The Texans had close to a full house, attendance-wise, for the first week of Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
And that made a lot of sense to Head Coach Lovie Smith.
"No one was satisfied with what happened last year," Smith said Tuesday. "How do you get better? Come to work every time you have an opportunity to get better. You show up, some more than others."
After a 13-loss campaign in 2021, Houston's aiming for improvement in 2022 and beyond. The first bit of on-field work started earlier this week, and with very few exceptions, the 90-man roster was in attendance. While Smith was pleased with the turnout, he also stressed that not too much should be made of snap counts in May and June.
"It's not like we're going to make Brandin Cooks get every snap," Smith said. "We have some of our veteran players that I'm going to take some of their reps off a little bit. When you have as much competition as we have, you don't have to tell guys to show up. They want every opportunity they can to show us who they are."
Cooks caught 90 passes for 1,037 yards in 2021. It was the second straight season he cracked the 1,000-yard mark with Houston, and the sixth time in his eight-year NFL career he'd done so. He's energized by the start of OTAs, and by the changes at the top with Smith in charge.
"Guys are bought in and believing in that message that Coach Lovie is portraying," Cooks said. "He brings a lot of energy every day. I've got a lot of respect for him, he coached in this game for a long time so we're all excited."
Like Cooks, Offensive Lineman A.J. Cann has been in the league awhile. 2022 will be his seventh NFL campaign, and first with the Texans. Working and practicing with almost all his new teammates was an encouraging sign.
"It feels good seeing most of the team here," Cann said. "Everybody wants to be here. Everybody wants to get better. Everybody is contributing and that's what you want in the early part of the OTAs getting ready for the season to roll around."
Smith, Cooks, Cann and the rest of the Texans get going for the second week of OTAs next Tuesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.