Finally…another team in practice!
After two long weeks of battling each other, Houston Texans players got to work against the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday for the first of two joint practices together. The energy was high for both sides, especially the Texans who capped off Day 1 with the play of the day, a Jalen Pitre pick-six!
Here are the hottest headlines from Day 15 of training camp:
1. Jalen Pitre called it
In the final team period, QB Tua Tagovailoa was marching his offense down the field with efficiency, completing passes to TE Durham Smythe and WR Tyreek Hill. On the very next play, Pitre waited patiently until the right moment and then picked off Tagovailoa with nothing but green grass in front of him all the way to the endzone and straight through the exit gates. A literal walk-off interception.
"Oh, man, the crazy thing is, he [Jalen Pitre] always talks about that," Safety Jimmie Ward said. "Two-by-two, open, spread, slant. Steal the slant by one, and he went and got it."
However, Pitre's big-play potential comes as a surprise to no one, including the head coach.
"[With] the way Jalen Pitre practices every single day, it doesn't surprise me when he makes a big play," Head Coach DeMeco Ryans said. "It's expected because that's what he [Jalen Pitre] does every day. He's not going to surprise you with a wild play because that's who he is."
The entire Texans squad ran down the length of the field to celebrate with the second-year safety.
2. The 7-13 connection x 3
Tank Dell had himself a day, catching a trio of touchdown passes from C.J. Stroud. During the third team period while the offense worked on redzone situations against the Dolphins defense, Dell scored three times in front of the fan section, which erupted in raucous cheers each time.
"He's (Dell's) electrifying," Will Anderson Jr. said. "He can make anybody miss, great feet, can go up and get the ball, fast. He's just a one-of-type kind of guy. He works really hard."
3. Other big playmakers
Second-year linebacker Christian Harris picked off Tagovailoa earlier in practice during another team period.
"Yeah, Christian [Harris] has been doing a great job all throughout camp," Ryans said. "It was good to see him make a play, make a play on the ball – that's what we want to do. We want to be about the ball, attacking the ball defensively, and to get a couple today, it's encouraging for us."
TE Dalton Schultz made some spectacular catches, including one for a touchdown. The veteran tight end made a one-handed sliding grab on a pass from Stroud during redzone work.
"What does Dalton mean to our team? I think it's that," Ryans said. "He provides a security blanket for the quarterback, has really good hands. He's a guy you can rely on. He's good in protection when it's called upon him, so Dalton is just a pro's pro. He's consistent in his approach every day, and it's great to have Dalton on our team."
4. Special guests
A few special guests also showed up to watch the Texans and Dolphins in action for Wednesday's practice, including Texans Legend Andre Johnson and former Astros pitcher and Cy Young winner Roger Clemens and Houston Dash players.
5. No fights
Despite the competition between both teams, no fights broke out in practice. This is notable because the past few days of Texans training camp, practices have been getting progressively more heated. Heading into joint practices, Ryans made it clear he and Dolphins Head Coach Mike McDaniel would be ejecting any players that got into fights, much like a game.
"Overall today, I felt like it was an effective practice on both sides," Ryan said. "I think we all got really good work. Offensively, defensively, guys made plays [and there are] things to learn from, so we got what we needed out of today's practice, and [I'm] looking forward to tomorrow just getting even more work."
The Texans and Dolphins will hold their second and final joint practice Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Houston Methodist Training Center ahead of Saturday's preseason game at NRG Stadium.