The scouting report on DeAndre Hopkins has always included superlatives about how he'll fight for the ball and usually end up on the winning side.
But on Thursday in Richmond, he wasn't just fighting for the ball.
The third-year wide receiver didn't back down from physical challenges by the Washington defense. At one point, he and DeAngelo Hall scrapped with each other when tempers flared. Ultimately, though, he smiled and said it was all just part of the game.
"A little bit feisty, not too much," Hopkins said. "When you got competitive teams going against each other, you're going to have those battles and especially when no refs are around. It's going to linger on a little bit."
Hopkins quickly made it clear that he and the Texans wouldn't get pushed around or intimidated. That willingness to mix it up was energizing for quarterback Ryan Mallett.
"I love it, I love it.," Mallett said. "You've got to love a receiver that's got that 'go and get it' mentality. I think he does, so I like it."
Mallett and Brian Hoyer repeatedly fed Hopkins during the morning practice at the Bon Secours Training Center. Whether it was to the left side, over the middle or on the right side of the field, Hopkins came down with the ball time and again on Thursday. An 800-yard rookie season in 2013 begat a 1,200-plus yard season in 2014. The increase in production amplified a confidence that's been evident since the Texans used their first round pick on the Clemson wideout two years ago.
"One-on-one, I feel like I'm going to win that match up any time," Hopkins said. "So that's what I live for as a receiver, to get those one-on-one match ups."
Hopkins was sidelined for OTAs and minicamp with an injury, so quarterback Brian Hoyer's first practice with him was last Saturday. But the lack of work in May and June hasn't shown in any July and August rust, as the wide receiver has impressed the new signal caller.
"Having 'Hop out there has been great," Hoyer said on Thursday. "You get to come out here, especially against another team, who doesn't get to know our route tree and our plays."
Hoyer and Hopkins linked up for a touchdown when the Texans' first-team offense squared off against the Washington starting defense in a red zone drill. It was a catch that drew 'oohs' and 'ahs' from the crowd, and it capped a day for Hopkins that Hoyer termed "exciting".
Day two of joint practices with the Texans and Washington is Friday in Richmond.
The Texans worked vs. Washington on Thursday in Richmond, Virginia.