Over the course of the last week, people have asked me what my favorite part of covering training camp has been. I could tell them it's the opportunity to leave a city where the high temperature of the day is equivalent to the temperature at 8 a.m. here. I could say it's the chance to get close enough to J.J. Watt that he has to file a restraining order against me. I could also say that it's the only time I can verbally abuse Kareem Jackson within his earshot that I may get until 2013 (the next time the Texans come up to face the Seahawks). But those aren't the best part of this assignment.
The fact of the matter is that my favorite part has been just talking to the fans about the Texans. Suffice it to say, talking about Houston football in the Pacific Northwest is bloody difficult. More often than not the responses I get vary from "Yeah, uh huh, right," to "Houston has a football team? I thought they moved to Nashville." So to talk about the Texans, and talk intelligently about them, with other fans is fantastic. And it's not just me, the bleachers are noisy with conversation about who will make the team, who is playing well, and what is your preferred flavor of drinking bleach. There's a sense of community among the fans, a bond of sorts, one that can't be imitated and can't be broken. There's also a sense of hope there that I've never been able to associate with Houston Texans football, and it feels good to watch them without instinctively cringing when they're playing defense.
If you haven't gotten a chance to experience this, tomorrow will be your last chance to do so, put on some sunblock, grab a bottle of water and come down to see your Texans play and get caught up in a conversation.
Plus it gives me a chance to pimp BRB like I actually get paid for it or something.
Enough shilling for the Texans, let's see who played well and what to look out for.
It's just a jump...to the left...
1. Devard Darling must have done something right today. He was returning punts, and doing really well at it, for the Texans. Now there's word that Kubiak says he will play in the Monday night game against the Jets. Heck of a step up from playing for the Omaha Nighthawks. This is definitely not good news for injured KR/PR Trindon Holliday.
2. Brian Cushing (knee) and Jacoby Jones (bone bruise) returned to full practice today. Ben Tate (hamstring, duh) remains off the practice field.
3. Johnathan Joseph did not practice today either, because he was feeling some tightness in his groin. Fearless leader Gary Kubiak expects him to be back in practice tomorrow. There is no reason to panic.
4. Speaking of injuries, James Casey landed on his back and was really slow to get up. Turned out he just had the wind knocked out of him and he was back on the field for the next play. As a preventative measure, an unnamed angry blogger locked Anna Megan Raley's Twitter account and smashed her phone into teensy-weensy pieces.
5. During the Monday night game, keep an eye on #50 Bryan Braman. He's playing like a monster on the third team defense. He got into the backfield multiple times today, and almost got an interception today.
6. Kareem Jackson did not completely embarrass himself today, sticking close to his assignments, including preventing Andre Johnson from completing a pass.
7. Terrence Toliver finally caught a pass today! It's the first pass I've seen him make since covering training camp. And then later the same day he dropped another ball. I don't think he makes the team at this rate.
8. Arian Foster (hamstring) again did not practice today. I doubt he plays in the Monday night game against New York, nor should he, really. Nothing good can come from having him play in a meaningless game if he's less than 100%.
9. Shaun Cody looked fierce today...against the third team offense. He was seen working with the third team defense.
10. Brett Hartmann has an awesome leg. He kicked three touchbacks and made some monster punts on Wednesday. Enjoy playing in Jacksonville, Matt Turk!
11. This is probably a repeat of old news, but Jason Allen is giving Kareem Jackson all the competition he can handle. Allen nearly hauled in an interception and broke up a pass to Andre Johnson. He also spent time on the first team defense, but that's likely due to Johnathan Joseph being held out of practice today.