The first day at work on a new job can be an awkward experience. “Am I parking in the right spot?” “How will I get along with my new co-workers?” “Where are the restrooms?” “What time is lunch?” Those are just a few of the questions that confound new employees on their first day, and it’s no different for Texans recent draft picks and first-year free agents.
The Texans recently held their two-day rookie mini-camp, which is essentially a welcome-to-the-NFL orientation for first-year players.
Head coach Bill O’Brien discussed the ABCs of what goes on in rookie mini-camp.
“We talk to them,” O’Brien said. “First of all, I don’t believe there are any weak NFL teams. I think every week is a dogfight in this league, and I have said that to you guys now going on five years. It is a brutal league when it comes to the competition and the coaching and the playing on both sides of the ball.
“One of the things that you have to educate rookies on is how fast can they get used to the challenges that this league presents, whether it’s in the weight room or training room and taking care of their bodies. In the meeting room [they must be able] to take that information and play at a high level at their positions out on the field,” he said.
“I think that is a big thing that you try to educate them on – show them tape on it, walk through it and then obviously, do it. The guys that really meet that challenge the fastest are usually the guys that have the most success.”
Whether rookies come from major universities of played in smaller conferences, the largest adjustment first-year players have to make is the mental requirements of the game.
“The biggest jump initially is the mental side of it, the ability to process information and take that information out to the practice field,” O’Brien said. “This weekend is a weekend where we give them a lot of information, so they have to figure out how to take notes on certain things and listen to other things.”
The Texans top pick (68thoverall), safety Justin Reid, outlined his rookie mini-camp experience and what he hoped to accomplish.
“This weekend is just getting with the guys, getting with my coach [Anthony Midget], learning as much as I can, soaking up as much information as I can and really getting the playbook and getting involved with the team,” Reid said.
“I want to impress them with the energy that I bring. I want to impress them with my due diligence with how hard I’ve been reviewing the playbook, how much I know, how I can learn quickly and how I can provide an impact early on.”
For fourth-round selection (103rdoverall) Texas Tech receiver Keke Coutee, who operated in a spread offense at Lubbock, the Texans offensive playbook is a brand new world.
“The system is completely different, the roster completely different,” Coutee said. “This is like a new world to me. I’m taking it all in and just trying to process it all. It’s different at every level, so it’s a little difficult right now. I’m still learning.”
Time will tell how many players from the group actually make the 53-man roster or the practice squad. Nevertheless they’ll always have their mini-camp experience. Welcome to the National Football League.