HOUSTON -- New Texans head coach Bill O'Brien opened his first minicamp practice Tuesday without Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Johnson, but with running back Arian Foster, who fully participated in the two-hour-long, non-contact session.
Johnson was a no-show at the voluntary workouts but O'Brien said he wasn't bothered. He's only concerned about coaching the 63 guys that were in attendance.
One of those was Foster, who had a microscopic discectomy procedure in November after a season-ending injury. Foster was a full participant, easing any thoughts that he might be damaged goods. He won't endure any contact until training camp later this summer but O'Brien said Foster is completely cleared to play football on all counts.
Things went like a typical first day of drills, O'Brien said. There were a lot of missed throws by quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates and Case Keenum, a lot of missed assignments and a loud, brief scolding of offensive players by O'Brien at the outset of the workout because of the lack of attention to detail.
Though it wasn't a high-octane, we-want-to-win-a-championship-in-May, grind of a practice, offensive tackle Duane Brown said it felt somewhat like training camp. Even so, O'Brien's straight-shooting approach is more than welcome after players came unglued last season, Brown said.
The way things went it was almost as if the draft weren't just two days away -- but, of course, it is. And Houston has the first overall pick.
While there wasn't much mention of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack or Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel during the few hours on the field, at least one of those players and an augmented roster are expected to join the team by the end of the weekend.
O'Brien admitted that the three-day minicamp will help determine some things regarding the draft. However, the first pick has been decided and unless Houston gets a trade offer it can't refuse, it will use the pick.
Clowney and Mack are the two players considered as the front-runners for the top pick. O'Brien said a quarterback will be drafted. But that's unlikely with the top pick. Houston could use the top pick in the second round to nab a quarterback.
The Texans quarterbacks were erratic at best during the first practice but that is hardly unusual when a new scheme is being installed and players are figuring out where to throw the ball and what routes to run -- and the best wide receiver on the team isn't around.