There is something to be said for a rookie who went undrafted and is now in a good spot with the Houston Texans to make some noise heading into the preseason. Tight end Stephen Anderson has been impressing since the start of rookie mini-camp through OTAS, and now to the start of training camp.
Anderson has been at his most impressive while catching the football and is working his way into the discussion to be part of this team as the season starts to close in.
“He’s been one of those guys that comes in here and is mature. He’s a hard working kid. A very, very smart kid. He’s able to line up in a lot of different positions. He’s got good hands. He’s got good route-running ability,” said Bill O’Brien of his rookie tight end.
Anderson's training camp has been highlighted with strong days in the passing game but he has some work to do in the run blocking game. Improvement in run blocking is essential for Anderson to remain in the discussion for a roster spot.
O’Brien elaborated, “When the full pads go on for a young guy like that, how does he perform when he’s pressed or when he has to block somebody? Things like that. So far, we’ve been pleased with his progress.”
Anderson has been working to get his weight where the coaching staff wants it and is right now sitting at 235 lbs., which is heavier that he was at Cal. He has shown that he can still handle his position at that weight early in training camp. That physical part of the game hasn’t been Anderson’s concern but the mental part of life in the NFL.
“Fortunately, I came from a faster conference, so people talk a lot about the speed a lot when you come from college into the NFL, and that hasn’t surprised me a whole bunch,” said Anderson. “It’s just the mental game and how much knowledge everyone has of leverage, of technique and everything. That’s really something I’m trying to adjust to every day.”
There is a real opportunity for Anderson to move into being a key piece for the Texans offense in the near future but it is going to be one step at a time to get to that point. Anderson knows that this is a process and he has to take it day-by-day to keep impressing the coaching staff.
“One step at a time,” Anderson said of possibly making the team. “My goal is to have a good practice tomorrow. After that, have a good practice the next practice. Making the team is obviously the ultimate goal but I’m taking it one day at a time.”