[EDITOR’S NOTE: MIKE MELTSER AND SETH PAYNE ARE IN WEST VIRGINIA FOR TEXANS TRAINING CAMP UNTIL AUGUST 17TH TO WATCH THE TEXANS AND PATRIOTS PRACTICE TOGETHER. THIS IS MONDAY, AUGUST 14TH’S EDITION OF CAMP CONFIDENTIAL BY MIKE MELTSER.]
This seemed like a more light, though spirited training camp practice. It lasted roughly ninety minutes, and the Texans dealt with alternating drizzle and sometimes harder rain at the Greenbrier. The team had no pads; just jerseys, shorts and helmets today.
I saw some discussion and writing about Deshaun Watson receiving some first team reps. Being here live, it was tough to gauge the importance of that because of a number of injuries at receiver. I did see Watson behind the first string offensive line a few times, but Tom Savage was being handled like the clear first string starter, at least to my eyes.
I think the biggest development, or ongoing concern, is a number of injuries this team has at wide receiver. We’ve known that Will Fuller will miss 2-3 months with a broken collarbone, but Braxton Miller is now on the shelf with a sprained ankle. Plus, DeAndre Hopkins received another day off Monday. That means there was a steady diet of Jaelen Strong, Riley McCarron, Dres Anderson, Devin Street, Bruce Ellington, etc.
I imagine that Miller will be back at some point soon, but the situation just highlights the extent to which this position has question marks. Both Miller and Fuller are expected to improve this season but have been beset by injury thus far. Ellington and Anderson made some nice plays and have speed, but we know this is a complex offense. I have a hard time imagining that such new players (especially in Ellington’s case) can make an impact.
One more note on the receivers: I’m assuming that Hopkins will be back on the field Tuesday, but the sledding could be tough against the Patriots defense. New England has one of the better secondaries in the NFL, so I’m curious to see how Savage and Watson look this week.
Kevin Johnson stood out in a positive way. He made a nice break and nearly picked off Savage during a scrimmage portion of practice. Johnson looks a little bigger than he did last season but was still moving very well. Seth Payne and I talked to KJ after practice, and you can hear that interview Tuesday morning on Mad Radio.
The best long play of the day was Savage hitting Wendell Williams for about a 40+ yard touchdown. That was in a drill with Williams matched up against a corner.
David Quessenberry got some snaps at center in the early half-speed portion of practice but was back mostly at left guard (with Greg Mancz at center) when the scrimmage parts of practice got underway.
For what it’s worth, I thought Robert Nelson looked much better in practice today than he did in the first preseason game. He intercepted Savage once. The quality of receivers could be a factor in this observation; we’ll see what he does against the Patriots over the next two days.
One of the drills I always like to watch is the QB throwing to a running back coming out of the backfield, isolated against one linebacker. Brian Cushing ran pretty well with rookie D’onta Foreman, which caught my attention. Like he did on Wednesday vs. Carolina, Cushing was moving pretty well. Akeem Hunt gave Benardrick McKinney major problems, which isn’t a surprise. Hunt is a very nice player on those angle routes out of the backfield.