After a day off on Saturday, the Houston Texans were back in action for Day 4 of Training Camp presented by Xfinity. The heat was relentless, but so was the action in a very physical practice in front of the fans.
Here are the hottest headlines from Day 4:
1. C.J. Stroud's progress
Quarterbacks continued to split first-team reps in Sunday's practice, alternating between Davis Mills and Stroud during the four team periods. Head Coach DeMeco Ryans has been impressed with the work Stroud has been putting in when he's not in the building, asking for extra cutups of film from coaches. The rookie QB isn't bothered about first or second-team reps right now, just trying to improve his chemistry with receivers and get better each day.
"For me, I just keep my head down and I work," Stroud said. "I just try to work harder and harder every day, just trying to beat that person in myself."
2. Head Coach on a hot mic
NFL Network visited Texans training camp as part of their Back Together Weekend coverage. Head Coach Ryans was mic'd up LIVE during practice, sharing his thoughts on rookies like Will Anderson Jr. The Texans No. 3 overall pick does not like to take a rep off when he's on the field, according to Ryans.
"Definitely a locker room guy, a leader, he's been everything we'd hoped for," Ryans said. "The intensity every single day, that competitive contagiousness that he has, it's outstanding. Every day he's making a play, every day he shows up teaching all our guys how to work, so I'm happy to have Will on our team. He's going to be an important piece to what we're doing."
3. DT Sheldon Rankins returns to practice
Sheldon Rankins, who started practice on the PUP list, made his training camp debut on Sunday. The eight-year veteran and former first-round draft pick, played for Robert Saleh and the New York Jets last year in a similar defensive scheme, bringing experience to the group.
"Sheldon has done an awesome job," Ryans said. "Just the leader that Sheldon is off the field, what he'll bring to our defense, we're working him back in and he's progressing well. Happy to see him out practicing with us."
4. Young WRs impressing so far
The Texans newest wide receivers, former Houston Cougar third-round draft pick Tank Dell and sixth rounder Xavier Hutchinson, have been making some plays early in camp. Dell had a nice catch in front of the fans, who erupted in cheers for the former Houston Cougar.
"Tank has made some exciting plays out here at camp," Ryans said. "He's made some explosive plays. Seems like a guy who's very quarterback-friendly, knows how to get open. I really like his route-running ability and was joking with him in the meeting yesterday. Seems like he's always open, even when the ball isn't going to him, he's still running his routes violently like we like him to and he's consistently getting open."
Hutchinson has also made some highlight-worthy catches early in camp. The former Blinn Junior College and Iowa State product brings size and strength to his game.
"Hutch has showed up a lot," Ryans said. "Hutch has shown up with some big plays on the field, big, physical receiver. He's shown up in camp, making a few plays. Excited to see him continue to work and improve what he's doing."
And, of course, John Metchie III is not new to the Texans but he is a new addition on the field. In his first few practices, he has shown that he is healthy and ready to PLAY.
"Not surprised by what John Metchie is doing at all," Ryans said. "I've seen Metchie play a lot of football at Alabama, seen him make a lot of plays and that's who he is so he's not surprising me. I'm just fired up that he's back out here. It's an inspiration to me to see John Metchie and what he's been through. To see his attitude each and every day, he's uplifting everyone's spirits around here and I just love that kid. He's doing an excellent job for us."
5. Dalton Schultz update
TE Dalton Schultz was down on the field after a pass breakup in team drills. He walked off on his own after a few minutes.
"Just a bang-bang play," Ryans said. "He'll be fine."
The Texans will have their first padded practice when they take the field on Monday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.