Beginning with the seemingly hasty hire of Nick Caserio, this offseason for the Houston Texans has felt like some kind of dream. Not the good kind fo dream, and not exactly a nightmare either (since we've been conditioned pretty well for catastrophe over the last year and change). Really, it's been kind of like a fever dream, where everything just feels weird.
Well, part of normalizing the team's new reality, one that will certainly not include Deshaun Watson any time soon, if ever again, begins later this week, when the Texans' tiny rookie class will arrive at NRG Stadium for rookie minicamp (May 14 through May 16). Here is the Texans' full offseason workout program schedule:
Rookie Minicamp: May 14-16
OTA Workouts: May 24, May 26-27, June 1, June 3-4, June 7-8, June 10-11
Mandatory Minicamp: June 15-17
And here is the schedule for the entire league:
So, you're probably asking, "Hey Sean, you've never gone out of your way to apprise us of these dates before, so why now?" Fair question, to which my response is "Um, faithful reader, have you ever seen a team turn over THIS much of their roster in one offseason?" Texans' general manager Nick Caserio (himself, new on the job) has signed or traded for over 30 new veteran faces, drafted five rookies, and signed a few more. All of this with an almost entirely new coaching staff, and a first time head coach, taking the reins.
In short, this group needs to start working together ASAP. Here are a few thoughts as we embark on the first uniformed activaties of the David Culley Era:
First up, Rookie Minicamp, where they'll just play five on five, I guess?
Honestly, they may need more bodies just to field a five on five activity. For the second straight season, the Texans drafted only five platers, and unlike most years, they didn't sign another 15 or so undrafted free agents. Instead, they only signed four (at least check). So how will this work? I'm guessing there will be a ton of classroom and playbook work, so the numbers won't be an issue there. If anything, it's just a reminder as to how big a "reset year" this is, and how next draft season will be the first significant investment of collective draft capital of the Caserio Era.
Oh yeah, did I mention over 30 new faces, either traded for or signed in free agency?
Each year at Texans' practices, someone from the Texans' media relations staff is there handing out rosters with player names and jersey numbers. They can be helpful when occasionally you don't know the dignity of a certain jersey number or whatever. Well, this year, that media relations staffer is going to be SUPER popular. I would imagine this will be the first year that players actually ask for a copy so they know who exactly their teammates are. Or perhaps, David Culley will ask them each to wear those "HELLO MY NAME IS..." decals on their jerseys. Again, this feels like a fever dream.
Let the competition and installation begin!
Look, the Texans are going to be a bad football team this season, even if Deshaun Watson gets his legal issues cleared up and miraculously changes his mind, they will not be a playoff team. Bill O'Brien botched this roster THAT badly. However, with a couple dozen new faces who've been in the league between four and eight seasons, the competition in practice and camp should be fierce, since a lot of these guys probably see the Texans as their last chance. For example, there are ten linebackers on the roster, and seven of them are veteran free agents brought in on short-term deals. There will be zero entitlement in that group. Also, it will be interesting to cover the installation of a new defense, as the team switches over to Lovie Smith's 4-3, Tampa 2 based scheme.
And all of that starts on Friday of this week. Keep that whiskey on stand by!
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