The Houston Texans training camp is underway but with major changes in effect for 2020.
With no preseason games, NFL teams will have to get creative in evaluating players and reducing their rosters to the 53-man cuts. Head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien has plans for intra-squad scrimmages among Texans players.
"I think we're going to have to plan at least two or three scrimmages," O'Brien said Friday. "I think that's also going to be different for coaches, where coaches aren't going to have those preseason games to iron out the communication from the sideline to the press box and things like that and substitutions during the game. We've planned on a couple of scrimmages that we're going to have. Maybe even more than that to work on everything and to give players an opportunity to get on film, bring officials in here to give players an opportunity to get on film to do some things they would've been able to do or show in preseason games."
The Texans have held joint practices with other teams in every single training camp under O'Brien since 2014. Due to COVID-19, the NFL has eliminated all competition between teams until the start of the 2020 regular season. With no organized team activities (OTAs) in the offseason, the Texans will kick off camp with a modified version of their offseason workout program before padded practices begin in two weeks.
"The first couple of weeks here will be a lot of strength and conditioning and walkthroughs," O'Brien said. "Then we'll progress into kind of like an OTA-type mode. I would say the first day in full pads would be August 14th, and that's what we will start what we always call 'real' football. Up until that point, it is definitely a ramp up schedule that we're trying to take advantage of. We've been using it with our rookies right now and they seem to be progressing well with it, so I know our full team will."
The 2020 NFL season will begin with a Thursday night matchup between the Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on September 10. Kickoff is set for 7:20 p.m. CT on NBC and SportsRadio 610.