The first day in pads after a preseason game is always, ALWAYS grueling. But, throw in Mother Nature's heat reign this entire summer and it was twice as much so on Tuesday. Here are my Harris Hits from the day.
The very first thing that I wrote in my notebook was a one handed catch that rookie Teagan Quitoriano made during one-on-ones. Big fella just reached out his right hand as he crossed the field and just velcro'd the ball to his big paw. Hopefully, as he continues to ramp up after being injured, we'll get a chance to see him in game action on Friday at Los Angeles.
Sometimes guys rest on their laurels after a great preseason game and sometimes guys get a confidence boost from that action. Rookie WR Johnny Johnson III seemed to be the latter. He jumped right into one-on-ones and ran an excellent route to sell the DB deep, then he came back to the ball to make the uncontested catch. It just feels like he's "getting it" every single day.
WR Chester Rogers was back at practice and that was a great sign. His ability to change tempo as rapidly as he does on his routes to get open is really impressive. He understands playing slot receiver inside, running routes inside for sure. His first one-on-one rep showed the full package of patience, tempo in the route, burst and then late hands for the catch and finish.
I took a little bit to watch the linebackers take on the running backs in pass coverage. LB Kamu Grugier-Hill put clamps on one of the running backs out of the backfield, which hasn't been entirely unusual over his two year career here in Houston. His level of anticipation and burst into the hip pocket and passing lane should be the envy of every NFL linebacker.
As I glanced around practice early, I happened to look over for two of DB M.J. Stewart's reps in one-on-ones and he put clamps on tight ends/receivers in his two reps. Talk about running the reps for the receivers, holy smokes. I just happened to write in my notebook "29 covering his butt off today." I don't know if the words I wrote initially were that clean when I wrote them, but that's the gist of it. He made a TREMENDOUS play on a screen in the game against the Saints, tackling the ball carrier for a TFL immediately as he received the pass. The arrow has pointed up since Saturday night for sure on Stewart.
During the first team period, the offense turned up the heat a little bit on play two of the series as QB Davis Mills dialed one up deep to WR Brandin Cooks. Unfortunately, they couldn't hook up on the reception. Now, before we get worked up, I want you to think back to Bengals star WR JaMarr Chase. Last year as a rookie, he couldn't catch a cold in preseason. His drops caused consternation throughout the interwebs and Bengals fans started clamoring for the OL that the Bengals passed on to draft Chase. Then, the regular season started and Chase turned into one of the best receivers in the league. My point is that, yes, Mills and Cooks have struggled a bit to hook up on deep throws but they have before and will again soon. They were working on it after practice again to get it right for September 11 against the Colts.
Mills and Cooks did hook up three straight times in seven on seven as Davis completed his first five throws in that drill.
I love seeing young guys improving, especially someone who hasn't played a ton of football in his lifetime. American football, that is. DL Dayo Odeleye is the team's International Pathway Program player, allocated to the Texans after he played last year with the Berlin Thunder of the European League of Football. He was born in Nigeria and moved to the United Kingdom early in his life, but it wasn't until he arrived in college that he was persuaded to try American football. So, he doesn't have a ton of experience in the game and he's never played the game in the United States at all. I've been curious how an incredibly, physically gifted young man would adapt to playing against NFL players. Since the beginning of campt, though, I've seen him get a bit better every single day. Coach Lovie Smith pointed him out in his presser on Monday after the game against the Saints and today, I saw what I thought was his best rush of camp as he burst off the ball and ripped past the tackle with a speed/rip off the edge. It just didn't look like the first reps of camp. He wasn't thinking, he just flew. Suffice it to say, it was impressive. That's a young man working his tail off and showing improvement by the day. I love it.
Derek Rivers' pass rush. That's the observation. He seems to be in a pass rushing zone and it showed again today, just like Saturday night, just like the practice before that, just like the practice before that, just like…rinse, later, repeat. Today, in one-on-ones, I thought rookie Austin Deculus had a great initial setup and then dip, dart, dodge, hands and voila, Rivers is in the QB's face. Thing is, Deculus is improving by leaps and bounds every day too but Rivers just keeps getting to the QB in all types of drills. Furthermore, a little later in team drills, Rivers made a play in the run game, dipping inside of an offensive tackle for a tackle for a loss.
DL Rasheem Green is returning to his hometown for Friday night's preseason game against the Rams. I hope he's on the same one in SoFi Stadium that he was on today when he completely ran over an offensive tackle in one-on-one drills. He got in a few reps on Saturday night against the Saints, but there could be more coming in his hometown. I'm hoping he shows THAT rep to the folks coming out to see him play on Friday night.
Oh, man, DL Michael Dwumfour flashed his wicked spin move in one-on-ones. It was one of those moves that left the DL "OOOOOHHHHHHHing" and "AAAAHHHHing" when he executed said spin move brilliantly. For a dude his size, say 300+ lb., his feet, balance and twitch are impressive
During one team period, DB Tavierre Thomas snagged a tipped pass and returned it for a touchdown. Well, it was one of those that would've been a TD after he picked it. Everyone went in one direction and he picked it off and sprinted the other. Highly instinctive play where he read the QB's eyes and found himself around the ball when it popped into the air.
The final real play of team drills was a Jeff Driskel bomb to TE Seth Green. Not many tight ends would be able to get down the field as fast as Green, so his speed turned a deep ball into a positive adventure in the passing game. He beat the DB on an out and up and Driskel dropped a dime into his hands deep down the field.
Well, that's going to do it for one of the hottest practices on record. I mean, the universal consensus after practice was that this one took it straight out of EVERYONE, including your author. That said, we're winding down…
- Wed - Practice
- Th - Travel to LA
- Fr - Game at Rams
- Sat/Sun - Return/Recover
- Mon - Practice
- Tues - Practice
- Wed - Walkthrough, ready for 49ers
- Th - Game v. 49ers
The regular season will be here before we know it, but there's still plenty of prep work to do over the next nine days to close out Texans Camp/Preseason. We'll be back at it tomorrow, see ya then, everyone!