Houston Texans Training Camp News
On a mostly cloudy Sunday morning in the stifling Houston humidity, the Houston Texans took the field for the first time in the 2016 NFL preseason. A large and very excited crowd braved the heat and filled the stands at the Texans’ practice facility.
It’s hard to place too much emphasis on the results that you see for the first day of training camp on field workouts. My view on the sidelines was certainly from a good- albeit it hot- vantage point, but didn’t necessarily show me too much.
But I was able to see a few interesting things from the field.
Passing Game[the_ad id=”63198″]The Texans offense worked on a variety of passing formations with the receiving corps shifting all around. DeAndre Hopkins was absent from practice in a contract dispute. When asked if he was worried about Hopkins missing reps, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said “Again, I have a tremendous amount of respect for DeAndre Hopkins. I love coaching the guy. I think I speak for everybody here that he’s a heck of a player and when he comes back he’s going to be thrown right in there and that’s the way it’s going to go.”
General Manager Rick Smith was also asked about his gut feeling on Hopkins holdout and said “Well, I said yesterday that we’re disappointed. Obviously, we want him here. I think he ought to be here—he’s under contract. But he’s exercising his right to express himself in the way that he’s chosen. We’ve got a season to prepare for. When he gets back, we’ll welcome him back.”
After practice, it was reported that Hopkins would end his one-day holdout and report on Monday morning.
While Hopkins wasn’t there, some of Houston’s other wide receivers looked good. Cecil Shorts took an active role coaching and mentoring his younger teammates.
QB Brock Osweiler had an up and down day, but showed good red-zone chemistry with second-year wideout Jaelen Strong, who made a number of nice catches.
Rookies Braxton Miller and Will Fuller lined up all over the field and both looked good.
Speaking on Osweiler’s first day, O’Brien told us “Look, like I said, he’s made progress every single day he’s been here. Training camp is tough. There were some really good plays out there today, some plays – for everybody, not just Brock that we need to correct and get better. But a lot of good effort. I thought the operation of the offense was decent, especially with the first group. We’re just looking to string another day together tomorrow.”
Overall the defense got the better of the offense when the two units matched-up in the red zone, but backup signal-caller Brandon Weeden threw a couple of nice red zone passes to Keith Mumphrey and Josh Lenz, who both made nice touchdown grabs while draped in coverage.
RB Lamar Miller looked as good as advertised, taking some handoffs and showcasing his ability to be a pass-catching weapon.
In today’s era of social media, injuries are reported fast and are often overblown with terms like “carted off the field” being emphasized. Houston Chronicle columnist Stephanie Stradley shared some good tips with me on the often panicked reporting of training camp injuries.
Speaking of injuries, Texans tackle Derek Newton left practice after about an hour. He wasn’t in obvious major pain, but Newton did leave the field on a cart- which is standard procedure when a player returns to the facility for treatment. After practice, O’Brein opined “I don’t think it was life-threatening or anything like that, so I think he’ll be alright.”
Immediately after practice, JJ Watt, accompanied by Justin, a Make-a-Wish friend awaiting a heart transplant, said he hasn’t missed a game in his five-year career and as long as he is cleared by doctors is planning on playing as soon as possible.
Asked about how the recovery was going, Watt said “I jogged today a little bit. They probably weren’t terribly happy to see me do that, but I felt good. That’s what’s crazy, is I feel good. My body feels good. It’s just a matter of now listening to them and what they tell me to do. I’ll do whatever they tell me to do so I know I can be healthy for the first game.”
Senior Writer Gridiron Experts. 2012 FantasyPros Most Accurate Fantasy Expert. Member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. 26-year fantasy football veteran. Featured on NFL.com, Fantasypros, Football Diehards annual magazine, local AM sports radio, podcasts everywhere and SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. Once scored 4 touchdowns in a single game for Polk High School.