Texans open training camp
by ELWYN HENDERSON
Jul 27, 2014 | 1018 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
QB RYAN FITZPATRICK
QB RYAN FITZPATRICK
slideshow
WR ANDRE JOHNSON
WR ANDRE JOHNSON
slideshow
The Houston Texans officially began their first training camp under the Bill O’Brien regime at their practice facility across from the newly renamed NRG Stadium in Houston on Saturday.
 Changes from the way ousted Coach Gary Kubiak ran camp were obvious everywhere. There was a much smaller area for media to watch practice from. The first practice was about 30 minutes longer that the morning practices under Kubiak. There was a whole lot higher intensity on the practice fields than in the past. Due to a missed field goal at the end of practice by placekicker Randy Bullock, the ENTIRE TEAM had to run extra 40-yard sprints for about 10 minutes. And, in 2014, media representatives will NOT be able to attend the afternoon Training Camp practices. O’Brien is HOPING these and many other changes not mentioned will dramatically improve the team’s inexcusable 2-14 record in 2013. IF he gets the desired results, no one will complain, but if he fails to produce a much better team on the field this season, there will be lots of noise from the Houston fans.

One thing that was evident watching the first practice of Training Camp ’14 is that newly acquired and starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is struggling a bit learning the new offense. Additionally, there were numerous times during the morning practice that the offensive line collapsed and Fitzpatrick had two or three defensive players surrounding him. One hopes those issues will be corrected during the remainder of camp and during the preseason. If they are not, it could be another dismal year in H’Town.

After the practice concluded, O’Brien was asked his thoughts about the first practice of camp. 
“You know it was the first practice. There was some good and some bad. These guys, first thing is, the guys that ran the conditioning test, every one of them, the guys that ran it, passed it, which that is a good start. So I feel like we got off on the right foot there. We still, we’ve got a long way to go as far as getting used to our practice tempo and how we do things. But so far, I think we started off ok.”

Wide Receiver Andre Johnson, who held out during voluntary workouts, OTA’s and mini-camp showed up on Friday and said he was back and ready to play. He had indicated just a few weeks ago that he was frustrated with things in Houston and wanted to be traded. He appeared ready to roll at Saturday morning’s practice and seemed pleased after the practice when he met with reporters.

“I felt it went fine. I was studying my plays and the stuff for me to do and stuff like that. They didn’t want to just throw me out there with this being my first day and stuff. Things continued to get better as the day went on. So far, the first day install I picked up pretty well. I went out there and wasn’t really thinking a lot. I got with Fitz (Ryan Fitzgerald) after everything last night and me and him went over some stuff. Everybody has been very helpful with me picking up everything. It’s just fun to be back out here and be with my teammates and getting back to football.”

Fitzpatrick knows if he is to be successful leading the offense that Johnson is a key cog in the machine. He was asked his first impressions of the 12-year veteran and about developing a relationship with him.

“He’s a true pro. I think everybody here knows that and I’ve always admired him from afar. I’ve heard a lot about his work ethic and the way that he attacks everything. It was nice to sit back and throw to him a little bit today. There’s a lot of work, not only with him, but with everybody, in terms of getting everybody on the same page. We’ve got to get that going here during camp.”

All in all, it was not a bad practice for the first day of Training Camp, but this team has a lot of work in store to become a contender again. Stay tuned. Time will tell if O’Brien and company can make that happen. Every sports fan in Houston is HOPING he can!
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