On the heels of their best season ever and a playoff berth, the Houston Texans begin embarking on a new journey today.
The team will open organized team activity, or minicamp on Monday.
Head coach, Gary Kubiak admitted that many consequential veterans -who know the system- will not be as physically taxed to keep them fresh for training camp and the regular season.
“We’re going to be smart with Matt, obviously, and with Andre (Johnson),” Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle. “Certain guys don’t need to be out there every day. But the guys who need the majority of reps will be getting those reps. We spent a lot of time in the classroom with the rookies last week to catch them up, to get them in position where they’re comfortable.
“You see it every year. There’s such a shock factor bringing young players in around your veterans. Now they’ve been around them a little, so when it’s time to start practicing football, they’ll be a little more comfortable. We’ve got some young guys we’ve got to get going extremely fast, especially on the offensive side of the ball. The only way you find out how much they can handle is throw it all at them, then sort it out with each guy.
“The purpose of the OTAs is to get everybody in a position where they can go win a job.”
This quote is an affirmation of the Texans’ growth as a team. Two years ago, this quote would be disheartening to fans and casual observers. But before the Texans were an average team. Success breeds accomplished veterans who need rest, and that is a good thing.
“It does make a coach stop and think a little bit,” Gary Kubiak admitted. “The NFL season is so long and such a grind. I think we all learned something from the experience. Keeping that momentum going, keeping everyone’s dauber up for six months … hopefully, we learned some things last year that we can put in place with this year’s bunch.”
According to Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle, “The Texans take to the field Monday morning as a group for the first time since their 20-13 AFC divisional-round playoff loss in Baltimore on Jan. 15. They have three or four sessions scheduled for each of the next three weeks, followed by a three-day mandatory minicamp (June 12-14). They’ll reconvene for training camp in late July.”
The Texans have a wealth of young players who need the experience. Their draftees from the past two seasons will need to contribute in all three phases of the game.
Undersized wide receiver, Keshawn Martin, can help in special teams, especially with the loss of Jacoby Jones. With Andre Johnson taking more days off, Martin and third round selection, DeVier Posey will get the precious reps that rookies need.
The Texans have also signed two quarterbacks this offseason because Schaub will not be ready until camp begins.
Kubiak was optimistic that the team is ready for OTAs because of the mindset of their team.
“Last year, we had maybe six or seven guys who had been on a playoff football team, and now we’ve got 53. Our (five-week) offseason (conditioning) program has been absolutely excellent. We have some tremendous peer pressure on our team right now. Guys are working hard.”
Many people expect big things from the Houston Texans this year. They have legitimate Super Bowl level talent -barring an injury to Schaub again.
But championships are not won on paper; the NFL does not hand out a proverbial titles. The Texans will begin attempting to prove it on the field today.