What Players are Most Interesting as Padded Practice Begins
These four players bear the most attention in the initial padded practices
The Houston Texans have put four days of work in on the field in training camp to this point. There have been varying levels of success for a multitude of players. The next step for any player who has succeeded to this point is to continue their play in a version of practice closer to the game. For players who have struggled, perhaps the pads bring confidence.
Here are the four players that deserve a little extra attention as the padded practices begin.
Kenyon Green, OL
The left guard playing in his second year is working back from a knee injury. With the injury not too far behind him, Green hasn’t played as much as some other offensive linemen. Hopefully, the knee is in a spot where the team trusts him to practice in pads. Green was disappointing last season, but there have been moments in training camp where he has flashed some athleticism in some of the run blocking. Let’s see if he can build something in these workouts. He doesn’t have an easy task though. Maliek Collins and Sheldon Rankins are a formidable defensive tackle duo and a lot of the other depth tackles have had a moment or two in the early days.
Dameon Pierce, RB
This is the opposite of Kenyon Green. When you think about Pierce’s 2022 it brings joy and thinking about 2023 it brings excitement. Pierce is a wrecking ball and tough to stop. The defense is much-improved from a talent and depth standpoint adding to the challenge and intrigue of Pierce in pads. The 2022 season was cut short, but the dynamite potential for 2023 should be on display in pads.
Christian Harris, LB
Christian Harris is set to be relied upon heavily by this defense. He is patrolling the field constantly and fits the modern linebacker mold. Harris got a slow start to his 2022 season due to injuries, but he flashed last season. Now, he’s a key cog in the defense and will have the chance to show that early in this training camp. I can’t wait to see him meet his fellow 2022 draftee Dameon Pierce in the hole on a rushing play.
Will Anderson, DE
I was always excited to watch Will Anderson, and he hasn’t disappointed. The first four workouts have been incredible. He’s displayed all facets of the scouting report that made him the top defensive player drafted in this year’s draft. I also wonder if there has been something held back since there haven’t been pads on just yet. Is there a chance Anderson is…more terrifying in pads? I can’t wait to find out.
Tight End Concerns
I am a little worried about the tight end room for the Texans.
Sunday saw Dalton Schultz get hurt in a bang-bang play with safety Jimmie Ward. Then later in the practice, Brevin Jordan was limping. Teagan Quitoriano is still on the Physically Unable to Perform List.
The remaining tight ends on the roster are journeymen Eric Tomlinson and Mason Schreck and rookie Jordan Murray. Andrew Beck is also someone who can play tight end, but he is listed and utilized as a fullback.
If Schultz and Jordan are ok, then there is less worry. An extended absence by one or both could hinder the way the offense wants to operate in practice and cost C.J. Stroud a bit in his development. DeMeco Ryans didn’t seem to think Schultz was in any trouble when he spoke after Sunday’s practice.
I still believe there is a chance the room’s composition will change either via free agency or a trade.
Only Schultz has put together any level of consistency at the tight end spot so far, but he’s worked well regardless of the quarterback and system. There is plenty of opportunity behind him.
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