It certainly felt like a party today at Ray Nitschke Field for Day 2 of Texans vs. Packers: Training Camp Conquest. “It’s a party!” will just be one of my Harris Hits from what was another strong day for the Texans in their scrimmage competition with the Packers. Here are the rest.
I’ll start with that moment, my favorite of the day, and it didn’t go unnoticed by many of the people assembled near the Texans offense. The Packers musical playlist was awesome and just after punt return drills, the teams moved down the far ends of their respective fields for some red zone team work, Waka Flocka Flame “Grove St. Party” blared throughout the facility. All of a sudden, it turned into a Houston Texans dance party. Quarterback Deshaun Watson was bouncing up and down in the huddle. The players not in the huddle were either full on dancing or bopping their heads to the beat. Nearly ALL of them. And then the offense went to work. Over the next three plays, the Texans scored two touchdowns and the only play that wasn’t a touchdown was the first play of the drill, in which running back Lamar Miller gashed the Packers for a seven-yard gain before he was touched.
The next play, Watson threw an absolute laser shot to tight end Darren Fells for six points. The space was no more than two yards and Watson lasered one into Fells’ belly for the touchdown. The dance party went even more insane.
The next play, Watson went to his fourth option, running back Damarea Crockett, who was wide open and walked into the end zone for another touchdown. Just afterwards, the benches emptied as there was a little unplanned meet up and only the Packers defenders and Texans offensive players were invited. I went to write down my notes after Crockett’s touchdown catch and missed how the whole thing started, but I believe tackle Matt Kalil was in the middle of it, not taking anyone’s Waka Flocka nonsense.
The reason I started with that story was that it struck me how loose and how confident the Texans were on Day 2, just as they were on Day 1. But, it really showed in how they responded just after that. When I looked on the other side of the field, the Packers were not having that dance party and maybe it showed in their play as well. I wrote that observation down during a break a few minutes later and I’m telling you about four or five media members came up to me afterward, including my man Drew Dougherty with a similar thought. That’s the confidence this team must display, now and forever more.
I spent the day watching the offense for the most part, perhaps 90 percent of the day. This group just feels more confident by the minute.
I watched nearly every single pass rush OL/DL rep between the groups. I get the sense that yesterday was a little better but the Texans offensive line continued its improvement through the 1-on-1 work with the Packers interior defensive line. The Packers interior guys, in particular, did a nice job with two hand swipes to get free and they have some powerful guys in Kenny Clark, Montravius Adams and Dean Lowry. But, Lowry’s hand work and quickness was problematic, in particular, in those pass rush drills.
Tackle Seantrel Henderson was matched up on Za’Darius Smith right off the bat and when those two collided it was two tanks hitting each other. Big Trel held up and rode Smith past the quarterback.
Oh, by the way, before I forget, offensive assistant T.J. Yates... yeah, you can never take the quarterback out of him. He was the “quarterback” in those drills and drew the Packers offsides at least twice with the hard count. Still got it, apparently.
Texans center Greg Mancz’s first rep was against, I believe, Montravius Adams and the Packers lineman tried to use a hump move on Mancz. What was interesting was that Mancz sort of got lifted a bit as Adams threw the move, but Mancz, on one leg, was driving Adams back into the Texans OL standing behind the drill.
Texans tackle Rod Johnson continued to make strides as he won his rep against outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert, riding him well past the quarterback.
Offensive tackle Julien Davenport ate up the rush by rookie Randy Ramsey. The Packers young rusher tried to go high and then back underneath. Davenport just slid easily up the arc and back inside to keep Ramsey far from the quarterback.
Offensive lineman Rick Leonard lined up at guard against Montravius Adams and I wasn’t sure Leonard, a natural tackle seemingly, could hold up against Adams’ power. But, Leonard held strong and kept Adams from really going anywhere.
The next drill was 11-on-11 work and the offense got rolling after a few plays as it took a Watson to Keke Coutee completion to get the juices flowing. Coutee and the tight ends really had a pair of excellent days in Green Bay.
On the first play of his set of downs, quarterback AJ McCarron threw a pretty ball right into the hands of tight end Jerrell Adams. Then, McCarron just missed on a bomb to Steven Mitchell Jr.
When the 1s came back in, Crockett took a handoff behind the right side and knifed through a huge hole created by guard Max Scharping, tackle Seantrel Henderson and tight end Darren Fells. Crockett ran for about 10-12 yards before getting touched. After the play, I saw Fells go up to his two mates and celebrate a tiny bit for creating that sort of space for their rookie running back.
A few plays later, I saw a noteworthy collision created by fullback Cullen Gillaspia. He found the linebacker on a lead play and collided such that the sound was heard over the music. Waka Flocka Flame would have started another party after that hit.
One of the best throws of the day was Joe Webb’s DART to Chad Hansen on a brilliantly-run dig route. I mean, Webb saw Hansen and let one fly that was on point, with some sauce on it.
One of the best sequences of the day was on that red zone drill I mentioned above. Watson hit Coutee for a quick five yards. Then, running back Lamar Miller patiently waited for his hole to open and found one for another eight to ten yards. Then, Watson hit Will Fuller V in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Bing. Bang. Boom. That’s the type of offense this CAN be in 2019.
Then, a few plays later, Joe Webb III hit Josh Ferguson for a touchdown and then nailed one to rookie tight end Kahale Warring. Back-to-BACK touchdowns.
In the two minute situational drill, after an incompletion, Watson went to Jordan Akins on second down with a throw that I really want to see again on film. I’m telling you there wasn’t a foot of space between two defenders and Akins and Watson fired one into his tight end’s stomach. Akins continued up the field for a solid gain.
A few plays later, Watson went to Akins again on the crosser for the first down with a linebacker hanging on him. The very next play, Akins made a sliding catch on another fastball from Watson. The offense would bog down with a few seconds left on the clock, but the way they initially moved it, especially from Watson to Akins, was impressive.
So, that’s an excellent spot to stop. The next time we talk, it’ll be my first observations of game action of the 2019 season and I can’t wait. Not to mention, it’ll be from Lambeau Field. See ya then, everyone!