Big mini-camp news right off the bat: as of today, Duane Brown is the Texans' starting left tackle. After the team's first practice of 2008, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak named the first-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech as the current starter over veteran Ephraim Salaam.
"We've got to see how far we can bring this kid in the next month, so we put him right in there with the first group today," Kubiak said. "And I know it was very tough on Ephraim, and y'all know I have a great deal of respect for Ephraim and I can understand why it was tough, but as I explained to him, I've got to see how far I can bring this young man. But I know Ephraim's going to do his job and I'm expecting good things from him, but we felt like we had to put this kid to work right away."
Brown worked with the first team for much of practice, facing off against defensive end Mario Williams (who looked even quicker and more aggressive than he did last year).
"He'll be working with the first group, and that's the only way we're going to find out if this kid's going to get to where we want him to go and how quick he can get there," Kubiak said of Brown. "You draft these kids in the first round to come in, and play and that's nothing against Ephraim, as I said, and we've had this conversation. I understand the difficulty in that (for Salaam), but we as coaches feel like we have to put this kid to work right away."
While it's common knowledge that Brown was selected to eventually take the reigns from Salaam, it's quite a surprise to hear an announcement like this so soon.
We'll have plenty more mini-camp coverage throughout the day.
- Nick Scurfield