Competitive Edge

Houston Texans complete the second week of Organized Team Activities

Brian Barefield | 5/31/2019, 11:48 a.m.
“They line up in a bunch formation and they all have the same moves coming off the line,” says Texans ...

“They line up in a bunch formation and they all have the same moves coming off the line,” says Texans defensive back Jonathan Joseph as he discusses a certain team the Texans will face this upcoming season with his positions coach. “Sometimes they switch the alignment of the receivers to throw you off,” he continues.

“That’s easy J-Joe. Take the middle guy out every time and the other two will have to adjust and that offensive coordinator will never run that play again,” Head coach Bill O’Brien chimes in as he has been off to the side observing drills and listening to what his veteran defensive back is saying. No sooner than he finishes with Joseph, a massive figure (TE Jordan Thomas) approaches him and says, “Coach. I have a question about a blocking assignment.” And just like that coach’s mindset switches from defense to offense.

A lot of this back and forth goes on as the Houston Texans finish up their second week of OTA’s at the practice field of NRG Stadium. Most of the rookies and unsigned free agents have learned the schedules and generic playbook that they have been given and are starting to show their athletic abilities on the field. This bodes well for those who are looking for an invite back to training camp and the signed rookies who are trying to earn playing time.

One veteran that is showing the new guys the ropes at these voluntary workouts is the aforementioned Jonathan Joseph. In his 14th year in the league, he still shows up with the same fire in his gut like it is year one. His presence on and off the field has helped the new faces in the defensive backfield (Briean Boddy-Calhoun, Tashaun Gipson Sr., etc.) get acclimated to the schemes ran by the Texans defense.

“I like to compete,” Joseph said at the podium. “We practice game situations and that’s what gets me going every time I am out there. I never want to lose a rep. I always want to beat the guy across from me and at the end of the day just being around these guys in the locker room and being around the game of football.”

Tytus Howard, who was the Texans first round draft pick this year has made some tremendous strides in learning the game on the pro level. Last week he didn’t look so good against the veteran defensive lineman and linebackers, but you can tell he has been in the film room studying his techniques. It showed today as he picked up the different combinations thrown at him and protected QB Deshaun Watson’s blindside.

Another rookie who is showing the Texans that he is worthy of the second-round pick used on him in this year’s draft is offensive tackle Max Scharping out of Northern Illinois. He was constantly going up against defensive lineman, D.J. Reader and held his own for most of the drills.

“I am just trying to adapt to the speed of the game and those guys have been playing at a high-level for a long time,” Scharping said when asked about playing on the NFL level.

The Texans will have their last OTA practice on next week in preparation for mini-camp in June.