Forget about the annual questions about what the OTA acronym means (Organized Team Activities), this is practice. Yes there are no pads and no real contact but your Texans are out there bringing it and we're only eight weeks away from the first training camp session.
First of all, the very sight of Deshaun Watson throwing a football in a Texans uniform is enough to make you want to jump into a time machine and fast forward to September 9th in Foxborough. He's not a full-go yet but he's operating in 7-on-7's and doing enough individual drills (which means throwing to receivers in a controlled environment) to let you know he's certainly on the right track.
One note on OTA offense – throwing to DeAndre Hopkins is almost like cheating. When you need to convert, you throw the ball to number 10. And he's always open. Actually, even when he's not open, he makes the catch because he's THAT good.
It's also a sight for sore 2017 eyes to see Will Fuller healthy again. All he did with Watson in four games last year was catch seven TDs! Also, I won't infuriate Bill O'Brien and send Keke Coutee to the Pro Bowl but I'll tell you that certain rookies have that look about them. Like they are ready for the big jump to Sundays. We'll see how it works out when things heat up at the Greenbrier but so far he looks like he's ready for the NFL challenge.
Another receiver who is hard not to notice is Sammy Coates. Things didn't work out as planned in Pittsburgh or Cleveland. But he's made some nice catches and has the size and speed to do damage on special teams and make things interesting at wide out.
Add Whitney Mercilus to the list of players that make you smile when you see them don the Deep Steel Blue helmet. As each week passed last season, going out to the practice field meant getting familiarized with some new faces and realizing that more names-you-know would be missing significant time. That what happens when your team is forced to use an NFL record 78 players over the course of a season. Having Mercilus back will be a huge boost to the pass rush, which will undoubtedly help the back end.
Speaking of the boys in the secondary, you know we always talk about what a tight group it is. Well, every time they make a big play there's celebrating and plenty of encouragement for the young players. Added vets like Tyrann Mathieu and Aaron Colvin are tough to throw on and everyone on that side of the line of scrimmage is benefitting.
Next week we'll talk about the offensive line and tight ends. There are some new faces in both groups that will need to make an impact to get this team where it wants to go.
Check out some of the best shots from Day 2 of rookie minicamp presented by Houston Methodist.