The Houston Texans wrapped a three-day stretch of padded practices on Sunday. The team had worked in pads for the past six consecutive practices. Head Coach Lovie Smith will give the players Monday off as they head into Game Week mode to get ready for their first preseason game on Saturday.
Here are three things to know from Sunday's practice:
1. Day off
Both Derek Stingley Jr. and Justin Britt were among players with a scheduled day off on Sunday. Returning to practice was long snapper Jon Weeks who was out for several days.
"We have a plan for a few of our guys that are coming off injuries," Smith said. "It's a scheduled day off for Derek (Stingley Jr.), Justin Britt and a few others, but as you can see the days we've asked him to play, he's performed well and getting better. Learning, growing, love what he's doing."
2. More than the score
With a preseason game this week, the Texans will get their first opportunity to go against players other than themselves. Smith says that the final score isn't the total focus of these three upcoming preseason matchups.
"Live tackling the quarterbacks, running backs, cut blocking, all of that," Smith said. "So, what I want to see in the game is how guys finish and it's more about the individual play before we collectively put the team together. So that's what I can't wait to see. We are going to try to give as many guys an opportunity to play as possible. If we win at the end of the day, that's fine, but it's something bigger we are trying to get accomplished."
3. From molasses to catching passes
TE Pharaoh Brown dropped 15 pounds and trimmed his body fat percentage this offseason. The fifth-year tight end, now in his third season with the Texans, has made some eye-popping catches in camp so far. Brown says he was motivated to tweak his diet and training after watching his own film where he says he was "moving like molasses."
"One of the lineman just was like, 'I'm proud of you, man. You were a big o-line tight end last year and now you're out there catching balls," Brown said. "I told him, 'Yeah, I got a new financial advisor and they told me the blocking tight end gets the minimum.' I'm trying to get a David Njoku (Cleveland Browns TE) deal after this year, so we have to catch a lot more balls."
The Texans will resume Training Camp practice on Tuesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Houston will kick off the 2022 preseason at home against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. CT.