Over the years I've learned not to get too carried away with anything I see or don't see at OTAs. But if you can check a few positive boxes, it certainly helps the outlook moving forward toward camp and the season.
Usually during this time, I learn all the new players and their numbers so when training camp hits I'm totally familiar with all the Texans and can just concentrate on the preseason opponents.
Preseason games for broadcasters are more complicated than the regular season because you're dealing with 90 man rosters and four layers on the depth chart. Plus, you might prepare to see certain players and they never take the field. Surprise!
These OTAs feel almost like a training camp joint practice where I spend all my time learning boatloads of new names and numbers. The difference is they're all on my team.
There's certainly an excitement to it. We get to tell all these new stories. Every quarter of Texans preseason TV and radio broadcasts will be filled with info on new players. Starting jobs will be won and lost based on the performances.
All eyes at OTAs first gravitate toward the quarterbacks. And we saw three new ones honing their skills and knowledge of the playbook. It's not like we saw live tackle action but Tyrod Taylor carries himself like the leader he's advertised to be. And rookie Davis Mills appeared to run everything smoothly and accurately. That's about all you can ask for in early June.
Taylor told us on Texans Radio that he's enjoying the offense so far. "I think it suits me well. It allows me to get the ball out of my hand fast. But more importantly, we have playmakers at all positions." He said.
This is a key point. If you have a healthy combination of whoever they go with among David Johnson, Phillip Lindsey, Mark Ingram, Rex Burkhead and company. And you work in Brandin Cooks, Randall Cobb and the rest of the receivers along with the tight ends, you have a group with a lot of potential to be productive.
"It's my job to get the ball to those guys and I think our system definitely helps allow them to use their strengths and go out there and make plays." Taylor added.
We won't know much about how improved the line is until camp. But on the other side of the ball it's clear that the size they've added on the line could be a big boost against the run. The OLBs who have converted to defensive lineman will get a long look as pass rushers and it feels like the Texans have linebackers for days.
The DBs, like the offensive lineman and backs, really start to sort themselves out during camp. The prospect of fans being out there to be able to ooh and ahh during plays on both sides of the ball has me juiced.
What we saw this week was another rung on the ladder. Football is a year-round thing and everything is important. It always blows my mind how a drill in May can sharpen a skill so a player can make just one extra play in October than might help win a game. It all matters.
Two more weeks of this off season program and we start the official countdown to training camp. Let's go!
The Texans hit the Houston Methodist Training Center during the first and second weeks of OTAs.