Andre Johnson’s holdout with the Houston Texans this offseason cost him all of OTAs, all of minicamps. On Sunday, the All-Pro wideout missed his fifth straight day of practice with a hamstring.
Not exactly conducive to learning his first offense since 2006, when former head coach Gary Kubiak arrived.
But after 11 NFL seasons, a body of work that has him primed for Hall of Fame consideration, the 33-year-old said he’s confident he’ll be able to pick up first-year head coach Bill O’Brien’s scheme. Fast.
“When you’ve been around the game for a while, you’ve seen a lot of things, you’ve seen a lot of offense” Johnson said. “So, it’s some of the same things, different names.”
Johnson, seven times a Pro Bowler since 2004, said that for him, getting down the verbiage is the hardest part. That includes familiarizing himself with O’Brien’s nomenclature — and forgetting Kubiak’s.
“You just have to try to get that old stuff out of your head.” he said. “I was in the same offense for eight years. When you hear something in this offense, it’s like, OK, we had it last way this year, so I’ve got to think of this word.”
Johnson said that, physically, he’s unsure if he’ll be able to play when the Texans open the preseason against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.
But despite being sidelined for more than half of training camp so far, and with no word on when he’ll return, Johnson said he’s been able to take plenty of mental reps from the sidelines and during the team’s afternoon walk-through sessions.
“It’s different,” he said. “It’s a challenge. At the same time, you just have to study it. I think that’s the biggest thing, you know, just studying it, staying on top of it.”
Johnson, whose 82.2 career receiving yards per game rank second all-time, reportedly received his playbook the week that training camp opened. He showed up for camp on veterans’ mandatory report date on July 25.
The Texans open the regular season against Washington on Sept. 7.
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