffin on what I termed a "perfect throw" in my notebook. That touchdown throw was pretty much the same.
- Deshaun Watson then led the second offense to a touchdown as well. On the third play, he hit Devin Street for key first down. Two plays later, he found speedy Wendall Williams for a touchdown.
- Williams had a strong day, overall. He caught a couple of touchdowns, both from Watson, I believe. That man can absolutely fly and this was seemingly his best day at camp.
- DeAndre Hopkins then looked to receiver Justin Hardee three straight times, completing all three, before the drill was over.
- During 7-on-7, the quarterbacks all found the end zone on their drives. Savage got the Texans in the end zone in three plays, completing a touchdown pass over the middle to DeAndre Hopkins.
- Watson also put the Texans in the end zone in three plays. Offensive weapon Tyler Ervin climbed the ladder on the far sideline to make a catch on first down and two plays later Devin Street hardly had to move as Watson found him for a touchdown.
- Weeden also found paydirt, locating his favorite receiver (at least on Saturday) Justin Hardee for a touchdown on the third play of his drive.
- Later in practice, defensive back Denzel Rice came up with another turnover forced or takeaway as he picked off Weeden's pass for Justin Hardee. Rice has been a turnover forcing machine the past ten days or so.
- The rest of the practice was situation work that will eventually pay off in a game down the road. I've never seen a team work so much on situations that could potentially arise in a game more than the Texans.
- The Texans play on Wednesday, which was reiterated to the players a few different times throughout practice. The purpose of the reminder was to let them know that they better know what to do by Wednesday night (if not already). The separation between finding a spot on the roster and being waived in late August can often come down which guy knows the playbook inside and out, at all times.
Well, that's about it, folks. No practice tomorrow so we'll be back on Monday, two days before the Texans take on the Panthers. Fans will get a chance to see this 2017 squad for the first time. I can't wait. Monday will be a final dress rehearsal for that matchup. We'll see you then, everyone.