The Houston Texans held their first open practice on Friday. Fans got an early glimpse of rookies, DeMeco Ryans as head coach and the 2023 Texans in action. The team practiced for the third consecutive day in the steamy Houston heat with the first padded practice scheduled for Monday.
Here are the hottest headlines from Day 3 of training camp:
1. Happy Birthday, Coach!
Not only was it "Fan Day" at the Houston Methodist Training Center, but it was also Head Coach DeMeco Ryans' 39th birthday. He received a few different "Happy Birthday" serenades: from fans, from the Deep Steel Thunder band, his players and more.
"Thank you! Thank you," Ryans said. "Yeah, birthday today. It's a blessing to see another year and also on the birthday to be able to do what I love and do what I enjoy doing. Just thankful, grateful for another year, thankful for the guys. It was a fun time there at the end of practice, guys brought it up and they were singing 'happy birthday' to me, so that was special. Appreciate the love."
2. Will Anderson Jr.'s camp so far
Defense has been slightly ahead of the offense, as is typically the case in training camp. Rookie DL Will Anderson Jr. made the most of his reps and is showing why the Texans traded up to draft him third overall.
"Will [Anderson Jr.], the impact he's shown is just he is full speed every rep," Ryans said. "He plays with an intensity that I love at our defensive end and what we'll need, so it's encouraging to see his effort, his tenacity every single day. Never takes a play off. Hates when we try to give him a rep off. He gets mad at the coaches, so it's that mindset we knew Will had when we drafted him, and I'm just excited where he is right now."
3. Dameon Pierce aiming for 1,000 yards rushing
RB Dameon Pierce attacks his press conferences the same way he attacks the game, with unbridled enthusiasm, but also with plenty of laughs. Not only did he compare OC Bobby Slowik's playbook to the Bible, with all of its chapters and sections, he also shared his thoughts on the current state of the RB market. But more on that later...
Pierce, now in his second NFL season, wants to rush for 1,000 yards this year. In 2022, he fell just short, reaching 939 rushing yards in 13 starts. An ankle injury caused Pierce to miss the rest of his rookie campaign.
"That's a goal I have for myself," Pierce said. "That's what I expect from me. I definitely want to cap 1,000. Slo (OC Bobby Slowik) expects that. Everybody around me expects that and I'm going to try everything in my power to get that."
And as for Pierce's thoughts on the current state of the RB market and contracts, he had this to say.
"Like I said, I control what I can control," Pierce said. "Who knows? When it's time for my contract, the running back market might be as high as it's ever been. You know what I'm saying? Kind of like houses in 2008. It's time to buy a running back."
The Texans will have a day off Saturday and resume training camp practice on Sunday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.