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A failed attempt to monitor Texans' CBs

6/9/2010

HOUSTON -- So I went into Wednesday’s Houston Texans OTA session with a grand plan. With a system of pluses and minuses, I was going to really hone in on the cornerbacks and come out with a sense of what they have, who’s doing well and who’s not.

It didn’t really work out and I thought about scraping it and not mentioning it to you at all. Except that maybe in how it panned out can illustrate a bit about watching a practice.

First off, I had a rough guideline. A break up or a pick was certainly going to be a plus, as was the right brand of well-covered completion. A missed chance or a receiver who had too much space as the ball arrived would be a minus. Much of it was going to be subjective, as I wasn’t going to know the precise responsibilities of coverages being played. It would be a simple eye test.

So in seven-on-seven and team periods, I focused almost exclusively on the corners and scored them this way:

Not much of a revealing scorecard, I know. I think corners in general take too much heat -- a lot of people seem to think no passes should be completed. In an OTA it’s even more common to have passes completed on you as there is no real rush and plays usually continue after a rusher would have sacked the quarterback. I expected to award more minuses than pluses, and more scoring overall.

But on this day, I thought the offense regularly threw passes that were more on safeties and linebackers than corners. Later, a good share of the team periods were 4:00 drills when runs are featured as the offense attempts to milk clock and I wasn't scoring run support.

I asked Gary Kubiak if I should read anything into the fact the corners didn’t seem to be challenged a lot. He said not really, that there was a lot of cover-2 work and if that dictated balls in the middle or check downs to the flanks it wasn’t by some grand design for the day.

So there’s that. I’m sure you’ll let me know if I should have chosen the spike the whole idea.

Here are some other observations.

  • Strong safety Bernard Pollard had a pick in a red zone drill in the back of the end zone under the goal posts. He’s a very vocal, tone-setting leader who seems to strike a nice balance between being angry and being funny.

  • Trindon Holiday had trouble catching kicks early on, regular practice reporters told me. That means he’s hardly a lock for the job or a roster spot. But he’s settled down some now. He looked a bit tentative to me, but boy can he run. Monday, when practice was inside and I was closer to the action, I took note that he really had his head in what the receivers were doing -- watching on a knee with a script in his hand. The team’s got to like that level of attention.

  • Undrafted free agent Tom Williams out of Purdue didn’t get much of a bonus to sign, I am sure. So I put very low odds that he takes another snap without his chinstrap buckled, since secondary coach David Gibbs warned him during the defensive backs period that the next time he did there would be a $200 fine attached.

  • Sidenote: Eric Winston's working for Silver Eagle Distributors, which distributes Anheuser-Busch products. He said he’s always liked Bud Light and works 1 p.m.-5 p.m. on most days when he’s in Houston. He is guest writing Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback at SI.com on July 5. We talked some ideas, but Winston will do just fine on his own. Note to self: Use the best stuff from that interview before the 5th.