Houston Texans: 5 Storylines to Follow During Training Camp
Storylines to Follow During Houston Texans' Training Camp
With the first week of training camp halfway done, the biggest position battles in Houston Texans training camp are already shaping up.
I firmly believe that there is very little that can be established in the first week of training camp, as it is just a set of glorified practices. Sure, it helps to get the masses excited that football is back and allows a first real look at the newest members of the team.
The first preseason game up in Minny is just 10 days away and there will already be jobs on the line. While some are struggling to get healthy enough to just set foot on the field, others are hungry to get out there and simply proves that they belong at this level.
There are always storylines to follow leading up to camp as the practices develop into full pads and contact. Some are legitimate stories that need to be followed, while others are simply fluff pieces about the "hometown guy" or how good of a story some undrafted free agent is. But there is plenty to be told here with a team that ended last season with a feeling of missed opportunities and wasted effort.
There are several position battles to look at as we inch closer to the preseason debut and some of them are truly a wide-open competition. While it's too early to start filling out your 53-man roster at home, there are a few things to keep an eye on and I'm going to touch on all of them now.
Mike Kerns is a Houston Texans writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” his page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also subscribe to his Texans podcast on iTunes.
5. Can Derek Newton Hang onto the Right Tackle Job?
I've had quite a few disagreements with fellow Texans fans about the overall talents of Derek Newton. But the truth is that if he is healthy, the right tackle job is his to lose. This offense depends on consistency and chemistry. A revolving door at right tackle might stunt the growth of the line.
Brennan Williams might have been drafted to be the long-term solution at right tackle, but his chances of starting there as a rookie is about as good as my chances of making the final 53-man roster.
Unless Newton aggravates his injury again or just completely has his lunch money stolen in camp, he'll be the starter in week one.
4. Who Wins the Third Running Back Job?
With Justin Forsett now on another roster, there is an opening behind Arian Foster and Ben Tate for the third running back job on the final roster. It's a good thing there are a handful of hungry young runners on board to compete for the job.
I wrote previously that the battle likely comes down to a trio of undrafted free agents for the role. Dennis Johnson, Ray Graham and Cierre Wood.
It's far too early to take a guess on this one, but my money is on Johnson ultimately having his number called. He seems to be the best fit and has an appropriate skill set to compliment Foster and Tate.
3. Who Starts Inside Next to Brian Cushing?
The easy answer to this question is Darryl Sharpton. However, the player I've recently tabbed as "Mr. Glass" just can't seem to be able to tie his shoe without coming up lame. For the third consecutive season, he has been limited or unavailable in training camp due to nagging injuries.
With the team going out and signing Joe Mays to a contract, it could signal that they're finally frustrated with Sharpton's durability issues and ready to move on.
Mays, who has been a starter as recently as last season, could have the inside track to start next to Brian Cushing if he is able to pick up the scheme quickly enough. Tim Dobbins has an outside chance due to his knowledge of the system.
2. Will Ed Reed be Ready to Play in Week 1?
The one big story I've stayed away from writing about since his injury was revealed is Ed Reed. Before I came off sounding presumptuous, I wanted to see how his recovery went.
If you ask Andre Johnson, Reed will be ready to go by week one. The reports from camp are that Reed looks really good in drills, but I'm still hesitant to say that I'm not concerned about it.
It was a big risk letting a younger player get away to lure in Reed; especially if he isn't ready to play a full season. He told the media today that he would be ready to play week one, but I'm still on the short list that are saying that they'll believe it when they see it.
1. Can Case Keenum Challenge for the Backup QB Job?
I'm still firmly in the camp that believes, short of an injury, the starting and backup quarterbacks for this team are carved in stone. But local media keeps talking up how good Case Keenum looks in camp.
Despite how he played, I have to believe that Gary Kubiak is going to stick with the backup who has had some game experience at this level, no matter how small of a sample size. However, I won't be at all surprised if Keenum gets the first snaps over T.J. Yates in preseason after Matt Schaub.
While most Texans fans want to whine and declare that Schaub is no better than Blaine Gabbert, it's more entertainment for myself to see just how improved Keenum is in preseason.