Texans morning huddle: team conditioning improved


Good morning Texans fans! I don’t know about you, but facing a Monday morning feels much better knowing that training camp is underway and real football games are now officially around the corner. Again today’s links are focused around reports and reactions to the first sights of the Texans this weekend. Enjoy;

O’Brien, Texans say conditioning is better – by Drew Dougherty of HoustonTexans.com

"The first day of Texans training camp wasn’t perfect, but Bill O’Brien was pleased with one thing in particular.“These guys came back in good shape for the most part,” O’Brien said on Saturday. “I’d say 95 percent of this team, probably more than that, 97 percent of this team came back in great shape. The conditioning test is not easy, and so then with that in mind, they’re able to come out here and practice at a good pace.”The team was greeted by a light breeze and cooler-than-normal temperatures, which prompted cornerback Kareem Jackson to joke that “it felt like L.A. out here today.”While nobody would mistake the Houston Methodist Training Center for California, DeAndre Hopkinsagreed with O’Brien’s assesment of the team’s physical fitness.“I feel like we’re in better condition,” the third-year wide receiver said. “The guys that played in this offense last year kind of know what to expect coming out here. And you know this condition, they know how to treat their bodies better than last year, guys are out here, there were more IVs being used last year about this time.”"

Quarterback competition heats up at first day of Texans training camp – by Dale Robertson of the Chronicle Blog

"On the very first snap of training camp Saturday morning, Brian Hoyer was under center for the Texans’ starting offense. That’s where he stayed for seemingly most of the practice, too, but seeing wasn’t believing according to the man in charge.Coach Bill O’Brien insisted the Texans don’t have a starting quarterback yet. Asked specifically if either Hoyer or Ryan Mallett have an edge, he said no. Nor has he established a timetable to declare a winner in what’s certain to remain far and away, hands-down the most-debated and dissected position battle of this summer.“Everybody’s repping with everybody else,” O’Brien said. “It’s just about giving everybody reps, getting everybody on film.”Note that he didn’t gush about either player, although he didn’t quite damn them with faint praise.“I thought both guys had some good plays (and) both guys had some plays they probably want to have back,” O’Brien said. “Hopefully we can continue to keep that going in the right direction as far as more good than bad. I thought both guys came out and competed today. We don’t look at it as a first team and a second team and all that.”"

HBO ready to pull back the curtain at Texans camp – by David Barron of the Houston Chronicle

"NFL Films director Matt Dissinger is a veteran of eight seasons of “Hard Knocks,” the workplace drama that happens to focus on one of the most emotional, closely watched workplaces in American culture. He has seen a lot and knows what to expect.But even Dissinger, standing a few feet away from one of his camera crews Saturday morning at the Texans’ practice field outside NRG Stadium, was amazed at the astonishing synergy that has emerged between Texans fans and the team’s most visible player, J.J. Watt.Having witnessed three hours of fans screaming Watt’s name during practice and clamoring for autographs afterward, Dissinger said, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this, to be honest. Every team has its stars, but I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite like the J.J. phenomenon.“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a superstar who is as engaged with his fans as he is. He’s a special guy, that’s for sure.”So Dissinger has that going for him as he and his five camera crews began the series of 16-hour days that will take them through Texans training camp and up to the Aug. 11 premiere of the NFL Films production on HBO."

Texans training camp: Day 1 – by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle

"Spotlight on … centerBen Jones is starting at his third position. From right guard as a rookie in 2012 to left guard the last two seasons, Jones has been moved to center. He is filling some big shoes left by Chris Myers, who didn’t miss a start in his seven seasons with the Texans before being released. Jones, who started 49 games at Georgia before being drafted in the fourth round, has been versatile and reliable. He has improved each season, so there is no reason to think he won’t have his best season at his natural position.Face in the crowdJEFF ADAMSPosition: OT/G.Ht./wt.: 6-7, 305.College: Columbia.Experience: Second year.How acquired: Waivers, Tennessee, 2014.Projection: He is a natural tackle who worked at left guard in the first practice at training camp. After making the All-Ivy League team three seasons, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by Dallas in 2012. Before coming to the Texans, he spent time on practice squads at Cincinnati, Miami and Tennessee. Adams, who played in two games for the Texans last season, is trying to make the team as the swing tackle."

23 observations from day two of #TexansCamp – by John Harris of HoustonTexans.com

"The consensus amongst most people was that day one of training camp was uncharacteristically bearable. Sure, it was in the 90s but it felt like a cold front in comparison to first days of camp in the past. Honestly, it just wasn’t as humid as it turned out to be later in the day. Well, day two brought the funk and the humidity and it was seemingly back to normal. The players, unfortunately, paid for it too. A night practice might be the perfect tonic, so to speak, for these players to unleash on the first day of pads.So, what happened in day two, other than the heat winning the day? Here are my observations.1. Following a similar script to minicamp/OTAs, Ryan Mallettspent the day with the presumed first unit and Brian Hoyer spent the day with the second unit. Bill O’Brien mentioned in his post practice presser on Saturday that he wasn’t any closer to a decision on the starter and that was evident when Mallett took the first team reps.2. Mallett responded on Sunday with a solid day, a better day than day one. He threw it well at nearly every level on the field, with touch when needed, completing a number of different throws in various drills throughout the day. More than once, he connected with DeAndre Hopkins (more on him in a bit) and got the Texans two wide receiver free agents Cecil Shorts III and Nate Washington consistently throughout the day.3. I’ve mentioned, more often than not, that the only sure thing at the receiver position is that Hopkins is a lock. Other than than, it’s a wide open competition for every spot and every rep. Shorts, Washington and company have engaged in a full-on, no holds barred battle and no one is backing off.4. Alan Bonner is one of those guys that has injected himself into the receiver competition and he’s had two solid days getting open, catching the rock and running after the catch."

Next: Texans training camp day 1 recap