The grind is starting to sink in a little bit at Texans Camp, but the Texans still got some important work done at the Houston Methodist Training Center on Tuesday morning. Davis Mills was dealing from beginning to end as the offense shined throughout the day. The defense didn't back down and made its own mark on the day as well. Here are my Harris Hits - TC Observations on Day #4.
First play of one-on-ones between the WR and the DB, WR Chris Moore used perfect technique to swim through and back to his QB for the completion on a short in route. Not sure that DB Tremon Smith could've covered any better, but let's give Tremon a ton of credit for not quitting on the play and ripping the ball out at the very end. Near the end of the drill, Moore won another rep blazing down the seam for a deep catch TD. The inside/outside duality is great to see from Moore.
WR Davion Davis showed off some slick moves from the slot on an in route for a completion. He completely froze the DB on his way to getting three yards of separation easily and an uncontested catch.
It's been evident that WR Chris Conley is having a strong camp thus far. He's been difficult to cover in one-on-ones this week and he's been available and open throughout seven-on-seven and team drills. In addition, he's catching the ball all over the field - short, intermediate and deep. In his first rep of one-on-ones, he ran an excellent, precise dig route that got him the separation to make the easy catch across the middle.
WR Jalen Camp and DB Fabian Moreau went full on WWE when they linked up in one-on-ones. Full on physical battle between those two. Then on the second rep, Camp ran a pristine out route that was just textbook. Loved it!
Love seeing WR Chad Beebe work from the slot - route running monster and then he snatches the ball away from his body? Lovely.
Same can be said for WR Connor Wedington. He continues to shine in all aspects of practice and he seems to have everyone's attention. His second rep in one-on-ones, in particular, was brilliantly executed. After making a contested catch on a dig route on his first rep, he lost his DB on the second, selling the go route and then turning on a dime on the deep comeback. Excellent stuff.
I mentioned during OTAs and minicamp that rookie TE Seth Green was an outstanding athlete and if that translated to the NFL passing game, he could be a threat, a major threat. He showed all of that during a one-on-one down the seam against fellow rookie DB Jalen Pitre. Green ran up the seam and had Pitre pegged to his hip, but Green reached up and snatched the rock out of the air for one of the better catches during the one-on-one period.
One aspect that I've seen more and more from WR Nico Collins is his innate ability to block out defenders like he's playing basketball on routes down the field or on deep outs/comebacks. During one-on-ones, he ran a go route and had inside leverage on the route. So, he didn't fight to get back outside, he just stayed on his deep stem, knowing that he could just keep the DB on his back. Just before Collins went up to snatch the throw out of the air, he reached down to know where the DB was and to block him out like a basketball rebounder. He then pinned him there, essentially, as he skied to make the catch. Body control badge achieved.
On the first rep of OL v. DL, Tytus Howard faced Jerry Hughes for about the millionth time. It was such a fun rep to watch. Hughes burst hard and fast to Howard's edge, forcing Howard to speed up his slide. Right when Hughes felt Howard overcommit, Hughes darted right back inside. So quick, so explosive. But, Howard flipped his hips and turned back on Hughes to try to pin him on the inside. It wasn't perfect, but I loved seeing Howard recover to save the rep. As a rookie, I don't know that he'd have been able to do that. And, oh yeah, Hughes still has some juice and bend.
I like seeing DL Demone Harris rush the QB. His hands are a blur and he has some twitch off the edge.
Watching LT Laremy Tunsil shut down an inside spin move…oh, my heart fluttered.
DL Maliek Collins continued to impress with explosiveness off the snap, quick/powerful hands and bend to finish. His first pass rush rep - strike, rip and bend to QB - was just awesome for any DL, much less an interior DL. Then, he threw a sick spin move on his second rep. My goodness.
That Roy Lopez Jr. arm over was nasty on his first rep. Burst off the ball, left hand to the bicep, right arm over and voila, clean to the QB.
The CLEAR highlight of Monday, the first day in pads, was former Alief Taylor star Ogbo Okoronkwo decapitating any one in a blue jersey. He's in the running yet again today with his first pass rush rep in one-on-ones. I mentioned Maliek Collins' spin move earlier and it was sick. Ogbo decided to go one better. Same inside spin move, but Ogbo hit the OT with one of the most physical ice picks I've ever seen. I once heard the great Dwight Freeney talk about the spin move and ice picking the OL with the inside elbow, then using the leverage from that ice pick to get free. Well, Ogbo not only got clean, he put the OT on his wallet. Holy. Heck. That was like a Joe Frazier left hook, just cold knocked out the OL.
OL Charlie Heck has come such a long way in his three years. When I think back to his TC as a rookie and where he is now, it's night and day different.
DL Michael Dwumfour will straight up surprise interior OL with his quickness. I see that #98 and I thought about D.J. Reader immediately. That's not fair, honestly, to Dwumfour but then I see Dwumfour throw a spin move and bend on a pass rush rep and it's hard to not think about the former Texans #98.
As I finally got through some radio so I could watch some practice, I ran down to the OL/DL one-on-ones and saw two reps (#sarcasticFont - Thanks Marc). The first one was rookie DL Kurt Hinish and he provided THE highlight of the day. I've mentioned Hinish a few times since he signed in Houston, but THIS got everyone's attention. He burst off the ball at snap and then with a HUGE right club, he landed the blow that sent the center sprawling backwards. To throw a 300+ lb man completely out of the club…with one arm??? Whoa. Highlight of the day.
Oh man, DL Derek Rivers went to work with an inside arm over counter move that was as sweet as it was lethal.
Rookie DL Thomas Booker went cross face on a guard with the rip inside from a three technique spot to get free. That was a quick, explosive move from the rookie.
I love seeing TE Pharaoh Brown mashing at the end of the line of scrimmage. We talk all the time about what we want from a tight end and Brown does a little bit of everything. Today, he caught my attention with his one-on-one point of attack blocks. He helped spring RB Marlon Mack on a run during nine-on-seven with an excellent block on a six technique (head up on TE).
DL Maliek Collins is just not allowing himself to be doubled in this training camp. He's blown up at least three different double teams on run plays that I can remember in these workouts. But, he then ran into a Laremy Tunsil/Kenyon Green double team a little later in team drills and there was NO splitting that double team. Those two OL may not have ever taken a rep together, but the way they stayed tight on the double team was impressive and completely in sync. That was a fun rep to watch.
Nico Collins is going to "Moss" his share of DBs down the field in his career. He's so dynamic with the ball in the air. During a team red zone drill, he "Moss'd" one of the cornerbacks, picking the ball right off the top of that DB's dome for a TD in the front corner of the end zone. Whoa, that was nice.
On the very next play, QB Davis Mills threw a strike through an open window to TE Brevin Jordan for a touchdown. It was one of a multitude of plays that Jordan made on Tuesday. Mills may have dropped his arm slightly to make that accurate throw.
A series later, Jordan made an outstanding catch at the back of the end zone amongst three Texans defenders for the six.
Two plays later, the OL opened a gaping hole for RB Royce Freeman off to the left side of the formation. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, LB Christian Harris flew in to keep Freeman from completely gashing the defense. I mean, out…of…nowhere and then laid into Freeman with a solid strike. Harris' speed is absolutely no joke but he was ferociously physical at Alabama too.
As a former pass rusher at Central Michigan, it can't be the easiest transition for Troy Hairston to become a fullback. But, if Hairston continues to turn buttons on outhouse doors in the run game like he did today, he'll make that transition quickly. During a red zone team drill, Hairston was leading the way for rookie RB Dameon Pierce on a wide run when a linebacker scraped over the top to try to make the tackle. Hairston landed the BOOM, spinning the linebacker a near 360 after contact. My goodness, young buck.
For a guy that's talked about daily due to his presence on the pass rush, DL Jon Greenard plays the edge in the run game violently. He's blazing fast off the snap and then shocks TE with his hands and power to turn runs back inside. During a team drill, the offense ran a wide zone right at him and he nearly shut it down single handedly. Laremy and company had nearly everyone else contained, or sealed, on that side, but Greenard did a great job of shutting down the play because of the way that he set the edge.
On the next play, though, Nico Collins ripped one away from DB Isaac Yiadom on an inside intermediate route. Yiadom couldn't have been in a better position, but Collins blocked him out again and made the tough catch.
FB Paul Quessenberry and LB Garret Wallow meet at least once in a hole every day on a run play and it's the loudest collision of every day.
The Texans ended the day with two minute drill work. For the first four plays, the Texans went incompletion, incompletion, incompletion and illegal procedure. But, on fourth and 15, Davis Mills threw an absolute dart beyond the marker. WR Chris Conley made a WONDERFUL grab, reaching high and behind him with a DB hanging all over his lower half. Let's GO! What a catch for a first down.
On the subsequent first down, Mills ripped one to Conley again for nine yards. Then, Mills found RB Dare Ogunbowale who lost his feet and fell to the ground as the clock ticked. It was here that I was thinking that they needed to pick it up a little bit faster. However, Mills was in total command. He got the offense to the line and threw to Brandin Cooks for a first down who was "tackled" in bounds. Still, the clock ran yet Mills never panicked.
Finally, Mills threw an absolute dime down the seam to TE Brevin Jordan. Mills lofted the ball down the middle, giving Jordan a shot to redirect back to the pass. Jordan made the catch with Kirksey all over him and Mills signaled time out to attempt the game winning field goal. From that completion to Conley on fourth down through that throw to Jordan, Mills was calm, cool and under control and threw a few dimes as well. Loved it.
On the second play of the series with QB Kyle Allen at the helm, Allen threw a tremendous seam route to rookie TE Seth Green for a big gain down inside the defense's territory. Allen then hit RB Royce Freeman out in the flat to stop the clock. On the next play, Allen hard counted the defense to steal five yards on an offsides penalty. Two plays later, though, the defense "sacked" Allen with approximately :37 seconds left on the clock. A procedure penalty moved the offense back five yards, but Allen threw quickly for ten yards to rookie WR Johnny Johnson III who stepped out of bounds to stop the clock. Then, Allen threw a tremendous ball down the sideline again to Johnson III to move the ball into sure field goal range. Excellent end to well executed drill.
That's going to do it for the observations on Tuesday, another great day at Training Camp. See all y'all tomorrow!