Training Camp: No Need to Panic
With Day Two morning session in the books, there was plenty of news out of Houston Texans camp, both good and bad. Here are some day 2 notes:
- Wide receiver Andre Johnson was the headline of the day due to a “tweaked” groin, and being witness to it I can see where the concern would come from. We were about 10 yards from where he was trying to get stretched out by the trainers, to get going again for 1-on-1 drills with the defensive backs. Headed under the tent to see the head trainer, they ran a battery of tests on his groin then took his helmet from him. Johnson actually jogged to the main field to join the rest of his teammates before the team session started. There was no real concern from trainers and he was taken in early before practice ended. Let me be the first to say, they were NOT looking at his knee.
- Undrafted rookie defensive lineman Tracy Robertson from Baylor was released this morning, possibly clearing up space for someone else to sign.
- Wide Receiver Juaquin Iglesias has been a standout in camp the first two days. He has gotten behind defensive backs and proved that he can create some separation. He made the catch of the day with a sliding, one-handed grab in the team session. Coming into camp, it felt like Iglesias was just a camp body to fill the roster, as third year NFL player Iglesias is making a good early impression in camp. Still a long shot for the 53-man roster, he is making for a fun one to watch.
- Brice McCain and Sherrick McManis were getting the second team cornerback reps in practice. This leaves questions on where Alan Ball, Brandon Harris and Roc Carmichael sit heading later into camp. There is plenty of talent at the cornerback position but this will be a battle to watch as camp progresses.
- Ben Tate looks really good in the early going and almost looks like he has another gear this season. He has shown some speed to get to the corner and has been using his vision a little better in the early going. He has been making the cut back lane his friend in the zone scheme.
- Keshawn Martin once again showed some nice route running and yards after the catch ability. Martin might be pushing for the #3 wide receiver position right now but he is in competition with Lestar Jean and DeVier Posey for snaps in the regular season.
- I try to keep offensive and defensive line talk to a minimum until we get full contact practices but we can tell you that Antoine Caldwell and Rashad Butler have been taking the majority of the snaps with the first team. Both rookie guard Brandon Brooks and second year player Derek Newton have been getting a sprinkle of snaps with the 1st team also, this is one situation that will be decided when the pads get strapped on.
- There might be a cause for concern with the lack of depth at inside linebacker behind starters Brian Cushing and Bradie James. Not having Darryl Sharpton healthy makes the Texans thin at the position. Tim Dobbins looks to be in the spot again to make the team, but if Sharpton can come back there should be no worries about depth then. Shawn Loiseau and Greg Williams, both undrafted rookies, are filling in right now for the third team spots. The wild card has to be Mister Alexander who was pushed into game action from the practice squad in 2011, is pushed into the 2nd team reps with Sharpton on the mend. Alexander has the opportunity to take away some early snaps and have the chance to make an impression for the 53 man roster.
- One interesting fact, the Texans brought in Moran Norris to compete for the fullback position but today converted linebacker Derrell Smith has been running with the first team. Last year’s starting fullback James Casey has almost been working exclusively as a tight end, so this is a position to watch as it gets situated in the coming weeks.
- At the end of the morning session, veteran wide receiver Kevin Walter told his fellow wide receivers that they were catching passes after practice, and they better be there. Martin, Jean and Posey joined Walter in an afternoon session of routes with Matt Schaub throwing to them.
- Owen Daniels has been one of the Texans we have focused on and he is a true professional. Not only is he working hard in camp, but there is not one moment you don’t see him working his craft. He is either talking to Matt Schaub or running routes and once again today he was catching passes off the jugs machine before they went into the bubble. Very nice to see him work in between practice periods.
Look for more updates tomorrow.