Early Trends for the Texans Coming out of OTAs
Into the Mix
Bill O’Brien has been getting back into the fold as an offensive coach and was very hands on during rookie mini-camp. Now in the midst of OTAs, he continues coaching full-speed ahead. O’Brien opted not to hire an offensive coordinator and is taking it upon himself to get the offense back on track to prevent a consecutive fourth season of a downward trend for the Texans offense. The biggest change has been how closely O’Brien is working with all three quarterbacks during drills and team sessions. He is in their ears constantly coaching them up.
Wes Welker Brings a New Voice
The Texans brought on Wes Welker as an offensive assistant to help with the wide receivers and in the return game. Welker has experience in this offense from his New England days and it is clear that the wide receiver group is using him as a resource to learn some tricks of the trade and just get a better overall grasp of the offense. Look no further than DeAndre Hopkins looking to Welker's fountain of knowledge during these practices. Welker is becoming a valuable asset to the organization, much like the majority of the New England influences who have seen this system working in Foxborough over the past seasons have been.
A Trio of Returns
Remember Lonnie Ballentine? Ballentine is the imposing safety with whom the Texans refuse to part ways despite the fact that he has only been able to participate in a handful of practices and has only played in four games over the past three seasons. Ballentine appeared in two games in 2016 before ending up on the injured reserve, once again ending his season early. The positive in this situation is that he is back on the field and working on the grass at full speed. The Texans refuse to cut him loose due to his high upside and if they can keep him healthy, expect Ballentine to find a role on the defense.
The story that is already one of the best for not only the Texans but also for the NFL starting this young 2017 season is the return of David Quessenberry from lymphoma. With the life-threatening cancer, treatments, and recovery now behind him, Quessenberry finds himself in the mix on the offensive line with a chance to make it as a guard, recently finding himself getting some looks at right tackle. Where the team decides he best fits is yet to be seen, but the Texans will do everything they can to give him the chance to compete for a roster spot. The next big issue is whether Quessenberry can get his feel for the game back quickly enough to be ready for training camp.
Nick Martin is on the come-back from an ankle injury which kept him out the entire 2016 season and is seeking to be the player the organization envisioned when the Texans selected him in the second round. The team thinks highly of Martin and expects him to take over the reigns in the middle of the offensive line, providing the extra help needed in the run game.
Duane Brown Not at Voluntary Workouts
It is clear that Duane Brown wants some changes made to his current deal before he returns to the team but whether the team gives Brown what he is seeking remains to be seen. Right now, this is not a big deal to worry about even though the coaching staff would appreciate having one of their bonafide leaders with the team working for the upcoming season. To be fair however, Brown is one of the few current Texans players who can afford to miss OTAs and possibly mini-camp as the team heads towards training camp.
Why is Duane Brown Holding Out? Read More Here
The contract situation will work itself out, especially given that the Texans have the authority to fine Brown once mandatory mini-camp arrives if he does not report. In 2014, when Andre Johnson did not report for mandatory mini-camp, the team held his $100k workout bonus. If the team can play hardball with Johnson, it is unlikely that Brown will be an exception to the rules this time around.
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