Texans Monday practice notebook; Watson gets reps with first-team

Texans will practice with Patriots Tuesday and Wednesday

White Sulphur Springs, W. Va. – On Monday, The Texans went through their usual practice routine at The Greenbrier Performance Center under a light drizzle. 

When the take the field on Tuesday and Wednesday, they will not be alone. The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots arrived at The Greenbrier late Monday afternoon and will hold joint practices with the Texans each of the next two days in West Virginia in advance of their preseason game in Houston on Saturday.

As for the Texans work on Monday, here are my observations:

- Some very spirited work in 1-on-1's that pitted the linebackers on the running backs. Brian Cushing won the route with rookie running back D'Onta Foreman as he blanketed the rookie and easily prevented the completion.

- Fellow inside backer Benardrick McKinney followed with a similar play defending Lamar Hunt. THe linebackers made sure all the offensive players within earshot could 'hear' what the defense was doing.

- As head coach Bill O'Brien noted after practice, Deshaun Watson got some reps with the first team, more out of a rotation with the offensive line than simply running Watson with the first unit. Savage remains the starter.

- One of the prettiest passes of the morning came with Wendall Williams running a corner route on Marcus Roberson. Tom Savage lofted the ball beautifully over Williams shoulder and even with Roberson in very good position to knock the ball free, Williams hauled it in for the score.

- New wide receiver Bruce Ellington had several nice catches, bringing in a laser from Deshaun Watson over the middle, that was just a bit behind him. Ellington was able to pin the ball against his shoulder pads before securing the catch. He also made a nice catch on a crossing route in front of Kareem Jackson on another throw from Watson. 

Ellington switched to jersey number 12 for Monday's practice, he had been wearing 86. Wide receiver DeAndrew White had been injured earlier in camp, not long after he signed and was put waived/injured reserve by the Texans. Receiver Germone Hopper, went through some of the workout after he was just signed on Sunday night. Hopper, another Clemson Tiger, caught passes from Watson at Clemson in 2014 and 2015. 

- With injuries hitting the wide receivers hard, Dres Anderson has been getting a ton of snaps with both quarterbacks and he got behind the defense to bring in a long touchdown toss from Savage. Anderson took more snaps (36) than any receiver other than Riley McCarron in the preseason opener and there's a good chance he sees a similar workload on Saturday. He has a real chance to put some good work on film.

- Two near interceptions on the day came during a three-play stretch with Savage at the controls for the offense. On a sideline throw to Savage's left, cornerback Kevin Johnson jumped the route, only to have the ball go through his hands. Then after a nice connection on a crossing route to Anderson, Savage had the ball batted at the line of scrimmage, defensive tackle was close enough to the slowly-falling football to make an attempt for the interception, but couldn't pull it off.