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July 26, 2008
Alex Gibbs Made Me Want My Mommy

by Keith Weiland

The Texans hosted their first 2008 training camp practice open to the fans on Saturday morning, and I couldn't sleep last night in anticipation of just being there and seeing new assistant head coach Alex Gibbs ply his crafty trade to a group of impressionable young footballers. Gibbs, you see, is the master of all things zone blocking and one-cut downhill running.

When I arrived at Reliant Park and finally saw Gibbs, I thought, my what a fresh face on the field, a true visage of wisdom and warmth. Then practice started, and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD he ripped into fullback Jameel Cook for whoknowswhat. I heard maybe ten words come out of his mouth and at least four of them were "ass". I can only assume the other six were nuggets of his genius, like rainbows of love shone across a golden dewy meadow, but all I kept hearing was "ASSASSASSASS".

And I thought, after checking that my shorts weren't soiled, poor Jameel. Poor, poor bastard. The kid is toast. But then Gibbs went after Chester Pitts, and then another player. At first the fans around me were stunned silent, perhaps with the same mixture of equal parts fear and awe that were arm wrestling inside of me.

Once comfortable with the manner in which Gibbs dispensed his blessings, we found ourselves actually cheering for this man, begging of him to share more of his footballing wisdom amongst his many and varied uses of our language's most colorful terms.

Yes, Gibbs is here. He has chosen us. Our asses, chewed as they might be, are blessed because of it.

Master Gibbs, meet Kung Fu Panda

Have you see Kung Fu Panda? As the story goes, through a series of unlikely and humorous events, an unassuming panda is deemed to be the dragon warrior, sent to the village to defeat its most feared enemy. How silly, right? A roly-poly creature, seemingly docile if not borderline comatose, becoming a skilled warrior, protector of all that is treasured.

Well, rookie left tackle Duane Brown is our Kung Fu Panda. Brown walks slow, runs slow, blinks slow, hell he even sweats slow. Nothing spontaneous going on here. Until he snaps on his helmet, that is.

Like the Kung Fu Panda after a dumpling, Brown becomes the dragon warrior once the ball is snapped. In 9-on-7 drills this morning, Brown moved so quick upfield to make a second-level block on a linebacker, I had to double check his jersey number.

I fully expect Brown will have his gut handed to him on a frequent basis by Mario Williams, but I think we just might have found our very own Kung Fu Panda to protect the village.

Big Battle Brewing at SLB?

There were no surprises from a depth chart perspective at Saturday's morning workout, though I admit that I expected Zac Diles to be the one working with the first team at strongside linebacker. Instead, I found free agent Kevin Bentley working in his place while Diles backed him up on the second team.

Bentley was a fourth round pick in 2002 of the Browns and later signed with the Seahawks, joining them en route to Super Bowl XL as a backup and specials teams standout. When he signed with the Texans in March, his versatility was believed to be an asset and insurance in the event Diles wasn't ready to start.

So is Diles ready to start or not? It's too early to say I suppose, but this is definitely a camp battle to watch. Many Seahawks fans felt Bentley was good enough to start. In fact, in the last game he started for Seattle, Bentley registered 10 tackles in a thorough whipping of the 49ers.

Other random musings

Cornerback Demarcus Faggins didn't practice this morning. He spent some time on the bike, apparently nursing an injury of some sort. Perfect chance for Jamar Fletcher to take hold of his spot on the depth chart, right? Well, Fletcher was burned badly by a deep ball from Sage Rosenfels that Andre Davis easily took into the endzone for a 50-yard touchdown. So yeah, Davis proved last season that he's pretty good running deep routes, but then David Anderson also had no trouble in getting separation from Fletcher, too...

Like any late round quarterback, Alex Brink found some difficulty in gaining traction amidst brief moments of competency. Brink mishandled a snap and gave up on the play - walking away from the football - and earning a heart-to-heart convo with Baby Shan. On the next play, Brink then overthrew running back Darius Walker, all of about four yards downfield. Then finally, some brilliance. Brink whipped a dart about 15 yards to tight end Owen Daniels...

Andre Johnson showed no ill effects of arthroscopic knee surgey to me. He was dialed in with Matt Schaub throughout practice, smoothly moving in between coverage and catching everything I saw thrown his direction. Of course, C.C. Brown was providing some of that deep coverage in the middle, but nevertheless, Johnson was stunning once again.

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