The Texans returned from their bye week with a practice inside the Houston Methodist Training Center Monday morning. The team had Week 6 off, and was triumphant on the road in Jacksonville in Week 5. Another road trip awaits, as Houston will face the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas this Sunday.
1) What happened?
Without a game yesterday, Lovie Smith, his assistants and the players were off. Smith and the coaches spent the early part of last week self-scouting. According to the head coach, it was a fruitful break.
"There's a lot of things you want to get accomplished," Smith said. "We were able to do that last week. Just kind of analyze, critique everything we've done up until this point and make the necessary adjustments, even though you've been doing that all along."
Like he's reiterated every week since the Texans tied the Colts, 20-20, in the season opener, Smith's stressed the need for Houston to do a better job of finishing.
"I don't like the way we've finished the games as much as anything," Smith said. "We've had our opportunities. What we've been able to see this first quarter of the season is what you normally see. You go through the preseason, but you still don't get a chance when it really counts. I think that's where we are right now."
WR Nico Collins took the extra time with the bye week to work on his hands and his pad level, and more specifically, his route-running.
"Making routes look the same, and not giving defenders indicators when I'm about to stop," Collins said. "You can never stop working on your game."
Like Collins, rookie OL Kenyon Green also spent time working on his hands and pad level. But in a different sort of way.
"I felt like I played physical," Green said. "I felt like I played a good brand of ball. I just need to work with my hands more. Just pad level using my body to my advantage."
2) But some rest
Smith, however, did get a little free time. He spent a chunk of Saturday in Austin watching the University of Texas beat Iowa State at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium. According to Smith the "recharge" was a welcome diversion.
"My wife MaryAnne and I had a great time seeing our flagship university compete and play well and then just watch the NFL games that happened to kind of see how we fit," Smith said. "A lot of the teams you get a chance to watch of course we're getting ready to play later on."
3) More help on the way?
At Jacksonville, the Texans saw DL Mario Addison return to the field after missing the first four games with an injury. Addison might soon be joined as an IR returnee by the likes of LB Christian Harris, TE Teagan Quitoriano and DB Tavierre Thomas. Smith, though, didn't give specific timetables for any of those returnees.
In the case of Harris, who was picked in the third round of the NFL Draft in April, Smith explained how every practice is vital after the long layoff.
"He's going to get better every rep he gets, and eventually he will be out there playing for us," Smith said. "I can't wait to see exactly when."
4) Homecoming week
TE Brevin Jordan was back at practice on Monday after missing the last three games with an ankle injury. If he plays Sunday against the Raiders, it will be a homecoming, as he grew up in Las Vegas. Deepi Sidhu has MORE.
The Texans have Tuesday off and will resume practicing on Wednesday morning. They leave for Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon.