11 Observations from Day Six of Texans Training Camp
The quarterback battle heats up while the defense stays red hot
The Houston Texans finished up a third straight day of practice with another padded practice. It was a cooler day than previously and saw some situational football in the team portions.
Here are 11 observations from the workout on August 1.
Davis Mills had a better day at quarterback than C.J. Stroud. It was the second day in a row where Mills beat Stroud. Not to say anything looked amazing from Mills, but he was a bit more solid than Stroud. The scorecards are all tied up with Mills winning two practices, Stroud winning two practices, and two draws between the quarterbacks.
Davis Mills had the play of the day for the offense. During a team portion, he dropped back and without a solid base he flicked the ball into the air right into the arms of Nico Collins. The gain was easily over 35 yards and was over and between two defenders. Collins hauled it in with ease.
The above-mentioned play of Mills to Collins never should have happened. Like Monday’s big play from Mills to rookie wideout Xavier Hutchinson, there was a defender who would have made the play. Monday it was Will Anderson. Tuesday it was Jalen Pitre. He was flying off the edge and would have smashed Mills in a live rep. Pitre is everywhere for this defense. He’s been one of the best players on the field.
C.J. Stroud did a few nice things despite having a rollercoaster day. Stroud’s wideouts didn’t help him out on a couple of nice plays. Steven Sims dropped a pass near the sidelines twice. Noah Brown jumped for no reason on a Stroud pass and dropped the ball. Nico Collins fell down costing the offense an easy gain. The passes were there, but Stroud’s catchers didn’t make some of those plays. Another huge play by Stroud was wiped out by a holding penalty that wasn’t even near the play. Stroud’s unit did make it deeper in the situational two-minute drill.
C.J. Stroud threw his third interception of camp on Tuesday. Stroud whipped his head around and saw a receiver that looked open but Steven Nelson read it like a book and was there. Offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik said a lot of times Stroud can identify exactly what went wrong right away. This echoes something DeMeco Ryans said on Monday about how players handle mistakes. It wasn’t the great bounce-back day I had hoped for Stroud, but a day off tomorrow then Thursday presents another opportunity.
The wide receivers had a sloppy day. Robert Woods had a veteran off day and nobody really stood out. Nico Collins slipped on what would have been an easy first down. There were drops all over the place. The secondary is sticky and played well, sure, but there has to be more consistency from the wide receivers.
Christian Harris diagnosed a broken play on offense and best C.J. Stroud to his spot for no gain. It looked like maybe Jalen Pitre had first made the play, but if he hadn’t Harris certainly would have. The linebackers had a nice day diagnosing the offense and getting in position.
The linebacking room will have some tough cuts. I wouldn’t have said that weeks ago. Jake Hansen, who surprised everyone when he made the team’s initial 53-man roster last year, had some nice plays Tuesday. Henry To’oTo’o drew immense praise from defensive coordinator Matt Burke for his ability to adjust in practice to mistakes. Denzel Perryman flies around. It’s a deep group, something that in previous years wasn’t true.
Roy Lopez has been having a nice camp. I believe it was back-to-back plays where Lopez had a huge impact. The first was a tackle for a loss where he just barreled through the offensive line on a run play. The next he was stymied on a pass play but he tossed his left hand into the air getting a pass breakup. Lopez is trending toward clearly owning a roster spot.
Thanks for reading Houston Football! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Safety Jimmie Ward has been consistent and solid. Sure, Jalen Pitre gets a lot of love but the veteran has been making his presence felt. Ward darted into the backfield for a sack of C.J. Stroud during the end-of-half situational drill. It led to the offense using their lone timeout to stop the clock. The confidence I have in these starting safeties is at an all-time high.
Here is your daily “Will Anderson does things he shouldn’t be able to do” update. The rookie defensive lineman took his initial steps on a play and then quickly diagnosed the play as a screen. He sped off and then made the stop on the wide receiver. Yes, Will Anderson, lined up defensive end, made the tackle on a wide receiver screen. Defensive coordinator Matt Burke explained maximizing Will Anderson’s skillset with the way the team is set to use him is a priority.
The Texans have a day off on Wednesday before getting back to work on Thursday. There are five practices left before the first preseason game in New England against the Patriots.