The Texans kicked off training camp at the Houston Methodist Training Center on Friday with grandstands filled with fans in attendance.
Here are five things we learned from Day 1 of Texans training camp:
1. QB Davis Mills = Leader
In Year 2, Davis Mills stepping up as a leader of the team. He spent more time with his teammates in Oregon, about a week before the start of training camp.
"It's been awesome," WR Brandin Cooks said. "We had the guys, including Davis out in Oregon just a week before camp and it was great to see. He came out, to be able to lead, to be able to be organized the way that he was and when we get out here, he's a lot more vocal in the meeting rooms than he was the rookie year and that's what you want to see from your quarterback. It's your team and we love to see that command he's taken."
Also, Lovie Smith said he plans to use his one vote for offensive team captain on Mills.
2. The Sting is coming...
Derek Stingley Jr.'s return to football looks imminent. Smith expects the Texans No. 3 overall draft pick to play in the Week 1 opener. Stingley took part in position group drills during Friday's practice, a big step forward after watching OTA practices from the sidelines.
3. Pads on Monday
The team will hold three consecutive padded practices beginning Monday, according to GM Nick Caserio. Friday and Saturday's practices without pads are structured similarly to OTAs, Caserio said.
4. WR-DB combo reunited
DB Steven Nelson has a lot of respect for Cooks, now in his ninth NFL season and third with the Texans. The two played together at Oregon State during the 2013 season.
"Brandon's always been good," Nelson said. "Like I've seen him for years and years. It's funny because like even in college, he kind of carried himself like as a professional already. He just has more experience as he grows. He's always going to have that veteran savviness to tweak his game a little bit."
5. Rooting for John Metchie
WR John Metchie's leukemia diagnosis came as a shock, but the team is encouraged by his prognosis. The rookie sent the team a video, smiling and optimistic.
"I thought it was good that they could record him and have that one-on-one with us and just letting us know that he's doing fine," LB Christian Kirksey said. "He's fighting as if he was fighting on this field. So, that's our teammate and like I said, we are going to be right there with him."
Honorable mention: Rookie on the rise
Rookies have impressed so far. Here is what nine-year veteran Kirksey had this to say about fellow LB Christian Harris, a third-round pick out of Alabama.
"I think he probably is the fastest linebacker in the room. This kid can fly. He's smart. He's bright. He's super athletic. When we in the weight room, I think that he's like in every competition, whether it's the vertical, speed, verse. He's at least Top-5."
The Texans will hold their next training camp practice on Saturday 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.