Houston Texans Training Camp Headlines: Still No Answer at Wideout
As the Houston Texans gear up for their first preseason test this weekend, here's a quick recap of where things stand in camp. Not much has changed since last week, but a few of the key issues can be updated.
The Hunt for the Third Wideout is Still On
After a week of practices, the Texans are still unsettled at wideout. The injury to Andre Johnson opened the door for extra reps for several of the young players and Gary Kubiak is feeling the need to tighten up his rotation.
I think we need to settle down at wideout a little bit and say, ‘Okay, this is the group that’s going to work as the ones and twos.’ I’ve been bouncing them around all over the place. I need to settle them down next week as we get ready to play.
It's still unclear who the leader is at this point, though Steph Stradley of the Chron.com suggested that it may be Keshawn Martin because of the way he fits in the offense.
That theory makes as much sense as anything. I've heard Martin, Lestar Jean and DeVier Posey's names all bandied about in the past week. So while it's evident some decision needs to be made, it's still unclear what that decision will be.
I expect this to be a fluid issue well into the regular season. As much as the team would love to have a set rotation, I haven't heard much evidence that any one player has laid hold of the job permanently. Just because the team eventually names a player on the depth chart isn't a guarantee there won't be changes along the way.
Players are Getting Un-Injured
Obviously, "un-injured" isn't a word, but considering how banged up the Texans were in the first week of camp, new vocabulary has to be spun up to describe the process the team is going through just to get back to sea-level injury-wise.
The good news is that Kubiak announced that several players are finally ready to return to work. The Texans should get Johnson, Duane Brown and Kareem Jackson back as early as Monday (per Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle).
Even with those notable returns, J.J. Watt is still recovering from a dislocated elbow. He's expected to miss a healthy portion of the preseason, and it's driving him crazy.
Watching practice (stinks). I hate it. I want to be out there with my teammates, my brothers. We’re going to treat this to the fullest extent. Obviously, this is the preseason, so I’d much rather have this happen now than in the season, so I’m just going to make sure I’m 100 percent by the time I get back...I mean, I want to be back Week 1. That’s my plan, my goal. Anything earlier is just a bonus but it’s the preseason. I want to be there Week 1 when the games count, when it matters.
Watt's play at end is vitally important to the Texans' pass rush. Tim Jamison is filling in for him in the short-run, but the Texans will be glad to get Watt back in the lineup.
As numerous and significant as the injuries have been, the Texans have at least caught a break that none of them were more serious than they were.
Healthy is probably not in the cards for any NFL team, but after a week of pain, the Texans will happily settle for "un-injured."
This Team Can Run the Football
If there is one indisputable fact about the Texans, it's that they are going to be a savage running team. Any time you line up Arian Foster and Ben Tate behind the quarterback, you're likely to gain good yardage.
Together, the tandem is easily the best one-two punch in the entire NFL. With the team still finding sea-legs in the passing game, the Texans can take comfort knowing that they'll be able to bruise opposing defenses consistently.
Kubiak knows how many weapons he has to work with, saying of his back-up runner,
Boy, it’s been excellent. Sometimes I sit in my office in the afternoon and say, ‘Boy, I haven’t said anything about this guy or that guy.’ But he’s been exceptional. He and Arian (Foster), they really push each other. They’re on each other. They both have matured a great deal and it’s fun to watch to know that you’re that deep.
While running the football doesn't often translate into victories in the modern NFL, if any team will have the kind of attack that can pull it off, it will be Houston.
All quotes courtesy of the Houston Texans
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