The Texans practiced in shoulder pads for the first time in 2010 on Sunday morning at the Methodist Training Center.
"I thought it was good," head coach Gary Kubiak said of the Texans' first full-contact practice, which lasted two hours and 15 minutes in sweltering heat. "It slows down a little bit because they're carrying that extra weight; they've got to get used to it again. We kind of put them through a tough one this morning."
Players suit up in full pads on Monday morning in a practice that is open to the public. The Texans also will move from having two full-squad practices a day to having one full-squad practice in the morning and a special teams practice in the afternoon.
Running back Chris Henry (5-11, 234) has been one of the surprises of camp after three days and six practices. The former University of Arizona star, a second-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2007, spent most of last season on the Texans' practice squad.
"You don't want to put too much on a player this early (in camp), but he's been a very bright spot by seeing how hard he goes, and he's doing a great job for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano)," Kubiak said. "I think our players are impressed with him. I think that's the most important thing. He'll get a good chance, so let's see how he does."
Five Things Worth Noting
• Defensive end Mario Williams did not practice on Sunday morning after also sitting out Saturday afternoon because of hip soreness, but Kubiak said that it was a precautionary measure more than anything else. "He just got some swelling in his hip flexor," Kubiak said. "We actually are going to give him an injection this afternoon or tomorrow morning. We're trying to get the swelling down so he can continue his rehab program. He's been through this before. It's not a big concern right now… We have a long way to go (until the season)."
• Kubiak said that the Texans would likely begin their kicking competition in full on Tuesday. "They have been kicking competitively, but not with the team yet," he said of Kris Brown and Neil Rackers. The battle between the two veteran kickers is expected to last through the end of the preseason.
• During 11-on-11 drills in the morning practice, wide receiver Andre Johnson ran seemingly every route in the Texans' playbook. The four-time Pro Bowler caught everything thrown his way, whether it was over the middle, in the flat or deep down the sideline. That included an out-and-up route against rookie cornerback Kareem Jackson, when Johnson burned the first-round draft pick down the left sideline for an easy 50-yard touchdown on a play-action pass from Matt Schaub.
• Also during 11-on-11s, rookie tight end Garrett Graham made a one-handed stab to catch a pass from John David Booty with his left hand. It was easily the catch of the day, and maybe of the first three days of camp overall. Making the play even more impressive was that Graham was being covered closely by rookie safety Nicholas Polk on his route over the middle. "I think Garrett is coming a long way as a young player," Kubiak said on Sunday afternoon.
• Jacoby Jones and Trindon Holliday were the only players who fielded punts on Sunday morning with Glenn Martinez sidelined by a hamstring injury. Jones fumbled on his first return after running forward a few yards, and Holliday muffed his second return but recovered the ball and darted right for a big gain. Both players got it together on their third returns and beat the defense for touchdowns, electrifying the 3,594 fans in attendance.
Five Things Worth Quoting
"Never. Man, that guy can roll. He's the kind of guy that makes you mad if you're playing against him. If he's on your squad and your side, then you love him."
-LB Kevin Bentley, a captain and the team's leading tackler on special teams in 2009, on the last time he saw someone as fast as Trindon Holliday
"Bernard (Pollard) tested him this morning. I don't know if you saw that one blitz Bernard came on, but he tested him, and he's back out here (this afternoon). So far, so good. I think Steve is fine and he's gaining his confidence back. I think he'll come back and play well this year."
- Kubiak, on how RB Steve Slaton handled contact on Sunday. It was Slaton's first on-field contact since he was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury in 2009.
"No doubt we can. We've got the people to do it. We did it for 13 weeks (last season). There's no reason we can't do it for 16."
- Kubiak, on whether the Texans can have a top-five defense in 2010. They were fourth in the NFL in yards allowed per game over the final 13 games of the 2009 season.
"Guys are competing, and this team is a lot better than when I left last time. I'm really excited about the way we're bonding and getting better. We came in without any meetings on the first day and guys understood what to do and where to be. We're accountable to each other, and I'm excited for where we are going."
- LB Danny Clark, who signed this offseason from the New York Giants, on his general thoughts on training camp. Clark previously played with the Texans in 2007.
"If you don't go out and perform like you're going to perform on Sundays, it's not going to happen, so now is the time where you beat yourself up and learn how to play when you're tired. Coach Kubiak puts in a lot of different situations throughout practice, and you just try to prepare for those situations so when those things come up in the game on Sunday, you're prepared."
- WR Andre Johnson, on his approach to offseason workouts