When it comes to knowledgeable football minds in the media, it doesn't get much better than John Harris. Harris was a sports talk radio host for several years before recently taking a job with the Texans to provide coverage of the team through its media outlets. I learn something every time I listen to John talk about football, and not just because of his well documented connection to a certain Texans head coach. While working for the organization itself will surely limit Harris' ability to spew vitriol about the Texans, I am optimistic he'll tactfully criticize when appropriate. I hope.
Harris has a great piece up on the Texans' official website discussing what he observed from the offense during Bill O'Brien's first rookie mini-camp last weekend. Some tidbits plucked for your immediate review and reaction:
Considering there was only one quarterback in attendance and he was the team’s only quarterback drafted, former Pitt signal caller Tom Savage wasn’t under the same pressure as others. That said, he was arguably under the biggest microscope. But with quarterbacks coach George Godsey able to spend time with Savage, and only with him, the 6-4, 228 pound gunslinger soaked in the knowledge all weekend.
The physical tools were evident from the first throw. I wasn’t here to see David Carr live, but I’ve seen every quarterback since and there’s no question that Savage has the strongest arm, by a mile, that I’ve seen in a Texan uniform. He looks the part of a professional quarterback, for certain, but what I liked was the way he handled his coaching, not just from Godsey but from head coach Bill O’Brien as well. As he got fatigued in practice the ball sailed high at times but after watching him up close and personal after months of studying him on film, I was more than impressed.
Will he start Week One? I don’t anticipate that being the case and hopefully, it’s not the case. But, before this season’s over, Savage will make an impact on this Texans squad.
The surprise, so to speak, was [Alfred] Blue. I’ve seen him dozens of times at LSU but this past weekend, he was as smooth, fluid and explosive as I can remember. He’s got great feet at 220 pounds and caught the ball out of the backfield more times than any receiver or tight end. It’s a jam-packed backfield with Arian Foster, Andre Brown and a myriad of others with NFL experience. But Blue showed he’s going to fit right in with the veterans when OTAs and mini-camps begin. Can he handle the blitz pick-ups? Can he excel against NFL-level defenders? We’ll see soon, but after what I saw last weekend, I’d bet on it, sooner than later.
Former Iowa star C.J. Fiedorowicz caused the biggest stir among those watching practice, but I kept a close on eye on former Arizona State star Chris Coyle and Utah hybrid Y/H-back Anthony Denham. Coyle seemed much more comfortable as the Y-tight end than Denham. Coyle’s blocking technique was good and his overall fundamental level was high. But Denham has athleticism the other two don’t. This is a crowded group of tight ends in Houston. Fiedorowicz is eventually going to be a significant part of the offense, whereas Coyle and Denham will have a tough climb to make the 53. More than likely, one will make the practice squad.
The other right tackle candidate that will have a chance to push to make the roster is former South Dakota State standout Bryan Witzmann. I heard O’Brien praise Witzmann during the Saturday practice and trust me that doesn’t happen often, speaking from experience, of course. At 6-7 and 311 pounds, he’s lighter than Feiler but has the arm length and feet to be a capable right tackle prospect at this level.