3 things to watch in third round of OTAs

3 things to watch in third round of OTAs
June 2, 2013, 2:00 pm
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There are just four more days of OTAs.

The Texans will be back on the practice field on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week to finish off the voluntary workouts.

The team will then have a mandatory three-day mini camp from June 11-13. That’s when we can expect to see the two players who haven’t shown up to OTAs: Ed Reed and Tim Dobbins.

Reed is recovering from offseason hip surgery. He has been rehabbing elsewhere but head coach Gary Kubiak said Reed will be in town for mini camp.

Tim Dobbins hasn’t been at OTAs yet. If that trend continues this week, we won’t get a look at him until mini camp. The Texans have continued to say that OTAs are voluntary when asked why Dobbins hasn’t been in attendance. Special teams coordinator Joe Marciano said he expects Dobbins to show up for the mandatory mini camp.

But the mini camp is still a week away, so here are three things to watch from this round of OTAs:

1. Brennan Williams

The third-round pick from North Carolina still hasn’t participated since he hurt his left knee during rookie camp. He was somewhat surprised he wasn’t able to go earlier in OTAs.

Gary Kubiak said he would try to get Williams on the field this week. Without Williams, and without last year’s starting right tackle, Derek Newton, the Texans have been forced to use veteran Ryan Harris at right tackle.

Williams and Newton are supposed to be the two players battling for the starting right tackle job. Newton wasn’t expected until training camp but this time would have been pretty helpful for Williams.

2. Who’s the third running back?

We won’t learn who the third running back is this week but we can start to get a better idea.

Arian Foster strained his calf last week and will be out until training camp. That’s good and bad news for the Texans. Bad: Foster’s hurt. Good: The team’s hopeful he’ll be ready by the start of camp.

But another positive thing to take away from Foster’s injury (for you glass-half-full types) is that the other backs will get more reps during these four days and in the mini camp.

Ben Tate, entering a contract year, will be the backup; that much we know. But that third spot is up for grabs.

Deji Karim, who has been in the league for three years, is battling rookies Dennis Johnson, Cierre Wood and Ray Graham for the third-string job. Wood looks like the best runner of the group but Karim and Johnson have ability as returners.

3. DeAndre Hopkins

I know, I know, real original. Look at the first-round pick.

But here’s the reasoning. Hopkins looked like a man among boys during rookie camp. He looked like a solid player the first week of OTAs. But last week, even if only at times, he looked like a rookie.

Hopkins seemed to get frustrated. At times, he got yelled at by the coaching staff. Actually, it’s a good sign because it’s normal.

What will be a better sign for the Texans could be how Hopkins comes out this week. Last week, the team implemented more of the offense and some of the rookies took a step back. Earlier in OTAs, according to the Houston Chronicle, wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey said Hopkins was behind the other young but non-rookie receivers.

This week, we’ll want to see how close the rookie from Clemson is to catching up.

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