• Brian L. Barefield

Counting The Days: Texans 2019 OTA'S

Football season is upon the city and fans of the Houston Texans. As I watched superstar quarterback Deshaun Watson drop back and felt the sweat rolling down the middle of my back I knew that we are just a tad bit closer to the 2019 NFL Monday night opening game against the New Orleans Saints. The Texans started OTA’S with the majority of the veterans reporting minus J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and DeAndre Hopkins. Let’s not forget that these on the field drills are voluntary and when the time comes the band will be back together again.

“It’s the closest thing to real football without the pads on that relevant to the spring and it’s all preparation for training camp,” said Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. “It’s a passing camp. You can’t really run the ball, but we will mix a couple of run plays in there, but there are no pads on, so you don’t want to do too much.”

For all the rookies and free agents who were invited it was a chance to show the coaching staff what they offer. One player looking to make a huge first impression on this Texans team is 2019 first-round draft pick Tytus Howard.

He caught the eye of the Texans scouts early on last year when he played multiple positions on the offensive line at Alabama State and impressed them again with his outstanding play at the 2018-19 Senior Bowl.

“In the NFL, if you play on the offensive line you have to be versatile and play many positions. Me doing that in high school and college help me prepare myself for this day,” Howard said.

Howard went up against some of the best defensive players in the NFL at practice and soon realized that the pro game is different than playing on the collegiate level.

“The game is a lot faster in the NFL than it is in college. Today let me know that I still have a lot of work to do and focus on getting better each day,” said Howard after his first full day of OTA’s.

There were some familiar faces on the defensive side of the ball and some very noticeable ones missing. Houston lost some key veteran leadership in the defensive backfield with Kareem Jackson (Denver) and Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City) leaving the team for some very lucrative free agent deals. Those departures help open the door for other players like outstanding safety Justin Reid to take over the leadership role along with 14-year veteran cornerback Jonathan Joseph.

“The room is a little different now, but we have phenomenal guys like ‘T-Gip’ (Tashaun Gipson), and ‘Roby’ (Bradley Roby), even the rookies have played well,” said second year safety Justin Reid. “So, we have been building as a unit and our chemistry is getting better every day.”

Houston will continue OTA’s through the first week of June.

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