Training Camp 8/17/21: Notes and Quotes

The Houston Texans were back outside and in full pads for Tuesday's training camp practice at the Houston Methodist Training Center.

Jordan Akins was back on the practice field. Akins missed most of last week's practice and did not play in Saturday's preseason game at Green Bay.

Game status for offensive linemen Tytus Howard and Roderick Johnson is still TBD, but head coach David Culley says he will know more about their availability on Wednesday. Howard and Johnson were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list last week as close contacts.

Deshaun Watson was not at practice but is still getting his work done, per Culley.

"Deshaun's here," Culley said before practice. "Every day he's here, he comes in and works. He does what we ask him to do. He's here every day and he's doing fine."

Whitney Mercilus says he see more confidence, more explosiveness and more great plays for Ross Blacklock.

"You smell like pickle juice!" Jordan Jenkins yelled at Mercilus during his press conference.

Wide receivers and defensive backs had some competitive 1-on-1 battles, making plays in the endzone closest to the media tent. Chris Conley and Terrance Mitchell each got the best of each other. Mitchell had a nice pass breakup but Conley came back and made a nice catch against the eight-year veteran.

At the end of the period, it appeared that the wide receivers won the round as the defensive backs dropped and did some pushups.

Pharaoh Brown has been fun to watch in team drills. Brown said he was still working his way back from COVID-19-like symptoms a few weeks ago, but he appears to be more active in team drills and is being used creatively in the offense whether it's blocking, catching or getting the ball flipped to him.

Lonnie Johnson had a big interception during team drills where he appeared to have landed on his back. Johnson shook it off and was back on the field for a third-down pass breakup in the next period.

In 7-on-7s in the red zone, the defense held its own and was stingy with the scores.

Defensive back Tavierre Thomas picked off a pass and prevented the score on one drive.

Thomas was a walk-on at Ferris State. He wanted to go to school at Iowa with teammate Desmond King II. The two grew up together in Detroit and had been friends since they were six years old. Thomas says King is his right-hand man and "is just a blessing" to be playing together in Houston.

Linebacker Tae Davis had another interception in the same period. Running back Rex Burkhead scored the first touchdown of the period. Jeff Driskel also threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Alex Erickson.

It was a long practice, with plenty of teaching periods. By the fourth team period, the offense was clicking again. Darius Jackson scored on a rushing touchdown and Burkhead scored on another.

Charles Omenihu will be playing some Madden '22 and is confident that he's the best player on the team. When asked who presents a challenge to him, he said Brandon Dunn and Jonathan Greenard.

The Texans will return for another practice Wednesday morning at the Houston Methodist Training Center. They will play the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday in their second preseason game. Kickoff from AT&T Stadium is set for 7 p.m. CDT on ABC13, SportsRadio 610 and HoustonTexans.com.

Check out the top photos from Day 16 of Texans Training Camp presented by Xfinity.

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