While reading James Casey's latest (and as usual, extremely interesting) rookie diary entry, I noticed a shocking connection. On James Casey's first play as a Texan in a pre-season game, he made the tackle for his team. Similarly, in DeMeco Ryan's first pre-season play, he managed the first tackle. Just sayin'.
Kasey Studdard has performed admirably in camp and throughout the pre-season filling in for Chester Pitts. I'm really excited to see Studdard continue to progress throughout the year, as Pitts' contract has reached its last year. Though Pitts hasn't missed a game in franchise history and had an extremely good season last year, he will be 31 at season's end and you have to be skeptical about giving in to what is sure to be hefty demands by his agent. We've been over the situations with DeMeco and Owen Daniels, so adding Pitts to the list just makes my head hurt. Studdard's solid play makes me believe the likely loss of Pitts may not be as harsh as it might have seemed earlier.
Here's the day's recap from the Chronicle and the team website. Former Baylor fullback Jonathan Evans was signed as a camp body to take away a few reps from Vonta Leach. As expected, Antwuan Molden isn't quite up to full speed yet and still isn't participating fully in all team drills. Luckily, there were no signs of pain for the returning cornerback. John Busing continues to make plays. He added another interception to his list yesterday. He didn't particularly stand out in the Chiefs game, but he could see more playing time against the Saints.
It was a tough morning practice for fourth-round pick Anthony Hill, a tight end known primarily for his blocking ability. The Texans ran several pass plays to Hill, and he missed multiple passes thrown by quarterback Matt Schaub. One time, coach Gary Kubiak said, "Come on, 87, make the play!" On a similar pass play about 15 yards up the middle, Hill caught a pass but was stripped by free safety Brandon Harrison. Later, Hill caught a touchdown pass in the red zone and got a lot of encouragement from his teammates. He has to catch the ball in practice and continue to prove his ability to block. - Jordan Godwin
Hill will see playing time regardless if he blocks as well as he was said to in college, especially in the red zone. That being said, he needs to become a better pass catcher to see consistent playing time and become a regular contributor with the team. Is it a lack of focus or a lack of soft hands in general? Either way, Hill has to sort the issue out.
After a huge game on Saturday against the Chiefs, defensive tackle Frank Okam deflected a pass thrown by backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky. Okam made a leaping effort and deflected the pass with his mammoth right hand. The pass ricocheted into the air and strong safety Nick Ferguson made a diving catch for the interception. If Okam can continue to play up to his potential, the injured Travis Johnson may have some competition when he returns. - Godwin
Hahaha. Some competition? Hilarious.
(on why he was running with his team after practice) "I was late to the Bowling Derby (on Monday night). A bunch of coaches working, a few minutes late, so we hold ourselves to the same standard." - Gary Kubiak
(on the team working on the Wildcat offense in practice) "We've got to work against it. We're going to see it during the season, so our defense needs to see it. We've got a few guys capable of doing it, but that's not how we make our living. Like I said, we've got to work on our cat, and work on the wildcat later." - Kubiak
Wait, something about a cat? I'm lost. If I had to place a bet, I'd say James Casey, Jacoby Jones (due to the one, albeit miserable, play they ran with him at quarterback last year), and Andre Davis (he's an explosive athlete) all tried their hand at the Wildcat.
(on the Minnesota preseason game suddenly becoming bigger with Brett Favre joining the Vikings) "I'm worried about New Orleans. One week at a time. I didn't even know until I came over here and heard some guys talking. For sure, that will add some spice to the story next week when we get together, but we've got a lot of work to do between now and then." - Kubiak
Please. No. Brett. F*cking. Favre.
For the second consecutive day of practice, linebacker DeMeco Ryans randomly yelled out at the top of his lungs, "GREAT DAY TO BE ALIIIIIIVE!!!" Maybe it's after the Texans' preseason victory over the Chiefs, or maybe Ryans is just genuinely happy to be alive. - Godwin
GREAT DAY TO BE ALIIIIIIVE!!!