After a players' day off on Sunday, the Houston Texans held their first padded practice of training camp on Monday. Here are four things we learned from practice:
1. Pads, pads, pads!
Lovie Smith isn't making any grand proclamations just yet. The team will practice in pads Tuesday and Wednesday as well. But so far, he is pleased with QB Davis Mills and his progress in situational drills.
"You try not to make too many big impressions where you are until you put together a few days like this," Smith said. "Good to get the first day in, pads. We'll practice in pads the next two days really, so we should be able to see some more things from our team. Quarterback continues to protect the football. We're progressing along, adding different situations, which we want to get to the day, of course, finishing up. Most games are going to end up in a two-minute situation, so that's really important for us."
2. Mills at work
Mills used his offseason to improve his command of the offense and then practice the throws on the field that needed extra work. That extra work, along with last year's playing time, has helped him come out and play fast at the start of camp.
"We kind of pinpointed and saw the shot chart or the throw chart from across the field, saw the different percentages, and I had a couple boxes where I needed to work on, so I focused on those type of throws, just making sure my feet and my body were in line to make all those throws," Mills said. "The biggest thing is just coming out and being ahead of schedule in the playbook so you can come out and play fast."
3. Rookies getting in the mix
Team drills involved a lot of mixing and matching of the first and second teams on offense and defense. Several rookies also got an opportunity to work with the first team, such as DBs Derek Stingley Jr., Jalen Pitre and RB Dameon Pierce.
"Right now, we are working on a lot of different combinations.," Smith said. "Early in camp you just want to get as many guys as possible on video. We have three preseason games. We'll get into more situations where we isolate on exactly who's playing with what group, but right now we're just trying to get everybody on video for us to make a good evaluation."
4. And then there were three.
The Texans only had three quarterbacks at practice today: Mills, fourth-year QB Kyle Allen and Jeff Driskel, now in his second season with the team. Houston released fourth-year QB Kevin Hogan on Monday and activated TE Teagan Quitoriano, the 2022 fifth-round draft pick out of Oregon State, in a corresponding roster move.
Honorable mention: We mustache you a question.
Davis Mills is rocking a mustache, but is it here to stay?
"We'll see," Mills said.
OL Laremy Tunsil and RB Rex Burkhead are both big fans of the 'stache on Mills.
The Texans will hold their next training camp 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.