For a second consecutive practice, Houston Texans worked in full pads in training camp. In 11-on-11 drills, the team continued to incorporate more situational football, including two-minute work. Head Coach DeMeco Ryans did not address the media on Tuesday. Instead, all three coordinators, OC Bobby Slowik, DC Matt Burke and Special Teams Coordinator Frank Ross answered questions after practice.
Here are the hottest headlines from Day 6 of training camp:
1. Assessing the offense in pads
It wasn't a clean day for the offense, with the Texans defense forcing turnovers once again, including an interception by Steven Nelson.
However, earlier in 11-on-11 work, Davis Mills connected with Nico Collins on a beautifully-thrown deep ball.
With full pads, the offense can really establish the run game and then determine how to build off that with pass plays, according to Slowik.
"The big thing for us in pads is just the emphasis on how much everything starts with the run game and you can start to feel that a lot more when we put pads on," Slowik said. "I always like to say, I think training camp for our offensive line is the biggest challenge they are going to get because of just the philosophy of how our defensive line plays, that makes it very difficult for what we're trying to do on offense. We're both attacking each other coming off the ball. It's really hard without pads and it really starts when the pads come on and then you just hone in on that."
2. New kicker?
The Texans had new kicker, Jake Bates, working with the special teams unit on Tuesday. Bates earned First-Team All -SEC honors last year at Arkansas, leading the SEC with an average of 64.47 yards per kickoff. The Tomball native had a chance to show off his leg at camp on Tuesday.
"We've got to evaluate as many players as we can. This is training camp so proving yourself every single day, as much competition we can bring to the roster every single day doesn't matter what position you are, the better, is the way I see it. Excited for Jake Bates, a local kid, and see what he can do."
3. Rookie Henry To'oTo'o taking the coaching
In this scheme, the linebackers are responsible for setting everything up front, making directional calls, setting the line and communicating. It's a competitive group -for instance, Blake Cashman has picked up multiple interceptions in the past few practices – but Henry To'oTo'o, the fifth-round draft pick out of Alabama, has still managed to stand out.
"He's a kid that practices with purpose," Burke said. "He's really coachable. I don't think he makes a lot of carry-over mistakes. He sees something, he corrects it, he kind of gets it done the next day."
Burke then told a great story about the rookie linebacker from practice yesterday.
"We're in the first period, he had a play that was a little bit short on, and we kind of got on him with a little bit back and forth," Burke said. "He literally got the same play the second half of practice and nailed it. I just see that in him where he's really taking the coaching and sort of applying it to the field every time, like he makes a mistake and he's correcting it and moving on so it's been cool to see that progress from him."
4. Tank Dell reflects on offseason work
Another rookie that's hard to miss in camp is WR Tank Dell. The University of Houston product is shifty, making plays on offense and also among a select group of players fielding kicks in the return game. Dell discussed working with C.J. Stroud and the receivers in the offseason out in Los Angeles.
"We went out there, we were just going through the playbook, running plays, running routes, trying to get on the same page," Dell said. "I felt like we were on the same page with me, C.J. and the other receivers, Nico (Collins), Rob (Robert Woods), everybody. We were just out there grinding, you know?"
The Texans will have a day off on Wednesday and resume training camp practice on Thursday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.