Bill O'Brien talked about why he wanted Ryan Fitzpatrick here in Houston. He even calls him a "perfect fit" for this specific system.
Kick and punt returning duties are up for grabs. Keshawn Martin is the incumbent but he's fighting off Mike Thomas, Alan Bonner and others. Whoever wins the job, O'Brien wants to trust his decision-making.
Many of the same candidates for returning kicks are the same for the slot wide receiver position. Again, Thomas and Bonner are competing with Martin for the role. Thomas is thought to have the leg-up thanks to his experience in the league.
Kareem Jackson is being used quite a bit as the slot corner. O'Brien also mentioned Elbert Mack and A.J. Bouye as candidate for that role. WHERE IS BRANDON HARRIS? Deepi Siddhu wrote more about Jackson's work in the slot.Houston Texans schedule
Even though Fitzpatrick will probably be the starter come Week 1, O'Brien seems to stress that the competition is wide open, and it's been noted that he's never distinguished one candidate over the other.
The Chron's Brian Smith had a series of tweets on Fitzpatrick courtesy of NFL Films guru Greg Cossel:
#NFL Films guru Greg Cossel believes #Texans' Ryan Fitzpatrick could be one of league's surprise QBs this season.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) June 6, 2014
Greg Cossel said Ryan Fitzpatrick has potential to excel with Bill O'Brien, George Godsey in a smart offense that establishes "gray areas."— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) June 6, 2014
If #Texans define what Fitzpatrick is\isn't allowed to do, turnovers will be limited and new system will play to Fitzpatrick's strengths.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) June 6, 2014
Cossel said Bill O'Brien is "one of the best in the business" and could be a perfect fit for Fitzpatrick at this point in QB's career.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) June 6, 2014
Cosell on Fitz: "We're not talking about a top-five starter. ... But O'Brien sees a guy he can mold with how he structures his offense."— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) June 6, 2014
Another reason #Texans are currently banking on Ryan Fitzpatrick: He had previous working relationships with seven of team's coaches. #NFL— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) June 7, 2014
Smith also wrote about how Garrett Graham, Ryan Griffin and rookie C.J. Fiedorowicz could immediately excel under O'Brien.
As soon as O'Brien exchanged Penn State for his first NFL head coaching job, predictions arose that the revamped Texans would attempt to double up on their tight-end production. The initial two weeks of organized team activities didn't dispute the theory. Garrett Graham, Ryan Griffin and rookie C.J. Fiedorowicz, among others, are expected to become safe harbors for the team's to-be-determined Week 1 starting quarterback, with quarterbacks coach George Godsey and O'Brien blending multiple athletes into one critical offensive weapon.
I wrote about O'Brien's previous trio of tight ends over at Penn State after Graham was re-signed. I thought at the time that O'Brien would opt to keep Owen Daniels to help recreate that trio. Instead, Daniels was released and Fiedorowicz was drafted in the third round. Not too shabby.
OTAs will be starting up again this week and we'll keep you posted on the happenings as they come in. Happy Saturday.