Examining the Houston Texans' roster:
With Andre Johnson nursing a hamstring injury, Fitzpatrick has really had a chance to strengthen his chemistry with second-year receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Fitzpatrick is steadily improving as he learns the offense and gets to know his receivers better. He emphasizes communication with his receivers and isn't afraid to lead vocally. I haven't seen the same kind of progress from Keenum. He has the occasional nice throw but hasn't broken some of the bad habits that were a problem for him last season.
RUNNING BACKS/FULLBACKS (4)
I'm a little unclear as to why I did this, but I really underestimated Posey. Totally nonsensical. From the end of his college career until now, Posey's development has been interrupted by various situations, but he works extremely hard and has looked very good in training camp. The receivers as a whole have been impressive. If the Texans keep six receivers, EZ Nwachukwu, an undrafted rookie last season, is right there behind this group. If recently signed Joe Adams can offer a spark in the return game, he could also force his way onto the roster as the sixth receiver.
TIGHT ENDS (4)
Fiedorowicz is quite the physical specimen. His blocking was a known quantity since college, but his pass-catching ability was an area of his game that came with some questions. It probably needs continued work, but he's done decently well in it. Griffin, now in his second year, struggled with blocking during his rookie season, which is a difficult weakness to overcome.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
This has been an emotional offseason for this group as they support their fellow lineman David Quessenberry while he goes through cancer treatments. It gives them perspective and a mission beyond just what they do on the field. That can be a powerful motivator. One thing to watch here on the field is Brooks' progression. He is still on the non-football injury list with a back injury, and the right guard is a key cog for this unit.
DEFENSIVE LINE (5)
Nix is now known to be recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, which calls into question whether he'll be healthy for the Texans' season opener. I could see Ricardo Mathews being added to this list in order to give the Texans enough depth at nose tackle.
Two noted changes from my last 53-man roster guess. I added Groves and Mohamed while subtracting Akeem Dent and Ricky Sapp. Sapp was released from the team last week. Mohamed has been getting some attention lately.
Haven't changed this group at all. These are the guys I still think will be around. Bouye is someone to watch. He was a promising undrafted rookie in 2013 and finished the season on injured reserve. He's learned a lot in the past year.
Rather than splitting this group into free and strong safeties, these guys are learning to play on the right or left side in defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel's system. They all have to learn free and strong safety, just another example of the emphasis on versatility around here these days.
We'll start to get a better feel for the kicking competition when games begin, which they do this week. Hooray!