Standing at the podium after another hot and sticky training camp practice, Davis Mills looks different. Aside from the new mustache, he has added some bulk to his frame.
"Biggest thing, diet and working out in the off-season, staying clean," Mills says. "Obviously, I think I've put on some pounds from last year. I want to come in and maybe bulk up a little bit so I can take those hits throughout the season. My body will handle it. It comes with being a football player. There's guys on the defensive side of the ball who are much bigger than I am, so I'm just trying to keep up."
Heading into his second season, the 23-year-old quarterback is now the starter for Houston. After 13 games with 11 starts as a rookie, Mills attacked his offseason with an almost methodical approach. He knew where he wanted to improve, his overall knowledge of the offense as well as being able to execute all the throws he needed to make.
"We kind of pinpointed and saw the shot chart or the throw chart from across the field, saw the different percentages, and I had a couple boxes where I needed to work on, so I focused on those type of throws, just making sure my feet and my body were in line to make all those throws," Mills said. "The biggest thing is just coming out and being ahead of schedule in the playbook so you can come out and play fast."
Shortly after the 2021 season ended, Mills organized some throwing sessions with his offensive teammates at his Atlanta-area high school. About a week before camp started, Brandin Cooks invited Mills and a group of players to Oregon where they worked on football and hung out off the field.
"The first thing we did out there was trying to build chemistry heading into camp, making sure we were on the same page with what we had installed in the offense at that point," Mills said. "Then the other part is kind of team bonding, hanging out with your guys. We had a good time up there. We spent it at the lake. He got us a little AirBnB on the lake, so we were able to go out and paddleboard and swim around with each other, and it was a lot of fun."
Through just three days of camp, the chemistry shows. Mills has done well protecting the ball, a point that Head Coach Lovie Smith noted. The Texans practiced in pads for the first time on Monday, adding more situational drills, including two-minute work.
"I feel really good," Mills said. "I think I've developed a lot since the end of last season. I think I felt the progression at the end of last year and then really taking it into the offseason, big momentum and stacking on it has allowed me to come out here and start playing really fast at the start of training camp and throughout OTAs. I'm excited to keep progressing."
The Texans will hold their next training camp Tuesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Houston will kick off the 2022 regular season at home against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, Sept. 11 at noon CT.