Texans Morning Huddle: observations from day one of camp


It feels like a dark cloud from above our heads has drifted away as the Houston Texans have finally began their training camp in preparation for the 2015 NFL season. The news is flowing in about the first day of practices, and what better way to start the morning after than to recap all that went on during the first day of camp?

22 obsverations from the first day of #TexansCamp – by John Harris of HoustonTexans.com

"It’s felt like years since Cecil Shorts’ caught Blake Bortles pass out of bounds on fourth down to end the Texans 23-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fortunately, it’s only been months but it seemed way too long to wait after Bill O’Brien and company finished the season with four wins out of five games and five of the last seven. Excitement has been building and that was abundantly evident on the first day of training camp.So, what happened on day one? A few observations I was able to make through the quagmire of people on Saturday.1. Before practice even started, I made note of the players coming out on to the field. The first thing that stood out was that there were no surprises. Everyone that was expected to be on the field was here, accounted for and ready to compete. Sure, Jadeveon Clowney, Akeem Dent and David Quessenberry worked out with the training staff on field three, but we knew that was going to be the case. No surprises. Guys seemingly all in shape and ready to roll.2. The other noticeable aspect of practice before it even kicked off was the physique of Jaelen Strong, the rookie receiver out of Arizona State. He arrived in May after OTAs and it was clear he wasn’t in shape at all. He returned, though, looking sleek and strong as he did at Arizona State. We’ll get to some more thoughts on him in a bit, but just seeing the conditioning work he put in and the results in his frame and stamina were a good sign.3. I wrote about the training camp battles that I’d most be interested in during training camp and one of those was punt returner. Well, as I surmised six different players took a crack today – Keshawn Martin, Chandler Worthy, Alan Bonner, Cecil Shorts III, Damaris Johnson and Keith Mumphery. Let the competition begin."

Vince Wilfork’s daughter gets her wish, meets J.J. Watt – by Tania Ganguli of ESPN

"“I’m the best dad in the world right now,” Vince Wilfork said with a grin after practice Saturday.What Herculean feat won him the title? Introducing his daughter, Destiny, to J.J. Watt.“One of the reasons I came here was because of my daughter,” said Wilfork, who signed with the Texans this spring after 11 seasons with the New England Patriots. “She said the only reason she was going to move here is if she got a chance to meet him. I said, ‘OK, well’ and I made that promise some months back. It finally paid off for me right now.”"

Mallett on Texans’ QB fight: ‘Are you counting me out?’ – by Marc Sessler Around the NFL Writer

"Fifteen-hundred miles away from Buffalo’s hyper-underwhelming quarterback battle, the Houston Texans are sorting through the rubble of their own under-center tussle.The fight between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett got underway in earnest on Saturday, with Hoyer taking the opening rash of first-team reps with the Texans’ offense, per multiple reports. Mallett worked later in the session, but coach Bill O’Brien insisted after the team’s first camp practice that neither passer held an edge, per ESPN.com’s Tania Ganguli.O’Brien also offered no timeline for picking his No. 1 arm, which makes plenty of sense. We need to see both in game action, especially considering how inconsistent Hoyer and Mallett have been during their limited pro starts.Hoyer was “on and off” during Saturday’s snaps, according to Brian Smith of the Houston Chronicle, but Ganguli noted that the former Browns starter looked “very sharp on shorter throws.” Hoyer tossed a pair of touchdown passes during 7-on-7 work but also unfurled a pick to safety Stevie Brown."

Bill O’Brien still mum on Texans’ quarterback decision – by Tania Ganguli of ESPN

"Ryan Mallett bristled at a question that began with the assumption that many consider the quarterback competition over. Bill O’Brien said he didn’t, and so the reporter asked Mallett if that was good to hear.“Are you counting me out?” Mallett asked.And that was the end of that.Saturday’s was the first practice of training camp, and the continuation of a quarterback battle that began months ago between Mallett and Brian Hoyer. On Saturday they both got some time with the starting offensive linemen and first-team receivers, though it did seem often that Hoyer was playing with the more talented group around him.“In training camp it’s a little bit different; everybody gets reps with everyone else,” O’Brien said. “It’s not, we don’t look at it as a first team and a second team and third team and all that. For two-spot drills we may divide it up into a red group and a blue group. We see Mallett and Hoyer sometimes they’re in there with the No. 3, sometimes they’re in there with the third offensive line.”Hoyer was sharp, for the most part, on shorter throws. As he usually does, he ran the offense fairly smoothly, though both his and Mallett’s groups were plagued by some sloppiness issues they bemoaned afterward.“We need to work to eliminate the pre-snap penalties, jumping offsides, and the delay of game at the end there,” Hoyer said, noting a penalty that meant his group had to run. “So eliminate those and give yourselves a chance to play. When you have those pre-snap penalties, you put yourselves in a bad situation.”"

Next: Texans experiment with offensive line