March 21, 2018

Texans OTAs: Day Eight Recap

It was a hot day for the Houston Texans and probably one of the more fast paced practices of the OTAs. The Texans concentrated on red zone offense and defense which upped the intensity on the field.

It was a normal off day for some veterans but the team was running full speed during the last official week of OTAs.


Day Eight

– Once again, Head Coach Gary Kubiak is taking care of his veteran core players. Duane Brown, Owen Daniels, Wade Smith, Antonio Smith, Johnathan Joseph, Greg Jones and Andre Johnson were all healthy spectators for today’s session. One thing that should not be overlooked is the fact that the veterans are in all of their position groups during drills and helping out teammates. Joseph was helping rookie corners on what to look for before plays from the sideline and A. Smith was talking to some of the defensive ends about technique in certain situations. There is plenty of teaching going on by the coaches but also the veterans are lending some extra eyes and voices.

– During drills, the linebackers and defensive ends were working together in pass rushing drills and stripping the ball from the quarterback. Some interesting observations from the drills. It is easy to see why Sam Montgomery and Trevardo Williams were added to the outside linebackers. They both have another gear to get around the corner but the most impressive aspect of their game is their ability to get in and out of cuts. They make it look natural and they have that late “burst” to close down in the last two yards of a play. Also, Jared Crick showed some speed to his game that wasn’t seen in 2012 and in drills you can notice the change. Crick looks solid and, throw in the fact he looks in better shape and a touch quicker, he might be a nice piece to a defensive end group. Brooks Reed showed something that none of the other linebackers showed, consistent power to rock the dummies and quickness in tight spaces to rush the quarterback. Reed looks much better this season and not as “muscled” up this season. Where Reed ends up week one is a mystery but he looks like he is coming into his own.

Trevardo Williams, #54, OLB

Trevardo Williams, #54, OLB

Trevardo Willliams struggled some during rookie mini camp but he looks like he is in more control on the field. The rookie outside linebacker plays fast and could be a solid addition to a lacking pass rush. He has been able to pick up the defense but there is still work to do before camp arrives. Him and Montgomery are pushing each other to get playing time before week one opens up against the San Diego Chargers but it will be a good camp battle to watch.

– It was the Alan Bonner show today at OTAs. He was a redzone monster and caught anything thrown his way. He caught a great fade route to the back corner of the end zone from the arm of T.J. Yates. He ran a crisp route to create space against Brice McCain and give Yates enough room to place the ball. Bonner showed some nice body control today to adjust to catches and he worked the secondary good. Bonner has made some positive strides these OTAs and training camp should be a good indication of how he can help the team.

– Lestar Jean and Jeff Maehl both also had big days for the offense. Jean made a nice leaping catch over cornerback Brandon Harris which resulted in a touchdown. As for Maehl, he jumped up in between two safeties in the back of the endzone to catch a touchdown after he landed on both of the safeties to finish the catch. Both wide receivers are looking to stick on the 53 man roster and both are competing against each other for that opportunity, and the competition is just heating up.

Brandon Harris, CB, #26

Brandon Harris, CB, #26

– Despite the touchdown catch given up to Jean, Brandon Harris had another solid day at OTAs. Harris works good in tight spaces and can play physical with wide receivers but he can be exposed with straight line speed on deep routes. He played solid in the redzone situations and broke up some passes, and showed what we have been seeing the majority of these sessions. His confidence is up and he has used the 2012 season as a learning experience that has shown on the field early this off season.

– Rookie cornerback Johnny Adams had a nice interception when he ripped the ball away from Andy Cruse in the back of the endzone. Cruse jumped up for a pass in the back of the endzone, Adams was waiting for him to come down and when he did Adams grabbed the ball before Cruse could tap his feet inbounds. Adams is still learning and trying to catch up to speed with the defense but this was the first time he had made an impact play in OTAs.

– Tight end Ryan Griffin showed today why he is a potential weapon in the future for the offense. At 6-6, he posed issues for linebackers trying to cover him and he has sharpened up his routes in the process too. Yates threw a nice corner route to Griffin over defenders for a touchdown. Garret Graham called him a “good player and big guy who can help us blocking. He can help this team.” Griffin will not be rushed but he has been looking solid in the early going.

Even Frierson, ILB, #62

Evan Frierson, ILB, #62

– Inside linebacker Evan Frierson keeps showing up and it is with his coverage on runningbacks and tight ends. He has the speed to keep up with the faster players and looks like he has a nice skill set for the NFL. The rookie still needs to show what he can do in the run game defense but he is one to watch.

– With Greg Jones taking the day off, rookie fullback Zach Boren received some quality snaps today. He showed some nice hands out of the backfield and when he got moving forward defenders didn’t want to get to close to him. Boren is 6-0 and 238 lbs. and is a solid-looking fullback. He showed some hands but even he knows the real test comes when he has to lead up on NFL linebackers.

– Punter Andrew Shapiro will do the remaining of the punting during the offseason to give veteran Shane Lechler a rest until training camp. Shapiro is pulling double duty punting and kicking to give Randy Bullock and Lechler rests when needed. He has been punting the ball efficiently but next to Lechler the difference is noticeable.

– Rookie offensive tackle Brennan Williams has sat out all of OTAs and there was indication he would be ready for these practices after injuring himself in rookie mini-camp. He has been walking around slowly and has ridden the stationary bike the entire OTAs. The next target date for Williams will either be mandatory mini-camp next week or training camp.


You can follow Patrick on Twitter.  He is the Editor of State of the Texans.


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