PICK POCKET:Eight-year veteran CB Marcus Coleman looks to have a second solid year in the right cornerback slot for the Texans in 2003. He got an early jump on his defensive duties during this morning's workout, where he picked off two passes during team drills.
Coleman collected 90 tackles with one interception while helping the secondary rank 10th in the NFL in pass defense last year. His aggressive play thus far in spring practice is his commitment to stepping up his 2003 production. Though Coleman and fellow teammate Aaron Glenn have combined bring 18 years of pro experience and have secured the defensive force out on "the island", they have a whole cast of guys joining them to battle for the starting spots as well as provide support in nickel and dime packages.
Taking repetition at corner during spring workouts are: third-year player Darrick Vaughn, fourth-year defenseman Pat Dennis, Jason Simmons, who enters his second season with the Texans and sixth in the NFL, third-year player Jason Bell, Demarcus Faggins, who now enters his second season, fifth-year veteran Kenny Wright and third-year player Brandon Jennings.
NO PAIN, NO GAIN:The old saying "practice makes perfect" definitely resonates highly with Texans head coach Dom Capers. Whether his players have been around for ten years or ten days, they can never gain enough preparation to get closer to the final product; success.
Just six practice sessions into May show that Capers troops have bought into his philosophy. The entire squad has been intense, competitive and enthusiastic about the upcoming season.
"One thing that becomes very apparent to you is that you have to practice to play this game," Capers said after Thursday's outside workout. "No matter how much experience you have, if you haven't been out there, it's timing, footwork, technique and it takes constant repetition.
"You kid yourself if you think you can go out there and do it without practicing. I've seen it over and over again throughout my career as a coach."
Though these next few weeks are critical for the 2003 rookie class, Capers expects the same amount of concentration from his veterans.
"Even for great players," Capers said about the importance of consistent on-the-field work. "That's why we have to practice. It's amazing, when you get away from it, how quickly you can lose it."
For left tackle Tony Boselli, being away from the game has been a hurdle to overcome. His return this month is not only clearing the cobwebs from his X's and O's, but also has been a challenge in re-conditioning his body.
Boselli wants to make sure he takes full advantage of his practice time before he has to suit up in pads.
"We started these coaching sessions with the approach that we would really limit Tony's reps," Capers said. "Tony came to me and said, "I need more reps." So we're taking the approach now that we're giving him the same number of reps as everybody else and we'll see how he responds and if we have to back off a little bit we'll back off. We're taking a little bit more of an aggressive approach."
PEEKING AHEAD:Rookie linebacker Antwan Peek is busy trying to process a move from defensive end to outside linebacker. He had 27 1/2 sacks over four seasons at Cincinnati as a defensive end.
But while he picks up pointers from defensive coordinator Vic Fangio (who coaches the outside linebackers), Peek can contribute immediately for special teams coordinator Joe Marciano. Peek blocked six kicks for the Bearcats and has gotten his hand on a few in practice as a Texan, displaying some impressive leaping ability.
BUMPS AND BRUISES: RB Stacey Mack received some minor medical treatment after colliding with safety Eric Brown during the middle of team workouts. Mack retreated to the sideline where his bruised knee was iced and wrapped but is expected to be back in action soon.
"Stacey will be fine, he bruised his knee," Capers said after practice.