Practice Report

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by Vinny, Aug 1, 2005.

  1. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    Practice report
    By Nick Schenck
    houstontexans.com

    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Commitment to excellence: Nursing sore muscles from their first two-a-day of the 2005 season, the Texans returned to the field on Sunday afternoon for their third training camp workout, and first inside the bubble. While each new season brings excitement, the raised level of expectation this year has the players buzzing. Improvements in each of the first three seasons have led the team to place the bar even higher in year four.

    Quarterback David Carr is encouraged by the team’s progress, particularly in the past months leading up to training camp. Now, he’s ready to break through the playoff wall, and he thinks his teammates are, too. “Really, in your fourth year you get tired of just being average, or less than average,” Carr said. “In the off-season, when all these guys go do anything else, they’re not average in anything. “I think we have a group that not only can win, but deserves to win, because we’ve put in the work and the guys put in the effort to go out and do something exciting.”

    Catch-up time: His contract signed, rookie defensive tackle Travis Johnson was all smiles on Saturday night when he stopped by the team’s night practice. Today, though, he was all business.

    While Johnson, the 16 th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, is a little behind after missing the Texans’ conditioning test and first two practices, he kept up with the team’s progress as best as he could. Daily conversations with his teammates and a call to his defensive line coach, Mike London, at 1 a.m. helped him stay up-to-date mentally with what the team was doing.

    From a physical standpoint, however, Johnson realized immediately that there’s much work to do. Asked what his biggest adjustment is, Johnson didn’t mince words. “Just getting back into football shape and going every day as far as running after the ball sideline-to-sideline and getting back to my usual habits,” he said.

    Head coach Dom Capers was relieved to have his first-rounder join the team. He sensed Johnson’s enthusiasm on the practice field, and anticipates big things this season from the former Florida St. Seminole. “I know he’s excited about being out here, so we expect to see improvement out of him every day.” Capers said. “I’ll be interested in looking at tape tonight and see how he did for his first practice.”

    Same face, different place: It’s no secret that Andre Johnson will be the focal point of most defenses the Texans face this season. So when the offensive coaches were formulating their strategy this off-season, they looked into ways they could make it as difficult as possible for the opposition to defend No.80.

    The result, at least this far into training camp, has been an attack featuring Johnson in constant motion. Wherever he lines up in the beginning of a play, chances are he won’t be there at the time of the snap. To make it harder for teams to double team Johnson, offensive coordinator Chris Palmer changed the wide receiver’s position. “We went into the off-season with the thought that we were going to move Andre to the Z position, which is on tight end side,” Palmer said. “The first two years he played the X wide receiver, which is a single receiver side. Now that gives us the ability, with him off the line of scrimmage, to move him and put him in different spots. He’s adjusted very well in the spring and he’s doing a good job.”

    Johnson, the Texans’ lone Pro Bowler in 2004, is noticeably more confident entering his third year. Palmer has seen his fair share of prodigies in 15 seasons of NFL coaching. As far as he is concerned, Johnson shouldn’t have any trouble with his new role in the offense. “Here’s a guy who got 975 yards his first year, was an All-Pro his second year and now, with the ability to move him around, will make it more difficult for the defense to zero in on him,” Palmer said. “The sky is the limit for this guy. He’s a very talented individual and we expect him to have a big year.”

    Sights set high:
    Although he arrived only three months ago, cornerback Phillip Buchanon isn’t timid about sharing his lofty goals for the secondary. Last year, the Texans’ defense accounted for 22 interceptions. This season, Buchanon believes that total can be increased by eight. “Our overall team goal is to take it game-by-game, but we want to make the playoffs,” he said. “For the secondary, we want to get about 30 picks. We have to make it happen and set high goals.”

    No NFL team made 30 interceptions last season, but that’s not to say it’s an impossible feat to accomplish. With Buchanon and Dunta Robinson, along with nickel back Demarcus “Petey” Faggins, the Texans boast arguably the best secondary in the AFC South. Training camp began just three days ago, but already the chemistry is evident between cornerbacks Buchanon and Robinson. “Dunta and I are roommates, listen to the same music, and do everything together,” Buchanon said. “I am trying to tell him things and he is trying to tell me things and we are trying to win together.”

    Singled out: No, Jabar Gaffney isn’t confused. He knows it’s not Battle Red Day at training camp, but he still has to wear the red pullover during practice to protect his surgically-repaired shoulder. Gaffney’s shoulder doesn’t appear to be a serious concern, but Capers prefers to err on the side of caution.

    In other injury news, defensive end Gary Walker (hamstring) was limited to only individual work today, while defensive end Carlos Williams (hyperextended elbow) and cornerback Cedric Williams (heat-related) watched today’s practice from the sidelines. “We’ve been fairly fortunate through the first three practices,” Capers said. “Those are really the only ones and hopefully we can continue on the same.”

    houstontexans.com
     
  2. ghostlight

    ghostlight All Pro

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    :) Thanks Vinny for this great post. This is what I've been waiting for. First hand reports of substance. You and all of the the other loyal (to many to name)posters put a great deal of time and effort into this Board and those of us that live outside of the Houston media area are grateful.

    Look forward to many more insightful posts. :fishing:
     
  3. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    np ghostlight...just trying to make it easy to find everything in one place for you guys.


    Practice report
    By Kris Krikes
    www.HoustonTexans.com

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Shelling it out: The Texans started their third day of training camp at 8:45 a.m. on Monday, wearing shells instead of full pads. “We’ll do this periodically,” head coach Dom Capers said. “When we come out in shells, we’re trying to mix up the speed and tempo of the game.”

    Capers and his staff slowly have introduced different aspects of the game through each practice. The team worked its third down packages today.

    Said Capers: “You saw substituted personnel on both sides of the ball and (we’re) starting to really implement some third down situations, which is a real critical part of the game.”

    Among other developments, the team also worked a three-receiver package for the first time, giving many young offensive and defensive players an opportunity for some quality reps. “We’ve got excellent competition going on at the receiver position,” Capers said. “When you’re in that personnel, you’re getting a chance to look at three guys as opposed to just two guys out there. “Same thing on defense, it’s a chance for many of the young defensive backs to show what they’re capable of because we’ll have five or six out there at once.”

    Who’s right at left?: Four practices down and the Texans are still trying to figure out which left tackle will best complement the offensive line. As of Monday morning, Seth Wand and Victor Riley were both getting a good number of reps. Yet a number of other players are also in the running. “We’ve got great competition between Seth and Victor,” offensive line coach Steve Marshall said. “And maybe even somebody else before it’s over with. We’re looking at everything at this point.”

    Wand started at left tackle last season for the Texans. Meanwhile, Riley, who was acquired via free agency in May, was drafted by Kansas City in 1998 to play left tackle, but has played right tackle for the majority of his professional career.

    With both players vying for a starting role, the coaches think the overall level of play on the O-line will improve. “Seth has improved quite a bit so far in his first four practices,” Marshall said. “Victor has come out in great shape, and he’s a veteran guy that knows how to play the game.” “So, the proof is in the pudding, we’ll have to see how it goes. But, for four practices, I couldn’t be more pleased with both of them.”

    Settling in: After only four practices at their new positions, linebackers Kailee Wong and Morlon Greenwood seem to be making themselves right at home. “I really like what I see out of those two guys,” Capers said. “First of all, they both know how to prepare. They are both extremely hard workers and they both do extremely well in the classroom.”

    As he did in the first few practices, linebackers coach Tom Olivadotti pulled the pair aside after position drills this morning to drill them on their assignments and various terminology. “There are a lot of adjustments, just assignments,” said Wong, who also will assume defensive play-calling responsibilities this season. “You, as an inside linebacker, really have to take the mentality to make every play. And keep yourself alive, not get caught up in the line and be able to flow so that you can make your tackle on the ball carrier.”

    Last season, Greenwood played inside in Miami ’s 4-3 defense, while Wong has played outside for the past three seasons with the Texans. Both are excited for the challenge and confident in their abilities to excel at their new positions. “I really like it,” Greenwood said of playing weakside linebacker. “I’ll be on the inside where I can cover about 85 percent of the field, so that’s where I’d like to be – where I can be an impact all over the field.”

    Wong and Greenwood are not only intent on learning everything they can about their new positions, but also about each other, both on and off the field. “We’re definitely really tight,” Wong said. “The two inside linebackers really need to be on the same page, it is probably the most critical position aside from maybe the two safeties.”

    Capers is confident in the pair’s abilities and likes the speed and aggressiveness they add to the defense. “I think they’re both athletic, tough guys,” Capers said. “There’s no question in my mind. I have a lot of confidence in those two guys and when it comes time to play, they will be totally prepared.”
     
  4. JDizzle

    JDizzle I'm a dude

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    Did anyone see TJ and some O. Lineman get into it? It was a pretty decent scuffle, too. I saw it on Channel 13.
     
  5. TEXANS84

    TEXANS84 Moderator Staff Member

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    A+ to Seth Wand this evening. He held his own against Peek and a couple other defensive linemen. Complete turnaround from Saturday's practice.
     
  6. vtech9

    vtech9 Hall of Fame

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    could someone that was at tonights practice give all of us out-of-towners a run down on what went on?
     
  7. The Preacher

    The Preacher Veteran

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    Why I am not surprised nine hours have passed and there haven't been any props given to Seth. :club: I know it's just one practice, but I really hope he can step up his game up by what one would call "improving as your young career progresses."

    Let's hope this becomes a trend because a great % of the Texans success, especially on offense, will depend on the LT's effectiveness. :embarrass
     
  8. Vambo, the Marble Eye

    Vambo, the Marble Eye Veteran

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    Guys all I have seen is Mathis dropping a pass which was broke up by Bell?

    What is the scoop?
     


  9. Runner

    Runner Hubcap Diamond Staff Member

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    I posted a little OL vs. DL blurb on the "Piqued by Peek" thread.
     
  10. swisher

    swisher Old School

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    Mathis blew by Faggins like he was standing still and caught a long td during seven on sevens.

    And David Carr has got some guns:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. aj.

    aj. Hall of Fame

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    The inside juke froze Petey and it was all over after that. Of course there wasn't a deep safety on that side but that's not the point. Mathis is showing that he has more than raw speed. In the two practices I've watched him, I've seen good hands, adequate moves, and the ability to go up and fight for jump balls. So far, I really like what I see from this draft class.
     
  12. nunusguy

    nunusguy Hall of Fame

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    Perhaps that is the point, if you consider that the deep safety (in real game situations), would be on the other side commited to giving assistance to that sides corner to help cover AJ.
     
  13. humbleone

    humbleone Veteran

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    Very nice post AJ....thanks! Wow Mathis could really be another DD value type of personnel move by Texans management. First he impresses the heck out of DRob, then blows past Faggins....so far, so good!

    One more thing...nice going to CC and McNair on one more time getting all of our draft choices on board and in camp. If we are going to blast CC for OL moves we have not made (and like others here I don't know what the specific opportunities we passed up on that would have made us better were) we at least should say "nice going" for what he has done.

    Go Texans!
     
  14. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    The most commonly used def scheme used against us is the cover2 shell where both S are over the top of both the CB's who are on the x and z.
     
  15. nunusguy

    nunusguy Hall of Fame

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    Last night I spent some time watching our 5th round pick, center Drew Hodgdon. I dunno...Hodgdon is not built like a OL, actually he plain doesn't
    have the physique of a football player. Here's what I'm saying, you look at
    say Weigert or McKinney, they are big men all over but they have really big butts and legs. That's how it should be, especially for a lineman - football, especially for linemen, is played more than anything else from the waist down. These guys are like 2 catapillar tractors that line up head on and try to push each other backward. Hodgdon is barrel chested with huge
    arms, but his butt and legs are disproportinately small to his huge upper torso to the point that he is almost cartoonish in appearance. Not a good physique for a football player. And to make matters worse, he's short with short arms.
    But its evident that he's very determined. Just don't know if he has enough natural ingredients to really compete effectively at this level and help us.
     
  16. Porky

    Porky Hall of Fame

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    Ya, I have seen that coverage. Correct me if I am wrong here. They are in a 2 deep coverage I believe, with the safeties playing fairly deep, one covering each half of the field. This being the case, would trying to exploit this coverage with a seam route by a TE or by the slot WR make some sense?
     
  17. Vinny

    Vinny shiny happy fan Staff Member

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    yeah...the best way to beat this scheme is hammering them in the ground game forcing a S close to the LOS and finding the seams in the passing game after streching them out to cover the field vertically as well as horizontally.
     
  18. nunusguy

    nunusguy Hall of Fame

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    Or having a TE who has some real skills as a pass receiver.
     
  19. NoBullTexan

    NoBullTexan Veteran

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    Thanks, AJ_, I confess, after the draft, I thought we had gotten a speed merchant with nothing but straightline speed. The kid is really looking good......now to see him against a real opposing CB? The part about liking what you see from this Draft class is like music to my ears. :)
     
  20. Wolf

    Wolf 100% Texan

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