Approximately 90 minutes into Monday's OTA session, I couldn't help but think of a former Texan nemesis: Peyton Manning.
Yeah, I know, it's not the name you expected, but I couldn't help it. Let me explain.
When ominous gray skies dumped buckets of water on the Texans practice, I wondered whether the the squad would take the short jaunt to the protective bubble or stay outside on the practice fields. Then I thought of Manning.
The Houston Texans practiced Monday at the Houston Methodist Training Center as part of Organized Training Activities.
When Manning was with Indianapolis, the Colts were prepping for an away game in which weather was expected to be a factor. Manning asked his equipment staff to soak the footballs in water so he, his center Jeff Saturday and his receivers could practice in game like conditions if they worsened that Sunday. Of course, as the story apparently goes, the sun never left the sky that Sunday but that's not the genesis of the story. The fact that Manning thought far enough ahead to practice with wet footballs spoke volumes as to his preparedness for each and every potential situation he could imagine.
I didn't expect Bill O'Brien to send his charges into the bubble at any point and there was a part of me that believed that O'B was actually happy it rained.
As with Manning, it provided O'Brien the opportunity to encounter a situation that's nearly impossible to practice. Situational football is at the core of O'Brien's installation plan as he's discussed often in his pressers after practice. Throughout the last few weeks, the Texans have worked through a myriad of controllable situations that each of the three units could possibly face. Weather? Can't plan for rain, just have to overcome the situation when it occurs, but that only happens if you've practiced that situation.
Luckily, the rain came and went and the Texans were able to finish off their Monday workout, another intense workout in a sea of them this off-season.
One player who made an impression was defensive back Josh Victorian who had a pick in the rain that got the defensive players on the sideline pumped. Of course, on the first punt during punt team right after his interception, Victorian flew down as the gunner and was unable to stop a bounding ball before it made its way into the end zone. That elicited a comment from Arian Foster who hasn't played a day of special teams in six years. Well, that's what I would've said to him if he were heckling me. Victorian took the high road and stayed quiet, but the young corner had a strong day in practice.
Standing behind the defensive backs during team drills in the rain, I was quite impressed how those guys communicated with one another off the field, shaking hands, congratulating each other and discussing previous play calls. That group has seemingly been tight since Johnathan Joseph arrived in 2011 and there's an evident camaraderie with those players. The competition battles in the secondary during training camp could ultimately be the most difficult to figure this year. We'll definitely put a spotlight on both cornerback and safety during the off-season, along with other key positional training camp battles.