Wide receiver Kevin Walter was not at the Texans’ eighth practice of organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday because of an illness. With Andre Johnson sitting out of OTAs because of recent arthroscopic knee surgery, that left the Texans in a unique predicament.
Practicing on Tuesday were wide receivers Lestar Jean, Jeff Maehl, DeVier Posey, Keshawn Martin, Juaquin Iglesias and undrafted rookies Jerrell Jackson and Mario Louis. None of them has caught a pass in the NFL. Maehl (three) and Iglesias (one) are the only ones who have even played in an NFL game.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever walked on a NFL practice field and have a group of receivers who have never made an NFL catch, so that was a first for me today,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. “It’s great work for them. They’re competing hard. We’re down to seven guys with Kevin being out and Trindon (Holliday) being out (with an ankle injury). That’s how you get better. What an opportunity for a group of young men, and we’ll see who can handle it.”
Jean, an undrafted free agent from Florida Atlantic in 2011, has been practicing as a starter with Walter throughout OTAs. Kubiak said he is still happy with how Jean is performing.
“He practices like a young guy sometimes still, but today he’s the big vet out here and he’s never caught a pass,” Kubiak said. “That tells you how we have to get going there, but I like his work. I like what he stands for. I think he has a chance to be a good player.”
Posey, a rookie third-round draft pick from Ohio State, was among the other players to get more reps on Tuesday in Walter’s absence.
“He’s kind of working with all of the groups right now,” Kubiak said. “We’re moving him around according to how they play. If they show good signs, they move up one day, so they’re bouncing back and forth. It’s kind of crazy for them right now. We’re just trying to see who can handle the most and how far we can push them here before we take a break.”
Kubiak said Walter showed up for work on Tuesday and wanted to practice, but he wanted to keep him away from the other players to avoid getting anybody else sick. Texans guard Antoine Caldwell was sick on Monday as well. It’s unclear if Walter will return to practice for the final two days of OTAs on Wednesday and Thursday.
Tags: Andre Johnson, DeVier Posey, Jeff Maehl, Jerrell Jackson, Juaquin Iglesias, Keshawn Martin, Kevin Walter, Lestar Jean, Mario Louis, Organized Team Activities, Trindon Holliday
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Previous Position Competitions: OL (5/23)
Beyond veteran starters Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter, there is not a single receiver on the roster who has caught an NFL pass. It’s a group that consists of five rookies and four young veterans who have played in a combined five games.
Johnson is not participating in OTAs because of recent arthroscopic surgery on his knee. That has left Walter as the elder statesman and opened the door for a lot more reps for the Texans’ young receivers.
“They’re young, I can tell you that,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after practice on Tuesday. “It’s exciting because we’ve got a lot of ability to work with, but obviously we’ve got a long, long way to go. It’ll be interesting to see how they sort themselves out.”
The Texans could keep five or six receivers on the active roster in the regular season. Third-round draft pick DeVier Posey and fourth-round pick Keshawn Martin should be locks to make the team.
That leaves one or two spots up for grabs among Lestar Jean, Jeff Maehl, Trindon Holliday, Juaquin Iglesias and undrafted rookies Jerrell Jackson, Dwight Jones and Mario Louis.
Jean, a promising undrafted rookie from Florida Atlantic in 2011, lined up opposite Walter with the first-team offense this week. Next week, that opportunity could possibly belong to Maehl or someone else as Johnson continues to sit out.
“It’s a great opportunity for them,” Kubiak said. “I mean, you look at (how) Lestar Jean is working as a starter right now. As a player, all you can ask for is to get on the field, and if you do it, you’re not coming off. That’s the way this thing works. I’m going to rotate them every week. I think I’ll change them up, change the depth chart and see who’s going to stand out, who’s going to help our football team. But they’re all going to get an opportunity.”
Asked about the young receivers after the final practice of the week on Thursday, Kubiak said he has seen “flashes” of talent.
“They’re all what we thought they were,” he said. “Getting a little fatigued right now. That bothers me; you’ve got to be able to run all day. Posey is out here pretty tired today. We’ve got to get those guys, condition-wise, to where they can do it all day long. But talent-wise, it’s exactly what we thought we were going to get.”
The competition should for playing time – and roster spots – should only heat up in the coming weeks and months.
Tags: Andre Johnson, DeVier Posey, Dwight Jones, Gary Kubiak, Jeff Maehl, Jerrell Jackson, Juaquin Iglesias, Keshawn Martin, Kevin Walter, Lestar Jean, Mario Louis, Organized Team Activities, Position Competition, Trindon Holliday
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With Andre Johnson sitting out of organized team activities (OTAs) after having arthroscopic knee surgery, wide receiver Lestar Jean is practicing as a starter opposite Kevin Walter.
Jean (6-3, 205), who went undrafted out of Florida Atlantic in 2011, is healthy and eager to prove himself after missing his rookie season with a shoulder injury.
“He dropped a couple of balls today,” Texans coach Gary Kubiak said after practice on Monday. “You know, he’s got an excellent opportunity. He’s working as a starter right now in OTAs, so what an opportunity for him as a player, and it’ll be interesting to see how far he comes.”
The Texans’ wide receiver position is wide open beyond Johnson and Walter, who will both be 31 this season. None of the Texans’ other receivers, including Jean, has caught a pass in the NFL. Jean is competing with 2012 draft picks DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin, undrafted rookies Jerrell Jackson, Dwight Jones and Mario Louis and young veterans Jeff Maehl, Trindon Holliday and Juaquin Iglesias.
Jean had an impressive training camp last year before getting hurt in the Texans’ second preseason game. With Johnson probably out for all of OTAs, he’ll have ample opportunity to shine over the next few weeks.
Tags: Andre Johnson, DeVier Posey, Dwight Jones, Jeff Maehl, Jerrell Jackson, Juaquin Iglesias, Keshawn Martin, Kevin Walter, Lestar Jean, Mario Louis, Organized Team Activities, Trindon Holliday
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Here are the inactives and lineup changes for the Texans’ Wild Card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Reliant Stadium. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. CT.
7 QB Jeff Garcia
15 WR Jeff Maehl
26 CB Brandon Harris
33 FS Troy Nolan
61 G Thomas Austin
66 T Andrew Gardner
88 TE Garrett Graham
Texans starting lineup changes
26 S Taylor Mays
31 S Robert Sands
52 LB Dontay Moch
60 G Otis Hudson
73 OT Anthony Collins
85 WR Armon Binns
98 DT Nick Hayden
Bengals starting lineup changes
Tags: Andrew Gardner, Brandon Harris, Game inactives, Garrett Graham, Jeff Garcia, Jeff Maehl, Texans-Bengals Wild Card Game, Thomas Austin, Troy Nolan
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Courtesy of the Texans’ communications staff, postgame notes from the team’s 28-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers at Reliant Stadium in Week 15:
• Set the franchise single-season sack record with the 38th of the year when NT Earl Mitchell tackled Carolina QB Cam Newton for no gain in the first quarter, breaking the previous mark of 37 set in 2005. The Texans entered the game with 36 sacks on the year.
• Trailed at the end of the first quarter, at halftime and through three quarters for the second consecutive week and the third time this season in each instance. Houston fell to 1-2 in all three instances.
• Were shut out in the first half for the first time this season.
• Scored on their opening drive of the second half for the eighth time this season and for the second consecutive week when K Neil Rackers booted a 26-yard field goal.
• Team captains were C Chris Myers on offense; ILB Brian Cushing, ILB DeMeco Ryans and DE Antonio Smith on defense; and K Neil Rackers representing the special teams.
• The Texans won the toss and elected to receive.
• Total paid attendance was 71,540, which was the third-largest crowd this season and third-largest in team history. The Houston Texans have sold out all 99 home games, including preseason and regular-season contests, in franchise history.
G THOMAS AUSTIN
• Made his professional debut, taking the field with the kickoff return unit on the opening kickoff.
OLB CONNOR BARWIN
• Sacked Carolina QB Cam Newton for a 10-yard loss on the Panthers’ opening drive, giving him 10.5 for the year. Barwin became the second Texan to notch double-digit sacks in a season, joining Mario Williams, who did so in 2007 and 2008.
G ANTOINE CALDWELL
• Made his first start of the season at RG. He started seven games in 2010, including the last three games of the season.
ILB BRIAN CUSHING
• Led the team with 12 tackles, including nine solos and one tackle for loss. It was the 10th game this season in which Cushing led the team or tied for the team lead in tackles.
TE OWEN DANIELS
• Extended his streak of consecutive games played with a reception to 67 on a 17-yard reception in the third quarter.
FS QUINTIN DEMPS
• Returned a fourth-quarter kickoff 50 yards. It was his longest kick return as a Texan and his longest since 11/23/08 when he had a 100-yard return for a touchdown at Baltimore as a Philadelphia Eagle.
RB ARIAN FOSTER
• Surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive season on is seventh carry of the game, a gain of 18. The run gave him 1,010 yards on the year, making him the second player in team history to top 1,000 rushing yards in consecutive season along with Domanick Williams in 2003-04.
• Became the fifth player in NFL history to surpass 1,000 rushing yards and 600 receiving yards in consecutive seasons. He topped 600 receiving yards on the year with his fifth catch of the day, a 22-yard gain in the fourth quarter, which gave him 601 yards on the season.
• Went over 100 yards for the sixth time this season and the 14th time in his career. He topped the century mark on a 6-yard gain in the fourth quarter, his 13th rush of the game, and finished with 109 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.
• Scored his ninth rushing touchdown of the season and the 28th of his career when he dove into the end zone from 2 yards out. Foster has scored a rushing touchdown in eight of Houston’s last nine games.
WR BRYANT JOHNSON
• Doubled his season reception total with a pair of catches on Houston’s second drive. He entered the game with two receptions for 22 yards on the year and caught two passes for 23 yards on that drive.
WR JACOBY JONES
• Returned a third-quarter punt 42 yards. It was his fifth return of 40 or more yards this season.
WR JEFF MAEHL
• Made his NFL debut after being signed off of the Texans’ practice squad on Wednesday. Maehl saw his first action on the punt return unit in the first quarter.
NT EARL MITCHELL
• Registered his first sack of the season when he tackled Carolina QB Cam Newton for no gain in the first quarter. It was his second career sack.
K NEIL RACKERS
• Scored seven points in the game to increase his season total to 115, tying Kris Brown’s 2007 point total for the third-most in franchise history.
FB LAWRENCE VICKERS
• Caught his fourth pass of the game, a four-yarder in the third quarter, to set a career single-game high. Vickers’ previous high was three receptions on 11/4/07 vs. Seattle as a member of the Cleveland Browns.
DE J.J. WATT
• Tied a career high with seven tackles, including five solos, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit. He also made seven tackles in Week 12 at Jacksonville (11/27).
QB T.J. YATES
• Completed his first eight pass attempts, gaining 60 yards on those throws. His ninth pass of the game was tipped at the line of scrimmage and fell incomplete.
• Finished the game 19-of-30 for 212 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 56.5.
Tags: Antonio Caldwell, Arian Foster, Brian Cushing, Bryant Johnson, Connor Barwin, Earl Mitchell, J.J. Watt, Jacoby Jones, Jeff Maehl, Lawrence Vickers, Neil Rackers, Owen Daniels, Postgame notes, Quintin Demps, T.J. Yates, Texans-Panthers Week 15, Thomas Austin
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MINNEAPOLIS — The Texans lost 28-0 to the Vikings in their preseason finale at Mall of America Field. They finished the preseason 3-1.
The Vikings scored on a seven-yard touchdown run by Caleb King in the final minute of the fourth quarter, King’s second of the game. Texans rookie quarterback T.J. Yates finished 6-of-13 with an interception and lost fumble in the second half, good for a 33.2 passer rating.
The closest that the Texans got to scoring in the second half came on their second drive of the fourth quarter. They started the drive at their own 47-yard line after a punt, but they turned the ball over on downs on fourth-and-three from the Minnesota 46. Yates’ pass for rookie wide receiver Jeff Maehl fell incomplete to force the turnover on downs.
Check back with us shortly for articles, quotes, videos from the locker room, photos, podcasts and more from tonight’s game.
Tags: Jeff Maehl, T.J. Yates, Texans-VIkings Preseason Game 4
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Texans training camp practice was open to fans on Wednesday morning, so we’re allowed to report specific plays in more detail than we would at a closed practice.
Here are a few that stood out from my vantage point on the sideline:
- About an hour into practice, the Texans started doing red zone work with the full first-team offense against the full first-team defense. On the first play of this portion of practice, quarterback Matt Schaub hit tight end Owen Daniels tor a 15-yard touchdown. Schaub sat in the pocket and waited as Daniels, who looks as good as ever, got wide open for the scoring play, which drew big cheers from the crowd in the bleachers right across the short field wall from where Daniels made his catch.
- A few plays later, outside linebacker Mario Williams hurried Schaub into an incompletion. Schaub’s pass was intended for Andre Johnson, who was draped by cornerback Johnathan Joseph. Williams came off the right edge of the line, where he was standing up next to rookie defensive end J.J. Watt. The sight of those two 6-6, 290 pounders next to each other up front is quite impressive.
- Not long after that, Schaub hit wide receiver Kevin Walter in stride on an inside slant over the middle for a 12-or-so-yard touchdown. Walter, who turned 30 last week, has been quietly going about his business in camp. I haven’t seen every rep he’s taken, but I haven’t seen him drop a pass yet.
- Linebacker Brian Cushing, in his first morning practice of camp after missing time because of his knee, teamed up with Williams and DeMeco Ryans for a pressure/sack on Schaub. All three were surrounding the pocket when the play was called dead.
- Later in practice, Schaub threw an incompletion behind fullback/tight end James Casey, who was covered by Ryans. Texans coach Gary Kubiak yelled, “That’s a great job, DeMeco,” from where he was standing right behind the play.
- Rookie linebacker Brooks Reed picked off quarterback Matt Leinart, who has been razor sharp in camp, in 11- on-11s near the end of practice. Reed sprinted the other way with the ball and made it 10-20 yards before the play ended up being a good one for Jeff Maehl. The undrafted rookie wide receiver recovered to chase after Reed and pop the ball loose for a fumble.
Tags: 2011 Training Camp, Andre Johnson, Brian Cushing, Brooks Reed, DeMeco Ryans, J.J. Watt, Jeff Maehl, Johnathan Joseph, Kevin Walter, Mario Williams, Matt Leinart, Matt Schaub, Owen Daniels
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Spotlighting one Texans rookie on each day of training camp:
Coach Gary Kubiak said on Tuesday that the Texans had “probably as good a group of free agent wide receivers as we’ve had.” One of the players in that group is Oregon product Jeff Maehl, a lanky 6-0, 190-pounder who was one of the NCAA’s best receivers last season.
Like Terrence Toliver of LSU and Lestar Jean of Florida Atlantic, Maehl is staring in the face of opportunity in training camp. The Texans released David Anderson last week, leaving their receiving corps largely unsettled after the top three of Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones. And Johnson has missed the last two days because of a dislocated finger, while Jones couldn’t practice until this afternoon because of free agency rules.
The extra reps have given Maehl plenty of chances to make an impression on Kubiak.
“He reminds me of David a little bit in college,” Kubiak said. “He plays in the slot, makes a lot of plays. That’s probably where his concentration is going to be with us doing some of those types of things inside. He’s a guy that a lot of things say no, but when you cut the film on him and start working 11-on-11, he just tends to make plays. We’ll give him an opportunity. He’s going to have to do some things for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) also.”
Maehl was first-team All-Pac-10 last season at Oregon, catching 77 passes for 1,076 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had four 100-yard games, including a nine-catch, 133-yard performance in the BCS title game against Auburn. But as an undrafted rookie, he knows that special teams will play a big role in whether or not he makes the Texans’ final roster.
“You have to be on special teams first and foremost, something that I was fortunate enough to do a lot of at Oregon, so they know I can do that,” Maehl said. “Obviously, the NFL is a little different with body types and whatnot on different special teams. Just any way that I can contribute is going to help me make the team; obviously, learning the stuff fast and putting it on the field and not making mistakes.”
Tags: 2011 Training Camp, Jeff Maehl, Rookie Watch
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Of the 15 undrafted free agents signed by the Texans yesterday, three were wide receivers. Two — LSU’s Terrence Toliver and Oregon’s Jeff Maehl — are well-known players from big-time college programs, while the third — Florida Atlantic’s Lestar Jean — is an anonymous talent from the Sun Belt Conference.
Judging by their YouTube highlights, all three should be fun to watch in training camp as they battle for a spot on the Texans’ roster. Jean’s highlight tape is especially eye-opening, if for no other reason than that he joined the Texans with far less fanfare than Toliver and Maehl.
Tags: Jeff Maehl, Lestar Jean, Terrence Toliver
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