Week Two of the Texans’ training camp is in the books, and it’s time for us to take another look at some of the reports and notes from this past week:
Running Backs On Show:
A variety of Texans running backs have been showing out over the course of the second week so let’s talk about each one individually.
Lamar Miller has been relatively quiet during training camp, but that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been performing well in each facet of his game, as Tyler Jackson of Bleeding Green and Baltimore Beatdown notes:
Lamar Miller looked good in 1-on-1 pass protection
Lamar Miller looks good running routes out of the backfield.
John Harris noted Miller’s running in particular, with one example from Tuesday session standing out:
One of those drives got a major boost from a long run from Lamar Miller that had shades of Miami 2015 against the Texans when he got loose in the secondary on that forgetful afternoon. With that run, it only took the offense three plays to score a touchdown.
D’Onta Foreman may have had a rough off field start to his NFL career, but now that he is at Texans training camp, he has been showing what he can do, as John McClain notes:
D'Onta Foreman looks so natural when he takes a handoff. Picks hole, makes cut and goes. Very decisive.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) July 30, 2017
Akeem Hunt continues to impress with his ability in pass drills. Harris observes:
Running back Akeem Hunt in 1-on-1s is about as slippery as anyone that I’ve seen. He’s so tough to cover and there are probably only two guys that have covered effectively in 1-on-1s during practice. That should really come as no surprise to those that watched Hunt make significant plays for this offense in 2015 and 2016.
D.J. Reader On A Roll:
The Texans’ second-year defensive lineman has been earning rave reviews throughout training camp. John Harris notes that this could be the beginning of something special for the big nose tackle:
I don’t really know how to describe defensive tackle D.J. Reader. Executive Vice President and General Manager Rick Smith told us he was a better pass rusher and overall player than even he anticipated but man, that young man is a spinning, dodging, dancing, whirling dervish inside. There was a guy who tweeted to me last year wondering why Reader didn’t sack the quarterback more and I told him, he was impacting the pass rush more than it appeared. He showed during 1-on-1s that he’s ready to take another step as a complete interior player, not just a nose tackle.
Jackson also noted that Reader is almost making big splash plays, such as picks:
Savage threw a pass behind a receiver crossing the field and Reader jumped it. Big guy interception almost!
The reports on both of the QBs from the past week have been nothing but positive. Deshaun Watson was praised for his success leading the second team offensive unit. As John McClain notes:
Deshawn Watson continues to impress the coaches with he way he's adjusted mentally to a difficult system. Improving every day.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) August 5, 2017
Jackson shared this optimism in Watson, noting that:
Watson led two touchdown drives on Wednesday, and continues to look good, improving on his ability to keep his eyes downfield when the pocket collapses.
and Harris added:
The best drive during the day was the number two offense, led by Deshaun Watson, taking the team down for a touchdown. Watson threw a touchdown to Chris Thompson in the back corner of the end zone to cap an eight play (I think it was longer, but I missed a play or two) touchdown drive.
Harris also mentioned the ease Watson has operated with in the end zone over the past week:
Watson also put the Texans in the end zone in three plays. Offensive weapon Tyler Ervin climbed the ladder on the far sideline to make a catch on first down and two plays later Devin Street hardly had to move as Watson found him for a touchdown.
Savage’s performances with the first team have been nothing to dismiss either, with Harris noting multiple instances of impressive throws, such as this one to Ryan Griffin:
After that, though, the quarterbacks went to work, up and down the field. Savage ended his first team drill with a perfectly thrown ball to Ryan Griffin for a touchdown Griffin beat the safety and had a step but with not much room to stick it into Griffin, Savage dropped it right on the fifth year tight end.
Heading into the first preseason game this week, it’s definitely going to be interesting to observe this battle as it progresses through the rest of the preseason. Jackson notes, however, that the difference between the two might not be as pronounced as we think:
We'll have to see a few more preseason games, but the gap between Watson and Savage doesn't look big at all. If Watson continues to grasp the playbook and improve, I think it's likely he forces Houston's hand.
There you have it. The second week of training camp summed up succinctly by those who were there. This week Houston practices on Monday, Friday, and Saturday, and plays their first preseason game against the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday August 9th at 6:30.