Shooting the Bull: Week 1 OTAs
The Texans will be back on the practice field on Tuesday for their second round of OTAs.
They will practice in front of media members on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
After this week, they'll have one more round of OTAs (the next one is four days) before a mandatory mini camp the following week.
These OTAs are voluntary but 57 of 59 players under contract were there last week. Only Ed Reed and Tim Dobbins were missing. Reed is recovering from surgery. The Texans have continued to say Dobbins wasn’t there because the practices are voluntary.
Here are three things to watch during this week of OTAs:
1. The right side of the line
Last week, we saw Brandon Brooks and Ryan Harris work with the first team at right guard and right tackle.
Those two positions were done by rotation last season and, in the very early going this year, it looks like we might see more of the same.
Right tackle Derek Newton won't participate this spring after a knee surgery in the offseason but third-round pick Brennan Williams expected to be ready. But he didn't work with the team last week after suffering a knee injury at rookie camp.
We're going to want to see if Williams is back this week. It's still too early to get concerned, especially if the team is just being cautious, but it isn't helping Williams' shot of earning a starting role. It's possible that sixth-round pick David Quessenberry sees some time with the first team this week. He didn't last week, but we'll be watching.
Brooks outplayed Ben Jones at times last season and came in this year 25 pounds lighter. He’s being given a shot at right guard for now.
2. Sam Montgomery
The third-round pick from LSU officially intrigues me.
He came out in rookie camp and looked like his conditioning needed work (a lot of work) and head coach Gary Kubiak even said as much.
Then, in the first day of OTAs last week, the rookie OLB got his butt kicked. He just didn’t look ready to be competing with NFL player.
But then for the last two days of the practices, Montgomery looked like a completely different player. He was physical, didn’t get tired and showed a motor. He showed his athleticism, which is probably his strongest attribute. He said he thought about the bad performance the first day all night before the second day and it showed.
I want to see which Montgomery shows up this week.
3. Wideouts not named Andre Johnson
We know how good Andre Johnson is. He should probably take it easy for the next few weeks.
DeAndre Hopkins lineup up with the first team opposite Johnson last week and looked pretty good. He looked like he fit with the first team but wasn’t the man among boys he was during rookie camp. And there were even times where they young first-round pick looked frustrated during OTAs. That’s not a bad thing.
Wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey told the Houston Chronicle that the second-year receivers were ahead of Hopkins. Kirksey was talking about Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean.
Martin was particularly impressive last week. That drew praise from the head coach. Martin was a fourth-rounder last year but has seemingly taken big strides this offseason. He caught 10 passes a year ago.
Martin is also hoping to get another crack at returning kicks and punts this season. Special teams coordinator Joe Marciano thinks Martin will be better in that capacity this season.
But there’s also the chance Martin doesn’t get another crack at being a return man. Wideout Alan Bonner – a sixth-round pick from Jacksonville State – has been rotating in as a returner too, along with running back Dennis Johnson.