11 Observations from Day Eight of Texans Training Camp
C.J. Stroud starts hot again as rep share leans his way
Training camp continues to roll for the Houston Texans. Friday was one of the more substantial days when it comes to the practices.
Here are 11 observations from the workout on August 4.
C.J. Stroud took all of the reps with the first team. The rookie quarterback was whipping the ball around to start practice. It was as in control as he’s looked all camp long. Stroud hit on all levels of the field, made quick decisions, and handled pressure pretty well.
The quarterback competition might be entering its final days. Stroud has had back-to-back days where he’s been the best quarterback. He’s not without fault, but he’s been better than Davis Mills. When asked directly if there should be a takeaway from the reps for Stroud DeMeco Ryans avoided a direct answer simply opting for “Stroud’s improving just like we asked all of our guys” and a generic answer about the happiness he’s had with guys stepping up. Later though, Ryans made it clear they are very deliberate in how they organize and divide reps. This isn’t the knockout blow in the quarterback competition but Davis Mills is hanging on like Rocky Balboa after round one with Clubber Lang.
It wasn’t all amazing from Stroud. There were some moments I am sure he would like to have back from Friday. Denzel Perryman picked off Stroud in a team session. Stroud was dealing with a messy pocket and it didn’t look like ever saw Perryman. The defense was stout a couple of times forcing the offense into third down situations. Stroud probably took a safety on a rushing attempt where he should have thrown the ball away. He missed a deep ball to Nico Collins at one point.
The above-mentioned deep ball mistake was remedied quickly. C.J. Stroud almost had Nico Collins down the left sideline, but the pass was just a few inches ahead of Collins. The next time up, Stroud nailed the throw for his best play of camp. Rookie linebacker Henry To’o'To’o was bearing down on Stroud but he delivered a beauty to Collins for the score. It showcased Stroud’s ability to bounce back within a practice. It also highlighted something DeMeco Ryans said about his players in that sometimes when they make a mistake they know immediately how to fix it.
Robert Woods was part of some surgical plays from C.J. Stroud. The offense felt like they were constantly moving the chains against the defense. It was a good job by the quarterbacks to get the balls out and a solid job by the offensive line who was down Laremy Tunsil (rest) and playing with rookie Juice Scruggs at center.
Thanks for reading Houston Football! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
There were some operation issues with the offense in one particular team session. The goal was to get out of their own endzone and the offense had multiple penalties in a row. It was unclear if it was Juice Scruggs not snapping the ball, guards moving early, or something from C.J. Stroud. The defense was letting them have it from the field and the sideline on each of the penalties.
I know it sounds like a great day for the offense, but the defense had some wins. Will Anderson sacked C.J. Stroud and was chasing Stroud on a bootleg. He had a rare loss against Tytus Howard in one rep. Jacob Martin has so much more left in the tank than I expected from him. He’s like a heat-seeking missile when attacking the quarterbacks. M.J. Stewart picked off Davis Mills.
There was some excellent 1-on-1 work between the defensive backs and the wideouts. Desmond King and John Metchie was my favorite matchup. Metchie’s smooth route opened up enough space for him to make a play. The rematch went King’s way as he tied Metchie up. Derek Stingley locked up Tank Dell. Tavierre Thomas stuffed a wideout at the line of scrimmage and within the rules just kept the wideout there for a funny but awesome rep from him.
Veteran running back Mike Boone keeps standing out. I will look up and see him slicing through the defense or making a catch. He’s making a case to be on the roster. The San Francisco 49ers kept four running backs out of camp last year and a fullback. If the Texans do the same, there should be room for Boone.
Henry To’oTo’o revealed after practice he and Christian Harris are best friends. To’oTo’o is pumped to be playing with his former college teammate. Most of the best linebacking groupings have one if not both of those players in the lineup. To’oTo’o had some absolute stuffs at the line of scrimmage. Harris should have had a tackle for a safety and in a real game situation, it would have been a safety.
A few names who we haven’t talked about as much to wrap up the notes. Xavier Hutchinson had a nice grab for a first down from Davis Mills. Jared Wayne had a diving catch for a first down from C.J. Stroud. George Fant did a nice job filling in for Laremy Tunsil at left tackle. Tight end Eric Tomlinson had a nice catch and run up the seam. When he gets going the big fella rumbles. Kurt Hinish was tough to block on Friday.
The Texans will have an evening practice Saturday followed by a day off to wrap up their week.