Real work begins for Texans draft choices at mini camps
Kaz’s Korner – Joe Kazmar
The excitement and anticipation of the 2017 National Football League’s Draft ended at the end of last month and most of the draftees already have agreed to the terms of their contracts and bonuses and are ready to become members of their new teams.
However these rookies know very little about how the teams in the NFL actually operate and find out very quickly the NFL is nothing like college football–the terminology and verbiage are completely different, the plays are much more complex and the preseason training is three times more vigorous than what they were accustomed to.
And as far as the Houston Texans’ rookie minicamp which began last week, every rookie begins the procedure on the same level, regardless if they were a top draft choice or were passed over in last month’s draft and were signed as free agents.
Of course the Texans main concern is their No. 1 draft choice Deshaun Watson, who will be getting detailed hands-on instruction from Head Coach Bill O’Brien, who also will be doubling as the offensive play caller.
Watson spearheaded Clemson to national championship victories over Alabama as a sophomore and junior, igniting the Tigers to a come-from-behind win over the Crimson Tide last year.
The Texans were so interested in drafting a quarterback of Watson’s stature that they gave the Cleveland Browns several future draft choices to move up from No. 25 in the first round of last month’s draft to No. 12 so they could get the talented Clemson quarterback.
Another position Houston wanted to bolster was at running back, where Lamar Miller had an excessive workload last season and needed to cut down on his carries per game.
So when Texas Longhorns’ bulldozing running back D’Onta Foreman was available in the third round, they jumped at the chance to make him a Texan.
Foreman received plenty of advice and tips about the position throughout his college career from former Longhorn great Earl Campbell.
“He’s been here. He’s been in the NFL. He’s done great things, Foreman told the Houston Chronicle last week about Campbell. “That’s somebody I definitely have in my corner and can call whenever. He’s very close to my family.”
Although the Texans claim all rookies are equal and nobody receives any preferential treatment, it appears to me that Watson is being force-fed information in the team meetings and on the field by O’Brien.
“It’s cool to have your head coach and the main guy that knows this system to be hands-on in the meeting rooms with you and on the field with you,” Watson told the Chronicle writer Saturday.
After the first two days of the minicamp Saturday, O’Brien commented to the Chronicle about Watson, “He’s a hard-working guy. He pays attention in the meetings. A competitive guy.
“We start him with what we call the basic information section of the playbook. How do we huddle? Where do you go in the huddle? If the Houston Texans are on this sideline, you’re on this side of the huddle. If you’re on that sideline, you’re on that side of the huddle. I mean, it’s that simple. It’s that detailed.
“Then it goes to how we call a play. What’s the verbiage of a play call? Obviously, our verbiage is a lot different than what he had at Clemson. It’s like learning a new language,” O’Brien quipped.
Watson agreed and added, “It’s like learning Spanish. It’s a whole different terminology.”
Foreman’s situation is different than Watson’s. There were six running backs drafted before him—Leonard Fournette (Jachsonville) and Christian McCaffrey (Carolina) No. 1, Dalvin Cook (Minnesota) and Joe Mixon (Cincinnati) No. 1 and Kareem Hunt (Kansas City) and Alvin Kamara (New Orleans) No. 3 like Foreman.
The Longhorn star led the nation in rushing with 2.008 yards before declaring for the NFL draft and is determined to prove himself and succeed during his first professional season.
But unlike Dallas Cowboys’ rookie sensation Ezekiel Elliott, Foreman isn’t walking into a starting job. He will work in tandem with Miller, a veteran runner and Pro Bowl alternate.
Although neither Watson nor Foreman are expected to see much action during September, don’t be surprised if their names become more prominent in December and in the January playoffs.
KWICKIES…All five Orange County teams were victorious last week and moved on to the Regional semifinals. All four baseball teams are from District 22-4A. Bridge City and Silsbee will meet in a best of three beginning 7 p.m. tomorrow (Thurs.) at Lamar in Beaumont and Saturday at 2 p.m. The district champion West Orange-Stark Mustangs will meet Orangefield in a one-game, winner-take-all game 7 p.m. Friday also at Lamar. Local girl’s softball finds Little Cypress-Mauriceville taking on Liberty Hill 7 p.m. Thursday in a best-of-three and Friday at 5 p.m. with all games slated for Madisonville. Bridge City will clash also in a best-or-3with Lorena 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday with all games played at Sam Houston State in Huntsville. Again I wish all teams good luck!!!
The San Antonio Spurs had to win last night’s NBA Western Conference championship series or else would return home for Game 3 on Saturday sporting an 0-2 record.
Royal Mo, who didn’t qualify for the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field two weeks ago, won’t be running in Saturday’s Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore due to a fractured bone in his hoof he suffered in a workout preparing for the Preakness. I really like Always Dreaming, but Lookin at Lee could catch him this time.
JUST BETWEEN US…Many hard-core baseball fans—especially in the Northeast—got their minds blown after seeing their Mighty New York Yankees lose three-out-of-four games to the Whodunit Houston Astros last week at Yankee Stadium.
The Astros plated a total of 26 runs as most of the starting nine raised their batting averages considerably against the Yankee pitching staff. Houston won Thursday night 3-2, Friday 5-1 and then split a doubleheader Sunday, losing 11-6 and winning 10-7 after scoring eight runs in the first two innings with first-inning home runs by George Springer– who hit two in the game–and Josh Reddick. This was the first time since Craig Biggio and Mike Lamb led off a game with back-to-back homers on June 9, 2006. But the big blow was 23-year-old Alex Bregman, who hit his first home run of the year, which was a grand-slam also in the first inning. Bregman wears No. 2 on his uniform which coincidentally is the same number that Derek Jeter wore and was retired by the Yankees in a ceremony between the games of the split-doubleheader.