Finally! Training camp has arrived and football is back!
The Houston Texans are in full-blown football mode, and the players are ready to make the next step as a franchise. The mentality in Texans' camp is definitely Super Bowl or bust, and the players are practicing as if the championship game is right around the corner.
Let's take a look at the sights of training camp so far.
(All images courtesy of houstontexans.com)
Duane Brown showed up to training camp in the best shape of his life. The All-Pro left tackle was dominant last season, but he clearly believes he has plenty room for improvement. Let's see if he can become even better this season.
Although Arian Foster was supposed to be fully healthy for the start of training camp, the coaching staff decided to place him on the PUP list. Don't freak out, though. Since Foster was placed on the training camp PUP list, he can be removed from it anytime.
Foster hasn't let his injury deter him from improving, however. He's been running on the sidelines, catching passes and completing agility drills.
With Arian Foster sidelined, Ben Tate has been given the opportunity to work with the first-team offense on a much more consistent basis. He has not disappointed. When healthy, Tate is a star-quality running back, and he has flashed his excellent running ability often in training camp.
As anyone who follows D.J. Swearinger knows, the second-round safety is brimming with confidence. Whether he's in "HUNTMODE," catching the "GRINDFLU" or providing the Texans with "SWAGGG JUICE," he's doing with with a powerful resolution.
Swearinger clearly wants to be the best player on the field at all times, and his confident attitude might one day help him get there.
No pressure, DeAndre Hopkins. You are only expected to take pressure off of Andre Johnson, become a dependable target for Matt Schaub and jump-start the Texans' offense that slumped towards the end of last season. And, oh yeah, don't forget that it's your rookie season.
Hopkins has a ton of pressure on him heading into this season, but he is the type of player that can handle it with ease. He is desperate to learn the game, and his determined work ethic will help him succeed very early in his professional career.
Ed Reed is not practicing right now, and he might not even be ready for the start of the regular season. But that doesn't mean he's just going to sit back and not contribute to the team. Reed has attempted to educate every single player on the Texans' roster, it seems. He has been seen tutoring safeties, cornerbacks and even quarterbacks. Per Stephanie Stradley.
Yes. Ed Reed coaching everyone. RT @DoughertyDrew: And not just with rookies. Or defensive teammates.
— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) July 27, 2013
It's the start of a new football season, which means the age-old question must be asked again: has Andre Johnson finally lost a step? And, as always, the answer is a firm "no." Matt Schaub and Johnson are still working together with ease, and the two should dominate the passing game this upcoming season as they always have.
The Texans burst out of the gates last season, and it didn't seem like they would ever stop. The team rushed out to an unprecedented 11-1 record, but after that, everything took a turn for the worse. The Texans crumbled in the final five weeks of the season, losing their seemingly tight grip on the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage.
Although it was not solely Matt Schaub's fault, he did play a significant role in the downfall. In order for the Texans to win a Super Bowl, Schaub will have to play at a higher level.
Everyone, breathe a sigh of relief. Good. Be thankful that Brian Cushing is back to save the Texans' defense and return it to glory. Losing Cushing was a major blow to the defense last season, and now that the Pro Bowl linebacker is healthy, the defense should be revamped and ready to go.
The offensive line, yes, the offensive line was the main reason for the Texans' collapse last season. Not Matt Schaub, not the defense, but the offensive line.
The right side of the line proved to be incompetent at the end of the season; it was unable to open up holes for Arian Foster or prevent pass-rushers from easily reaching Schaub.
The Texans' zone blocking scheme depends on offensive line efficiency, and if the line underperforms, the offense will completely stall. This year's training camp will be a huge one for the Texans' linemen; they need to establish chemistry fast.