Training Camp 8/18/21: Notes and Quotes

Our returners are explosive. We’ve got a bunch of really good savvy vets that block their tails off for those guys and know how dangerous they are when they get the ball in their hands. So, I think the return game is going to be pretty special for us this year. Jon Weeks

Wednesday's training camp practice was another hot and steamy one at the Houston Methodist Training Center.

The Houston Texans practiced in full pads for a second consecutive day with just three days remaining until Saturday' preseason game at Dallas.

Tytus Howard and Roderick Johnson were activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday. Howard participated in practice but Johnson did not and was waived by the team. Currently, NFL teams are supposed to be at 85 players on the active roster.

Linebacker Zach Cunningham returned to practice as well after being out on Tuesday.

Head coach David Culley did not speak to the media before practice. Instead, offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, defensive coordinator Lovie Smith and special teams coordinator Frank Ross answered questions after practice about the training camp and preseason.

Wide receiver Chris Conley had an impressive reception in team drills. In Saturday's preseason game at Green Bay, Conley finished with a team-high four catches for 51 yards receiving. Kelly said that Conley often spends time after practice working with the quarterbacks.

"He's strong," Kelly said. "Like you saw the other night, he went up and made some big grabs on the sideline, strong hands, kept the ball away from his defender. He's a big body. He's running well, so Chris is doing a good job.

In 1-on-1s, wide receiver Chris Moore made an impressive one-handed catch. Yet it appeared that the defensive backs won the period since wide receivers and offensive coaches did pushups at the end. Moore also had a nice catch on a pass from Davis Mills during team period.

Kelly wants to see continued growth and improvement from Tyrod Taylor and Mills against the Cowboys this week.

"We're talking Tyrod going out there and lead an efficient offense, go down there and take what's given to you and see if we can convert in the red zone," Kelly said. "With Davis, just continue to cut back on mistakes and don't have my missed throws. I think going back and watching the tape, there was probably one or two throws in particular that come to mind right now that immediately he would want back. He's going to make those throws nine-out-of-10 times."

Defensive lineman Maliek Collins likes to build cars and collect hats in his free time.

"Pleased with what he's done in practice," Lovie Smith said. "I can't wait to get him some game work."

Special teams did a lot of work in Wednesday's practice. Jon Week believes it might be the best unit he has seen during his time with the Texans.

Punter Cameron Johnston decided to make the transition from Australian rugby to punting in 2010, Weeks' rookie season with the Texans. Johnston trained with Pro Kick Academy in Australia and was punting at the collegiate level just one year later.

Lovie Smith prefers the term "takeaways" to "turnovers" when being asked about it. Under Smith, the defense has been working in practice to take the ball away and create more opportunities for scoring, rather than waiting for an offense to turn the ball over in a game. Smith says coaching the Texans has been a rewarding and fun experience so far.

"It's been, what, three weeks or so now," Smith said. "We're getting to know each other a little bit better, but I like the process. You've got to like the process. We know where we need to get, but the grind of training camp, seemed like they like it because we haven't had a lot of guys miss. I mean, not a lot of injuries. As you can see, we sweat every day. You have training camp in Houston, you sweat every day quite a bit. So I've loved it."

The Texans will next practice on Thursday morning at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Houston 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.

The Houston Texans roster in photos.

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