March 21, 2018

SOTT Mailbag: OTAs Week 2 Review Edition

In another installment of State of the Texans mailbag we answer some questions from readers on the ending of the Houston Texans week two of OTAs.



SOTT Mailbag


Normally it starts with practice meetings and treatment for players in the morning before hitting the field for a practice that involves all three phases of the game. Then practice is wrapped up around lunch time and the players have lunch and cool down from practice. Bill O’Brien meets with the media shortly after lunch, then players are available for media interviews. Positional meetings start again where they review film from the practice early in the day. Then the coaching staff goes to reviewing the tape later in the day and have meetings regarding practice and personnel. 


We were surprised when Head Coach Bill O’Brien talked about Kareem Jackson working as a slot cornerback during OTAs. O’Brien made it clear that the position needs to be able to support in run situations and also be able to cover when needed. It makes sense especially when you look at what Jackson does well and he is a small majority of cornerbacks in the NFL who like to play physical in run support.

I know there is a concern he is slow but I think that is more with his straight line speed on deeper routes. Jackson has enough skill to probably make it work at the position but more than anything it allows the defense to have more flexibility. It is hard to predict if this is the move for the season, but it does at least give them another option.


Right now it is a tough road for Eddie Pleasant especially with three safeties who the team really like in D.J. Swearinger, Kendrick Lewis and Chris Clemons. Add the fact that they drafted Lonnie Balletine the safety position has become crowded in a hurry. Shiloh Keo and Jawanza Starling are also with the position group so time is limited for some in the group on the field.

With that said Pleasant went from being an option to play on the last year’s 53 man roster to fighting to stay on the team in 2014. He looks like the same player he has been since last season, but now he looks out of place on what is wanted with the safeties on how they are asked to play. Pleasant is going to have to impress over Keo, Pleasant and Balletine in order to make the team and it will start on special teams when the pads are put on in training camp.


We have been told by more than one people within and out of the organization that Mike Vrabel is a future head coach in the making. Ted Johnson, his former teammate in New England, called him the smartest players he has ever played next to. Words like cerebral and motivator are often used to describe Vrabel and it is evident on the field how much passion he has for the game and winning. He is non stop and is always coaching his position group and his linebackers have had nothing but positive things to say about his coaching style. 

Vrabel could easily make the jump to defensive coordinator if and when Romeo Crennel is ready to stop coaching. His pedigree is impressive but he is more than just a former NFL player, the way he thinks about the game makes him a special one ready for more in the NFL. The only issue will be if the Texans can keep him in Houston long enough before a college or NFL team come to try to hire him away for a better position. 


That concern about Arian Foster is always valid one and this year will take him getting to the season to truly see how he holds up. The wear and tear of a 2012 season where he touched the football over 500 times was evident in 2013 when he could not stay healthy which ended with Foster on the injured reserve. 

The Texans this season look like they are in a better situation to help Foster with the free agent signing of Andre Brown and then Alfred Blue being drafted. They will help the running game and this is the first time since Ben Tate’s breakout season in 2011 that the team will have capable backups behind Foster. 

Foster will be the primary running back in O’Brien’s offense, but having Brown and Blue gives the offense the flexibility needed to keep their offense the same if Foster needs a break. 

Brown is a downhill running back that can run inside the tackles or bounce it outside when needed. While Blue is almost a clone of Foster in the sense he can do a little bit of it all and how well he catches the ball as a running back makes him an intriguing option. The learning curve for Blue, as a rookie, should not be over looked and getting him ready for week one to contribute will be a priority for the offensive coaching staff. 

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