Like everyone who began something new last year, the 2020 Texans rookies had a unique introduction into their next phase of life. The draft class had five players. They didn't get a Rookie Camp or OTAs. They had to learn the ways of the NFL on video conferencing before finally getting to Training Camp.
Once there, there were daily COVID-19 testing and no preseason games. It was a tough entry into an already difficult career launch. 2021 brought a new start. Although the pandemic is stubbornly still around, the team was able to get together and players could benefit from being in the facility.
"I really needed that because I missed out on that as a Rookie." Offensive Lineman Charlie Heck told me on Texans Radio. "I was in here at the facility, getting to meet the new players, getting stronger and learning the plays."
Now, in Training Camp number 2, the Class of '20 has an opportunity to take a big step forward.
Former second round pick Defensive Lineman Ross Blacklock played in 10 games last season and uses the action as a learning experience.
"I think I put too much thinking into it last year. I was trying to perfect everything at one time knowing that I couldn't really do that. It just made it harder for myself. It's more of a marathon, not a sprint," Blacklock said.
Heck got some good on-the-job training in limited action last season.
"It definitely told myself that I can play in this league. I took that confidence and desire to get back out on the field this offseason."
Now he's working hard to get better under the hot sun at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
"It's a long camp, so you just have to keep stacking days and getting better," Heck said.
Blacklock likes playing in the new defensive system and taking part in the quickened pace of practice.
"It's real high tempo. I think that's what we need since we've got a lot of guys," said Blacklock. "There's a lot of competition on this team as well. I know that Coach is trying to see where they want to put guys and all that, but it's pretty fun."
In addition to Heck and Blacklock gunning to improve, fellow classmates Jon Greenard, John Reid and Isaiah Coulter have all been getting plenty of reps through four days of Texans Camp.
This is a class worth watching, even all the way around the League, because of the different situation they matriculated into. A far as the Texans go, they're more familiar with the organization than about 50 of their teammates who were brought in since the start of the League year.
Practice continues Monday with the team donning pads on Tuesday. We're back live Monday morning on Texans Radio on SportsRadio 610 at 8 AM.
Check out the best photos from Day 4 of Training Camp presented by Xfinity.