Temperatures climbed into the 90's Tuesday morning.
Noisy conditions: It may be only May, but the Texans are already simulating game situations during workouts. Aside from the usual red zone work and down-and-distance periods, Tuesday head coach Gary Kubiak ended practice with a team period complete with crowd noise.
"I have said that I felt like the poise of our football team was something that was really lacking last year," Kubiak said. "To become a better team we have to become a more poised team. So we are going to do some things out of the ordinary here in practice.
"We're going to practice with noise and we're going to practice a lot of stuff like that to learn how to play on the road, to play at Indy, and play at Tennessee and play at places where we did not play very good. We have to get better from that standpoint."
The offense seemed to have little trouble maneuvering in the noise as Matt Schaub led the offense down the field on more than one occasion. The period was highlighted by a long rushing touchdown from Ron Dayne and a tipped ball that was hauled in by Jacoby Jones, who then scampered close to 40 yards for an apparent score.
Commander Schaub: Schaub continues to impress during OTA's. Tuesday's best pass was probably while the offense was working in the red zone. Looking the safety off the entire way, Schaub wheeled and threw a strike to Kevin Walter for a score.
Schaub's physical gifts are evident daily, but his leadership skills are what is most striking about the Texans' new signal caller. He really commands the huddle.
"I think that is his strength," Kubiak said. "He is such in control with what he does and he can worry about all the other 10 guys. He hasn't been in a situation with any noise with our team since he's been here.
"And he walks out here at the end of practice and everybody is tired and he really took control of his group and moved them right down the field. I think that is his strength and we as coaches have got to play to that strength and as a team have to play to strength and put him in a position to lead that group. I think that's what he does really well."
In just a few weeks, Schaub has learned what his role in the offense is as well as all of his teammates. In recent days he's been answering teammates questions which resonates as a sense of calm on the field.
"That is important because we're young and the more that they can rely on that guy I think they all play better," Kubiak said. "When Andre (Johnson) feels like he can go to him for the answer, and the tight end and the linemen and he is comfortable to give them that answer. I think that is going to make everybody a little bit better.
"Time will tell. But there has been some nice poise with him out here."
Defense improving daily: Last year's transition from a 3-4 scheme to a more traditional 4-3 attack took some time. Houston's defense struggled during the first month of the season but by year's end, the Texans defense was arguably one of the finest in the league.
Kubiak believes the defense is far ahead of where they were at this time a year ago.
"Its obvious that they are a lot more composed in what they're doing in just understanding their base and what we want to do," Kubiak said. "Last year we took a lot of chances, aggressive wise, as a defensive football team to try to help our team win, we felt like we had to do that.
"Hopefully we're better personnel wise and being more sound going into year two where we feel like we can sit there and play our base defense and not feel like we have to take as many chances. But we will be aggressive."
One player that played a huge role defensively over the final months of the 2006 season was Anthony Maddox. Maddox was plucked off the practice squad a year ago and made an immediate contribution.
Maddox was under the weather at the start of OTA's, but is feeling much better now and Kubiak is expecting big thing from the defensive tackle.
"The biggest thing with Anthony is I think he's feeling good," Kubiak said. "He went through some issues at the start of OTAs where he wasn't feeling well and some physical things that we got corrected. If you ask him he's probably feeling about as good as he's felt in the last couple years and he's already a good football player.
"I think his health is only going to make him better and he's been very impressive."
Maddox has shed 10 pounds and claims to be even quicker off the ball. He's also looking forward to playing with Houston's latest first-round draft pick.
"I think Amobi (Okoye) is a great addition," Maddox said. "He's a young guy, quick, got a lot of energy. It's going to be good to have him out there and playing with him, hopefully he'll give me some of that energy. We'll have a good time."
McCardell to visit:Veteran wide receiver Keenan McCardell will visit with Texans officials Tuesday. The 37-year old is a free agent who could bring some leadership to a relatively young receiving corp.
"I'm looking forward to it," Kubiak said of the visit. "I know Keenan. I have visited with him already, but today will be face to face. I'm looking forward to discussing our situation with him. He's a class act and hopefully it's something we can get worked out. I'd love to have him be a part of what we're doing."
According to Kubiak, McCardell believes he still has plenty to offer.
"When I talked to him there is no doubt in his mind that he has plenty left," Kubiak said. "I know what he stands for and what type of player he's been and you don't have to make many phone calls to check on this guy. He is a class act and he stands for all the right things so we'll see what happens today."
This coming season would be McCardell's 17th in the NFL. He's just one game short of playing in 200 career contests and has hauled in 62 career touchdowns for the Redskins, Browns, Jaguars, Buccaneers and Chargers.