11 Observations from Day 1 of Texans Training Camp
C.J. Stroud and Davis Mills battle as Will Anderson impresses
The Houston Texans got to work on the 2023 season with their first training camp practice. There were no pads, so take that into account when talking about rushing plays and linemen. The energy was very high and DeMeco Ryans was fired up for his first training camp as a head coach. The Stootservations return without further ado.
Here are 11 observations from the workout on July 26.
C.J. Stroud and Davis Mills are in a quarterback battle. It is clear there is a rotation right now between Stroud and Mills when it comes to working with expected starters. The order of participation in team drills and 7-on-7 was mixed up throughout the practice. I expect this to continue for more than a few practices.
C.J. Stroud is a treat to watch do simple quarterback things. He is accurate with his passing in drills. There aren’t flutters. There aren’t many if any route adjustments by pass catchers. He throws a catchable ball. It’s a tight spiral. It is consistent. There were some hiccups later in practice but early drill work Stroud displayed command of the position.
C.J. Stroud went a little long on a few throws today. It will be something to monitor going into the next couple of workouts but Stroud overthrew Nico Collins, Noah Brown, and others. Watching Stroud in a day-to-day manner will be interesting in seeing how small adjustments make big improvements.
Davis Mills had a rocky practice. It wasn’t bad but the practice wasn’t good either. He missed a throw early trying to drop it in a bucket to Dalton Schultz. He did make some quick decisions against a defense that was flying around. Consistency is what Mills struggles with and he was inconsistent on Wednesday.
C.J. Stroud tossed a beauty of a throw for what was one of the best plays of the day. With pressure in his face, Stroud unloaded a deep pass to Nico Collins who was streaking down the sideline. Stroud put it where only Collins could get it as Derek Stingley was in coverage. It was a pass few Texans quarterbacks in history could have made.
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John Metchie is working out and healthy and participating in practice. General manager Nick Caserio confirmed Metchie would be back after a cancer diagnosis robbed him of his rookie season. Most importantly, Metchie is healthy. That’s the fantastic element of this. As for football, there will be opportunities for Metchie all over the field. He looked solid in the drills and work with his teammates. I don’t expect him to factor into special teams work as he struggled to catch punts.
The defense was nasty all day. It was fun to watch the secondary swarm. The secondary is deep and hearing from safeties Jimmie Ward and Jalen Pitre after practice each believes there is a ton of potential with the secondary. There were a few offensive plays where the defense wasn’t fooled and was chasing the quarterbacks. Running backs had a tough go of things too. A few “sacks” even though you can’t touch the quarterback. DeMeco Ryans had to be thrilled for his defense for what you can accomplish on day one of workouts.
Will Anderson is a FUN watch at defensive end. His suddenness from being in his stance to almost teleporting a few feet away is what stands out to me. There were a few tackles who will hate their film against Anderson from Wednesday. Anderson would have had a sack or drawn a holding call if it were a game against Tytus Howard in one particular rep. There will be a limit to Anderson and what he can showcase in practices but there’s special potential there.
There is a lot to figure out when it comes to these wide receivers. Nico Collins was impressive, as he usually is in practice. Beyond Collins, there is a lot up for grabs. Rookie wideout Tank Dell caught a Davis Mills pass late in practice and then fumbled allowing new linebacker Denzel Perryman to scoop up the turnover. DeMeco Ryans mentioned there is over a month of work ahead of this group before they’re going to be ready to think about starters.
Tight end Teagan Quitoriano is on the Physically Unable to Perform List with defensive end Chase Winovich, tackle Charlie Heck, and others. Nick Caserio mentioned some of the PUP list players would return soon. Hopefully, that is the case for Quitoriano who has had injuries rob him of valuable practice time in his short NFL career. Tight end Dalton Schultz is fun to watch in the passing game. Tight end Eric Tomlinson, who was just signed, should help with blocking initially and has a chance to make the team. Speaking of players coming back from injuries, Kenyon Green did light work as he recovers from knee surgery. Michael Deiter played left guard next to Laremy Tunsil.
DeMeco Ryans confirmed after practice he will call the defensive plays. This was not official yet, and Ryans had skirted the question before, but Ryans will call the plays on defense. It is always interesting when calling defense helped get him the job to think he wouldn’t have done it but Ryans said he will call the plays and the team will see where it goes from there.
The Texans will get back to work Thursday and Friday before a day away from the practice field on Saturday.
If there are certain things you would like for me to pay attention to at workouts please leave a comment and I will do my best to oblige. I want to be the eyes and ears of anyone who can’t attend these workouts.
Also, I will be doing video content about these practices on my YouTube page so please give it a follow as well.