Head coach Gary Kubiak decided to hold mini-camps earlier this year because he wanted to give new coaches Ray Rhodes (assistant defensive back coach) and Alex Gibbs (assistant head coach) more time to evaluate talent before OTAs and training camp begin.
Mission accomplished as Rhodes and Gibbs got to see how rookies Duane Brown and Antwaun Molden will fit into their schemes.
Brown, the 26th overall pick, got a baptism of fire taking reps with the first team. The left tackle had to go against Mario Williams, and Super M looked like a beast off the line of scrimmage. The defensive end is faster and stronger than he's ever been.
Brown can testify to that, but the rookie showed remarkable improvement in three days. With Gibbs constantly in his ear, Brown's footwork and technique got much better. And, as Kubiak said, facing Williams every day will help make Brown into a legitimate starter.
As for Molden, the third-round selection looked like last year's Fred Bennett. Molden can keep up with any receiver and is lightening quick in his backpedal. He needs to work on his man-coverage, but Rhodes and defensive backs coach Jon Hoke see raw potential that they can develop during training camp.
The defensive backs coaches also liked what they saw from cornerback Jacques Reeves, who spent four years with the Cowboys before signing with Houston in free agency. Reeves is smaller than Molden and Bennett, but he has more NFL experience than the two combined.
The team certainly will miss having Dunta Robinson in the lineup, but maybe not as much as D-Rob will miss being on the field. The cornerback, who is hoping to return in October, clutched a football and looked like he wanted to sub himself into scrimmages. Robinson has been running and going through footwork and agility drills but said his quad is not as strong as he would like it to be.
The Texans other injured players looked 100 percent over the weekend. Matt Schaub's left shoulder wasn't an issue, as the quarterback threw several long bombs to Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson. Safety Glenn Earl showed he is back from a foot injury that kept him out last season, picking off a pass during Saturday's scrimmage. And running back Ahman Green said that coaches will monitor his practice time this summer to keep him fresh, but that his knee was "feeling good."
- Brooke Bentley