Tell me if this has ever happened to you: It's Sunday, you're at the stadium trying to find your seat for the day's game. As you walk through the concourse of the stadium, you'll see probably thousands of people passing by. Most of them are dressed in official team gear, some are wearing outrageous and frightening costumes with paint on their faces, and a few, if they've had a little too much fun at the tailgate, are wearing paint on their face and nothing else. For some reason, images of the Raiders spring immediately to mind.
But dotted among the throng of fans of the local team are fans wearing the opponents' laundry. You do a double take, unsure of what you just saw. But it's confirmed, he/she is a fan of...the OTHER TEAM! True, it's not the end of the world, and there's the opportunity for some good-natured, or not-so-good-natured, trash talk to be had. It's to be expected. Texans fans live all over the world (really!), after all. Like most fans, I tend to brush this off as no big deal.
At training camp, however, it's another story. At Houston Texans training camp, I expect to see people if not in Texans swag, then wearing Houston-sports related gear, and at worst wearing college colors.
What I do NOT expect, however, is seeing people wearing Indianapolis Colts gear, let alone a Peyton Manning jersey. For some reason, I get really suspicious when there's a Colts fan watching the Texans practice. It feels like they're doing reconnaissance on the Texans. Personally, I was tempted to call security to have him taken off the grounds; I don't care that he's only 12 years old!
So am I off base here? While you ponder this question, read some nuggets of knowledge about today's practice.
Where, you may ask? After the jump, of course, but you already knew that.
1. In one of the less-reported stories of training camp, I think Brett Hartmann just overtook Brad Maynard in the battle to be the Texans' next punter. He was booming punts consistently, and accurately, 55 yards kicking from the end zone, with his longest being 65 yards. Maynard's average punt distance was 40.1 yards per kick, good for worst in the league.
2. Johnathan Joseph has yet to play a game in a Texans uniform and he's already showing he's worth the investment. He's sticking like glue to Andre Johnson and whichever player he's assigned to cover, including almost picking off a pass to our favorite wide receiver. I also wonder how much he's putting into camp since he knows he's got a starting job sewn up. If this is what to expect when he's not going full-bore, he's going to be a lot of fun to watch this year.
3. Matt Leinart had a rough day today, missing a lot of his targets, including Trindon Holliday. I can forgive overthrowing Holliday. After all, it's hard not to overthrow a receiver that's three feet tall. Although considering one of the big knocks on Leinart is his relatively weak arm, I'm stunned he can overthrow any receiver at all.
4. Speaking of Leinart, Brooks Reed picked off a pass he threw and almost took it to the house and would have succeeded had Jeff Maehl not caused him to fumble the ball before getting to the end zone.
5. Lawrence Vickers practiced with the first team offense today and caught a pass from Matt Schaub. This makes me feel good because a lot of the Texans' third-down pickups last year were quick passes to Vonta. (Nickname suggestion: V 2.0)
6. I think Kareem Jackson is really feeling the pressure out there, specifically from Jason Allen and Brandon Harris. After failing to prevent a completion, he looked incredibly frustrated out there; punching at the air.
7. Tragedy struck today when a Texans fan wearing a "Battle Red Blog" T-Shirt started a riot after hearing the song "Friday" by Rebecca Black played on the loudspeaker again. 32 people were injured with one killed, the fatality being the person responsible for creating the training camp soundtrack.
8. I'm starting to get concerned about Brian Cushing. Not only was he held out of 11-on-11 drills today, but he looks nothing like the hulk we've come to know and love out on the football field. He's a lot thinner out on the field. So even if he does get well enough to see the practice field, what are the odds that he's the same player he was a couple of years ago?
9. I know I've said it before, but Jason Allen is playing like a CB2. He's consistently near the ball, and breaking up passes if not picking them off outright, which he did off of a Matt Leinart pass.
10. Jacoby Jones left practice early today with an injury to his foot. No word yet on how serious it is yet; medical staff are examining him this afternoon.
11. I said earlier that I think Jeff Maehl has a very good chance at making this team. According to Lance Zierlein, Coach Kubiak seems to think the same thing.
Listening to Gary Kubiak talk about undrafted rookie Oregon WR Jeff Maehl this morning leads me to believe he has a shot at making the team.
12. Arian Foster, has nobody told you how hot it is outside? Why in Durga's name are you wearing sweat pants?!