Practice - Saturday July 30th
I am always amazed when I read this board of the people who follow the Texans and post messages here but live in far away places. I feel like I'm lucky to live in Houston and have the opportunity to attend Texans practices. With this in mind I give you my impressions of the Texans first open practice of 2005.
Hot evening, No wind, Humidity down slightly
First Impressions: Both lines look more fit. Only Victor Riley and guard Brandon Evens look fat. McKinney, Pitts, Wiegert and Wade are in better shape. Gary Walker, Robair Smith and Jerry Deloach have reduced body fat. Babin and Peek both look trim but strong.
The evening started out with special teams drills. Impressions: Chad Stanley is a first team NFL punter when healthy. He looks healthy. Punting from the endzone during a punt protection drill he was routinely pounding out 55-60 yard punts with impressive hang time. Buchannon looks like the best punt returner if they decide to risk a starting corner returning kicks. He is quick like JJ but with SPEED.
After stretching they broke into some position drills. I was able to get a good view of the backs who were the same end of the field. Impressions: Morency looks the part of an NFL running back. Wearing #34 he has a compact muscular frame. He's not much taller than DD but is noticibly thicker. Hollings looks like he added some bulk. Wells looks fit but his size makes him look like a FB. Norris and Baxter both look bulked but with low body fat.
After the position drills they ran some offense vs defense in short yardage situations. Impressions: DD looked quick and showed good vision. Morency looked nervous and seemed to be trying hard to impress as a rookie. Hollings showed good speed to the outside but remember this was a short yardage drill.
The Texans broke up into some more position drills with the OL against the DL on the end of the field I was standing. This was the best action of the night for me as I got a close up look at the OL and DL squaring off in one on one drills. Impressions: The DL killed the OL. They started with Guards and Centers. Wiegert went first and was promptly driven back over the QB marker the coach placed in an imaginary pocket. Wiegert was immediately given a second chance only to be overcome by a bull rush by Sears again. Mickinney was then soundly beaten by Jerry Deloach , who by the way looks very good. Robair Smith then ran through Chester Pitts like he was a high school player. At this point I was torn between being impressed by the play of our DL or terrified by the play of our interior linemen. I'm afraid the latter is more likely the truth. The Tackles did look a little better. Todd Wade looked great. He did not get over powered and moved very well with his trimmed down frame. Wand held up to the bull rush but struggled when the DL went to quick techniques. He got beat on a spin move and obviously held when he horse collared Smith. Jason Davis caught my eye. He is a big strong DE that was able to push the pocket with a very effective bull rush.
The Texans then moved to the center of the field and worked the offense agianst the defense in a 11 on 11 drill. Impressions: The inside LB's are still working closely with the coaches on assignments. Greenwood is not a big guy but he looks quick and intstinctive. Greenwood looks smaller next to Wong on the inside because he is much bigger. Mathis is fast. He was able to get behind Daunte Robinson once but the ball was overthrown. He later ran by a backup DB but when the ball was underthrown he slowed and out jumped the
DB for the ball. He later made another nice catch on Demarcus Faggins. Mathis impressed me with his hands but when I watched him run routes I could see how much work he needs. He isn't very fast in and out of his breaks. I watched Dre a couple of times being covered by Buchanon. Once Buchannon new he had deep help so bounced around in front of Dre before the snap then tried to press him at the line. Dre took a couple of quick steps to his right and Buchannon mirrored him moving to his left. Dre turned quickly up field and ran right by Buchannon. At first I thought he would get the ball but when the ball went somewhere else I notice Glenn Earl on top of Dre. Dre was wearing a long sleeve undershirt during the practice. With the heat I'm not sure if he was trying to sweat off a few pounds or there was some other reason.
Non-Football Impressions: The Texans removed almost half the bleachers from previous seasons and replaced them with VIP tents. This in addition to fewer public practices is dissapointing. Many of the fans last night could not see the practice at all. Many stood because the stands were full before the practice even started.