Here are the top five items that separate this camp from the other 13.
1. The Texans have never gone to camp without a starter named at quarterback
Only three players have started on opening day for Houston; David Carr, Matt Schaub and Ryan Fitzpatrick, who officially got last year's nod at the end of off season practices. Unless Bill O'Brien delivers the announcement before Saturday, history is made. Whoever starts opening day against Kansas City will try to keep the streak of opening day wins, which stands at five, intact.
2. Hard Knocks
It's always been a show you wanted to see. Now it's required viewing. You'll get a look inside the team that you never have before. As close as I've been to this Club, I've never been in the coach's or GM's office during private conversations with players. I've never been in a true coaches meeting or tape session with the players and their mentors. Now we'll all get to do it together. Remarkable.
3. Holding a series of practices on the road against a team they won't play
Quick, name the two teams the Texans have practiced against in the preseason but didn't play in a preseason game. At first glance I thought the sessions with Washington were unprecedented but then I remembered the Alamo….Dome, that is, where the Texans scrimmaged Dallas in '03. Plus, in year one, they scrimmaged the Cowboys at Robertson Stadium. And later in the Dom Capers era, they had practices with Miami before a scrimmage at NRG Stadium (Which was a blast. More of that, please). But this is the first time such a set of sessions has been held on the road and the first time in over a decade that the team has met with a non-preseason opponent for some extra work.
4. No Texan from the first six years of franchise history is on the roster
Without Andre Johnson and Chris Myers, Duane Brown (class of '08) is now the longest tenured Texan. Also notable is the fact that only six starters remain from the first playoff team in 2011, only two on offense (Brown and Arian Foster). This information led my nine-year-old son (VanderKid) to point out that the Texans are the only team in the league to have any starters left from their first playoff team. Such stats are still possible for the league's youngest franchise.
5. We don't really know who the number two wide receiver is
Jabar Gaffney held down the job for the first four years (deep threat Corey Bradford went from one to three after Andre Johnson was drafted). Eric Moulds was the second man in the first season of the Kubiak era before Kevin Walter's six year stranglehold on the position. DeAndre Hopkins took the spot in '13 and now moves into the pole position with an array of possibilities for the second slot.