March 21, 2018

Texans OTAs Day 9: Laying the Groundwork

The Houston Texans are one day away from wrapping up their 2014 OTAs schedule on Friday and moving on to Mandatory Mini Camp. There was a special guest at practice and there was more work on the offense to make it all come together.

The coaching staff is concentrating on getting the groundwork laid for their offense and defense before these next four practice sessions end. The staff has not let up with the amount of work they are wanting for this team to retain heading into Mandatory Mini-Camp.


Day Nine


Kofi Hughes

Kofi Hughes

Kofi Hughes Catching Up

Wide receiver Kofi Hughes was claimed off waiver by the Texans during OTAs and was behind in terms of knowing the offense and organization. In three weeks, Hughes looks like he is up to speed and today he ran crisp routes and caught the ball with confidence. Hughes has a smooth running form and he does a good job of creating separation with routes and his overall speed. He has the ability to get across the field in a hurry and made some nice plays across the middle.


Tight End Focus Good for Ryan Griffin 

The second season for tight end Ryan Griffin could be on the verge of a big season for an offense that seems to push their tight ends as viable pass catching targets. Griffin makes it tough for secondary players to defend him with his 6-6 and 254 lbs. frame when he attacks the seams in the passing game. Ryan Fitzpatrick used Griffin in some big plays today when getting vertical against the defense. If this is an early sign for the Texans offense, there could be some focus paid to the tight end position.


Swearinger Looks Better In Coverage

Safety D.J. Swearinger is looking much better in man coverage compared to his rookie season. There is a concerted effort on playing tight coverage but playing under control and Swearinger broke up two passes against a slot receiver and a bigger tight end. Swearinger is going to be asked to play in coverage and in the box, and if he is going to want to take a step for the better in his second season, his game has to be played under control.

Swearinger looks much more focused on the game compared to his rookie season and this has been evident with his habits he is showing during OTAs. There has been less talk and more work displayed by Swearinger and that is a reflection of what Head Coach Bill O’Brien is preaching.


Chris Myers and Ryan Fitzpatrick

Chris Myers and Ryan Fitzpatrick

Chris Myers Leading 

There has always been the talk of center Chris Myers and his leadership but this season he has taken a bigger role as a leader. He is more vocal with his teammates and always leading the way in drills and anything that involves his team and position group.

For a team that has not only lost some quality players the past few seasons, the lack of leadership has been a bigger issue than most realize. With the quarterback situation still “wide open”, Myers has been the one leader standing out on offense.

He will get the job done when the shoulder pads come on during training camp, but he has made a big impact as one of the few true veteran leaders on the team, especially on offense.


J.J. Watt Is Extraordinary 

Defensive End J.J. Watt is fun to watch during practice and he makes some offensive linemen’s lives miserable when he goes into pass rush mode. One underrated aspect of his game is how quick he is for his 289 lbs. frame and his ability to change direction on the move. Without pads, he has been working on moves to get offensive linemen set up for his counter moves in his pass rush game. He looks to have some new moves for his arsenal pass rushing and it is starting with him looking much quicker than last season.

Watt is pushing the boundaries on what he can do as a football player and it is evident he has improved his quickness as a pass rusher.


Tom Savage Stretching the Field

The Texans have something in quarterback Tom Savage and today once again he showed why he has everything needed from physical tools to make this offense run. Savage for the first time threw a deep ball intended for wide receiver Travis Labhart on a route in the middle of the field and overthrew him by 10 yards (not to mention the offense was starting at mid field). The ease that Savage threw the deep ball was a sight to see and how easy he made it look is something that has not been seen in Houston.

Savage is looking solid in the offense and the staff is holding nothing back on teaching him the offense. He is expected to know what every other team quarterback knows about the offense. There is no road block for Savage in this offense and the quicker he can be successful the better chance for him to see the field.



Willie McGinest and Romeo Crennel

Willie McGinest and Romeo Crennel

Willie McGinest Visits

One of Romeo Crennel’s former players Willie McGinest visited the Texans today and went through meetings with the linebackers and observed practice. Whitney Mercilus pointed out how he listened to what McGinest had to tell him prior to practice and at one point McGinest was next to Mike Vrabel with Crennel flanking to the side watching practice. It was a good sight to see some of the most decorated players in recent history to show up for his former coach and give some tips to the players.


Quick Hitters

– Inside Linebacker Brooks Reed has improved his coverage from inside the box and reading routes from running backs out of the backfield. He is still struggling when being asked to cover in space but there seems to be some improvement from Reed to this point.

– Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is still doing what he needs to move the offense during 7 on 7 and team portions of the practice. He is making quick decisions to get his receivers the ball in space.

– Cornerback Josh Victorian had a third straight day of a good practice. There was not an interception this time but another pass breakup when he showed good skills in breaking on the ball when it was in the air. He has been one of the few showing consistency in doing this from the cornerback position.

– Inside Linebacker Max Bullough is still working to understand coverages and now it is not the idea he can’t do it, but rather understanding what his responsibility is on each play. His rookie curve is still there and getting to understand it is key for all the rookies.

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