Dating back to the beginning of the offseason program, Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins made the kind of improvement expected of young players entering their second seasons. His progress has been consistent and often spectacular. The best indication yet was during three practices with the Broncos. Working against Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib, Hopkins was physical getting off the line of scrimmage and attacking the ball. He didn’t let Talib frustrate him. He took the ball away from Talib more often than not, and the veteran corner gave him his proper respect. Hopkins has improved as a route runner. His ball skills are tremendous. He’s got quick, strong hands. His leaping ability is superb. Watching him work the sideline and the back of the end zone against the Broncos to make one catch after another was amazing.
Hopkins finished as the #50 WR in 2013, posting 52 catches for 802 yards and two touchdowns, a solid season for a rookie wideout playing along an established veteran like Andre Johnson. Since 2000, 1st round rookie wideouts with at least 700 yards receiving have increased their fantasy output by 33% in their second season. If Hopkins sees this kind of increase, he’ll be a very solid WR3.
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, 10:34pm
Just a few minutes later, Ryan Fitzpatrick launched a ball to the back of the end zone, high enough that only receiver Andre Johnson could catch it. Johnson tip-toed in-bounds in throwback Andre Johnson fashion, and was enveloped by his teammates.
"I thought Fitzy came out here and worked very well today," Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien said.
Foster often ran with the Texans’ first team and displayed his normal acceleration, while Johnson saw some first-team activity.
“They practiced more than they had and it’s a good sign for our football team,” O’Brien said.
Finally some good news for the Texans star skill players. It's yet to be determined if either will play in the next preseason game, but it's at least a step in the right direction that they may be ready for the regular season. Obviously both will come with health risks should you decide to draft them in your league.
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 7:08pm
Foster and Johnson pretty much have a week to get ready and get some action in preseason Week 3 as preseason Week 4 typically doesn't see regulars play at all.
Foster's health is obviously a concern. He has missed 11 games in the last three years, but did play a full season in 2012 and no longer has Ben Tate to worry about. After finishing in the top 2 in fantasy points per game from 2010 to 2012, he was #19 in that category in 2013. At 27, Foster should have plenty of tread left on his tires, though the injuries seem to be piling up. The team wants to get him more involved in the passing game, which is a good sign for his PPR value. He is a risk-reward pick in the 2nd round. As for Johnson, he has missed valuable reps with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in a new offense, but the two should mesh quickly.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014, 12:43pm
Johnson and Foster, both of whom are nursing hamstring injuries, didn’t practice again today. That doesn’t mean they won’t be able to return against the Falcons on Wednesday or Thursday. The Texans won’t be having full-contact practices against Atlanta.
“If they were ready to go, we’d put them out there,” O’Brien said. “It wouldn’t be for 100 reps. They’d basically ease them back into practice, but that’s a day-to-day thing. If they said and the trainers said that they felt like they were ready to go, then we’d ease them back into the practices against Atlanta.”
Asked Monday if Fitzpatrick is locked in as the Texans’ starter, coach Bill O’Brien issued a one-word response.
“Yes,” O’Brien said Monday at NRG Stadium.
Fitz threw two interceptions and clearly struggle last Saturday during a 32-0 defeat to the Arizona Cardinals. He was also without Andre Johnson at WR and Arian Foster at RB. Both could play in preseason Week 2.
RB Arian Foster and WR Andre Johnson again missed Texans practice Monday. But the duo put in hard work on a side field while rehabbing from injuries and coach Bill O’Brien said he’s hopeful they can play Saturday against Atlanta at NRG Stadium.
“I’ve spoken to both those guys. They’re doing better,” O’Brien said. “It’s a long season and our trainers are doing a great job with them. But it seems like they’ve improved and hopefully they can do something this week.”
In his second season since being drafted in the first round, Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins' development seems to have taken a major step. The sure-handed leaping catches he made so often in college are becoming a staple of training camp.
Hopkins' issues last season weren't based so much on ability as they were on precision. He seems on the right track this season. Andre Johnson said it's clear Hopkins is playing with a lot of confidence, something that's critical for a receiver. What's even better is that his chemistry with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is improving regularly.
Hopkins finished as the #50 WR in 2013, posting 52 catches for 802 yards and two touchdowns, a solid season for a rookie wideout playing along an established veteran like Andre Johnson. He should continue to progress in his second season, but is dealing with a new offense and a new QB, so there are no guarantees.
This has not been an inspiring preseason by either player. Injuries are a concerns for both veterans. Johnson has been pretty reliable in the last two seasons, but at 33, he's no spring chicken. As for Foster, he missed eight games last season with a back injury, though this injury seems to be unrelated. Their ADP will take a hit as long as they are sidelined.
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 7:24pm
But Sunday’s scrimmage marked Fitzpatrick’s best practice to date, with the veteran quarterback smoothly snapping off quick passes and showing strong initial command of his new offense.
WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster didn't participate so Fitz didn't even have all his weapons. WR DeAndre Hopkins did stand out though so that's a sign he could be building a connection there. Fitzpatrick is ranked just 29th on our QB list.
“It doesn’t matter what game it is; you want to play,” said Johnson. “It’s best that I do what’s best for the team. If that’s me being out there then I’ll be out there, and if it’s not then I won’t.”
It's at least a sign of good news for owners who already have Johnson on their squad. Johnson missed practice again on Sunday to nurse a hamstring injury that has hindered him most of camp.
Sunday, August 3, 2014, 3:01pm
The team isn't saying why but beat reporters are assuming nagging hamstring issues for both players... It marks the fourth-straight missed practice for Foster.
Texans WR Andre Johnson is “doing better,” according to head coach Bill O’Brien after missing Friday’s practice with a lingering injury. After tweaking his hamstring while flattening himself for a catch, All-Pro receiver has not practiced since Sunday.
“I think that is something he and I talk about every day,” O’Brien said. “I don’t think there is a need to rush him back. I think he needs to come back when he feels ready to be back. Again, that is not a serious injury, but it is not something that you need to rush him back.”
Johnson finished the season as the #12 WR but failed to find the endzone in the final seven weeks after scoring all five of his touchdowns in Week 9 (9-229-3) and Week 10 (5-37-2) against the Colts and Cardinals, respectively. Johnson will turn 33 in July and is starting to show signs of slowing down. He's missing valuable reps -- he needs to practice to learn the offense and build a rapport with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 1:06pm
Posey (6-1, 210) stays after practice every day working with the JUGS gun. Other receivers and tight ends always join Posey after practice, but long after the others are gone, he remains.
Posey catches passes from every angle. He faces the machine. He turns his back to the machine and turns right to make catches, then turns left to make more receptions.
When Andre Johnson sat out the offseason program, Posey benefited by getting more repetitions in the OTAs. There’s a good chance he could be the team’s most improved receiver.
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