The Houston Texans returned to work for Day 12 of training camp, with a much-needed break from the triple-digit heat. For the first time this camp, players practiced inside the Houston Methodist Training Center late Saturday afternoon. Players were in shorts for the light practice, but still did some 11-on-11 work in team periods.
Here are the hottest headlines from Day 12 of training camp:
1. C.J. Stroud continues to get first-team reps
After getting his first game action on Thursday, C.J. Stroud exited after two series wanting more in his debut against the New England Patriots. Despite his limited game snaps, Stroud has shown steady progress each day in camp where he has been getting first-team reps consistently, according to OC Bobby Slowik.
"One thing about C.J. that's been awesome, from Day 1 of camp to Day 2, Day 3 to Day 4, he's kept going up and we hope to see that in preseason game two," Slowik said.
2. Tight ends get healthier
TE Teagan Quitoriano suited up for his first practice of camp on Saturday, after starting off on the PUP list. As a rookie last year, he played in nine games (six starts), catching seven passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns.
3. Texans prepare for Miami Dolphins week
Houston will host the Miami Dolphins for joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday this week. Practicing against another team allows coaches to script situations for players in a controlled environment, whereas preseason games allow players to react to live action. Both are useful tools in evaluating players, according to DC Matt Burke.
"I think that's why we do it," Burke said. "It's just a diverse evaluation process that we put these guys in different environments and different situations and see how they react. that's big picture, ok 'how did they react in the game, how did they react to a new team when we're practicing, how do they do with our stuff when we're practicing against our offense.'"
4. Return specialist competition is still up in the air
In Thursday's preseason game against the Patriots, Steve Sims and rookie Tank Dell each had a chance to return a punt. Sims also had a kick return for 21 yards.
"It's a good competition right now," Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross said. "There's a lot of playmakers back there. Desmond (King) didn't even get a chance to try this weekend so an example there. (Alex) Bachman has done a great job. On the kick returns, you're going to see multiple people throughout the rest of the preseason as well as punt returns."
During special teams work, punt and kickoff returners have rotated through number of players, including Dell, Sims, Alex Bachman, John Metchie III and Desmond King, who returned 33 punts for 309 yards (9.4 yards ave.) last year for Houston.
"Excited to see how it shakes out," Ross said about the competition for returner. "I don't know the answer to it. I'll let you know when we know."
The Texans will host the Miami Dolphins for their second preseason game. Kickoff from NRG Stadium is set for 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, Aug. 19.