Your Houston Texans had their first full-length practice in the summer heat of Houston yesterday. For some, it was a relief, a “life is back to normal” moment of practice grind. While none of us can be there in person this yeaar to sweat it out with our favorite players, thankfully there’s still news, pressers, and blog posts to let us live vicariously through others.
Bill O’Brien, head coach and general manager:
It’s just the reality; it’s hot. Today I would say was the first really true training camp practice where we had to grind it out. We’ve had a few, couple full padded practices before this, but this was the first longest one and had a lot of different situations. It was pretty raggedy, but it will get better.
One of the highlights of Tuesday’s practice was red zone drills.
The red zone is an interesting part of the whole game,” O’Brien said. “Everything shrinks down there. Windows open quickly and they close quickly. I think one of the main things down there, the reason why we were better was because of the experience of Deshaun (Watson) over the years. The more experience you get at quarterback, you understand how much faster the game is down there, you make really good decisions.
Anthony Weaver, defensive coordinator:
Obviously, our offense has a bunch of skill players, a bunch of talented guys and we made some good stops, [today]. But they did get in the end zone. But all I’m looking for is guys that as soon they cross the white line that something flips. Something flips in them. You need to go out there and be like running wild dogs once they snap that ball and I think today we saw a little bit of that out of our defense.
Weaver wasted no time singing the praises of individual players as well.
Lonnie Johnson Jr. came in here – he’s what, 6’1, 220 pounds and he looks like the WILL linebacker, but he still moves like a corner. That alone has showed me that he is motivated. He’s been motivated to come in and prove why he was a second-round pick and to this point he’s done nothing but show us that on the football field. It’s awesome just to see that growth and that maturation in him and I can’t wait to see all of things that he’s going to do for us.
But the other side of the ball wasn’t to be outdone.
Tim Kelly, offensive coordinator:
The relationship between the center and the quarterback is a really special thing. Him and Deshaun (Watson) have a great relationship. They do a great job of studying the game together, especially when we’re preparing for an opponent so when we’re on the field, you’ve heard us use this term, they’re really seeing things from the same set of eyes.
O’Brien wasn’t done praising individuals as well, focusing on the wide receivers with this quote:
You look at a guy like Chad Hansen he’s had a really good training camp. He’s in the hunt here. You look at a guy like Stevie Mitchell, who had a touchdown catch yesterday. Isaiah Coulter and Tyler Simmons — they’re coming along, they’re working hard, they’re trying to get better. Keke Coutee has had a really good camp. DeAndre Carter is a very solid player. It’s a very competitive position. It’s going to be a tough conversation relative to how many you would keep on the 53. All those guys are working really hard.
The first player the Texas chose in the 2020 NFL Draft caught the head coach’s eye as well.
Ross [Blacklock] has done a good job. I think it’s hard. He came from a system at TCU where he was really well-coached. He was on the move a lot. He was slanting and angling a lot up front. We do that. We definitely do some of that, but we also play base blocks. He’s got to be able to play the block.
He’s good. He’s strong. A really good guy, he’s quiet. He works hard. He’s been out there every day. You can tell just from him being out there every day and being coached by Weaver, he’s getting better and better. We have high expectations obviously for Ross and if he stays out there every day and keeps grinding, he’s going to be a good player.
For more virtual training camp experiences, check out Mark Vandermeer’s piece, with exclusive video, right here.
What’s your favorite part of training camp? Have you ever been in person? What’s your best memory?