Houston Texans: 2014 NFL Training Camp Report

Texans Camp Report: Day 20

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp:
  • Texans for DQ day was made official this morning after practice when Houston City Councilman Larry Green presented an official proclamation declaring Aug. 14, 2014, to be Texas for DQ Day. After Thursday's practice, the Texans' offensive line, the Falcons' offensive line and former Texans quarterback T.J. Yates (who was instrumental in having his new teammates participate) wore their T-shirts that will benefit lymphoma research. The Falcons wore a variation of the T-shirts for sale in the Texans' store. Theirs said "Atlanta for DQ." Texans lineman David Quessenberry, who is battling non-Hodgkins T lymphoblastic lymphoma, was touched. "Texans for DQ day is a powerful reminder that I am not alone in this fight! My Team and the amazing city of Houston have been incredible!" he posted on Twitter.
  • The second day of practices got a little more chippy between the Texans and the Falcons. There was word of a few light scuffles between the Texans' defense and Falcons' offense. On the other field, the one I watched for most of practice, DeAndre Hopkins mixed it up a bit with the Falcons' corners. Covered by the excellent Desmond Trufant, Hopkins and Trufant collided, which was no big deal. Well, it wasn't a big deal until Falcons corner Josh Wilson swooped in and started chirping at Hopkins. The two went at each other briefly before being quickly separated. O'Brien said the team doesn't have time for fighting, and I wouldn't qualify this as fighting. Rather, it seemed like an appropriate edge against another team.
  • Inside linebacker Brian Cushing, running back Arian Foster and receiver Andre Johnson all dressed for the second consecutive day. They were all limited to a certain extent, though, mostly out of team drills.
  • Foster did a little bit of work against the Falcons' defense, but none in team drills. He also left practice for a bit to be stretched on the trainers' table. When he returned to the field, he dropped a pass during a 9-on-7 drill, which resulted in pushups for him. On the next play Foster caught a similar pass.
  • Playing the role you'll see him more in this season, Kareem Jackson made a play on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Jackson picked off Ryan while playing the slot late in practice.
  • The Texans have Friday essentially off, except for preparations for Saturday's game against the Falcons. That will be Houston's preseason home opener. Next week they'll break camp and then head to Denver for joint practices with the Broncos.

Texans Camp Report: Day 19

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • Wednesday marked the first of two joint practices between the Texans' and Atlanta Falcons. The teams decided not to go live with tackling, but limited contact to "thuds." They did periods of work on separate fields, then joined for some team drills before a group of fans there for the open practice. Oh, and, "Hard Knocks" was there, too, though careful not to get too close to the Texans. Asked if he'd be open to his team being featured on Hark Knocks, Texans' coach Bill O'Brien replied: "I’m always open to anything that helps our team get better."
  • Young cornerback A.J. Bouye, an undrafted rookie last season, got a great test on Wednesday, facing Falcons receiver Roddy White quite a bit. During one drill, Bouye and White went against each other three times. Once White won. Once Bouye won. The third time, Bouye had his hand in White's face and White dropped the ball. Other reporters watching the play with me thought it was a straight drop by White. I thought Bouye made an impact on the play. But even if it was merely a draw with White, that's pretty good from Bouye. Later, during a seven-on-seven drill, Bouye knocked the ball away from White again.
  • Speaking of White, that Atlanta tandem of White and Julio Jones is one that Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins really looked up to before coming into the NFL. We asked Hopkins if he had a chance to say hello. He said he did have the chance, but didn't do it. Why? He wanted to play it cool, instead of seeming like a fan.
  • Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan got a stiff challenge from the Texans' defense. During one set of team drills, he had his first pass batted away, he had J.J. Watt in his face on the next (completed it, but Watt wasn't allowed to tackle him), and on the third pass, he threw one incomplete while facing excellent pressure form the Texans' front.
  • Atlanta's offensive line was a problem last season. It's part of why they drafted tackle Jake Matthews out of Texas A&M. Matthews' roots go deep in Houston as the son of former Oilers Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Matthews (who attended Wednesday's practice). The younger Matthews got tested against Watt. The offensive and defensive line one-on-one drills happen on the end of the field that the media can't see, so I can't speak to what happened there. But I did see a play early in practice during a team drill when the two faced each other. Watt rushed Matthews and the rookie held up against him.
  • Offensive guard Xavier Su'a-Filo got some first-team reps today. O'Brien has liked the way he's progressed. He had a lot of catching up to do after missing the spring workouts due to an NFL rule.

Texans Camp Report: Day 18

August, 12, 2014
Aug 12
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • Nose tackle Louis Nix III returned to practice today after being taken off the physically unable to perform list. Nix had arthroscopic knee surgery before training camp began. He had knee problems in college. Texans coach Bill O'Brien said Nix is being eased back into practice and might be able to do some things against the Atlanta Falcons in practices Wednesday and Thursday.
  • Training camp had been scuffle free until Tuesday's practice when defensive lineman Julius Warmsley and offensive lineman James Ferentz got into one. Of course camp fights become more prevalent when two teams get together for camp practices. "We don’t have any time for fighting," O'Brien said. "We have time to compete and get better. There’s no time for fighting."
  • Running back Ronnie Brown got some reps during his first practice with the Texans. He scored a touchdown during a goal-line drill this morning. "It feels good being back on the field getting work," Brown said. "Obviously, a lot different than working out at home and trying to get in football shape and this Houston humidity. But it felt good to get back out and get moving."
  • The most noticeable thing on the practice field today was the club-shaped cast on rookie fullback Jay Prosch's left hand. Prosch returned to practice after missing several days. Perhaps the most unintentionally hilarious part of O'Brien's post-practice transcript came from a question about whether or not Prosch had surgery. "I don't remember," O'Brien said. Now, that's a way to dodge an injury question that he hasn't used before.
  • The Atlanta Falcons come to town tomorrow. The morning's practice, which begins at 8 a.m. local time, will be open to the public.

Texans Camp Report: Day 17

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp:
  • A couple nice plays for defensive backs today. Rookie corner Andre Hal knocked a pass away from receiver DeAndre Hopkins, which isn't easy to do. Corner Brandon Harris picked off quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick midway through this morning's session.
  • Quarterback Case Keenum completed 5 of 11 passes during a team drill this morning. One incomplete pass was batted. One looked like a miscommunication between Keenum and the receiver. Texans' coach Bill O'Brien said today that Keenum and rookie Tom Savage are still working out the backup quarterback battle. Despite his struggles on Saturday, Fitzpatrick is still the Texans' starter (which is the right move, by the way).
  • Andre Johnson and Arian Foster missed practice again with their hamstring injuries. As usual, Foster declined interview requests. Johnson said he is feeling better. O'Brien said this weekend that both players would have a shot at playing this weekend.
  • Practice was pushed back 30 minutes this morning so the team could meet at 8 a.m. and discuss some of what went wrong during their first preseason game. "We had a good meeting," O'Brien said. "Showed them like I told you guys the good and the not so good. I believe we came out and worked hard at trying to crack some of the mistakes and getting better at some of the things we’re doing well."
  • Tomorrow's practice will begin at 8 a.m. and will be the last of the week before the Texans welcome the Atlanta Falcons (and "Hard Knocks") to town. They'll have joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

Texans Camp Report: Day 13

August, 7, 2014
Aug 7
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • Coach J.J. Watt made an appearance at practice today. During a team drill with the first-team defense on the sideline, the Texans' All-Pro defensive end stood removed from his defensive teammates, barking instructions and encouragement to the defense on the field. Sometimes he called out the opposing protections. Sometimes he implored someone to make a play.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick's increasing comfort in the Texans' offense becomes more apparent daily. He's not too shabby with his legs. During one play today, I spotted Fitzpatrick on the run -- chased by the fearsome trio of Watt, Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Swearinger. Fitzpatrick actually made the best of the play, getting safely out of bounds without losing yardage. No fetal position. No running backward.
  • Texans' cornerback Johnathan Joseph won't play on Saturday in the preseason game at Arizona. He missed practice today and said he won't play Saturday. Joseph said the main goal was to be ready for Week 1. I asked if he has any concerns about whether or not he'll be ready for the start of the season and without hesitation he said, "No."
  • Cornerback Josh Victorian intercepted a Case Keenum pass late in practice, setting off defensive back celebration fireworks. They all ran down to congratulate Victorian as he raced into the opposite end zone.
  • The Texans are heading to Arizona on Friday after a morning walkthrough in Houston. They'll play the Cardinals at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday.

Texans Camp Report: Day 11

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • When practice began, coach Bill O'Brien didn't like how it was going, so he stopped the script and threw the team into something different. A grind-it-out, high-energy, live tackling goal-line drill. "I just put the ball at the 10-yard line and let’s play football, you know," O'Brien said. Immediately the energy at practice jumped. Jonathan Grimes took a handoff from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and scored. A few plays later, nose tackle Jerrell Powe blew up a running play, tackling running back Andre Brown behind the line of scrimmage. "It ended up being a goal-line situation. I thought that got the guys going a little bit and we ended up having a decent practice."
  • Early in practice, the second-team offense incurred O'Brien's wrath after a sloppy series. The entire unit had to run a lap together.
  • Rookie quarterback Tom Savage's reps have increased throughout camp. O'Brien said he is taking developmental reps and has had 130 7-on-7 or team drill reps in 11 practices. Savage's throws in practice have been a mixed bag. But his head is spinning less than it was when he arrived in Houston and that is evident. On one play, undrafted rookie defensive end Julius Warmsley arrived in the backfield in what might have been a sack if he was allowed to touch Savage. Savage coolly found receiver Travis Labhart in the end zone.
  • Backup quarterback Case Keenum is working on feeling more comfortable being uncomfortable. "Does that make sense? Just pushing the limits and trying to find some continuity with the guys you’re playing with. So, it’s getting better. It’s getting better every day. Still making mistakes every day, which you know I don’t like. But I think that’s what makes you better; not making the same mistakes."
  • The Texans have Wednesday off before returning to practice on Thursday and Friday. They'll face the Arizona Cardinals on the road on Saturday.

Texans Camp Report: Day 10

August, 4, 2014
Aug 4
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • Texans inside linebacker Mike Mohamed received quite a bit of verbal commendation from teammates and coaches during a running play he helped wreck. Mohamed has had a nice camp so far. I'd expect him to be an excellent backup at the position.
  • Tackle Tyson Clabo, safety Lonnie Ballentine, running back Arian Foster, outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, safety Kendrick Lewis and receiver Andre Johnson all were at practice but did not participate. Offensive lineman Will Yeatman (concussion) and fullback Jay Prosch (hand) were not on the field.
  • In the span of five plays, defensive end J.J. Watt batted down two passes from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Later in practice nose tackle Ricardo Mathews, who batted several in Sunday's practice, got another. Toward the end of practice end Jared Crick got a couple more. It's the kind of play that's demoralizing, but gets harder when pads go on than they are in a shells practice.
  • Safety D.J. Swearinger picked off another pass, this one from backup quarterback Case Keenum that was intended for Keshawn Martin. Swearinger said after practice it's his goal this season to create at least one turnover in every game. That could be an interception, a forced fumble or a pass defense that leads to a turnover.
  • Practice returns Tuesday morning from 8 to 10 a.m. It'll be the last practice before the Texans' second day off of training camp and could feature some more live hitting. Their afternoon walk-through is closed to the media. Both sessions are closed to the public.

Texans Camp Report: Day 9

August, 3, 2014
Aug 3
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • Since the beginning of training camp, the offense has worn navy blue jerseys and defense has worn white jerseys. Today, the Texans' jersey colors were dependent on something else. They were split into teams -- white and blue -- with players grouped according to the depth chart. It was sort of a scrimmage environment without pads on. The Texans even seemed to go through the motions of a pre-game warmup to start practice. "We’re able to accomplish a lot of different situational work," coach Bill O'Brien said. "You know, it’s good because situational work is all about the coaches and players getting on the same page. Eventually you want it where the players are thinking exactly like the coaches and vice versa. That is what we tried to simulate today, and it is a work in progress."
  • Defensive end J.J. Watt declared, "Five with the right hand," as he stood beside receiver Mike Thomas who was working on the JUGS machine after practice. Thomas then caught five balls with just his right hand before ceding the machine to the defensive end. Watt was the only non-receiver waiting by the machine. Asked after practice if he was lobbying again to play some tight end (which was never an entirely serious lobby), Watt said he was simply working on his hand-eye coordination.
  • The center quarterback exchanges haven't been especially sharp during the past couple of days. It's not just one person, either, a combination of quarterbacks and centers have had trouble with those for some reason.
  • Darius Rucker's Wagon Wheel has been stuck in my head while writing this post all day every day since camp started. Thanks, Bill O'Brien.
  • Tomorrow's practice goes from 8 to 10 a.m. CT and is closed to the public, though there are so many guests invited to "closed" practices it's hard to tell the difference sometimes. They'll do their afternoon walkthrough as usual at 4:15 p.m. That one is closed to the media and public.

Texans Camp Report: Day 8

August, 2, 2014
Aug 2
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans' training camp.

  • On the field it was DeAndre Hopkins day at Texans' training camp this morning. Every time I looked up, Hopkins was making another leaping catch. One particularly impressive one came during a red-zone drill in which quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick found Hopkins in the end zone. Hopkins caught the ball with cornerback Brandon Harris draped on him, then held onto it as Harris tried to wrestle it out of Hopkins' gigantic hands as the two of them fell to the ground.
  • And by the way, that red-zone drill was great to watch. Actual hitting! In training camp! "That's how it's supposed to be every day," Kareem Jackson said. "We're supposed to be out here competing as a team. The more we can go full speed and live and compete against each other in game-type situations, it'll only make us better when game time comes."
  • The winner for most entertaining moment of practice goes to an interception by D.J. Swearinger (swag with three g's). He picked off Fitzpatrick during a drill where a line of offensive players stood just behind watching. Swearinger went forward full speed, moved aside the onlookers in his way and ran toward the end zone, high-stepping into it once he got there. By the time he got back to the drill, the offense was already well on its way to its next play.
  • The winner for biggest cheer of the day goes to a Shane Lechler punt that Jadeveon Clowney blocked.
  • Backup quarterback Case Keenum has had good moments during camp, but one thing that's obvious is his first instinct is still to run out of trouble. That's something the Texans' current staff and previous staff tried to fix in his game.
  • Sunday morning's practice will be open to the media but closed to the public. The Texans will start at 8:30 a.m. and wrap up around 11 a.m. They'll do their usual afternoon walk-through, too, and that will be closed to fans and media.

Texans Camp Report: Day 7

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • Red zone work was an emphasis during Friday morning's practice to middling results. "The red area is totally different than out in the field," coach Bill O'Brien said. "The windows are tighter, they close faster, they open fast and they close fast, there is less area to defend, so the DBs are able to take more chances, there is more specialized coverage down there so you are able to see, 'Hey look, they're doing this that they don't do out in the field, but they're doing this in the red area.' We've got to be ready for that type of coverage."
  • After coming off the non-football injury list, running back Jonathan Grimes saw immediate action. He made a nice catch on a short pass from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. "It was awesome to get back in there, get my legs back and everything, and be able to work,” Grimes said.
  • Receiver Joe Adams was such a dynamic player in college, but had some fumbling issues in the NFL that eventually led to his winding up with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. Adams didn't do too much in his first practice, but he stayed clean with what he did. I'm looking forward to watching him as camp progresses. You should have seen the smile on his face when I asked what it feels like to make a game-changing return.
  • Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is having all the safeties learn sides, rather than specialize in free or strong safety. "As we start game planning, then we might make a guy our down safety and a guy a deep safety. But they're both left and right safeties and both have to learn strong and free." That's a departure from former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Danieal Manning was a guy who could play either, but that wasn't the case with everyone. D.J. Swearinger stayed off the field until there was an opening at strong safety.
  • The Texans practice from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday and the practice is open to the public. Their walkthrough in the afternoon is closed.

Texans Camp Report: Day 5

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • During a late drill, Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson intercepted quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and returned the ball nearly the entire length of the field. While pursuing Jackson, Texans left tackle Duane Brown and receiver Mike Thomas sprinted and then had to leave the field on a cart. The two of them are fine, but practice was almost over and they were gassed by the exertion.
  • In a recent team meeting, Texans coach Bill O'Brien made sure to point out significant effort from veterans. "You know, you had the other day you had Andre Johnson laying out for a post pattern down the middle of the field," O'Brien said. "You had J.J. Watt chasing a screen 65 yards down the field. You’ve got Duane Brown chasing the interception; he chased another one yesterday with D.J. Swearinger. And there are other guys. Chris Myers is working hard. The receivers are working hard. The DBs, Johnathan Joseph made some really nice plays today, which was really good to see. I think anytime that you have some really proven veterans like that on your football team, you know, Shane Lechler, 37 years old, came in here and passed a conditioning test. All those types of things are important for young players and really important for our team."
  • The Texans have Thursday off from practice. It's their first day off since camp started. Practices began on Saturday and players reported on Friday. While in the past veterans have been able to stay at their own homes, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said this year the team is all staying in a team hotel.
  • I missed a large portion of practice today because Texans owner Bob McNair spoke for the first time since his news conference announcing the hiring of Bill O'Brien. McNair only took questions about the Raiders' conversations with San Antonio about possibly moving there. He mostly said he wants to wait for more research before forming an opinion about whether an NFL franchise in the city is viable.
  • A common sight around Texans practice now is players running laps when they make mistakes. "It’s just the way different coaching staffs work," center Chris Myers said. "And I think it’s getting everyone’s attention. It’s working for sure.”

Texans Camp Report: Day 4

July, 29, 2014
Jul 29
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.

  • Defensive lineman Jeoffrey Pagan, one of the Texans' three sixth-round picks this year, has appeared to catch on pretty well after missing the entire spring while recovering from shoulder surgery. His position coach, though, is not ready to assess Pagan's progress. "He's been out [here] for less than a week," Bill Kollar said. "Right now I really don't have an opinion one way or another. He's getting a little bit better technique-wise, but again, like everybody else he has a long way to go right now." What does a rookie fall the most behind on when he misses practices? "You fall behind on everything. Conditioning, technique, everything. Football is a sport, it has got to be hands on. You can watch all the film you want and stuff, but you have to be out there actually playing the technique to improve."
  • Two new players were at Texans camp on Tuesday: offensive lineman Mike Farrell, a Penn State alumnus, and running back Tim Cornett . Cornett went to UNLV but attended high school in the Houston area. The rookie running back made his presence felt during a team drill in which he bulldozed a defensive back. The Texans also released Ricky Sapp, according to the league's transaction list.
  • Once the pads came on, fullback Jay Prosch's blocking ability really began to stand out. He'll be a boon in the running game.
  • I've really liked watching running back Alfred Blue. He's very talented as a runner, a hard worker and coachable. The aspect of the game that young running backs struggle with the most is pass protection. It'll be interesting to see his ability there.
  • Head coach Bill O'Brien said offensive guard Brandon Brooks is close to returning. Earlier in the week he declined to share what had landed Brooks on the active/non-football injury list. Safety Lonnie Ballentine was not practicing with an injury he suffered during camp. On Ballentine, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, O'Brien used the same line: "I don't think it's life threatening."
  • And since I mentioned the offense struggling in an earlier post, I should also mention this. The receivers continued looking terrific. EZ Nwachukwu is making a serious case for himself.

Texans Camp Report: Day 3

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
HOUSTON -- A review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • The Texans were in full pads on Monday for the first time since training camp started. Per NFL rules, Monday, or the third day of practice, was the first time they were allowed to have a padded practice. "I think the acclimation period really helps," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "You kind of ramp it up from shells to pads, from conditioning to shells to pads. I think that helps. These guys went out there and competed. I’m not saying everything was the prettiest brand of football in the world, but I thought these guys got better today."
  • It's often difficult to see the defensive and offensive linemen work because of this year's practice setup, but they worked close to the area of the field where media were allowed Monday and I saw a cool little scene from it. Defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan, a sixth-round pick who missed spring workouts because of shoulder surgery, worked against J.J. Watt on one drill. When the drill finished, Watt stopped Pagan to give him a few tips on hand placement. Watt talked earlier this week about the newness of his being in that veteran role. But he's embracing it.
  • The offensive and defensive lines went one-on-one against each other. There were a few times the defensive player got past the offensive player, only to fall as he passed. Defensive line coach Bill Kollar reminded them they couldn't do much good on the ground like that.
  • Brooks Reed spent all of spring working at inside linebacker. It's a skill he has honed for the past few offseasons. Now that he's in training camp, though, Reed has taken a lot more reps at outside linebacker. "Brooks, you can be rest assured, that he’s going to get a good day's work in," linebackers coach Mike Vrabel said. "He’s going to bring his hard hat and his lunch-pail out and he's going to work for two hours, three hours, however long we're out here, he's going to work and he's going to go back in and study. I appreciate that about him. It's a great example to our whole unit."
  • In addition to Arian Foster, rookie safety Lonnie Ballentine and linebacker Akeem Dent, the veteran the Texans acquired for T.J. Yates, did not practice either. Both suffered some sort of injury during Sunday's practice.

Texans Camp Report: Day 2

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.
  • The Texans suffered two significant injuries on their first day of training camp, then signed two outside linebackers after it was over. Offensive lineman Cody White suffered a torn Achilles while receiver Alan Bonner, a second-year player who has showed some promise at times, suffered a broken foot. Both players were waived/injured, which means if nobody claims them off waivers, they'll be placed on injured reserve. One option for the team is to reach an injury settlement with the players, which would then release them completely. It's really a shame for Bonner, who also spent last season on injured reserve. Replacing their roster spots were a pair of outside linebacker, Quentin Groves and Lawrence Sidbury.
  • Fewer heat issues today as the Texans, at least the ones who weren't used to it prior, acclimated. Coach Bill O'Brien brushed off the issue of heat. "I mean, it is Texas. It is hot, whatever. These guys are doing fine. We’re not expecting an Alaskan cold front to come in wiping through here."
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick had a nice day, especially when doing the things he does best -- short and intermediate routes. His deep balls were more of a mixed bag, though he had some nice throws there, too. It was difficult to see all of practice because of the way the media is quarantined now, but I saw two interceptions, one to rookie cornerback Andre Hal and one to veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph.
  • The backup quarterback battle is one the Texans are going to take their time resolving. Right now, Case Keenum holds the spot. He got significantly more reps than rookie Tom Savage today, but Keenum had a bit of a rough day. He struggled with accuracy on several passes.
  • It wasn't all bad for running back Dennis Johnson, but he was visibly furious with himself after dropping two passes thrown his way. One of them popped up and safety Eddie Pleasant intercepted it.
  • The Texans' afternoon walkthroughs are closed to the public and media, but O'Brien said today that he uses them to go over mistakes from the morning with the team. Coaches watch film of practice between the sessions. "We correct some things that have to be fixed," O'Brien said. "We talk a lot about fixing problem within a game. You’ve got to fix problems in the game. You can’t wait until halftime or Monday to fix something that came up in the game. We’ve got to fix those problems either on the practice field or in the walkthrough, and then move on to the next practice."

Texans Camp Report: Day 1

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
HOUSTON -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Houston Texans training camp.

  • As the Texans' offense got set before a play during 11-on-11 drills, coach Bill O'Brien stopped them and screamed that all the skill players had to sprint to the sideline and back. Their punishment for not knowing where to be more quickly. "I would say we were intense today and we were competitive, but we weren’t as sharp as we need to be," O'Brien said after practice.
  • Practice ended with a series of sprints for players. But before they did them, O'Brien had a message: "You want to know how to win? Listen to me." One coach actually participated in the sprints -- no surprise it was linebackers coach Mike Vrabel, who sometimes looks like he could still play if he wanted. Rookie Lonnie Ballentine, the last pick in the draft this May, had to re-run one sprint all by himself. While he did it, he had the support of fans in the bleachers who shouted his name as he did it.
  • Every Texans player who participated passed the team's conditioning test. This was pleasing but not surprising to O'Brien, who said the team is in much better shape now than they were April 7, when the team's offseason conditioning program began. He's happy with their conditioning, but says he still needs to get the players into playing shape. So far they haven't put full pads on. During the outdoor practice that lasted from 8 a.m. to about 10:30 a.m., the heat got to a few players who had to go into the training area in the Texans' practice bubble.
  • The music was loud and so was O'Brien. That's not unusual for practices, but Andre Johnson hasn't been through it before. Johnson loved it. In fact, he began his answers to consecutive questions about O'Brien's demeanor with, "I love it." Specifically on how loud O'Brien is, Johnson said this: "It’s great. I think it’s something that was needed around this place. I’m excited about it."
  • Two players left the field on a cart after being checked out on the sideline during practice. Receiver Alan Bonner, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve, appeared to strain a hamstring. Cody White, a third-year guard, went down during an 11-on-11 drill. He needed help to get up and then hopped off the field, putting no pressure on his right leg.