While things were cool inside the Bubble of the Houston Texans practice Thursday morning, the competition was still hot. Head Coach Bill O'Brien's got three guys competing for one starting quarterback position, a void left to fill with the loss of Arian Foster in the run game, and rookies all looking to prove they are worthy of wearing the Houston Texans logo come game day.
"It's going to be unbelievable. I don't know what to expect, how game day is going to be, how that is going to feel, but I'm just really going to be focused in on making sure I know my assignments so I can play as fast as I can,” said rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson.
That's really all the Texans first draft pick this year can do. The cornerback will be competing against his teammates to showcase his stuff, just as hard as he'll be making tackles against the 49er's this weekend.
Looming question marks have hovered over several units of this team and with the preseason opener just around the corner there's been no definite answer from O'Brien on who will lead this year's offense.
“I think all three of them have done a great job and have a great understanding,” said tight end Garrett Graham. “It's definitely helped us in the off season to have them here and be able to work with them. It's been good for us as a tight end group.”
Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett are the two front runners with Hoyer showing a little more edge throughout Training Camp.
With Foster's fall from the lineup as their leading rusher, the Texans don't seem eager to look anywhere but in-house for their next man up. Any speculation that Houston would take interest in Ray Rice could be put to rest after Thursday.
“I think I'd want to talk to our players. I don't know that's something they would like,” said Texans owner Bob McNair. “We want people that fit in our locker room. I don't know if he's as good as any of the four we got. I haven't seen anybody else trying to sign him so that's a pretty good indication of where he stands.”
The attention has now been shifted towards Alfred Blue as their new number one. The running back said he's ready to seize the opportunity after the guidance he's soaked in from Foster.
“He’s helped me a lot. He's been a big brother to me off the field and he told me just hit him up whenever I need any advice on something,” said Blue. “He's mentored me on critiquing my run game to try and make me the best player I can be.”
“You definitely need to show off in practice, but in the game is when it counts so going out there and really showing what player you are on game day is most important,” said Johnson.
The team will have one last walk-through Friday before it is game time come Saturday against the San Francisco 49er's at NRG Stadium starting at 7 p.m.
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