Mon, 28 Sep 2020

One Step Closer | Vandermeer's View

Houston Texans
15 Aug 2020, 19:02 GMT+10

Marc Vandermeer

We're less than four weeks away from opening night. And as I type this, in a non-corona world we'd be getting ready for the preseason premiere.

Once that game is usually played I like to point out how time flies. The first two weeks of camp power along, you hit the preseason slate and poof, you're into the campaign.

But today was the first day in pads and the first day we really got the cameras rolling on the 2020 Texans. All the visual coverage is a click away from where you're reading this.

It feels to many of us like we've gone from the dog days of summer right into football fire, as the Texans will play the Chiefs in 27 days. But Training Camp has very much been underway.

The first day in pads saw Deshaun Watson in total command. Now a veteran going into his fourth season, with a line that didn't have to introduce themselves to each other in the off season, with weapons everywhere.

Three years ago Watson was a rookie and began camp with the third team (imagine that!). I asked him about the experience and he said it was good to not get "thrown into the fire" and be able to learn. Obviously he learned quickly.

I also asked if the non-pandemic part of this camp was a bit like college considering there's no opponent action until opening day. He said it was good that he's still relatively "young in the league" and has that recall.

But this is another dimension and he's already a master at his craft. Practices like today are conducted with no fans. There are no opposing scouts in attendance. The Texans (and the rest of the league) are free to hone their games with the knowledge that their opponents won't be watching. Opening day will have a lot of surprises.

John Harris pointed out how good players like Jordan Thomas and David Johnson looked physically. The rookies looked like they physically belonged and were off and running in their NFL baptism. It's going to be tougher than ever for the younger players with no preseason games and no joint practices.

There was a vibe today from the outsiders that this is the start of camp. But we're deep into the script. This is like a James Bond or Mission Impossible movie where the opening scene is in the middle of an action sequence.

They've been at it for at least a couple of weeks, we finally got a long look at the progress and they're tracking well for opening night.

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