AFC South: David Quessenberry

Several Houston Texans players and head coach Bill O'Brien attended an event Wednesday at Texas Children's Hospital, visiting with children as the team announced a seven-year partnership for the hospital to become the team's official hospital.

Several media members were invited to the event, and from their tweets, we learned a few things. Let's get to them, in list form, with the help of those reporters' tweets.

My take: This is the best Texans news anyone will get all year. David Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins T lymphoblastic lymphoma last summer, spent the summer and fall undergoing aggressive treatments (read more about his journey here). Radiation followed chemotherapy and that process is now finished. In the aforementioned link, you'll read that this isn't the end of the road, but it's a very important and positive milestone for Quessenberry. Great news.

My take: Ryan Mallett said in December that he wants to be back with the Texans, and he repeated that Wednesday. He also provided this update on his pectoral muscle: He's started tossing the ball around, but is taking his recovery day to day. Mallett will hit free agency on March 10 if the Texans don't reach a deal with him before then. I'm betting it will happen.

My take: Chris Myers' future is an interesting one. He acknowledged to reporters that the business side of football comes into play. Simone Eli of KPRC tweeted that Myers has been working out with the team. Myers still has one year left on a contract he signed in 2012, and his salary-cap figure for that year is $8 million, which has spurred some of the discussion about his future.
HOUSTON -- When they spoke, Houston Texans offensive tackle David Quessenberry shared his struggle with Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano.

"I told him sometimes the days get really long and it’s a really hard process," Quessenberry said by phone Wednesday.

Pagano understood.

Quessenberry
"He said, 'I know, I've been there,'" Quessenberry recalled. "'I’ve had those long days. Been in those hospital beds. He said the thing that helps keep you going is that iPad and watching film and talking to players. Just keeping your mind going.'"

That advice has remained with Quessenberry, who stays as involved as he can with his team. It's not always possible. He just finished his sixth round of chemotherapy, which meant six days in the hospital as the poisonous treatment continued to shrink the cancerous mass inside him. He's getting used to it now and his cancer has been shrinking on schedule.

"There’s a lot of things that are barred for me," he said. "I’m spending a lot of time in the hospital for chemotherapy, I’m also spending a lot of time for blood work. Different doctor visits. Different scans. In between I have little sessions of chemo and doctor visits and all that. When I’m not doing that stuff, I’m with the team. I want to be there. Going through this process, my family and friends support and their love have been the best medicine for me. The next best thing is being around the team, being around the guys."

Pagano
Pagano reached out through Bruce Tollner, who helped Pagano write his book and whose agency represents Quessenberry.

"DQ is a good friend of mine," Pagano said. "... When that whole thing went down, Bruce had told me when Q was diagnosed. I wanted to reach out and support him any way that I could early on."

Said Quessenberry of Pagano: "He’s been great throughout this process."

One of those expressions of support came during the preseason when Pagano had an "Indianapolis for DQ" shirt made and wore it during practice. Pagano looks forward to seeing Quessenberry come out with his team Thursday night.

"It’ll be an unbelievable for him just to be back with his teammates and back on the grass, where he wants to be," Pagano said. "He’s battling. He’s one tough cookie and I know he’s got great support there. Just like myself, you don’t get through this stuff alone without your faith and your family and community."

Texans honor David Quessenberry

August, 2, 2014
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A few days ago, as he recovered from cancer treatment at his family home in southern California, Texans offensive tackle David Quessenberry called the team's video manager with a technical question.

He needed to make sure his tablet was working properly. He wanted to watch film of the practices he was missing.

The Texans are still very much on his mind. And just as much as they are, he's on their minds, too. That was never more clear than Saturday morning when every Texans employee not in uniform, starting with head coach Bill O'Brien, wore a T-shirt with a logo that said "Texans for DQ."

[+] EnlargeDavid Quessenberry
AP Photo/Pat SullivanTexans offensive lineman David Quessenberry was diagnosed with cancer in June.
What seemed like a simple gesture actually meant so much more. With that concerted effort, the team launched a fundraising project. They'll sell the T-shirts through their official store with a portion of the proceeds going to the Lymphoma Research Foundation in a donation in Quessenberry's name.

"To be able to ... see it all come to fruition with the shirts, it just means the world to DQ," Texans center Chris Myers said. "I was talking to him last night. He's obviously ecstatic he's got tremendous support from the organization.

"I think it just speaks volumes about what he means to us. The impression that he made on us before everything happened with the diagnosis. He's a great guy. Great character guy. Works his butt off out here. Throughout all last year coming back from the (foot) injury and trying to get into the lineup this year. Then obviously he got that news. Right when it happened he's had the utmost support from everybody."

Quessenberry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins T lymphoblastic lymphoma on June 3. Some shortness of breath during a practice led to further testing, which revealed the sometimes fatal illness. The news devastated his teammates, especially those closest to him such as left tackle Duane Brown. It wasn't easy for Quessenberry, either, but he rarely let that impact his attitude.

"His spirits are already high," Brown said. "He's already been very optimistic, got his mind made up that he's going to fight this thing."

Almost immediately, Myers began devising a plan to raise money and awareness for Quessenberry's illness. He's worked with a local company called Running Game Clothing on fundraising efforts in the past, once to raise money for Operation Smile, a charity that helps provide surgeries for children born with cleft lips and palates. It was a natural partnership.

Myers wanted Quessenberry involved, too. Quessenberry helped pick the final designs for the shirts.

The team unveiled the shirts during Saturday morning's open practice. The Texans are asking fans who buy them to wear them to the team's final open practice of training camp on Aug. 14.

"It's great to see all the coaching support, everyone around the organization," Brown said. "Hopefully we can get some people to buy them, to wear them in the stands. It does a lot for me, it does a lot for the team, for the organization and it would mean the world to him."

Two months ago, Myers and Quessenberry were roommates when they attended guard Ben Jones' wedding. Neither of them knew about the disease that had already started invade Quessenberry's body. That diagnosis came the following week.

As he recalled that weekend after practice today, Myers smiled.

"It makes you realize how important life is," Myers said. "We're out there practicing on this field. I'm sitting here staring at this NRG stadium. It's pretty cool you get to play in the NFL. And he's out there battling cancer. So as much as we can do for him, we're going to do."
Jake Daniel was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma at 7 years old back in December. He finished treatment in May and has some tips in this adorable video for Texans offensive tackle David Quessenberry, 23, who was diagnosed last week:

1. Keep praying.

2. Keep your head up.

3. Never give up.

4. When you get the mouth sores, always eat Jell-o.

5. Always flirt with nurses.

Camp Confidential: Houston Texans

August, 14, 2013
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HOUSTON -- At 12-4 last season, the Houston Texans had the best record in the young franchise's history, won their second consecutive AFC South championship, became the first professional football team in Houston to win a home playoff game in consecutive years and finished the regular season as one of only two teams to be ranked in the top 10 in both offense and defense.

Doesn't sound like a failed season, does it? But as the franchise has grown and checked off accomplishments, failure has begun to mean anything other than a Super Bowl win.

“We weren’t the last team standing last year, so ultimately we all failed,” quarterback Matt Schaub said. “We all didn’t accomplish our goals.”

This year's Texans are more businesslike. Most of this year's team was around for the slide at the end of last season, which coincided with a linebacking corps that took one hit after another even after taking its biggest hit in early October, when it lost Brian Cushing. They shook their heads at three losses in the last four games of the season. The offense mustered only 12 points per game in those three losses -- less than half its season average.

“Everybody was so excited and couldn’t wait for the next season to come around,” receiver Andre Johnson said. “As you can see, we came out of the gate smoking, but at the end we just didn’t finish it the right way. At times, maybe we could have been feeling ourselves or something. I think, I’ve told people this before, I think the game in New England, our last playoff game, it just showed you what kind of team you have to be in order to accomplish that ultimate goal. That was definitely a humbling experience, and we’ll be looking forward to the challenge again.”

Now they return with Cushing back and an additional offensive weapon in first-round draft pick DeAndre Hopkins -- the receiver with the massive, red-gloved hands. They should have more stability on the offensive line and more depth at safety with the additions of a future Hall of Famer (Ed Reed) and a college enforcer (D.J. Swearinger). They have healthy cornerbacks and the reigning defensive player of the year in J.J. Watt, who is sure he can play better than his unreal 2012 season.

They return with an edge they didn't have last year.

THREE HOT ISSUES

1. Hopkins' impact: It is impossible not to be impressed by Hopkins' skill and athleticism, owed in part to his unusually large hands. Particularly adept at scoring in the red zone while he was at Clemson, Hopkins is expected to help the Texans, who didn't struggle scoring in the red zone last season but did struggle at scoring touchdowns in the red zone relative to the best offenses in the NFL. Hopkins provides a dimension the Texans didn't have in 2012 -- a second receiver defenses should fear, taking some attention from Johnson. The rookie is at his best on contested catches and spends his practices learning from cornerback Johnathan Joseph. Hopkins struggled early in organized team activities, but as training camp has progressed, he has grown more comfortable with just about everything. If he plays in regular-season games like he has in camp, the Texans' offense will improve significantly.

[+] EnlargeBrian Cushing
AP Photo/Pat SullivanWhen linebacker Brian Cushing went down for the season in Week 5, the loss was felt across the Texans' defense.
2. Cushing's return: When Cushing was lost to a torn ACL in Week 5 against the New York Jets, a line of Texans greeted the fallen inside linebacker at the door to the locker room, shaking his hand and offering condolences. Losing Cushing hurt the Texans' safeties and outside linebackers as much as it changed their inside linebacker rotation. The pass rush suffered too.

“When Cush rushes, which we try to rush him a lot from the inside, if they have to pick up a back on him they are in trouble,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. “We got a big advantage, so they try and pick him up with a lineman. Well, if they do that then the outside guys get a chance to get a back or a better matchup.”

Cushing's return brings back a maniacal, focused intensity that intimidates opponents.

“Brian Cushing is back,” outside linebacker Brooks Reed said. “He's going to bring the attitude back.”

3. When will Reed be healthy? Reed signed with the Texans amid great fanfare. The owner sent his team plane to Atlanta to collect the future Hall of Famer, and the team's official Twitter provided updates along the way. Reed met with coaches, underwent a lengthy physical and then left Houston for a family engagement before returning to sign a three-year deal worth $5 million a year. About a month later, Reed had arthroscopic hip surgery to repair a torn labrum that he thinks he suffered during the Ravens' AFC Championship Game win.

This week, Reed was out of town rehabilitating with a specialist after having spent training camp in Houston working with Texans trainers.

“No, absolutely not,” coach Gary Kubiak said when asked if that meant Reed had a setback. “It’s just something that we’ve made our progress here for a couple of weeks. [Head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan] has been in contact with this guy. He’s worked with us before, so we wanted him to go see him for a couple of days and basically make sure we’re doing the right things. We’re going to do that for a couple of days each week.”

So far there hasn't been any clarity on when Reed will be available to the Texans or whether he will be able to play in the season opener.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM

[+] EnlargeDeAndre Hopkins
AP Photo/Andy KingRookie DeAndre Hopkins gives Houston a scoring threat in the red zone and a second receiver whom opposing defense should fear.
The Texans have the best defensive player in the NFL in Watt, who in 2012 had, according to his well-traveled defensive coordinator, the best season any defensive lineman has ever had. This was a good team last year that needed some cracks filled. Injuries had a lot to do with the Texans' defensive holes at the end of the season, and those injuries aren't an issue for Houston anymore. Watt also will be healthier this year. Offensively, the Texans have Johnson coming off a career year in receiving yards, running back Arian Foster and a quarterback who will benefit from a more stable offensive line and an extra receiving weapon.

There has been a lot of hand-wringing about Schaub, but I expect him to be a lot better this season with the changing personnel around him.

REASON FOR PESSIMISM

The abundance of linebacker injuries last season hurt the defense and special teams. The Texans still are vulnerable there. A rash of linebacker injuries in training camp has caused players to miss some time. Though none of these injuries were significant, a collection of linebacker injuries that keep players out for even two or three games at a time could be damaging.

Reed's health also could be troubling. Swearinger isn't ready yet, and safety Shiloh Keo has started in Reed's place during camp. Keo has improved since last season and has had a good camp, but he would be a downgrade from departed safety Glover Quin.

OBSERVATION DECK

  • Earl Mitchell had about the loudest debut as the Texans' starting nose tackle as one could have. Sure, it was a preseason game, but in 10 snaps Friday against Minnesota, Mitchell had four tackles, three of them for loss, including one sack. He also had one quarterback hit. Mitchell is quick on his feet, powerful and has a new confidence this season. The Houston native says that comes from knowing he entered this season as the starter -- a position well earned.
  • Foster remains on the physically unable to perform list. He initially landed on the list with a calf injury, but that has healed. Now, the Texans are being cautious because of a back injury. I wrote it before and will again: There's no sense in pushing Foster too much right now, especially given the load he takes on during the season.
  • With one full NFL season accrued, receiver Keshawn Martin has made a dramatic improvement on both offense and special teams. It has caught the eye of teammates. Last season, Lestar Jean joined Martin on the active roster. Jean is an incredibly hard worker, but he finds himself back on the bubble two years removed from being an undrafted rookie.
  • The Texans' third-string running back battle took an interesting turn Friday in Minnesota when Cierre Wood, who progressed more slowly at first, seemed to have a better night than fellow undrafted rookie Dennis Johnson. It's far too early to determine a winner in that battle, but those two are ahead, with veteran pickup Deji Karim threatening from a special-teams standpoint.
  • There were times last season when starting cornerback Joseph didn't feel like himself. He had two sports hernias that he didn't even properly identify until after playing in the Pro Bowl. Joseph had surgeries to repair both, and feels healthier than he did all last season. That is great news for the Texans, who pair him opposite the constantly improving Kareem Jackson.
  • It's unclear exactly how long left guard Wade Smith will be out after having his knee scoped Tuesday morning. What's certain, however, is that Smith's absence will give the Texans a chance to test the versatility of sixth-round draft pick David Quessenberry, who started out the offseason playing mostly tackle. Quessenberry made news during the summer because his truck was stolen, then recovered in East Texas with police saying it was being used for human trafficking. More relevant to our purpose is that Quessenberry has been really impressive in camp and willing to learn. Kubiak said he expects both Ben Jones and Quessenberry to see time there with Smith out.
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

One key positional battle for each AFC South team as training camps get underway.

Houston Texans: Right tackle. There is a lot to sort out at linebacker, and we don’t know who the third receiver is going to be. But we’ll go to the right side of the offensive line, where Derek Newton is coming off knee surgery and third-rounder Brennan Williams has battled a knee injury of his own. Ideally the two would slug it out through camp, but we don’t know when they both will be ready to make a full push for the position. That could give sixth-rounder David Quessenberry the chance to win the job, at least at the start, or prompt the Texans to turn to middling veteran Ryan Harris. It’s a key position that will have a big bearing on how Arian Foster runs and the protection offered to quarterback Matt Schaub.

Indianapolis Colts: Receiver. There is a lot to sort out on the offensive line. But the Colts have question marks at receiver for Andrew Luck in his second season. Reggie Wayne is locked in as the super-reliable top option. But Darrius Heyward-Bey is No. 2 and never lived up to his draft status in Oakland. With a good quarterback in a new system, could he blossom? T.Y. Hilton did some good things as a rookie, and if he minimizes his drops, he can really be productive, particularly from the slot. After that, things thin out. LaVon Brazill is suspended for the first four games. Griff Whalen missed his rookie year hurt.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Quarterback. Once again, the team will be trying to find the guy who can perform best: Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne. But new general manager David Caldwell, new coach Gus Bradley and a new staff don’t have the investment in Gabbert, the 10th pick in the 2011 draft. Henne has more experience. Both guys played their best when they first started last season. Gabbert fizzled on a bad team, got hurt and was shut down. Henne had a couple of big games, but ultimately didn’t offer much more. Coordinator Jedd Fisch’s system will allow the quarterback to make plays on the move more, which should be advantageous to Gabbert. Mike Kafka and Matt Scott are unlikely to pull an upset.

Tennessee Titans: Cornerback. Although Jason McCourty is locked in as the top guy, the second cornerback slot is up for grabs. Incumbent Alterraun Verner is a smart player with a good knack for slot play. But the team is moving toward more aggressive man-to-man play, and that’s not his forte. Tommie Campbell is physically gifted and fits the mold. The question is whether he can handle it mentally. New senior assistant/defense Gregg Williams did good work as the Titans' defensive coordinator (1997-2000) when there was a similar question with Denard Walker. Rookie third-rounder Blidi Wreh-Wilson also will get a crack at the job.
Incumbent right tackle Derek Newton is coming off knee surgery and is a bit of an unknown for the Houston Texans as they prepare to start camp.

Now third-round pick Brennan Williams, who was expected to make a strong push for the starting spot, has been placed on the physically unable to perform list after a recent knee scope.

Per Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle, Williams will “miss too much time this summer to realistically be a factor when the season starts.”

Ryan Harris and Andrew Gardner are other options, as is sixth-round pick David Quessenberry.

But the Texans need to get settled at right tackle, which was a trouble spot last season. Newton experienced growing pains and yielded at times to Harris.

Injuries are fluid and things can change in a hurry. Perhaps Williams suffered a setback or his initial diagnosis was ultimately incorrect.

The Texans and Williams downplayed his knee issue after he got rolled up on in May.

“He got rolled up this morning in a drill that he was doing, but we think he’s going to be fine,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said on May 11, per the team’s website. “All indications are he’s fine. We’re going to keep him out tomorrow and then put him back to work next week, so we got lucky.”

“I’m feeling great,” Williams said at the time. “Somebody’s been praying for me. I’m doing (all right) ... just a little bit of swelling. Nothing too bad. I’ll be back pretty soon.”

Did the Texans really feel that way then, or did they feel compelled to spin hard on a May injury?

I guess it’s not important. But they need Newton or Williams, and preferably Newton and Williams, ready for their opener at San Diego on Sept. 9.
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

The major question facing each team in the AFC South as summer break looms:

Houston Texans: Even if Derek Newton recovers well from his knee surgery, are they sure he can be good at right tackle? In Newton's first year as the starter there, veteran Ryan Harris still got a share of the snaps. Now the team has to see how Newton recovers, will consider rookies Brennan Williams and David Quessenberry and brought Harris back as veteran insurance. They’ve surely got comfort in numbers, but you’d much rather have a sure thing at the front of the line. If second-year man Brandon Brooks doesn’t play well from the start at right guard, right tackle could be an even bigger problem. And the Texans need to be able to send Arian Foster both left and right to be unpredictable in the run game. They also need to protect Matt Schaub from all angles.

Indianapolis Colts: The team’s biggest defensive moves have been keyed on stopping the run. Outside linebacker Erik Walden is an edge-setter, defensive linemen like Ricky Jean Francois and Aubrayo Franklin should help stop backs and safety LaRon Landry is a force in the box when he’s healthy. If cornerback Greg Toler pans out, he will help the pass rush, and rookie outside 'backer Bjoern Werner could be an impact rusher if he transitions quickly from college end. But can this team consistently rush the passer? The only truly proven rusher on the defense is Robert Mathis, and for the first time he’ll be playing without Dwight Freeney drawing some of the blocking attention. To me, the major question is: Can they rush the passer effectively?

Jacksonville Jaguars: Who is the quarterback? Blaine Gabbert had most-favored status from the last regime, because the general manager of the last regime traded up to draft him 10th overall. That doesn’t mean anything to new GM Dave Caldwell or new coach Gus Bradley. They are looking for a guy who will give them the best chance to improve. If it’s Gabbert, that’s fine. But Chad Henne has said he believes there isn’t a charade element to this competition, and the team is talking as if new addition Mike Kafka and even undrafted rookie Matt Scott have an equally good chance of winning the job. Odds are very high this team will be looking for its long term-quarterback in next year’s draft. In the meantime, opportunity abounds.

Tennessee Titans: All Titans questions start with the quarterback. Jake Locker is now protected by a great offensive line, which should also greatly improve the run game. The new offense will give him a lot of play-action as well as rollouts and bootlegs, which will be threatening because of his extraordinary speed. His short-yardage targets should be dangerous -- Kevin Walter is super reliable; Kendall Wright should blossom; Delanie Walker and Chris Johnson need to be consistently reliable. The deep guys are a solid bunch if healthy. Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are capable of making downfield plays, and the team is super high on rookie Justin Hunter. The defense will be better, which means the Titans will have the ball more. What can Locker do with it?
Reading the coverage…

Houston Texans

Rookie tackle David Quessenberry's recent surprises include a stolen truck and a lot of playing time at right tackle, says Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle.

Like most starters, Danieal Manning isn’t participating in minicamp but he offered a coaching eye, say Ganguli and John Brannen of the Chronicle.

A couple former Texans -- Connor Barwin and Eric Winston -- are among the 10 players who have lent their names to a new line of clothing which is being sold by the NFL Players Association in honor of LGBT Pride Month, writes Ganguli.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts are sorting through four players and 1,300 pounds as they seek to fill their nose tackle position, says Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star.

The Colts were an 11-5 playoff team in 2012, but that hasn’t stopped general manager Ryan Grigson from a massive roster overhaul that could yield nine new starters, says Chappell.

Until they signed Ahmad Bradshaw, the Colts commitment to improving the running game had been mostly verbal, says Conrad Brunner of 1070 The Fan.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Veteran Marcus Trufant is sharing his expertise with a young group of defensive backs, says Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.

The Jaguars will wrap up minicamp with a public practice, says Vito Stellino of the Times-Union.

Mike Mularkey said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he would start Chad Henne over Blaine Gabbert if he had to pick one right now. (Audio.)

Thoughts on how the quarterback situation could shake out between Gabbert, Henne and Mike Kafka from Cole Pepper.

Tennessee Titans

The No. 2 cornerback job is open for the taking, partly because Alterraun Verner doesn't exactly fit what the Titans now want to do, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

While the offense is simplifying, is the Titans defense getting more complicated and too complicated, asks Music City Miracles.

Cap and rookie signing report

June, 10, 2013
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An update on cap space and rookie signings around the AFC South:

Jacksonville Jaguars -- $26.95 million under the cap.

Draft picks signed: CB Jeremy Harris (seventh round), Demetrius McCray (seventh round).

Draft picks unsigned: Six.

Tennessee Titans -- $9.69 million under the cap.

Draft picks signed: OLB Zaviar Gooden (third round), C Brian Schwenke (fourth round), DE Lavar Edwards (fifth round), CB Khalid Wooten (sixth round), S Daimion Stafford (seventh round).

Draft picks unsigned: Three.

Indianapolis Colts -- $8.5 million under the cap.

Draft picks signed: G Hugh Thornton (third round), C Khaled Holmes (fourth round), DT Montori Hughes (fifth round), S John Boyett (sixth round), RB Kerwynn Williams (seventh round), TE Justice Cunningham (seventh round).

Draft picks unsigned: One.

Houston Texans -- $2.8 million under the cap.

Draft picks signed: OLB Sam Montgomery (third round), OLB Trevardo Williams (fourth round), OT David Quessenberry (sixth round), WR Alan Bonner (sixth round), DT Chris Jones (sixth round), TE Ryan Griffin (sixth round).

Draft picks unsigned: Three.
A fast-paced, wide-ranging installment of the Saturday Twitter mailbag ...
Minor ankle surgery for Duane Brown shouldn’t be a big deal.

Wallace
Brown
Cleaning a bone spur out should line him up to start training camp healthy. And a healthy Brown is a necessity for the Houston Texans.

Brown’s become an elite left tackle. Considering the uncertainty of the right tackle spot, the idea of Brown at less than 100 percent qualifies as scary.

Derek Newton is coming off serious knee surgery and the guys who are the primary competition for his spot are rookies -- Brennan Williams and David Quessenberry.

Andrew Gardner was Brown’s backup at the end of last season. He’s appeared in five games in three seasons with Miami and Houston in three seasons.

The Texans would be a completely different team without Brown.

As I said Tuesday in a post about Jacksonville’s Jason Babin, the most important phrase for a guy having surgery at this time of the year is “ready for training camp.”

Texans rookie minicamp review

May, 13, 2013
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Three of the four teams in the AFC South are coming off weekend minicamps for their rookies. It's a time of year when virtually everything that comes out is positive. The teams had different levels of media availability. But as best we can, we’ll review the primary players and themes out of those camps today, starting with the Houston Texans.

The top pick:

Coach Gary Kubiak thought receiver DeAndre Hopkins made a great first impression and that Hopkins and sixth-round receiver Alan Bonner give the Texans a chance to improve yards after the catch, writes Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle. “Right now, it’s really a matter of settling him down mentally and learning what he’s doing so all the skill keeps taking over where it’s not a bog-down process,” Gary Kubiak said. “It’s going to be a big six weeks for him.”

The No. 2 pick:

D.J. Swearinger had a “savvy pick-six” at a Saturday practice, per Nick Scurfield of the team’s website. Out of his main observations from rookie camp he wrote, “The South Carolina safety plays with a ton of confidence and clearly enjoys himself on the field, and it says something about his overall skill set that a player known for big hits shined in a non-contact setting." Additional talk of Swearinger via Scurfield here.

Quarterback review:

Kubiak always heaps praise on his quarterbacks, and second-year man Case Keenum was the lead dog at this camp and got that treatment from his coach, says John McClain. Kubiak and Keenum both liked what they saw from Collin Klein who was at camp on a tryout basis, says Ganguli.

Running back opportunity:

Behind Arian Foster and Ben Tate, there is room for a third running back. Four undrafted backs know there is a chance. In addition to Dennis Johnson, George Winn, Cierre Wood and Ray Graham, the Texans also brought in Deji Karim, who scored a return touchdown against them for the Colts last year, for a tryout over the weekend, says Ganguli.

Small schools, big hopes:

Tackle David Quessenberry and Bonner arrived in Houston from small schools with the same chance as everyone else, says Dave Zangaro of CSN Houston.

Defensive lineman Chris Jones is starting off at nose tackle but will learn all the line spots, says Zangaro.

Long-shots:

Klein is not the only former Kansas State quarterback among the team’s undrafted rookies, says Ganguli. Justin Tuggle was behind Klein and moved to linebacker. Now he’s trying to earn a spot with the Texans.

Injuries:

Sam Montgomery had some lower back tightness after bad weather forced the first workout inside the practice bubble on artificial turf, said Dale Robertson. Hopkins and Bonner dealt with some cramps Friday at their first outdoor practice but returned the next day. Third-round tackle Brennan Williams suffered a knee injury but an MRI showed it to be not surgical and he should be back to work in a week, says Ganguli.

Glimpses:

Brett Coomer of the Chronicle has a slideshow from the camp.

Outside the mainstream:

At State of the Texans, Patrick Starr had observations from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3.

Assessing AFC South draft trades

April, 29, 2013
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At Football Perspective, Chase Stuart has created a new draft pick trade calculator. He’s also got a calculator based on the older Jimmy Johnson-style trade chart.

Let’s look at the trades made by AFC South teams on both calculators to see how teams did based on the historical value of the picks involved:

Trade: Titans dealt picks 40, 216 and a third-rounder in 2014 to San Francisco for pick 34.

(A future year pick is generally one round higher than would have been accepted in this year’s draft. So for the 2014 third-rounder, I used an average-value pick.)

Football Perspective: Titans got 75.625% value.
Jimmy Johnson: Titans got 102.321 % value

The players: The Titans took Tennessee receiver Justin Hunter, while the 49ers selected Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine and used the second pick in another trade.

Trade: Jaguars dealt pick 98 to Philadelphia for picks 101 and 210.

Football Perspective: Jaguars got 107.407%
Jimmy Johnson: Jaguars got 95.74%

The players: The Jaguars took South Carolina receiver Ace Sanders and Appalachian State cornerback Demetrius McCoy, while the Eagles selected USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

Trade: Texans dealt pick 160 to St. Louis for picks 184 and 198.

Football Perspective Texans got 100%
Jimmy Johnson: Texans got 109.489%

The players: The Texans traded pick 184 and took Bowling Green defensive tackle Chris Jones, while the Rams selected Vanderbilt running back Zach Stacy.

Trade: Texans dealt picks 184 and 233 to Oakland for pick 176.

Football Perspective: Texans got 117.241%
Jimmy Johnson: Texans got 108.808%

The players: The Texans took San Jose State offensive tackle David Quessenberry, while the Raiders selected Tennessee tight end Mychal Rivera and Missouri Western defensive end David Bass.

The Texans' four sixth-rounders

April, 27, 2013
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A quick look at the Texans’ four sixth-round picks:

176th overall: David Quessenberry, OT, San Jose State

The pick came in a trade from Oakland, but was well-travelled. It was originally property of the Titans, who dealt it to Minnesota last year. It went from Minnesota to Arizona to Oakland to Houston.

Scouts Inc. says: “Quessenberry has good length, but a bit of linear build. He played left tackle in college, but showed ability to kick inside to guard at the Senior Bowl and that might be his best fit at the next level. While he lacks a prototypical anchor, he bends fairly well to gain leverage and has enough foot quickness and arm length to shuffle and mirror to stay in front of rushers.”

195th overall: Alan Bonner, WR, Jacksonville State

Rates as below average in big-play ability and average in ball skills and separation skills, but as exceptionally competitive, per Scouts Inc.

Scouts Inc. says: “Tough and fearless working the middle of the field. Competitive runner after the catch. Shows good focus in traffic and quickly secures the ball when knowing he's going to take a hit. Works to gain positioning as a run blocker. However, simply lacks size and strength to sustain and can be easily discarded by more physical defenders. He is a heady football player though, and has a natural feel for the position. Great situational and field awareness.”

198th overall: Chris Jones, DT, Bowling Green

The Texans are lacking at the position after Earl Mitchell, who only has one year left on his contract. Jones will have a chance at playing time.

Scouts Inc. says: “Plays with an edge and never backs down. Instigator that can get under blocker's skin over the course of a game. Never stops working. Makes plays chasing the run and passer despite limited range and closing burst.”

201st overall: Ryan Griffin, TE, UConn

Garrett Graham is heading into the final year of his contract, and the Texans love to bring in tight ends.

Scouts Inc. says: “Generally gets a clean release and can open up and run to stretch the middle of the field and threaten the deep seams. However, appears to be very straight line and does not have elite athleticism to elevate and adjust to win one-on-one downfield battles. Does not have much elusiveness as a runner and will need a seam to pick up yards after the catch.”

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