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Old 05-19-2006   #1
Mysteryhunt
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Default ESPN Insider article on texans mini-camp

anyone have access to this article and wish to share? i'm really curious what they have to say about us.
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Old 05-19-2006   #2
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Originally Posted by Seth Wickersham
Some observations from Houstonposted: Friday, May 19, 2006 | Feedback

Houston tops my list of Cities Traveled To Most Often Without Writing About a Local Athlete. It started normally: I was first here in 2002 writing about Lance Berkman, back in my baseball-writer days. (Thank God those are over. I'd lose sleep blogging opposite Olney.) But then the next time I was here was for a story on Dante Hall, who lives here in the offseason. Then, a feature a year ago on former NFLer Broderick Thomas' battles with depression and suicide. I was also here two weeks ago working on an upcoming ESPN The Magazine feature on another NFL player who happens to call Houston his offseason home.

Now, I am here writing a Magazine feature on a Houston Texan, for once. I will be here again in two weeks to continue work on the same story.

I spent Thursday morning in the sun watching the Texans practice. I never saw the team practice under Dom Capers, so I can't compare eras, but under new coach Gary Kubiak practices are crisp and fast. Players are hustling. Energy is high. This doesn't look like the NFL's worst team to me. The squad seems to have gotten a shot of confidence.

A few thoughts:
• David Carr looks good in Kubiak's offense. I know "good" is relative because it's only minicamp, but in seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills, he threw the ball well and usually threw to the open guy. I've been hard on Carr in the past but he's clicking well with Andre Johnson (as always) and seems to find Eric Moulds regularly, too. Kubiak is testing him, too. Halfway through practice he rolled right, stopped, and threw deep to the left, across the field, to Johnson, who was running a corner route away from Carr. I knew the play immediately: It was the old Elway-to-Mark Jackson play from the 80s. When I asked Kubiak about it in his plush office (with a bad view of the Reliant Stadium parking lot), he nodded. "That's right," he said. "I used to pretend to slip when it came up during one of my snaps." (Kubiak was Elway's backup for most of his career.)

• Charley Casserly may be ending his stint as GM with the team on June 1, moving back to the District and awaiting word from the NFL in mid-July about a front-office position, but he's still very involved with the Texans. During our 20-minute talk during practice, he would stop talking during every offensive play, then seamlessly pick up where he left off as soon as the whistle was blown. When a receiver made a diving stab at a catch, Casserly oohed. "I don't want to see guys hitting the ground in minicamps and getting hurt," he said.

• For any conspiracy theorists out there, Casserly's resignation had nothing to do with the pick of Mario Williams. I posed that question to both Casserly and owner Bob McNair and both shot down the theory. At any rate, a Broncos front office vet is in to interview for Casserly's old job.


• This is to answer Mad Mike in Houston's question about the selection of Williams: the team is totally behind the pick. And Williams looks good. He was in the backfield for a few plays in the 11-on-11 practices. The only thing slowing him down so far are his bad toes. He had to have both toes drained after practice. When he walked into a room to sign at least 100 items for the team's marking department, he had both toes bandaged.

That said, there is a lot of pressure on Williams. But he seems to handle it well. For his part, he says fans haven't approached him with any claims that they wish the team had drafted Bush. (I don't blame them, considering Williams is huge.) I get the sense from coaches that they're a little proud, even cocky, that they stood their ground and picked the guy they wanted despite the public wanting a sexier player. "My name will always be linked to his," said Casserly. He didn't say that shrugging his shoulders; he said it confidently.

• I think if the Texans first-teamers stay healthy, this team could be better than many think. For sure it won't be the worst team in the league again. I expect Kubiak to scheme the offensive line to respectability, and if the defense comes together at all, it'll be better than last year's version. If Jacksonville slips from last year, which is possible, I could see Houston finishing second in the South. But if there are injuries, especially to skill players, Houston will have problems. When Sage Rosenfels took over for Carr, the snap was fumbled twice in a row. Kubiak stopped practice and made Rosenfels get the snap successfully before calling the next play.

• Usually, it's the players who run after practice because they've screwed something up and owe the coaches laps. Not so in Houston. Or not yet, at least. Right now, it's the coaches who run after practice. Defensive coordinator Richard Smith and Kubiak run gassers up and down the field after practice.

• Had the Texans drafted Bush, he wouldn't have had a problem wearing jersey No. 5, at least before the league meddled with it. Rookie QB Quinton Porter, formerly No. 15 for Boston College, currently wears five.

• Talking with McNair reminds you to always keep eye contact. It's polite and a good business strategy, one that he's certainly employed well.

• My favorite thing about visiting Houston is Luling City BBQ, my favorite joint in America. I ate two turkey platters last night and honestly considered a third. The sauce is simply unlike any I've ever had before. It's sweet. It's hot. When I was here two weeks ago I left with five bottles in my carry-on.

• I'm going to be sad when the NBA playoffs end. I have never before typed nor said that in my life. I'm getting too used to the nightly thriller.
i know this is probably too long but it is an insider article so no one can see it unless i do this....
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Old 05-19-2006   #3
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A couple of points:

- Carr is looking "good"
- Mario has been in the backfield for a number of plays (also mentioned he has had to get toes drained and bandaged)
- Instead of players running after practice, the coaches are. (not exactly sure what that means)
- The author likes Luling City BBQ
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Old 05-19-2006   #4
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Originally Posted by dtran04
- Instead of players running after practice, the coaches are. (not exactly sure what that means)
It means the coaches like to stay in shape and show the players that they work hard too.

I'll leave it to the conspiracy theorists too add anything more sinister.
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Old 05-19-2006   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtran04
A couple of points:

- Carr is looking "good"
- Mario has been in the backfield for a number of plays (also mentioned he has had to get toes drained and bandaged)
- Instead of players running after practice, the coaches are. (not exactly sure what that means)
- The author likes Luling City BBQ
I suppose this is like the ancient times when the young king's whipping boy received punishement rather than the young king. Perhapes the coaches are saying you are going to make us run if you don't do it right. Perhapes a way to encourage people to get it right, because others will be on the line if they don't.
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Old 05-20-2006   #6
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Rosenfels fumbles the ball Twice?!? And we go get rid of Banks and Ragone? WTF?!? That's stupid! Anyway, that's a good report. Thanks for the post.
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Old 05-20-2006   #7
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Great article. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 05-20-2006   #8
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Originally Posted by Ibar_Harry
I suppose this is like the ancient times when the young king's whipping boy received punishement rather than the young king. Perhapes the coaches are saying you are going to make us run if you don't do it right. Perhapes a way to encourage people to get it right, because others will be on the line if they don't.
I doubt the coaches are running because of anything the players did during practice, they are likely just trying to stay in shape and enjoy the nice weather here before June/July/August weather sets in. Pretty good article, good to hear another outside opinion that thinks the Texans are looking much better.
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Old 05-20-2006   #9
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The coaches are leading by example, and that's exactly what there here for.

Run coaches run!
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Old 05-20-2006   #10
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Originally Posted by Tex Trenches
The coaches are leading by example, and that's exactly what there here for.

Run coaches run!
They're practicing for the end of the year when they will be running away from the gatorade shower
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Old 05-20-2006   #11
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Originally Posted by TexanFan881
They're practicing for the end of the year when they will be running away from the gatorade shower

That's what I'm talking about!
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Old 05-20-2006   #12
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Originally Posted by phan1
Rosenfels fumbles the ball Twice?!? And we go get rid of Banks and Ragone? WTF?!? That's stupid! Anyway, that's a good report. Thanks for the post.
Relax. It takes time for QB's to adjust to new Centers. Carr fumbled about 20 snaps in '02 and several more in '03... during actual games... and he's still around.

Rosenfels is a big upgrade over Banks and Ragone. You'll see it in the preseason.

Besides... the Texans are an equal opportunity employer and they needed to add a Jewish player to the roster. Their first, I believe. Shalom Sage... shalom.
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Old 05-20-2006   #13
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Originally Posted by the wonger need food
Relax. It takes time for QB's to adjust to new Centers. Carr fumbled about 20 snaps in '02 and several more in '03... during actual games... and he's still around.

Rosenfels is a big upgrade over Banks and Ragone. You'll see it in the preseason.

Besides... the Texans are an equal opportunity employer and they needed to add a Jewish player to the roster. Their first, I believe. Shalom Sage... shalom.
In Texas you say, "shalom ya'll".
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Old 05-20-2006   #14
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The only thing slowing him down so far are his bad toes. He had to have both toes drained after practice.
Please, please, please...no bad toes...

Wasn't it bad toes that sidelined Gary Walker a few times the last couple of years...
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