Under gray skies and temperatures in the upper 40's and lower 50's, the Texans practiced outside at the Houston Methodist Training Center on Tuesday. It was not a full practice, but rather a walkthrough. Normally they have Tuesday off, but with Saturday night's win-and-make-the-playoffs matchup with the Colts looming, the Texans worked a day earlier than normal. Afterwards, head coach DeMeco Ryans and then quarterback C.J. Stroud both held press conferences inside NRG Stadium. In between, the locker room was open to the media. Here are some of the more notable storylines from the day, all read-able in less than 60 seconds.
Growth...from Week 2
Ryans, Stroud and the Texans last faced the Colts in Week 2, and Indianapolis coasted to a 31-20 victory. That loss dropped Houston's record to 0-2 on the season. Since then, they're 9-5 and in the playoffs with a win. Stroud said the growth Houston's gone through is a "night and day" difference, and Ryans also explained that the Texans are much better now than they were in the middle of September.
"We're a completely different team from our first meeting," Ryans said. "You put the tape on and it's like, 'Wow.' I'm encouraged by how much better we've gotten. You kind of know who we are now."
Stroud was very specific when he was asked for a specific example of how he's better now as a player than he was in Week 2.
"We were playing the Colts in Week 2, and we were probably like plus-25, around the 25 or 30-yard line, and we called – not really a shot – but a 'Four Vertical' look," Stroud said. "They did a good job of carrying the safeties with the vertical seams. I was looking to the right and I went left, and I had 'Metch' [Wide receiver John Metchie, III] in the flat, and I didn't take it and I tried to hit the checkdown. The checkdown was there, too. I didn't take it and I ran, I got hit and I threw it away. I took an extra hit for no reason. So, in this past game, we had a shot play. They (the Titans) went Tampa 2, and I saw that it was taken away and I threw it to 'D.P.' [Dameon Pierce] and he made a good catch. And that's just growth right there knowing not to take hits when you don't need to, and just getting the ball out of your hand and helping your offensive line out. That's an example of me growing in that type of area."
The Colts defense has logged a franchise-best 47 sacks in 2023. Four different linemen have seven or more sacks this year, and defensive end Samson Ebukam leads the way with 9.5.
Texans Center Michael Deiter described the challenge facing Houston.
"They get off the ball really well," Deiter said. "They play hard, they play physical, and the backers are really good too. But it's something that we're prepared for."
For a full list of who practiced, and who didn't, please click **HERE**.