Football is king in Texas. I've known this axiom of life in Texas since I was a little boy. But sometimes, it still floors me when I see just how popular the sport is here. For instance, this morning, at an hour that I would NEVER be awake at under normal circumstances, more than 4,000 people showed up for today's open training camp. To watch practice. At the risk of sounding like Allen Iverson here, we are talking about practice. When we're not watching training camp, we're arguing about how our college football teams will fare this season; if not college ball, then we watch high school football. Football is a three-day weekend in Houston, an excellent obsession of the highest order.
People packed into the bleachers like sardines...sardines that would be subjected to yet another scorching August morning. But it's football. Never mind the heat, never mind the awful music (more on that in a minute) playing on the loudspeaker, never mind two 300-pound guys in tank tops sitting next to you pretending to know what they're talking about; our collective obsession must be fed.
With that out of the way, allow me to contribute to your football fix, after the jump.
What? You didn't think I would do ALL the work here, did you?
1. Having Kareem Jackson cover Andre Johnson (who, in case you didn't read the title, was back in camp today after a dislocated finger) in 11-on-11 drills is almost unfair to Kareem Jackson. Schaub launched a pretty, though a bit underthrown, pass to Johnson, who leaped up over Jackson to make the grab. Jackson flailed his arms in a desperate attempt to break up the pass.
2. Invest in a J.J. Watt jersey. He's going to be starting for the Texans for a very long time. During defensive line drills, he was moving like his feet were on fire and the only way to put out the fire was
more cowbell to race around an imaginary offensive line (in the form of a large hoop on the ground) and hit the arm of an imaginary quarterback (the coach's arm). He also knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage. As I mentioned in a previous post by some unknown, yet devastatingly handsome, writer, Watt bats down a lot of passes like that, and I, for one, really look forward to seeing the incredulous look on Peyton Manning's face when Watt slaps down pass after pass...that is when he's not putting said quarterback three feet into the ground.
3. I'm warning the Texans organization right now, if they ever, and I mean ever, play "Friday" by Rebecca Black on the loudspeaker again, I will start a riot in the bleachers, and there isn't a jury in the world that would convict me for it, either.
4. Ben Tate did not participate in today's practice, due to tightness in his hamstring. Thankfully, Anna Megan Raley was nowhere nearby to tweet about it, and all carts in the area were burned to prevent a second panic by
Mike Kerns a concerned Texans fanbase.
5. Jacoby Jones had as good a catching percentage as Andre Johnson, today. No, I can't believe I wrote that either. But it's true. Jones caught everything thrown his way, including a couple of deep bombs in heavy coverage. I know it's only practice, but could it be that, with how he finished last season and these last couple of days in camp, Jones may have finally put it together? I think I need to lie down.
6. Danieal Manning picked off a desperate throw by Matt Leinart in the end zone today. I got a warm, fuzzy feeling when I saw that we had a safety that could make plays on the ball, let alone interceptions. Then Troy Nolan picked off a pass by Matt Schaub; and I started wondering if I had wandered into the Twilight Zone.
7. Of the college free agent WRs brought in, I think Jeff Maehl and Derrick Townsel have been the most impressive. But the best catch of the day has to go to Lester Jean who made an awesome catch while spinning 180 degrees in the end zone for the touchdown. T.J. Yates was the passer, it was his best pass of the day.
8. Judging by today's camp, James Casey will not be the starting fullback for this team. He's getting pushed around by the likes of Xavier Adibi and Vickers is just imposing his will on whatever defender he's matched up against.
Since there is no training camp tomorrow, and I know the nose tackle battle is foremost in your minds, I will have a special post on it tomorrow.
In the meantime, what players/position battles are you interested in reading more about? I'm kind of freestyling here and I want to know what matters to y'all. So...have at it!