11 Observations from Day Nine of Texans Training Camp
The Houston Texans Saturday practice consisted of mostly team portions that were closer to a scrimmage than practice. There was plenty of 11-on-11 work during the practice.
Here are 11 observations from the workout on August 5.
C.J. Stroud took all the reps with the first team. He had another great day passing the ball. Stroud was accurate with almost every pass. He made excellent decisions promptly. The offense operated well mixing Stroud’s accuracy with a couple of runs. Stroud didn’t try to do too much either. DeMeco Ryans said he continues to see improvement in Stroud.
There was a simple play that C.J. Stroud made that stood out. I say simple, but the actual execution was hard. The offense needed three yards to get a first down. Stroud took the snap and whipped it out to John Metchie as a defender was right in his face. Metchie got four yards and a first down. The offense kept moving. It was simple in that it was just three yards, but it was executed well.
The chains kept moving for C.J. Stroud and the offense. Needing 10 yards Stroud found Dalton Schultz for 11 yards and the first down. It was methodical but also impressive. Stroud dealt with some pressure but was constantly scanning the field hitting his pass catchers. Robert Woods caught some quick outs. Dameon Pierce had a reception as well as the offense was rolling.
It wasn’t all the offense on Saturday night. The defense had some wins. Will Anderson earned a sack in one of the team periods. Jacob Martin blew up some plays from the backside. Maliek Collins had one of the best combos of plays in all of training camp. Collins flew in for a sack. The offense attempted a screen to get some yards back, but Collins was there again for a big loss leading to the offense needing 25 yards for a first down.
Tank Dell stood out in a big way on Saturday. Dell was the go-to guy for Davis Mills on a drive where he hauled in two big catches. The first one Dell started outside but then cut inside for a 20-yard reception. The next one a few plays later Dell had to contort his body to get into position for the catch but gained almost 20 yards on that play. After practice slot cornerback Tavierre Thomas gushed about the talent and quickness of Dell.
During the 7-on-7 portion of practice the offense and defense traded shots. Steven Nelson had a nice pass breakup early. Derek Stingley forced Nico Collins to the sideline and the pass was too far outside. The offense scored a couple of times. C.J. Stroud found tight end Mason Schreck for a score. Later the play of the day was a reception from Dameon Pierce. The running back turned around and left his feet to haul in a perfectly placed pass from Stroud. Pierce is going to have some opportunity in the passing game.
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Tytus Howard left practice with an injury. Head coach DeMeco Ryans said the team would know more in the next few days. The tackle depth is not there for this team right now. George Fant, signed recently, filled in as right tackle when Howard was out. Charlie Heck is dealing with an injury so he isn’t an option right now. Rookie Kilian Zierer played a little at right tackle before giving way to Fant.
Laremy Tunsil was short and sweet in his praise of Will Anderson. Tunsil said Anderson is a “dawg” before continuing that he’s a fun matchup in practice. “He’s going to be great. He has a motor. He’s got all the tools and as soon as he put it together he’s going to be a dominant force in the league.”
This entire wide receiver group feels interchangeable but in a good way. It seems like the hope is all the wideout to be able to play more than one spot. It makes practice hard, I’m sure, but it also will make it hard to gameplan and predict the Texans. If Bobby Slowik can use versatility to close the talent gap he faces each week it will go a long way for this offense.
Davis Mills had a nice throw to Jesse Matthews. It was one of the first times Matthews jumped off the page. He was covered well but skied for the ball and tapped both toes for a catch. The defense was yelling at the official, but it looked like a catch to me. Steven Sims also had a catch on a short third down to move the chains. Rookie running back Xazavian Valladay had a good run and catch over the middle.
I will finish with how the practice finished. C.J. Stroud was leading the team in a situation where the offense had about 70 yards to go and needed a touchdown to tie the game. Stroud moved the team down and even took a risk going over the middle and needing a spike. It came down to one play, about 20 yards out, for the chance to tie the game. The final play saw Stroud attempt to extend the play the best he can and finally rocket one into the endzone. Incomplete. Now, the question I have is if that scenario occurs in week one against the Baltimore Ravens how would you feel? Let me know in the comments.
The Texans have an off day on Sunday before returning to work on Monday.