The training camp battle series continues with the Houston Texans. We'll take a look at the top position battles for the Texans.
We're going down the list based off my power rankings from a month ago.
Losers of 14 straight games to end the season, the Texans were the worst team in the NFL last season. It caused their head coach, Gary Kubiak, to be fired as well as 16 assistant coaches including both coordinators. The Bill O'Brien era starts, Andre Johnson wants a trade and Arian Foster is coming off back surgery. There are a lot of question marks surrounding this team, including #1 pick Jadeveon Clowney, who has already had surgery himself (hernia). The Matt Schaub era is over and enter...Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Training camp position battles to watch: RT, DE, K, FS
Right tackle: Derek Newton vs Brennan Williams
Newton had a below average 2013 campaign, as he received a negative grade from Pro Football Focus, but he arrived in great shape at OTA's according to coaches and seems poised to rebound. Williams was selected in the third round of last year's draft, so the Texans think highly of him. Should be a good competition.
Defensive End: Jared Crick vs Ricardo Matthews
With the loss of Antonio Smith to the Raiders, someone has to start opposite J.J. Watt. Crick probably has the upper hand, being with the team the last two years. Matthews comes over from Indianapolis and shows a lot of versatility. Whoever it is that starts here, could be due for a breakout year, as a lot of the attention will be focused on Watt, Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and Brooks Reid.
Kicker: Randy Bullock vs Chris Boswell
Bullock was money inside 40 yards (13/13), as every NFL kicker should be, but struggled outside of that as he was 13/22. Boswell was brought in the offseason to compete. That's never a bad thing for the kicking competition. If he can have a solid camp, Boswell has a very strong leg and could possibly beat out Bullock.
Free Safety: Kendrick Lewis vs Shiloh Keo vs Chris Clemons
Lewis and Clemons were brought in via free agency to compete with Keo. Keo had 63 tackles, 6 pass break-ups and an interception last year for the Texans. Lewis had 56 tackles, 4 pass break-ups and an interception with the Chiefs last year and Clemons had 93 tackles, 8 pass break-ups and an interception for the Dolphins. This is probably the most even competition of them all for the Texans and will be an interesting one.
Next we'll look at the Minnesota Vikings.