Familiarity breeds comfort: Somewhat expectedly, the offense has looked crisper during practice than this time a year ago. With a full year of tinkering with the Texans offensive system under its collective belt, their should be very few miscues on offense this fall.
Perhaps there is no place where that's more important than the offensive line.
"Comfort level is a big deal out there on that field," Chester Pitts said Monday. "When you know it, understand it, feel it like the back of your hand, it makes it a lot easier to go out there and execute.
"The second year, you don't have to study as hard, you're not thinking as much, you're just out there on the field playing hard."
The head coach is noticing a difference too.
"The obvious thing now to me is when we practice we don't have near the bust and assignment situations that we had last year," Gary Kubiak said. "And I said this last week, we practiced like a veteran football team. We don't have a lot of balls on the ground, not a lot of sloppy things from the standpoint of just getting those things out of the way."
The most beleaguered area of the offense throughout the Texans brief history has been the offensive line. After showing signs of improvement a year ago, the Texans tweaked the lineup up front, but avoided a complete overhaul.
Pitts thinks that's only going to be beneficial when the games start for real.
"Absolutely, continuity, knowing the guy next to you, you don't have to make a call, you can just go (grunt) and he knows what you want him to do," Pitts said. "That's big in this game. You don't' have a lot of time to make decisions and make calls."
Leadership take two: DeMeco Ryans quickly took hold of a leadership position in 2006 despite it being his first season of NFL football. Now in year two, Ryans plans to take his leadership to another level and is looking forward to falling back on one year of play in the league as guidance.
"Oh definitely," Ryans said when asked if being the defensive leader would be easier this season. "Just knowing that I'm that guy in the middle and the guys are going to look up to me, a more leader by an example and just telling the guys, get on my back and we'll get to the playoffs."
Kubiak thinks that Ryans should improve as a leader in year two of his NFL career.
"He's very steady," Kubiak said. "You can just tell things are easier for him now from a classroom standpoint. He is just able to come out on the field and go to work and I think you'll see his leadership skills take over even more because he is comfortable with what he's doing football wise."
Like most Texan defenders, Ryans was pretty pleased with Houston's selection in the first round of this year's draft.
"It's exciting getting those great, talented guys up front that have great talent that can come in and utilize their ability to help us win games."
Ryans led the NFL in solo tackles in 2006, but he's not predicting a repeat performance.
"Numbers don't matter its all about the 'W' for me," Ryans said. "I don't care about the numbers."
Baby on the way: Organized team activities are optional, but since the workouts started on Wednesday, there have been no noticeable absences. That changed Monday.
Dunta Robinson missed Monday's workout, an excused absence, due to the birth of his second child. Von Hutchins saw ample time at cornerback opposite Demarcus Faggins with Robinson out.