The Houston Texans continued their track to their first preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers, which will be played next week in Santa Clara. After a day off, the Texans came back onto the field for a slow start to a padded practice. However, play picked up as the day went on.
Here are some notes on the sixth day of Texans training camp.
Someone has to Step Up
The Houston Texans tight end position continues to be an interesting group to watch and not in a good way. Ryan Griffin, who is the veteran of the group, is still not doing the things you would want to see from a leader. He has his moments of looking like he understands what is expected, then struggles to catch passes consistently or, like today, has a false start in key team situation. Griffin shows that he can make plays in one-on-one drills but he has to bring that success to the team portion of practice. As for C.J. Fiedorowicz, he is easily the team’s best inline blocker and that is one reason he will continue to be on the field. He is still working to catch the ball consistently and today dropped a well-thrown pass from Brock Osweiler in the end zone. Not all of the load can be put on rookie Stephen Anderson to be the answer, but if he continues to show his pass catching skills, he could easily find himself in the mix with this offense. Either way, the tight ends have been one of the more disappointing groups to start camp.
Brian Peters Getting a Chance at Inside Linebacker
The Texans are always looking for depth and last season when they signed Brian Peters, he was mainly a special teams player without a true position. The team used him at outside linebacker some last season but finally, with the open of training camp, he is working at inside linebacker. Despite this being a new position for him to learn, Peters, who played at safety in college, has been a physical presence playing at inside linebacker. His propensity to seek out contact goes a long way and he attacked downhill in a hurry. Peters has a good feel for reading how the play develops and showed his willingness to tackle, which he showed today against Alfred Blue. Peters has looked impressive in his new position and will fit in well behind starters Benardrick McKinney and Brian Cushing.
Tyler Ervin Gets Some Run
Lamar Miller missed some time at practice after he was shaken up in one-on-one drills, but he did return to finish out practice. During that time, Tyler Ervin received some looks running the ball and displayed some moves that had not previously been seen in this offense. His best attribute is his lateral quickness to hit inside the line of scrimmage and get outside in a hurry. Today, Ervin was stopped on an inside run then bounced the run outside and made a gain out of nothing at first glance. He is a little different from the other backs in the group. Ervin catches the ball well and has the vision to run with it inside the tackles despite his size. It will be tough to keep him off the field and he showed today how dynamic he is with the ball in his hands.
Rookie Wide Receiver Making Noise
Where he fits is yet to be seen, but wide receiver Tevin Jones is putting together a solid camp. The rookie from Memphis can play either outside or inside and catches the ball at a high level. Jones may not have the flash that others in the wide receiving corps have but he is very consistent in all attributes that are essential to success at the position. He ran a solid seam route where Brandon Weeden threw a nice pass which was tipped by Antonio Allen but Jones had enough awareness to read the ball and complete the catch before the safety had a chance to react. He has been a consistent player to start camp and is another standout in a talented wide receiver group.
Kicking Competition is off the Rails
There has been much discussion on who the Texans kicker will be for the upcoming season with Nick Novak and Ka'imi Fairbairn trying to lock down the job. It is early in camp but the past two days has shown how delicate the mental part of the competition is. Yesterday, both struggled in their own ways. Novak couldn’t knock down the longer kicks while Fairbairn lacked consistency with kicks that should be chip shots. Today, it carried over and both were pulling kicks right plus missing from the 40-50 yard range (it is hard to tell where they are at because we are at ground level), which was not optimal for two players trying to land a job. Both kickers showed they can makes these kicks during OTAs and mini-camps but over the past two days it has become a slight concern with the amount of misses. Hopefully, one of them will step it up but it is clear this is a neck and neck race for the time being.
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