Training camp has begun for the Houston Texans, and with regards to COVID-19, they're extremely focused.
The normal discussion about August position battles was largely set aside on Friday morning, as General Manager and Head Coach Bill O'Brien met with the media via Zoom. Instead, he and executive vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby, mainly discussed how the franchise has adjusted to a range of new circumstances on the health front.
"It's one day at a time," O'Brien said. "Everybody is getting tested every day. There's testing available for families if players choose to take advantage of that."
O'Brien said through the team's had "100 percent negative tests" over the last three days, and he credited the changes at the team facilities, the leadership, and the vigilance by the players themselves for the early success.
"Obviously, they are taking this thing seriously," O'Brien said. "I think we have shown some of our building publicly, but our building has been basically redone, refurbished, in every way, shape and form. You got three different locker rooms we're using. The cafeteria has been redone, there's new flooring, everything. I feel like we're headed in the right direction."
O'Brien also emphasized how important it was to do what most of the rest of society is now doing: wearing a mask.
"I don't understand why it has been politicized as much as it has but it has," O'Brien. "Obviously, we tell our players that I don't really care what somebody politicizes abut mask wearing. Mask wearing has been scientifically proven to reduce your chance of getting the Coronavirus, so we're going to do that. We're going to wear our masks when we are in the building until we get out to practice with our helmets on. We're also going to socially distance. That also has been scientifically proven."
Easterby was quick to laud the collaborative process in preparing for the upcoming season.
"This has been an awesome effort by our entire team," Easterby said. "We've done it together. We've studied from other organizations. We've studied other sports. We've studied all the way around the globe, really, at how this has been handled, and that's educated us on how we can serve our players the best."
The Texans will have their first padded practice on August 14 at the Houston Methodist Training Center. From now until then, they'll meet in virtual settings, conduct walkthroughs and ramp up their strength and conditioning efforts to get ready for the season.