The Texans practiced inside the Houston Methodist Training Center late Wednesday morning in preparation for this Sunday's home opener versus the Colts. Head Coach DeMeco Ryans and quarterback C.J. Stroud both met with the media inside NRG Stadium afterwards, and the Texans players talked with the media in the locker room following those press conferences.
Pick up the pace
Ryans wants the Texans offense to operate more quickly this week than it did in Week 1 at Baltimore.
"The biggest improvement that I would like to see from the offense is their tempo," Ryans said. " Getting the play calls. Getting in and out of the huddle faster, and just playing faster."
The head coach is confident Houston will pick up the pace against the Colts.
"That's what I expect to see this week," Ryans said. "I think we did some really good things. It's very encouraging to see what C.J. did."
Colts D 1st impressions
If Stroud and the offense do indeed play faster, it'll happen against a defense that's anchored in the middle by lineman DeForest Buckner. The Pro Bowler logged seven tackles, tallied a sack, forced a fumble and recovered and returned a fumble for a 26-yard touchdown against the Jaguars last week. Stroud explained the "great challenge" presented by the Indianapolis defense.
"They know what they're doing, they know what they're trying to get done," Stroud said. "Of course, DeForest Buckner is a great, great, all-world player. He's an All-Pro player, and somebody that we've definitely got to be aware of. And [I'm] excited, man, because that's what NFL football is about."
The Colts limited the Jaguars to just 3 yards per carry on Sunday, and allowed Jacksonville to convert only three-of-12 third downs.
Blake Cashman was back at practice Wednesday after missing the last few weeks with a hamstring injury. Additionally, rookie linebacker Henry To'oTo'o is now listed as the starting SAM linebacker on the Texans' unofficial depth chart. Regardless of who's suiting up at the spot, To'oTo'o likes how the position group is shaping up.
"No matter who's in the game, I think we have a great unit," To'oTo'o said. "We have a great coach and our scheme is great for linebackers to be able to fly and flow and just try to get to the ball."
The rookie, who finished his first NFL regular season contest with three tackles on just over a third of the defensive snaps, wasn't happy with the outcome of the game, but also pinpointed some positives from the loss.
"We did a great job of coming out with a mentality of swarming, trying to get to the ball to create turnovers," To'oTo'o said. "But we got to do a better job in the red zone, getting stops, putting points on the board as a defense and just helping our offense and put them in better position to score the ball."
Like Stroud, Indianapolis quarterback Anthony Richardson is a rookie. He completed 24-of-37 passes Sunday for 223 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He ran 10 times for a team-best 40 yards, and one of those carries went for a score. But he was also sacked four times. To'oTo'o underscored the importance of harassing Richardson.
"Being able to put pressure on him and just rile him up just a little bit," To'oTo'o said. "He knows where to put the ball, how to put the ball. He can make plays on his feet. So I think that's when he was going to be huge challenge for us this week."
Richardson's also 6-4, 244 pounds.
"He's huge," defensive end Will Anderson, Jr. said. "He's like, almost the same size as us. I think it'd be a great challenge for us up front, containing him, keeping him in the pocket and not letting him run all over the place."
In addition to the return of Cashman to practice Wednesday, HERE are some other injury notes.