Andre Johnson didn't attend Texans voluntary workouts last week, which is within his rights because they are, after all, voluntary. But his absences were unusual because he has had so few in his 11-year career and also because it would have been the wide receiver's first opportunity to acquaint himself with a new coach and a new offense.
So it was natural to ask if Johnson was sending a message.
In fact, he did send one. People close to him said he informed the Texans he was occupied with other business and will be in Houston this week to fulfill commitments.
He's not angry.
That leads to another question.
Anger is not an emotion often associated with the reserved Johnson, although we did see that side of him late in the loss to Oakland last season when he and Matt Schaub exchanged words on the sideline. Johnson walked off the field before the game ended.
But no one could blame Johnson if he were frustrated, especially after the lack of urgency the Texans seem to have in regard to their offense this offseason. That was never more apparent than during the three days of the NFL draft that ended Saturday.
They unquestionably upgraded their defense, selecting the best player in the draft, South Carolina's extraordinary pass rusher J.D. Clowney, with the No. 1 pick overall and trading up into the third round for a run-stopping nose tackle, Notre Dame's Louis Nix, considered by some to have first-round talent.
Otherwise, the Texans' draft was uninspiring.
We might judge otherwise in retrospect. Bill Polian, a former executive with three NFL teams, said it takes four years to determine whether a team's draft was successful.
But it appears today as if the Texans did little to address their most apparent offensive needs, adding replacement parts during the first two days, a guard in the second round and a tight end in the third, and waiting until the middle of the fourth round Saturday to acquire a quarterback.
That was Pittsburgh's Tom Savage, the 135th player and the seventh quarterback drafted.
Texans general manager Rick Smith said before the draft the team was open to a more unorthodox quarterback considering the success of Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick.
"They've given people some confidence that you don't necessarily need to have a traditional type of quarterback to be successful in our league," he said.
If the Texans were among the confident, they would have taken Georgia's Aaron Murray. NFL Network's Mike Mayock said two quarterbacks had the potential
to start in the NFL from day one, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Murray.
Going with prototype
Instead, the Texans went with a prototypical 6-4, 228-pound quarterback, the type those who have followed coach Bill O'Brien's career said all along he preferred.
Savage didn't receive much attention in his only season at Pitt, where he transferred from Arizona, where he had transferred from Rutgers. He impressed O'Brien during his pro day in March, along with so many other coaches he couldn't fit all of them in for private workouts.
"Savage is one of the great American mysteries right now," Jon Gruden said before the draft. "It is a limited body of work. He's a pocket passer with a strong arm. I'm sure some people have seen it and fell in love with him because of that."
Gil Brandt, who built the Cowboys' scouting department, compared Savage's arm to Troy Aikman's.
"From an arm talent perspective, it doesn't get much better than Tom Savage," Mayock said.
But he added, "You'd like him to have better feet. He takes too many sacks."
To be exact, 43 last season. That was the most in college football's top division.
Some of those no doubt were due to an offensive line less than adept at pass blocking, which should make Savage feel at home with the Texans.
Besides quarterback, the Texans' most pressing offensive need was for a right tackle. They didn't take one in the draft.
Their next most pressing offensive need was for a running back to play behind Arian Foster, coming off an injury. They took one with their second pick in the sixth round, Alfred Blue, who started only two games last season at LSU.
Savage shouldn't be too discouraged because by the time he's ready to play in a year or two, the Texans might have improved their offense. Their second-round choice, UCLA guard Xavier Su' A-Filo, might become a tackle. Their third-round choice, Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, might become the next Rob Gronkowski.
Andre Johnson, however, should be discouraged. He will be 33 in July. He doesn't have enough years left for the offense to slowly rebuild.
He surely didn't volunteer for that.