Texans OTAs (Organized team activities) wrapped up over a week ago, followed by the closing of minicamp last week. I’ll go over what I think were the biggest stories, good and bad, from the practices.
- Kareem Jackson – Texans 1st round pick, CB Kareem Jackson of Alabama, has impressed coaches at OTAs and minicamp. Jackson has already been working as a starter, and will likely be there when the Texans face Peyton Manning and the Colts at Reliant Stadium in week 1. At a recent luncheon, as part of a speech, head coach Gary Kubiak has stated, “By the end of the year, we’ll be talking about him like we’ve talked about some of our other great young players.”
- Texans DTs – One of the big storylines coming into OTAs was how much lighter the Texans defensive tackles have become. Amobi Okoye has lost as much as 20lbs this offseason, and it’s showing. Texans defensive line coach Bill Kollar has made comments about Okoye being noticeably quicker. In fact, Okoye is so much quicker that he’s consistently been quicker than rookie DT Earl Mitchell, who was drafted due to his tremendous athletic ability at the position. And about Mitchell, he’s been impressing coaches as well with his athleticism. That speaks wonders of Okoye, who needs to start living up to his 10th overall selection in the 2007 NFL Draft. Also on the radar is undrafted rookie Malcolm Sheppard, who is featured in this article.
- Ben Tate – 2nd round pick rookie RB Ben Tate missed significant time during OTAs with a nagging hamstring injury. Kubiak has already said that Tate is, “Way behind.” However, not all the news is bad. Tate did impress in the few practices that he participated in. Following Tate’s return, Kubiak told the media, “Obviously, he was paying attention and knew what he was doing. We were actually doing some tough stuff on him today as far as no scripting, just calling stuff and seeing how guys react and turning the noise on. It was good to see him out here and get going.” Here is an article I wrote featuring Texans running backs Ben Tate, Steve Slaton, and Arian Foster.
- Kris Brown – Kris Brown is currently in a kicking battle with former Arizona Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers. If Brown had any chance at winning the battle, he may have kicked his chances away. At one point, Brown missed four consecutive field goal attempts. The kicking battle is expected to go into training camp starting in late July.