Skip to main content

OTAs practice report: Day 11


The Texans wrapped up another week of OTAs by pumping in crowd noise for the first time this offseason. This week also marked the first time defensive tackle Travis Johnson and guard Chester Pitts practiced with the team. Both went through individual drills but sat out during team activities.

No baby steps for Brown: Left tackle Duane Brown was thrown into a baptism by fire last season when he was named the starting left tackle as a rookie. Right off the bat, he faced the "Blitzburgh" Steelers and Tennessee's Kyle Vanden Bosch. Brown faced a steep learning curve and held his own as the season progressed.

Now, the Texans need him to make huge strides protecting Matt Schaub's blind side.

"Whether he is ready to take on a leadership role or not, I think those things come naturally as you move forward," coach Gary Kubiak said. "The key thing we want with him is to see him become one heck of a player. He was a good player last year, especially for a rookie to play on the left side and with some of the people he played against. But now it is time for him to take another step."

Brown dropped almost 15 pounds of weight during the offseason to improve his mobility, and Kubiak said that should help Brown's footwork in pass protection and agility in the zone blocking scheme.

"You can tell just watching him move around," Kubiak said. "He's much more comfortable with what we're doing. Usually, that happens to guys. It's an old saying, but usually, guys make their biggest jump from year one to year two."

Sizing up Okam: Big Frank Okam has been taking advantage of a huge opportunity during OTAs, getting added reps with defensive tackle Travis Johnson on the sidelines.

{QUOTE}During the offseason, Okam struggled with his weight, entering the strength and conditioning program at 365 pounds. He has gotten down to 339, which is paying dividends on the field.

"Frank has dropped a lot of weight, which was important for him to get himself into better shape," Kubiak said. "The more he works with (defensive line coach) Bill (Kollar), the more he sees himself as a player in this league, and that's what we need.

"It's nice to have that big of a body, but you still have to be athletic. You still have to be able to run the stunts and do those type of things, and Frank can do that at 335. He can't do it at 360, so he's working hard to get down."

Last season, Okam played in only four games and finished with four tackles. He has the potential to be a run-stuffer for the team, which is why Kollar is riding him hard this offseason.

Casey works at long snapping: The position of choice for James Casey is tight end. Although he played multiple positions in college, the Texans want the rookie to focus on learning under Pro Bowler Owen Daniels. And that's just fine with Casey.

"That has simplified things a little more than what they were for me in college because I played a whole bunch of different positions," Casey said. "But in the NFL, there are so many more personnel groupings even with just tight ends. We have two- or three- tight end sets. That's a lot of information, so I'm just trying to get that down.

"I am anxious to go full pads and practice. That's when you really can show your stuff and make the team. I think right now with OTAs, the biggest thing is getting all the rookies and young guys like me able to learn the offense and understand what's going on so when we do go to training camp, we have a fair shot to make the team and to impress people. I'm just trying to learn everything right now so that when training camp comes and we put pads on, that I'm a capable blocker and pass catcher and really prove myself then."

To give him an edge at making the roster, Casey also has been working out as a long snapper. He worked out at the position as a backup at Rice University but hasn't long snapped in a game since high school.

"I am trying to do anything that can help me make the team," Casey said. "Long snapping is one of those things where there are only a certain amount of roster spots. If you can do something like that, you can be valuable to the team. I am really trying to work on that every day to show them that I can be trustworthy if they put me in there to do that. It's something I think I am capable of doing, and I want to just keep working on it.

"I did it in high school. In college, I was the backup, but we had a guy on scholarship that just snapped so they didn't need me at all. I have been working on it ever since I declared for the draft because I wanted to show teams that I could do it."

Quotable: "I would love to sit here and tell you he will be at training camp ready to go. I think what is going to happen is that when we get to camp, he's going to be a light worker. We are going to see where he is. To sit here and say that he will 100 percent when we walk out there July 31, I don't think I can do that."
- Coach Gary Kubiak on the progress of cornerback Antwaun Molden

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content