Practice in Richmond was a welcome change.
The Texans worked Thursday morning against Washington at the Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Virginia.
"I really like this type of practice," head coach Bill O'Brien said. "It's really good for the coaches, it's a different way of practicing, it keeps us all on our toes and so it's really good."
At various points throughout the morning, the two squads worked against each other. The day finished with 11-on-11 drills pitting each organization's first team offense versus the other's starting defense, and vice versa. Brian Hoyer quarterbacked the Texans' first unit, and said he and his teammates were a little sharper than normal.
"I think if anything it's a heightened awareness because when you go against your own defense, you kind of see the same thing over and over again, so you're accustomed to seeing what that defense is," Hoyer said.
Fellow quarterback Ryan Mallett said the day versus Washington was a good measuring stick for how prepared Houston is at this point in camp.
"You kind of see where you are as a team and as an offense," Mallett said. "We have to get better. There are some things we did well and some things we didn't do well. We will go look at the film and come back tomorrow and try to correct those things."
But ultimately, it wasn't just a different experience for the coaches, players and fans. Even team chairman and CEO Bob McNair was enthused by the practice with Washington.
"I like the competition and it's a lot more fun for the players to see some different faces out there and good competition, so we can learn a lot about who we are and where we are," McNair said.
The Texans will practice in Richmond again tomorrow.