Earlier this offseason, Texans coaches got a head start on 2011 by putting together their playbooks and game plans for the first several games of the season.
That seemed like a unique byproduct of the lockout at the time, but it sounds almost mundane compared to the last few weeks.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak said that he and his staff have been in teaching mode with each other, "coaches teaching coaches" – reviewing installations and terminology in meetings as if they were in training camp meetings with players.
"What we've done is we've assumed that our players are here," Kubiak said in his office on Wednesday. "We went down in our rooms and went into our teaching mode just like we would be teaching if our guys were here the first few weeks of training camp. Some of the coaches are the students, some of the coaches are teachers.
"We're just trying to put ourselves through a mimic training camp, with about 10 faces in there instead of 50. So it's been good for all of us."
The teaching sessions have been particularly useful for assistant coaches to get a firmer grasp on new terminology. There are new wrinkles being installed on offense, and new coaches from different teams settling in on defense.
New defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and linebackers coach Reggie Herring brought with them a new scheme, and new terminology, from the Dallas Cowboys. New defensive backs coach Vance Joseph spent the last six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Defensive line coach Bill Kollar and assistant defensive backs coach Perry Carter, the only holdovers on the defensive staff, have worked with former defensive coordinator Frank Bush's terminology for the last two seasons.
"It's been really good," Kubiak said of the teaching sessions. "We've been doing it on both sides of the ball, and we've done it with special teams with Joe (Marciano). It just keeps coaches fresh in their teaching; sharpens you back up on your teaching skills for when it's time to go. So it's been good. We've had some time on our hands, and it's been used very wisely."
If the lockout is resolved in time for training camp to start in late July, Kubiak and his staff will be more prepared than ever.
"We're ready to go to camp today," Kubiak said. "Before, we were ready to go bookwork-wise and paperwork-wise (playbook) and all that stuff. Right now, teaching-wise we're ready to go. We kind of had a warm-up, which we normally don't have. That's been good. I know it's been good especially on the defensive side of the ball."