2020 Training Camp Harris Hits:
Thursday night was a much different night than many spent in NRG Stadium as the Texans took to the field to put on an intrasquad scrimmage. It was different because I've never been in the Stadium when there have been no fans AND no opponent. At this point, though, I'll take anything, and everything, we can get. Here are a few short Harris Hits from the scrimmage.
The structure to the scrimmage was similar to many of those I've been through in my lifetime. The one major difference was that the team went through a full pre-game process out on the field as they will on September 10, 2020 in Arrowhead Stadium. They put in two quarters of work and then went in for halftime to go through that process as well.
Now, that might not seem like a lot but the halftime for rookies and young guys is a stark punch in the face. In college, halftime is a strong 20-minutes, enough time to eat something, have a drink, take a bathroom break and read the Houston Chronicle sports section. In the NFL, though, in one blink the 12 minutes have passed. So, Coach O'Brien blew the whistle and off the team went back into the locker rooms for halftime. Then, the squad came out for a few more situational drills in the second half.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson was as sharp as he's been all camp. In the second half, I believe it was the only time he was on the field during that half, he led a long drive for a touchdown - a Watson rushing touchdown, actually. He moved the sticks all the way down the field and threw the ball to nearly every single target on the roster.
Check out some photos from the Houston Texans first Thursday night scrimmage.
Watson started the night with a touchdown throw to Kenny Stills in which Stills did a Fred Astaire two toe tap for the touchdown. Dated reference? Okay, how about Derek Hough? Either way, those two have a connection that has grown and blossomed from the Monday night game at New Orleans to start the 2019 season through the present.
If there was an MVP on the night, it had to be safety A.J. Moore who is a constant ball of energy. He's been a star on special teams in his first two years in Houston, but his play in this training camp at safety is what could earn him more time on this defense in 2020. The interception that he had to end the night was just sublime. He was trailing the tight end down the middle in coverage and as AJ McCarron threw the ball into the area, Moore turned his head to find it. Not only did he find it, he dove in front of the receiver to make a beautiful catch. The defense went NUTS as if that was the last defensive play of a win over Kansas City or Baltimore. Moore generates a ton of energy for this team and the team responded in kind when he made that huge play at the end of the scrimmage.
Outside linebacker Jacob Martin showed off his wheels when he scooped up a botched handoff and went in about 25 yards for the score. He mentioned the other day during his press conference that he had tacked on 21 pounds since the end of the 2019 season. Well, he hasn't lost his first step or his speed at all, seemingly.
Running backs Duke Johnson and David Johnson have impressed this training camp with the vision, the juice and the burst that I love to see from running backs. Although they are built completely differently, they both have a lion's heart and there's a quiet ferocity to the way they go about their business.
I'm going to cut it there as there was a bit more, but there are things I don't want/need to get into at this point (you never know who's reading, right?). Poet Laureate Ice Cube once said "today was a good day" and that's exactly what Thursday night was for the Texans organization and their fans following from afar. It was certainly a good day.