A deeper look at day one of Mandatory Mini-Camp.
Joel Heath is part of a young core on the defensive line that many had questioned going into last season. This season, those insecurities are put to rest. Heath continues to solidify himself as a key player in the rotation of the defensive line and has worked hard to improve his pass rush abilities for 2017. Today, he showed that work by beating his man unabated to the quarterback for what would have been a sack in real time. Heath is trying to show that he is more than a two-down player for the defense and with a season under his belt, he will have a chance to show it.
The Texans are easing Breno Giacomini on the field and letting him take part in individual work and walkthroughs. It is the first time he has been on the field since his signing as a free agent. Still working his way back from back surgery, the Texans are trying to get him healthy for training camp, which is the team’s biggest priority with him and any other player coming off surgery. Where Giacomini fits is yet to be seen but seeing him on the field is a step in the right direction.
Avery Williams was able to show part of his game that he had not been able to do this point - working in coverage. He showed he can run stride for stride with tight ends and broke up a pass, but the referees threw a pass interference flag. In reality, the call could have gone either way. The important part is the realization that Williams has the athletic ability to cover and now he needs to fine tune his game.
Dres Anderson is progressing since his arrival and he made some tough catches at practice today, in particular, a ball
Another late addition, Sio Moore, was active in coverage and had a near interception. Moore is not assured of anything at the moment but he is getting some much-needed work with the Texans taking it easy on Brian Cushing. Moore is getting his feet wet with the defense and that he is making plays entering his second week is an added plus.
Julién Davenport is doing what he can to get acclimated to the NFL life and he is still working on mastering the pass protection scheme the Texans employ. Davenport has the right frame but is still learning the nuances of the game and how defenses are able to confuse lineman. Davenport is a work in progress and is clearly behind both Chris Clark, Kendall Lamm, and Duane
Stephen Anderson put on a show and made two top end receptions. One, off the arm of Tom Savage that was a fingertip catch which he caught in stride and another that he caught in traffic between a linebacker and safety. Anderson is much better in space and has a feel for receiving with his wide receiver background. Today was one of Anderson’s better days this spring.
Both Tyler Ervin and Akeem Hunt look like they belong on this team, in one way or another. Hunt is entering year three in this offense and catches the ball well, working in sync with Weeden. Today, Weeden hit Hunt out of the backfield after a linebacker pressured him but the good read by Weeden led to a pass which hit Hunt in stride for a nice gain in the middle of the field. The trick is for the Texans to find ways to utilize Hunt on offense and get him in space because he lacks some strength to break tackles when defenders get a hold of him. As for Ervin, he has been one of the more intriguing offensive players this spring and it all starts with his confidence. Ervin is quick to his spots and showing he is a plus route runner, catching the ball with ease. He is much more decisive with the ball in his hands and is eating up yardage in a hurry. Some will point out that the team is not in full pads, which is correct, but the moves Ervin has put on defenders, wearing full pads would not have helped to slow him.
One thing we failed to mention in our quick hitters (READ HERE) from the quarterback group as a whole is how much their accuracy has improved from last year. Even minus Brock Osweiler, there were still struggles to complete the ball with ease. These are passing camps so the circumstances favor quarterbacks hitting their targets. This spring, it shows with Tom Savage, Brandon Weeden and Deshaun Watson showing how accurately they can be throwing the ball. The group's mechanics really stand out. Everything the quarterbacks are doing with their throwing motion is short and compact with the ball coming out of the right arm slots with quarterbacks driving thought the football. There is still a long way to go but this is one early aspect that can not be overlooked.
Related Links: Quick Hitters from Houston Texans OTAs | Digging Deep from Week Two at OTAs | Braxton Miller Returns | Texans to Waive Max Bullough and Keith Mumphery | OTAs Update from Week Three | Extended Cut from OTAs | Duane Brown Not Heading to Mini-Camp | Aaron Williams Visiting the Houston Texans | David Quessenberry Wins PFWAs Award