The Houston Texans kicked off OTAs at the Methodist Training Center. Here are some takeaways and notes from day one
OTAs Day One
The Texans cut Deshaun Watson loose, and despite the first day of work, his best work came controlling the offense. Accuracy and mechanics for Watson will come with more practices on the field. Without his top targets on the field, Watson looked calm and was able to check the offense into looks sliding protections and more importantly, finding the right reads. Watson, entering year three, has all the physical tools to make plays but continuing to build his mental game is going to be the key for the offense to continue to take off.
The rookie wide receiver Tyron Johnson is continuing a strong start he had a rookie mini-camp and carried it over to OTAs. Johnson was able to show his skills much more on the field and not only his speed stands out but his overall quickness to make defenders miss. He also caught the ball well when it's thrown to him, and his best trait was him getting into his routes in a hurry to put pressure on the defense. That trait was able to open up space for others to make plays, and that caught some attention.
It was a solid day for Julién Davenport who looks lighter and more honed in on his job on the offensive line. It is early, but he kept Deshaun Watson clean and Davenport had plenty of work on the field. His conditioning looks good, which is a good sign for the start of OTAs. Davenport will be in direct competition trying to land one of the starting spots on the offensive line.
Inside linebacker Peter Kalamabyi was playing fast today on the field diagnosing plays and more importantly creating issues for the offense. Beating offensive players to their spots, Kalambayi was working inside out of the defense making plays in a hurry. It was a solid first day for the second day inside linebacker.
Tytus Howard received his welcome to the NFL moment working against Whitney Mercilus in pass rushing situation. Mercilus made it look easy with a quick move knocking Howard off balance and that collapsed the pocket. These types of situations are precisely what Howard needs to succeed in the NFL, a complete crash course matching up with top NFL talent like Mercilus because the Texans are going to need Howard during the season. As for Howard as a whole, the Texans worked him hard in day one and coached him hard in the process. The Texans are pushing Howard on the field to make sure he understands that this game is not easy and they are pushing Howard to get better on the field. It is going to be a process, but for the most part, he held his own on the field against the competition.
The Texans have a player in Lonnie Johnson Jr. and what he can do in coverage. His sheer size tower over opposing wide receivers and if he gets a bump on them before they get into their routes, the timing was thrown off. Johnson also holds an advantage hone he gets downfield with his size and it showed with him breaking up a pass in the end zone. Johnson had an active first day in OTAs in the secondary which is a good sign. It will be constant work for him to continue to stack good days on top of each other to get ready for the season.
D’Onta Foreman has put the work in to get back into football shape, which is a huge plus. No longer the thick-framed running back out of Texas, he has cut down his bulk and added real muscle needed to make it in the NFL. He cut and ran with a purpose today on the field and showed no effects of an achilles injury that slowed him last season. Foreman and Lamar Miller at this rate will be the Texans top two options at the position if health remains on their side heading to the regular season.
D.J. Reader continues to be a solid player and impact player for the defense. He was active running sideline to sideline, and this was with no running game either. Reader was running down passes showing his athleticism. This type of work is coming from a veteran defensive lineman, and he is showing an example to the younger players on how to get it done on the field.
Veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph continues to be steady at the position and covered with confidence, mainly when he was targeted in coverage. When they threw at him, he was able to get his hand on the football to break up a pass with the offense driving to the end zone. Joseph is an instrumental player for the defense as not only the leader but as a mentor. Justin Reid discussed the importance of Joseph to his development his rookie season and how much he is still doing for him as a player. Also, Joseph has already started working with Johnson Jr. off the field, teaching him the NFL ways which will only help the rookie.
Keke Coutee continues to be a keen route runner, and he was Watson’s favorite target on the field. Coutee has a good understanding of the offense, but his ability to bend routes to manipulate defensive backs to get open is something to see. He can win at the line of scrimmage, and he is picking up where he left off at the Wildcard game, a pass catching machine.
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