Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/29/12

For the first time in nearly six months, the Houston Texans took the field as a team in an official practice to prep for the upcoming 2012 campaign. The approx. 5,000 in attendance witnessed the team’s first double session of the new season, a grueling full practice in the morning followed by a lighter walk-through type practice indoors in the afternoon. Numerous things stood out in Day 1, particularly the injury status of a few key guys and the play of several rookies, and position battles.

Much of the offseason talk surrounding the Texans was about the health of QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson. Perhaps two of the most important pieces of the Texans’ offense, the team needs them at full strength if they hope to chase a Super Bowl berth. Neither player disappointed. Both looked sharp in their first football action together in over ten months, completing several passes during team drills. Following the first practice, both players noted that neither of them felt any pain related to their previous injuries (Schaub’s foot, Johnson’s knee). Both are heading into 2012 with a chip on their shoulders, out to prove they are still one of the best QB-WR duos in the NFL.

Several rookies stood out on the first day of training camp, particularly Whitney Mercilus and Keshawn Martin. Regarding Mercilus’ first day, head coach Gary Kubiak was quoted by reporters stating, “Boy, it was impressive. Very good athlete. In pass rush today, I thought he looked very, very good. We’re resting Connor in the afternoon, so that’s more stuff for him to do. How quick Whitney comes along, that’s how deep our defense will be and how much production we get from those guys rushing the passer.” Martin also made several catches during 9 vs. 7 drills against defenders to also impress the coaches. 

Finally, the position battles along the right side of the offense line are officially underway. RG Antoine Caldwell and RT Rashad Butler were the starters, but rookie RG Brandon Brooks and RT Derek Newton saw lots of action with the first team, virtually splitting time with the incumbent starters. Regarding the competition, Kubiak told reporters, “Gump (Caldwell) and Butler operate as starters right now, but Newton’s splitting reps, kind of, with Butler. Our young guard (Brooks) is getting a ton of reps. It’s going to end up right down the middle. They’re going to both work with the ones and the twos, but hopefully, that’s something we’ve got settled by Week 3 in the preseason.”

Overall, the practices were very sharp for a first day of training camp. The Texans will be back out on the field tomorrow for another double session similar to today’s schedule. The key for the team will be to continue to build off today and ensuing days, improving as camp progresses. 

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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