[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 WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 16TH’S EDITION OF CAMP CONFIDENTIAL BY MIKE MELTSER.]
Judging by today’s practice, Marcus Gilchrist has a solid chance to start at the safety spot opposite Andre Hal. He seemed to hold up fairly decently, specifically stuffing the run. I’ll be curious to see how much he plays in the preseason.
The best offensive play of today’s practice was Tom Savage hitting Jaelen Strong in the near corner of the end zone, beating the coverage of Malcolm Butler for a touchdown. I think Strong has done a reasonably nice job of stepping up this week while Houston’s top three receivers have been out of practice with various injuries.
As I’ve said or written every day this week, it’s tough to get a great sense of Savage or Watson while the team operates without DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. Watson did a solid job in the red zone today, hitting Tyler Ervin for a touchdown while rolling out, the type of play that sort of symbolizes how much the rookie QB can add to this offense when the field gets compressed.
It might seem strange, but the Patriots player who the Texans had the hardest time containing over these two days is wideout Chris Hogan. He beat Johnathan Joseph again for a long pass play early in the scrimmage, and also beat Zach Cunningham for a TD over the middle.
Brandin Cooks has to be one of the most interesting offseason acquisitions. When you combine his production, skillset, and this offense, he should be deadly good for New England. Having said that, the Texans did a pretty sold job of covering him during these joint practices. The lone exception came when Tom Brady found him open for a split second in the end zone, just beating the coverage of Kevin Johnson. Very impressive.
Julien Davenport is an interesting player. His body is more ready than I anticipated when the Texans took him in the fourth round. I saw him get some work with the starting offensive line today. Davenport flashes, but he also has some ugly plays; Patriots reserve linebacker Trevor Bates eviscerated him around the edge, and would have sacked Deshaun Watson had this been a real game.
Bruce Ellington has also flashed his speed this week. He ran back a kickoff return for a would be touchdown. However, Ellington later took a quick screen and started running backwards, giving the offense no chance to get a first down. It was a curious choice.
Last note: I’m no Patriots fan, but it’s been a pleasure having a chance to watch them practice over these two days. We’ve all seen Brady and Bill Belichick operate, but it was a different feel to watch them in person, as they get their team ready for the season. Brady’s work ethic and passion continues to stand out. He looks like the exact same player that he’s been. If there’s any drop-off at age 40, my eyes didn’t see it this week at the Greenbrier.