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VanderBlog: Saturday Night Fervor


Five days away from Preseason game one, the Texans put on a rousing practice in front of another packed house at the Houston Methodist Training Center.

While the defense has looked solid all camp, the offense has clearly sharpened its teeth over the last few days, with C.J. Stroud and Davis Mills both upping their games.
We've been telling you on the air that there have been almost no 7-on-7 and individual padded pass rush drills in this camp.

Saturday night we saw both. But that didn't take away from 11-on-11 work, as it was clear the coaching staff is getting the squad ready for game action, which will start Thursday at 6pm at New England (ABC-13, Sports Radio 610, The Bull 100.3 FM).

The fans are pumped.

I heard a few "We love you, Cal" calls from the stands as the McNair's walked the sidelines. In what has become a semi-tradition, the McNair's gave away more tee shirts to the crowd. This time it was the 'H-Town Made' merch that everyone wants to get a hold of.

I've been here all 22 camps and there's just something different about the vibes around this team and its supporters. DeMeco Ryans has said "We're on the cusp." He mentioned it in his introductory press conference and he's mentioned it since.

And we're seeing it.

Anyone with football eyes can tell this is a better team than the last couple of years. But I'm here to say it's better than it was two weeks ago. No one knows how high the 2023 ceiling is but for where we are heading into the first outing, it's a good start.

Adding to the vibes was a media and influencer flag football game earlier in the day. Travis Johnson and ND Kalu coached the Battle Red team to victory 17-15. ND should walk into the broadcast booth for his preseason TV broadcasting debut wearing the championship belt his squad won.

Cecil Shorts and Bun B were on the mic for the game. Bun B (I was going to write 'B' as a second reference, but it didn't seem right) stayed for practice. His Trill Burgers are taking the city by storm.

I had one at the draft party and it tasted like an oasis in a desert of hunger. I'll go to the restaurant when the line dies down. Is this a Yogi Berra "No one goes there anymore, it's too crowded" kind of situation? I think not. Too much taste and popularity. Also, they'll be available at NRG Stadium on GameDays!

John Harris and I got some interviews we'll be airing and posting in the next few days. One was with former Rocket Mo Taylor, who was taking in the practice. He shares a Detroit connection with Texans Desmond King, Tavierre Thomas and Darius Phillips, who also hail from the Motor City.

Detroit is a top five city in producing NFL players and that ranking is growing. "It's started to produce more NFL players than NBA players in the last 10-15 years," said Taylor, who played some football as a kid until he showed up in 8th grade at 6-7 and the dye was cast for hoops.

The Texans Sunday off and get right back to practice on Monday morning. Camp is a grind but Ryans has had the guys on the field three days then a day off for three consecutive runs.
The New England game will be a nice first test. The Texans have never won there. Even though it's preseason, I'd like to order up a big fat W. And a Trill Burger, please.

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