The Texans kicked off Phase 3 of their offseason workout program on Monday. This final four weeks includes ten organized team activities (OTA) sessions. During OTAs, there is no live contact but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted on the practice fields.
Here are five storylines to watch during Texans OTAs:
1. Deshaun Watson's Progress
Deshaun Watson’s progress from season-ending ACL surgery is the storyline the entire NFL will be watching. Ever since the 2018 offseason began, Watson has eyed OTAs as a potential return date. Watson may be limited in what he can and can’t do on the practice field, but seeing No. 4 on the field again is good news in any capacity, especially this early in the offseason.
2. O-line. O-line. O-line.
Lots of questions and four different starting jobs up for grabs. Will Julién Davenport secure the left tackle spot heading into camp? Which free agents or rookies will get a starting spot? The Texans added tackle Seantrel Henderson, guard/center Zach Fulton and guard Senio Kelemete in free agency or could rookie Martinas Rankin make an impact heading into camp?
3. J.J. Watt's Health
J.J. Watt has not speculated on how healthy he is, wanting his play to speak for itself when the season begins. In fact, Watt has even kept quiet on whether or not he has been cleared for football after suffering a tibial plateau fracture in his left leg against Kansas City in Week 5 last year. The Walter Payton Man of the Year is a top candidate for the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year if he can emerge as the dominant pass rusher that he was before his back-to-back season-ending injuries.
4. Big Changes on Special Teams
Special teams has received a major makeover this offseason. Special teams coordinator Brad Seely and assistant Tracy Smith have some new tools in their arsenal with the addition of players like Johnson Bademosi, Sammie Coates and rookie Keke Coutee.
5. The Honey Badger Effect
Tyrann Mathieu says he will focus on being a true safety in Romeo Crennel’s defense, but he still brings his versatility and skillset behind an elite front seven as well as leadership for rookie safety Justin Reid.
The Texans will hold their first three OTA practices this week at the Houston Methodist Training Center. The schedule is as follows:
May 21-22, May 24: OTA #1, 2, 3
May 29-31: OTA #4, 5, 6
June 4-5, June 7-8: OTA #7, 8, 9, 10
The Houston Texans roster in photos. (Updated 12/1/2019)