I came into practice sort of expecting a light jaunt by the Texans, as normally their evening practices have been rather reserved. This was not an exception. The players didn’t wear pads, or even helmets. So, as usual, take anything about a player’s performance on the field with a spoonful of salt and a pinch of paprika.
I made it a goal of mine to try and focus on Kareem Jackson, and while I admit that I didn’t have the best selection of plays and viewing area to judge him on, it sure seemed to me like he can keep up with anyone on the sidelines. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he doesn’t have NFL instincts when it comes to releasing someone inside. Will it be learned eventually? I have every faith in that. The Texans do a terrific scouting job and have hit home runs in the draft before. Will it happen in time to make this season great? That I’m more skeptical of.
The Texans ran a kickoff drill with the kicker at about the 50. Steve Slaton, David Anderson, and Jeremiah Johnson were the returners. Neil Rackers kicked all of them. For whatever that is worth. They had the kickers come out for field goals at the end of practice, I saw about four misses between them, but I think it was an even split. Needless to say, I did not agree with Nick Scurfield’s tweet that the kickers were on fire. Unless by on fire he meant “kicking like they had been set on fire,” but I find that people who are employed to write for a team frequently lack humor.
The goal line offense was what I had the best view of, and I have to say, I was pretty unimpressed. The play selection was uninspired, and the defense was getting penetration all over the line. One tidbit about the playcalling over the entire scope of the practice was that they still run a lot of motion, which was a Kyle Shanahan staple. I’m really interested to see how they look out there against Arizona and see if they’ve picked up any new packages, or if it’ll be more of the same.
We had sort of a blogger twitter summit, not just today, but also on Saturday when I went, and I think the overall consensus was defensive worries were the biggest concern. Alan Burge, who asked the question, later talked about Schaub going down as the key. After watching Dan Orlovsky tonight, I’m inclined to agree.
I know Kubiak has said things like “he’s up and down” and such, but that is just Kubiak-speak for “he’s been bad.” It’s a good thing Orlovsky can’t manage to find the handle on anything to Fred Bennett’s man, because I’m not sure if the universe would be able to handle one of them winning. Like The Dead Sea in Chrono Cross, the world would simply have to collapse on itself.
“The Flame has decided that it would rather destroy everything than allow Fred Bennett successfully defending a pass to occur here. Flee, Texans fans, before it is too late!”
Players signed afterwards for about a good 20-30 minutes, and not just one or five, pretty much the whole team was down on the sidelines autographing things for fans. I was talking to someone and he was on a tangent about how great these guys were about autographs, and I think that’s a terrific thing that the focus on characters has provided to fans here. There are a lot of athletes that are essentially bad apples, and I do think it’s pretty special that the Texans have managed to put together a group that connects with fans happily.
However, if that talent at creating a great fan experience could be used to find a better place for terrible 80’s songs than amps right in front of the bleachers, I wouldn’t complain. Pumping “Thriller” out three times a night isn’t winning any fans.