The Texans began their final week of organized team activities (OTAs) on Tuesday. Thunderstorms pushed the team inside the Methodist Training Center practice bubble after they spent the first 30 minutes of practice outdoors.
Looking to ratchet up the intensity, Texans coach Gary Kubiak had his team practice with artificial crowd noise blaring from speakers on the sidelines of the field.
"We wanted some noise and we wanted a little chaos going on at practice here these next few days," Kubiak said. "I thought it worked out good."
Ben Tate was a full participant in practice, a first for the rookie running back out of Auburn. He missed the first 10 practices of OTAs with a hamstring injury and got his first limited work with the team last Thursday.
"He's faster than everybody else, so obviously he's fresh," Kubiak said. "Things I was impressed with: Obviously, he was paying attention and knew what he was doing. We were actually doing some tough stuff on him today as far as no scripting, just calling stuff and seeing how guys react and turning the noise on. It was good to see him out here and get going."
Tate said that he has been asking questions of Steve Slaton and the Texans' other veteran running backs to help himself stay mentally tuned in to the offense.
"Just because you're hurt, you can't sit on the side and not know what's going on because at some point, you're going to get your chance," Tate said. "And when you get your chance, you don't want to be left behind."
Last offseason, Kubiak gave many of the team's veterans a break during the Texans' mini-camp, reserving the mandatory practices for rookies and other young players. Veterans were required only to lift weights and attend meetings.
Kubiak would not divulge on Tuesday whether he plans to do the same next week with mini-camp scheduled from June 14-16.
"I can't tell them (players) yet," he said, adding a wry smile. "I'll tell you Wednesday or Thursday, how about that? Did they tell you to ask me that? Mum's the word. Mum is the word."
That's what he said
"When I opened it up, I was just like 'Wow, how am I going to learn this?' But as time goes on, you start to understand it, and it comes with a lot of studying and a lot of hard work."
- RB Ben Tate, on his first thoughts when he opened the Texans' playbook
"That's the whole idea of these OTAs, just to get them to where they feel competitive when they go to camp. If the first time you saw rookies was when they went to training camp, it'd be hard to catch these vets, but when they have these 14 days or 17 days and they get themselves in position to go maybe catch one of these guys, that gives them confidence."
- Gary Kubiak, on Tate and other rookies feeling overwhelmed initially