HOUSTON -- The Texans have a starting quarterback. Germain Ifedi Jersey . Now they need star wide receiver Andre Johnson back in the fold. New coach Bill OBrien named Ryan Fitzpatrick the starter, an announcement overshadowed somewhat by Johnsons absence Tuesday on the first day of a mandatory three-day mini-camp. Johnson hasnt participated in any of the teams voluntary off-season workouts and said last month that he wouldnt attend these workouts, either. On Tuesday, he missed the opening day of workouts that are the last before training camp in late July. Fitzpatrick signed with the team in the off-season a day before Matt Schaub was traded to the Raiders and OBrien made him compete with the three other quarterbacks on the roster for the starting job. "He definitely earned it," OBrien said. "He earned it with his preparation. He earned it with his accuracy. He earned it with his command at the line of scrimmage." A former starter for the Buffalo Bills, the nine-year veteran started nine games last season for Tennessee after Jake Locker was injured. Fitzpatrick threw for 2,454 yards and 14 touchdowns last season. "This is where I wanted to be," Fitzpatrick said. "I wanted another shot at it. I wanted another chance to be the guy." OBrien said this decision doesnt mean that things cant change as the year progresses. "Everybody on our team every single day has to go out there and earn their spot on the team, earn their starting spot," OBrien said. "So quarterback is no different. We have confidence in his ability to lead our football team. Hes done a really good job in the off-season of picking up our system and hes executed it well." Case Keenum, who took over as starter when Schaub was benched last season, T.J. Yates and rookie Tom Savage are vying to be the backup to Fitzpatrick. "With all three of those guys we need just a little bit more consistency," OBrien said. "It has nothing to do with effort or work ethic. Those guys have all worked extremely hard. Theyve all done what weve asked them to do." Johnson has said he has not asked for a trade but last month wondered if Houston was "still the place for me." The 32-year-old receiver is Houstons longest-tenured player after joining the franchise in its second season. OBrien said that he has spoken to and text messaged with Johnson, but wouldnt reveal any details. He said he isnt concerned that Johnson has missed the implementation of his new offence. "I believe based on the different systems that hes been in that hed be able to pick up on our system," OBrien said. "Hes a bright guy, a very bright guy and a guy thats done a lot in this league. So I think hed be able to figure it out." OBrien also doesnt think that Johnsons absence is taking away from the rest of the teams work. "Its really about the guys that are here and theyre working extremely hard," OBrien said. "They dont seem to be too distracted." With Johnson out, Houstons young group of receivers is led by last years first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins and includes third-year players DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin. "Weve thrown a lot at them," OBrien said. "Its not easy to play receiver in this system and those guys seem to be getting better every day." Houston had preseason Super Bowl aspirations last year, but wound up with an NFL-worst 2-14 record. Rather than choosing a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick, they chose defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney, who is recovering from surgery to repair a sports hernia and also not at the mini-camp. Custom Seattle Seahawks Jerseys . As their best player continued to orchestrate his dramatic exit from the club, the Whitecaps added size and creativity at Thursdays Major League Soccer SuperDraft. Earl Thomas III Jersey . An in-person hearing allows for Garbutt to be suspended for five games or longer as per the leagues Collective Bargaining Agreement. Garbutt delivered a high hit to Penner in the second period of Sundays game. http://www.footballseahawksfanatics.com/authentic-cj-prosise-seahawks-jersey/ . Fans holding laudatory signs started showing up at Yankee Stadium when the gates opened at 4 p.m. Monday, an hour early in order to give them a chance to watch the New York captain take batting practice.TORONTO – Stephane Robidas isnt making any excuses. Not about the more than five months of rehab and recovery from another broken right leg. Not about missing training camp. Not about the one exhibition game he was able to play before making his Maple Leafs debut. Not about the quality of competition. Not about the challenge of revving the engine back up after such a significant injury at the crisp old age of 37. Its up to me, said Robidas after his team squeaked out an overtime win against the Avalanche on Tuesday night. Its my job to get ready and be a good player for this team and help this team. Im not doing that right now. Its something Im going to work on and Ill get back to where I should be. Robidas is feeling fine physically – great most days he says – but theres a sharpness to his game thats lacking right now and he knows it. Whether its making the wrong read or the wrong pass or getting beat for a puck that should be his – Sidney Crosbys first goal in a Saturday night loss to Pittsburgh – theres an element thats not there right now. Perhaps its the predictable rust of a player who spent nine months in less than a years time recovering from two different knee injuries, including the longest stretch from mid-April until the point of his exhibition debut on Oct. 3. Robidas wont go there though, that would be an excuse. Its not easy doing what hes doing – we know that, said head coach Randy Carlyle prior to Tuesdays game. He missed a good part of training camp [and] he only got to play one exhibition game so all those things are hurdles that he has to overcome in this situation. And its not like were hiding him in our lineup, hes playing and hes playing big minutes and hes playing up against some of the oppositions best lines. Or at least that was the case until Tuesday evening. Robidas had been playing with Dion Phaneuf on the teams top pairing for the first three games of the regular season, but against the Avalanche, he was shifted onto the third unit with second-year defender, Morgan Rielly. And while Carlyle said the move was more about the performance of Cody Franson on Sunday, its evident that the real aim was to lighten the load and pressure on Robidas. Its a wise move given the circumstance. Robidas didnt look sharp against Colorado. He was forced to take a penalty on the very first shift of the game and nearly cost the Leafs a chance at victory when he gave the puck away to Matt Duchene in the final frame of regulation – Duchene failed to score on the breakaway – with his team trailing by a goal. He finished with less than 14 minutes of ice time for the second time in four games, fewest among the Leafs six defenders. Im always making the wrong read and making the wrong plays or the wrong pass at the wrong time, he said. Im not where I want to be. It was a tough one again tonight for me. I dont know really know how to explain it. Robidas broke his right knee twice in a span of four months last season, a crazy set of bad luck for a player who donned the Dallas Stars uniform proudly for 11 seasons. He was carted off the ice in his last shift for the Stars, reinjuring the knee once more as a Duck against Dallas in the playoffs. Given his age and the severity of the injury, the Leafs took a risk in signing him to a three-year pact this past summer, but were confident that he would overcome the injury and offer the valuable veteran presence they had been lacking on the back-end. He can still be that guy, but its clear it will take some time. Its all the little things that Im not doing right, Robidas concluded. I cant blame anyone but me. Its up to me to find a way to be better. Im going to keep working at it and Ill get better. Five Points 1. Game-Winner Phil Kessel was point-less and totally displeased with his early performance after two games and two losses. Since then, hes scored twice and totaled five points in back-to-back wins, including the Leafs first on home-ice Tuesday. He beat Semyon Varlamov five-hole in overtime for his 37th career game-winning goal. Hes a dynamic player, said Joffrey Lupul of Kessel. You can not notice him for a stretch of time and then he gets the puck with speed and has an ability to change a game in a matter of seconds. Not many guys in the league have that. 2. Winnik Effect Surely the Leafs best line of the early season is the trio of Nazem Kadri, Joffrey Lupul and Daniel Winnik. The unit dominated possession against Colorado – approaching 70 per cent at even-strength – with Lupul scoring the game-tying goal midway through the final frame. That goal was instigated by Winnik, who pressured Avalanche defender Brad Stuart into turning over the puck in the defensive zone. Winnik, a former member of the Avalanche who spent the past two seasons in Anaheim, has been sneaky good in his early Leafs tenure. He has killed penalties effectively (including more than four miinutes Tuesday) – and has yet to be scored on in four games. Malik McDowell Jersey. And hes provided a valuable puck-hounding and trustworthy presence alongside Kadri and Lupul. Hes had a good effect on the whole team, said Lupul. Hes a veteran that knows what to do in the big situation, any situation really. Winnik currently boasts an even-strength possession rating that exceeds 60 per cent, amongst the best on the team through four games. 3. Healthy Scratch Two seasons ago – during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign – Jake Gardiner, then struggling through his second NHL season, was made a healthy scratch on 10 different occasions. He was scratched twice last year and again, for the second straight game, on Tuesday night. This happens, Gardiner said Tuesday morning. Its happened to me a few times before. It happens to everybody. You cant play great all the time. Just rebound the next time I get an opportunity. Those are coachs decisions that you have to deal with, Carlyle said. We feel that we have a quality hockey player that can play to a higher level and he agrees with that. So to me, thats end of story. Theres a history of disconnect between player and organization here, stemming from a stream of trade rumours, trips to the Marlies, lineup decisions and performance. The 24-year-old also just started a new five-year contract worth more than $20 million, a real show of faith to someone who wondered about his future in Toronto previously. Carlyle insists hes just sticking to the philosophy of meritocracy pushed at training camp, but theres a careful line he has to walk between alienating Gardiner and guiding him along in what the Leafs hope will be a fruitful career. 4. Jumping into the NHL Now 324 games into his NHL career, Cody Franson offered a detailed perspective on the challenges of jumping into the league as a young defenceman – much like 21-year-old Stuart Percy: If youre a defensive guy youre going to notice how quick and strong and shifty players are. When youre in the minors you can push guys around a little bit, youre playing against some younger kids sometimes and guys that arent at that [NHL] calibre. And then when you try to be a defensive guy in the NHL youre playing against guys like Datsyuk and Crosby, Malkin, and all those guys who can do unlimited things with the puck while being extremely strong on it. You cant just manpower them. If youre a defensive guy youll notice that. And if youre an offensive-minded guy youll notice how one little mistake can end up in the back of your net. You have to be very smart with the puck in this league. You really have to pick your spots; you cant just go, go, go. When you do that in the minors you can get away with things here and there. Obviously in that league theres guys that arent quite at this calibre and you might be able to get away with a turnover here or there, but here more times than not it ends up in your net. Percy played nearly 24 minutes against the Avalanche, trailing only Dion Phaneuf among Leafs. 5. First Week in the NHL Just about through his first week in the NHL, training camp sensation Brandon Kozun has learned a few things about life in the top league. I think the biggest thing that stands out is the pace, he said. The pace definitely is a step higher. Thats something that Ive had to adjust to. But I think overall that helps me. Playing at a higher pace forces me to keep my feet moving and when Im doing that Im most effective. Kozun, who started the year with Kadri and Lupul before moving to the teams fourth unit, is looking to shoot the puck more often as his rookie campaign rolls on. He had two attempts on goal in the opener – one leading to a goal from Kadri – but hasnt landed a shot on goal since. His NHL audition continues. The Leafs are closely evaluating the 24-year-old, intent on determining whether he can sustain his energetic presence and effect against the games top talent. Though he played just under six minutes Tuesday, Kozun did make his presence felt late against the Avalanche. His pressure on a third period penalty kill forced a holding penalty on Alex Tanguay, one that led to a dangerous power-play for the Leafs which Carlyle labeled the turning point of the teams first home win. Stats-Pack 23:34 – Ice-time for Stuart Percy on Tuesday, second-most among the Leafs. 6 – Points through four games for Tyler Bozak, including a pair versus Colorado. 11-16 – Faceoff mark for Nazem Kadri against the Avalanche. 31-12 – Shots advantage for the Leafs over the final two periods. 13:28 – Ice-time for Stephane Robidas on Tuesday. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-5 Season: 29.4 per cent PK: 3-3 Season: 75 per cent Quote of the Night Play better. -Randy Carlyle, on what Jake Gardiner needed to do upon returning to the lineup. Up Next The Leafs host the Red Wings Friday before visiting Detroit on Saturday. Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Discount NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys 2018 Cheap Jerseys 2018 Discount NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys From China Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping ' ' '