Monday brought a big shift in mindset to the Houston Texans.
While the bulk of the nation was off for the Labor Day holiday, head coach Bill O'Brien and company went to work. After spending all spring and summer with 90 players, and then 75 last week, the 53 on the active roster and the 10 practice-squadders worked inside the Houston Methodist Training Center in the morning.
And there was an increased buzz around facility.
"There's definitely some good excitement on our team right now, which is good," O'Brien said. "I did ask some of the rookies, 'What one thing stood out to you when you walked into the team meeting room this
morning?' and virtually every one of them said, 'A lot less players.' I said that's why it's a privilege to play in this league and you have to earn it every single day."
Second-year cornerback and 2015 first round pick Kevin Johnson described the big difference that Monday brought.
"Everything you're picking up," Johnson said. "Your film study, your preparation, the reps in practice you'll be more locked in because you know these are reps you'll see in the game."
Center Greg Mancz was a rookie with Johnson last season. Undrafted in 2015 out of Toledo, Mancz is slated to start this Sunday in the opener against Chicago. He too, noticed the change that Monday brought.
"It's a different focus," Mancz said. "We just gotta start focusing on what the job is at hand."
O'Brien said the execution wasn't perfect on Monday, but he was very encouraged by what he saw.
"I know that the work ethic, the competitive spirit, and all the things you want from a team, you had it there today," O'Brien said.
The Texans are off on Tuesday, and will resume practice on Wednesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
Check out photos from Monday's indoor practice.