The Advance Scout | HoustonProFootball.com
August 17, 2005
Not Quite ‘Hard Knocks’
by Keith Weiland
The NFL Network attended Texans training camp Tuesday night, and with their live television cameras turned onto the Reliant Park practice fields, anything was bound to happen.
Including a bunch of nothing.
Gone are the days when NFL Films could gain all-access to a team’s training camp workouts to lurk in the phat shadows of a Tony Siragusa or put a live microphone under the musical stylings of a Chad Hutchinson. No chest-puffing by Brian Billick, no axe-wielding from Jack Del Rio, and no, um, whatever the hell Dave Campo ever did in Dallas.
No, the NFL Network walked onto the practice fields outside Reliant Stadium to subject their audiences to same cliched, over-rehearsed thirty second sound byte babbling that we get from head coach Dom Capers day in and day out. Team turmoil this is not, and it is quite obvious why the Texans have never been late night cable material.
A night at Camp Capers is about as enthralling as a Condoleeza Rice fall fashion show. (From the Advance Scout’s So-Strange-By-God-It’s-True File: The Secretary of State has stated her dream job is to become commissioner of the NFL. Now THAT’s what I want to see on cable. Mmmmm… Condi Rice on late night cable = Ratings bonanza!)
The Texans are a boring team. So what? With his diligent note-taking and a rumored singing voice that might rival the computer HAL on 2001: A Space Odyssey, Capers has a team free of distractions and one that is willing to learn and improve. Combined with the right talent, it will translate into more victories this season. Just don’t bother him with the network ratings lest you wish to get written up in his little notebook.
Legally Blonde Perhaps the biggest steel cage dogfight in training camp is the position battle at wide receiver for the last couple spots on the depth chart. When camp opened, the top six candidates figured to be Andre Johnson, Jabar Gaffney, Corey Bradford, Derick Armstrong, Jerome Mathis, and Kendrick Starling. Reggie Swinton was added to compete as a returner and maybe as an emergency receiver. Then the team added Kevin Kasper.
Kasper has bounced around the league since being drafted by the Broncos with a sixth round pick in 2001. A workout enthusiast, Kasper spent time with the Cardinals and Seahawks, and most recently with the Patriots. On Tuesday, he bounced all over the field, playing like a man driven to win that final receiver spot on the roster.
Not Kevin Kasper
Yes, his platinum hair is beyond distinctive. If a close friend of mine had to be exposed to him for more than ninety minutes, I would probably recommend a sunblock with at least an SPF-30. Kasper’s play of late on the field though might be all the recommendation he needs to actually get that spot on the roster.
Other than his hair, it’s the little things Kasper is doing that catches the eye. After downing a punt on the 1-yard line in the preseason game against the Broncos, Kasper dazzled once again on Tuesday night leaping and diving for passes. He chip blocked guys like Antwan Peek and played with unbridled energy every time he got his chance. Kasper may not be the most talented receiver of the group on the bubble, but it’s those little things he is doing that coaches are likely to remember most on cutdown day.
The Blitz The biggest laugh at Tuesday evening’s practice came when David Carr pump faked in scout team walkthrus. Yeah, keep dreaming California boy, like you’ve got that much time to throw the football… Cornerback Phillip Buchanon twisted an ankle midway through practice, but was playing again minutes later. On a couple occasions, "Showtime" willingly dropped to do pushups everytime he missed an opportunity to make an interception. Think he’s looking forward to playing against his former team later this week?… The Texans re-signed reserve quarterback Preston Parsons on Tuesday. Following B.J. Symons’s injured shoulder, Dave Ragone’s trick knee, and Carr’s sore achilles, only Parsons and Tony Banks were healthy enough to participate in all of the drills… Texans also signed receiver Donovan Morgan, who put off his NFL career by two weeks to finish his Arena League 2 season with the Tulsa Talons. A noble commitment to be sure, but one that should also keep him an Arena League player for another season… Nickel corner Demarcus Faggins intercepted Parsons to end a two-minute drill that also ended the evening workout… Linebacker Kailee Wong intercepted Carr earlier in 7-on-7 drills when a pass bounced off Tony Hollings’ arm… Saw lots of good blitzing, particularly from linebackers Charlie Anderson and Shantee Orr… Special teams coach Joe Marciano ended practice by speaking to fans about the importance of fatherhood. He was joined by defensive line coach Mike London and tight end Mark Bruener.
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