The Houston Texans have built lots of excitement around this years football. Great things are expected with key additions and critical areas. With this anticipation so high, the Texans continue to set records for attendance at training camp.
A record crowd of 5,934 watched Monday morning’s practice at Methodist Training Center this week. After the Texans hold practices Tuesday and Wednesday for fans to attend, they should finish with a total of close to 45,000 at a practice facility that wasn’t built with training camp in mind.
One of the highlights for some of the Texan players, specifically the defensive backs at camp this week was Deion Sanders’ attendance at camp on Monday. Sanders watched practice with his crew from the NFL Network. After practice, the defensive backs gathered around Sanders, who gave them some instructions on how to play in the secondary. Injured free safety Ed Reed, who should be voted into the Hall of Fame after his career ends, stood next to Sanders. Sanders used Reed to show how a cornerback places his hands on a receiver when he comes off the line of scrimmage.
“It’s great for the DBs to be able to hear how to play the game from somebody like Deion,” cornerback Johnathan Joseph said. “I got a lot out of it, and I know the young guys did, too. He’s a member of the Hall of Fame, and it’s great that he took the time to talk to us.”
Kareem Jackson, who starts opposite Joseph, was impressed. “To get instructions from him is just unbelievable,” Jackson said.
Brice McCain is the nickel cornerback. “He’s the greatest cornerback to play this game,” McCain said. “We’re blessed to be able to talk to him and ask him questions.”
Texans coaches, players, fans and media continue to be impressed by rookie receiver DeAndre Hopkins, the first-round draft choice. Hopkins has been spectacular in practice. Now everyone wants to see him in game conditions.
Hopkins has what it takes to get the ball when it’s in the air. He’s big, athletic and strong with long arms and huge hands. He wants the ball when he goes up for it.
“A free ball is DeAndre’s ball,” safety Danieal Manning said. Hopkins has been in the starting lineup after Andre Johnson since he was drafted. He hasn’t disappointed.
“He’s doing a heck of a job for a young player,” coach Gary Kubiak said after Monday morning’s practice. “He doesn’t look like a very young player out here. He understands what we’re doing. He’s making a lot of plays every day. He’s a worker and, as a coach, that’s probably the greatest gift you can get when you get a draft choice and they come in.
“You know they’re good players or you wouldn’t draft them, but when they’ve got these tremendous work habits, it adds to what you’ve already got on your team.”
Kubiak put receiver DeAndre Hopkins with the first team after he was drafted. Wade Phillips has safety D.J. Swearinger, the second-round pick, playing a lot. Both rookies are making plays all over the field.
“I think some portion of struggle is a given coming into this league,” Kubiak said. “I think, if anything, if you’ve got the right guy, it makes them tougher.
“It makes them appreciate it because they’ve been pretty successful where they’ve been and they realize how hard it is in this league. It settles them down to what the next 10 years are going to be like. I think it’s about a response, and the good ones always respond.”
The Texans have their first preseason game on Friday, August 9 against Minnesota.