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Vandermeer's View: A training camp unlike any other

Having observed and covered every training camp in the history of the franchise, I wasn't sure if I was the only one who saw it. But when Spencer Tillman (analyst on Texans Preseason games – KTRK ABC-13) appeared on Texans Radio Tuesday, I was validated.

This is unlike any Texans camp I've ever seen.

All training camps are intense. But this one is dialed up to a new level. From running after practice day one to three consecutive steamy days in full gear to a physical edge never witnessed at NRG Park, it's clear this is a new era.

Former Cowboy and Aggie Dat Nguyen, who co-hosts afternoon drive on Texans affiliate ESPN 1250 in San Antonio, has seen a few Houston camps. He told me this camp reminds him of when the Cowboys were making the transition into the Parcells era. I'll have some of that, please.

The length of practices also caught my attention. In years past, we would seldom see a morning practice go too far beyond two hours. This season, each practice feels like an installment in the Godfather trilogy. Two-and-a-half hours plus of learning, grinding and hitting in the hot sun.

In case you haven't heard, Bill O'Brien preaches 'team first.' And he certainly doesn't want to be the center of attention. But he's impossible to ignore. Just go watch the O'Brien Mic'd up video from camp on this website. He gets down and dirty with every position group. Rick Smith acknowledged on Texans Radio O'Brien's meticulous attention to every detail on the field.

We still don't know what it will all flesh out to be. A healthy 2014 Texans team should feature a stout defense. But the offense still remains a bit of a mystery. Every football mind acknowledges that defense should be ahead of the offense at this time of year. And Houston's attack has to deal with trying to gel in the face of a front seven loaded with the likes of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.

O'Brien's vision of having a tough, physical and versatile team should materialize soon. The proficiency he's looking for on offense might take more time. But no one knows for sure. We can only wait for step one, on August 9 when the Texans test drive their new squad at Arizona.

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