Houston players and coaches battled near 100 degree temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday as they began their three day mini-camp. Head coach Bill O’Brien was obviously pleased with what he saw, because he has just announced that the players will have meetings today, but will not hit the practice field.
#Texans coach Bill O’Brien has officially cancelled today’s final practice of minicamp. Summer break starts now for the team.
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) June 16, 2016
O’Brien understands the importance of taking time off and recharging batteries. Texans players will not practice today. Instead, they will be released to enjoy the next 5 weeks off, before returning for training camp in late July. The news coming out of Texans practices has been largely positive.
Osweiler impresses amid the noise
The $72 million dollar man is under a microscope. Osweiler continues to get skewered by national media pundits. Last week it was cbssports.com writer Jason La Canfora, who placed Osweiler in the bottom tier amongst all NFL quarterbacks. Then, a couple of days ago, profootballfocus published an article showing how much Brock struggles against pressure, according to their statistics. As if that weren’t enough, Ross Tucker of SiriusXM NFL Radio tweeted this out recently:
Fair to question Osweiler’s mental toughness? He clearly skipped White House & ring ceremony b/c it might be “awkward” or “uncomfortable”.
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) June 14, 2016
Very few in the national press have any hope for Osweiler. But, luckily for him, his teammates, his coaches, and Texans fans, none of that matters. Osweiler has kept his head down, said all the right things, and buried his nose in the playbook. The results thus far are glowing. Darren Gantt of profootballtalk recently posted an article discussing Osweiler’s work ethic.
It’s also important to note, the DeAndre Hopkins is feeling good about his new quarterback.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) June 16, 2016
Osweiler has the confidence of the people that matter the most. He’s shown a solid command of the huddle and the offense. He’s been a leader throughout practices, and he’s throwing the ball on target, with velocity. Osweiler is planning on taking his iPad (playbook) with him during this time off. He will head up to northwestern Montana and his hometown of Kalispell to continue working out at his old high school.
O’Brien calls out Jaelen Strong
Last year at this time, wide receiver Jaelen Strong was firmly entrenched in Bill O’Brien’s doghouse. He had showed up to rookie mini-camp overweight and out of shape. His rookie season would largely be lost. This year is a completely different story. Strong showed up at around 205 lbs., nearly 40 pounds less than last year. He’s faster, smarter, and making big catches all over the field. O’Brien has taken note.
Tania Gangulli of ESPN.com post this article regarding Strong’s turn around. Bill O’Brien has specifically called out Strong as being one of the most improved players on the team. This is a huge credit to the work he has put in throughout the offseason. Especially when you consider that Strong was arrested for marijuana possession in February. Things could have really gone south for him. Instead, he continued working.
Strong’s improvement could provide a huge lift for Houston’s offense. He has the size (6-2, 205), speed (4.44 forty), and athleticism (42 in. vertical), to be the perfect complement to Nuk Hopkins. You can bet that he is also motivated by the draft picks of Will Fuller and Braxton Miller. It certainly appears that Strong is going to fight very hard for that number two receiver position. This is great news for Houston.
Other news and notes:
John Harris, Texans sideline reporter and master football analyst, has published his 15 mini-camp observations.
George Godsey is excited about Lamar Miller and the potential of the running game.
Houston will have joint practices with the 49ers and Saints in August.
Don’t look now, there might be a heated positional competition during training camp. It’s between kickers Nick Novak and Ka’imi Fairbairn. Novak is the incumbent, and Fairbairn is an UDFA rookie out of UCLA with a huge leg.
According to O’Brien, left tackle Duane Brown should be ready for training camp. Brown suffered a quad injury in week 17 of last season.
The cornerback position is an interesting one. Jonathan Joseph, Kevin Johnson, and Charles James have yet to practice as they recover from injuries. One guy who is taking full advantage of his reps is A.J. Bouye. You can never have too much depth at corner.
Jadeveon Clowney was absent on Tuesday, but thankfully it was just for flu-like symptoms. He was back on Wednesday.
That’s all for now. I’m sure we will get more negative Osweiler news before too long, but until then, let’s hope the players and coaches enjoy their time off and get recharged for training camp.
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Header image based on “Coach Bill O’Brien” by Karen (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)