Texans morning huddle: Position battles and critical health


Well today is the day Texans fans! The Houston Texans are reporting for truing camp today! Football is finally in the air, and so we celebrate this morning as we do each morning here at the Toro Times…with the ‘Texans morning huddle!’

#TexansCamp Top 5: Position battles – by John Harris of HoustonTexans.com

"Nothing screams training camp more than a good ‘ol fashioned training camp position battle. Every team throughout the league has them during July/August – some it didn’t see coming, some are front and center from the day the players report to camp.The Texans have their share starting right at the top with the quarterback position. Let’s delve further into the top five position battles at training camp…minus the quarterback competition. There’s really no other camp competition that compares to that one, so let’s take it out and put in on a special shelf all by itself. The rest? Here we go.5. 3rd corner in sub packagesPrior to free agency, cornerback appeared to be a priority heading into the off-season and the draft. That priority listing changed when Jackson re-signed to kick off free agency. Then, the Texans drafted Kevin Johnson in the first round and followed that selection up with extending Johnathan Joseph. No longer was corner a priority; it was a logjam. But, the question remained, who would be the third corner alongside Joseph and Jackson?Let’s throw in A.J. Bouye, Darryl Morris and Jumal Rolle, all three of which had interceptions last season as fill-in starters or that third corner on the field. That’s two bona fide starters, Jackson and Joseph, a duo that has started the past four seasons together, a first round selection and three veterans with designs on not giving up any playing time to a rookie. 2014 practice squad member Charles James isn’t about to back down from a competition. So, let’s do the math…five legitimate candidates (Bouye, Morris, Rolle, Johnson and James) for one highly important sub-package personnel spot. Let the competition commence!"

Football Season Is Here & the Houston Texans Training Camp Starts August 1st – by Nicholas A. Norman of Forward Times

"The Houston Texans are only days away from the start of their 2015 training camp. As fans of the Texans, we will be treated to an up close look at our team as they will be featured on the immensely popular HBO series ‘Hard Knocks.’First up will be the defensive side of the ball, which happens to be a unit that has been pretty successful in years’ past for the Texans. Still, this unit saw a lot of change over the course of the last two off seasons which puts several people under the microscope, or on the bubble.New to the roster are free agent signing such as safeties Stevie Brown (from the Giants) and Rahim Moore (Broncos) as well as nose tackle Vince Wilfork (Patriots).Houston also went to the draft with defense on their minds as they selected cornerback Kevin Johnson, linebackers Bernardrick McKinney and Reshard Cliett, and defensive lineman Christian Covington.The better known undrafted rookies Houston brought in include linebackers Lynden Trail and Tony Washington, Jr. and safety Kurtis Drummond.With all these players coming in and fighting for a spot, there will be some veterans and even high-profile draft picks from as early as last season fighting to keep their jobs. So who should we keep an eye on as they try to impress defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and the rest of the staff?Head coach Bill O’Brien shocked a lot of people this offseason when he released a second round pick from 2013. After only two years in the NFL, O’Brien told starting safety D.J. Swearinger his services were no longer needed.It is extremely rare to see such a high draft pick cut, but it does let the players still in Houston know that the leash they are given to learn what the coach expects does not grow because of draft status.This is especially important for someone like nose tackle Louis Nix III to understand. He was a highly thought of defensive lineman coming out of Notre Dame, but his stock started to slip some and he fell to round three where he was picked up by the Texans."

Which players’ health is most critical for the Texans? – by Tania Ganguli of ESPN

"As a violent sport, injuries naturally come with the game of football. The trick is a team’s ability to weather those injuries. Today we’ll examine five players whose health will be important for the Texans this season.As a note before we start: On many teams, the quarterback would be at the top of this list. For the Texans, I don’t think he will be. Whether the starter is Brian Hoyer or Ryan Mallett, the Texans will have a very capable backup, and that’s something not every team has.Elsewhere on the roster, though, injuries would leave some major holes.1. DE J.J. Watt: This is perhaps the most obvious selection. It’s not that the Texans don’t have other capable defensive linemen, it’s just that Watt is Watt. He might be the best player in the NFL and there’s no question he’s its best defensive player. He changes the way the Texans defense plays and he changes the way the Texans defense is handled by opposing offenses. Watt has played through plenty in his career. He still wears an elbow brace from a nagging elbow injury he suffered in 2012. He had that massive bruise on his thigh last year that kept him on the injury report, but never out of a game. But he hasn’t missed a game to injury since entering the NFL in 2011. So there’s not a lot to worry about, but his health is critical to the Texans.2. LT Duane Brown: In the past four seasons, Brown has only missed four games, and his role is critical on the offensive line. The Texans rely more on versatility than numbers to create depth on their offensive line, which makes all of their health that much more important. Brown is one of the league’s best left tackles and provides veteran stability for the whole group.3. RB Arian Foster: Unlike Watt and Brown, Foster has an injury history to watch — he missed eight games in 2013 and three games in 2014. He also missed parts of three other games with various injuries last season. Despite that, Foster ranked sixth in the league in total rushing yards (1,246) and fifth in yards after contact (560). He also played a major role in the Texans’ passing game, especially in the red zone, where Foster received the third-most targets of any player. The Texans will be built to withstand some time without Foster, but the less the better."

Next: Texans poll: biggest training camp draw