Gallant’s Random Thoughts: Texans OTAs Week One

By Paul Gallant, SportsRadio 610

From sports, to pop culture, and other weird stories, our Paul Gallant has plenty of takes. Here are some random ones:

Hey look. Your favorite gas bag did a little reporting action yesterday. And by reporting, I really mean I watched a bunch of dudes play a watered down variant of football…in the National Football League.

Before you read about what I saw today, take several chill pills and relax. It’s guys in shorts that are barely allowed to touch each other. And we’re only going to be able to give you a limited window as to what these short sporting bros do. There are 10 days of OTAs, and I (along with the rest of the media in town) am only going to be able to go to 3 of them including today. Also keep in mind that from time to time my view was impeded by some of these large humans.

So let’s start with the off the field drama. I was intrigued when I first got out to the Methodist training center and saw Kendall Lamm at right tackle. “OoOoOoh,” I told myself. “Looks like there’s a little more competition.” Then I saw Chris Clark at left tackle, shuddered at the thought of that possibility in a game, ultimately realizing that Duane Brown was not present at practice.

After practice, I heard In The Loop mention that Brown was sitting out because he’s unhappy with his contract (per Spotrac due an $9.65 M this season & $9.75 next year with neither number guaranteed). Some humans were displeased. SOUND THE HOT TAKE ALARM!!!

This isn’t a big deal. Duane Brown is an established veteran with a non guaranteed contract. Why should he show up for VOLUNTARY OTAs and risk injury?

On top of that, holdouts happen ALL THE TIME during the offseason. You’ll see all sorts of leaks from agents & front offices suggesting that a divorce is imminent. But answer me this: when was the last time that an important player refused to play in games? Logan Mankins in 2010? Players who are under contract really don’t have a whole lot of leverage.

I think this situation is unique though. Duane Brown was BY FAR the Texans best offensive lineman last year. And with the Texans right tackle situation totally up in the air, you can make a legitimate case that he’s the most irreplaceable Houston Texan.

Yeah, there’s J.J. Watt. But don’t Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus balance him out? Especially based off of what they did last year? Yes. And is a wide receiver like DeAndre Hopkins more important than the guy who is supposed to protect the blind side of either Tom Savage or Deshaun Watson? No . . . at least for me.

I know the Texans don’t re-negotiate contracts with 2 years left on them. But in this case, it might be worth their while.

As far as what I actually saw at OTAs yesterday, let’s start with the quarterbacks. Again, it was one practice. There are eight more of them, and there was another one that we didn’t see on Monday. So please, don’t freak out.

But of all the quarterbacks I saw yesterday, Brandon Weeden looked the best. For that individual day of touch football practice.

It’s not that surprising. No matter how easy it is to point at his lack of success as a starter in the NFL, he’s a veteran. Tom Savage hasn’t exactly taken a lot of reps, either in game or at practice. And he struggled, showing some issues with accuracy. Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson is a rookie. And he looked like one.

I will say this though. When he runs, he looks pretty damn good. If nothing else, the Texans should be fun to play with in Madden this year.

As far as other observations? They aren’t inspiring a whole lot of hot takes. Nor should they. Everything that happened in the trenches is irrelevant, because when no one is hitting each other, what’s the point?

It was cool to see J.J. Watt moving around like a normal human being. We’ll see if that keeps up when the hits start happening. I also liked what I saw from cornerback Robert Nelson and safety Kurtis Drummond. Each made a couple of plays. Hopefully Nelson can develop into a reliable fourth cornerback (the same way that A.J. Bouye began last year). Linebacker Shakeel Rashad was disruptive as well.

As far as the offense is concerned? First off, hats off to David Quessenberry coming back and actively participating at practice after beating cancer. If you’re not rooting for him, you suck. Tyler Ervin – who was barely a part of the offense last year – looked pretty confident out there. Maybe he’ll be able to carve out a role as a third down running back. And I was surprised by 5’9 slot receiver Riley McCarron. I was SHOCKED when I heard he’d played at Iowa. Seriously. Because . . . let’s just say the Hawkeyes are a traditionally slow Big 10 power. But McCarron? Looks like he went to I – OH SH*T THEY ACTUALLY HAVE A FAST GUY, THAT’S PRETTY SURPRISING BECAUSE THEY LIKE USUALLY DON’T AND STUFF – wa, am I right? By the way, Wes Welker (who I think is going to help the Texans receivers A LOT) was in attendance at Iowa’s pro day (and is probably the reason McCarron is here now). I wonder if he takes a special interest in trying to make McCarron a slot receiver stud.

So that’s pretty much it. I’ll be back out there next Wednesday for their second availability, and will have something online Thursday afternoon.

Paul Gallant hosts “Gallant at Night” – Weeknights 7-11 PM CT – on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.

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