When I came here and this staff came here, and we went in to our OTAs and went into our offseason program, I don’t know if there is a player on the team who improved as much as Charlie did from the start to this point right now. Head coach David Culley on offensive tackle Charlie Heck.
The Houston Texans held their final Training Camp presented by Xfinity practice of the week on Thursday, with a departure to Dallas scheduled for Friday. The Texans, who were without a number of players for their preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers last week, plan to see about 10-12 additional players get reps when the team faces the Cowboys on Saturday.
"We haven't yet really determined who's a starter for us and who's not a starter for us right now," head coach David Culley said. "But I do know that last week, those guys who played and didn't get played much will play a little more. How much? We're not really sure yet. We'll determine after practice today, and availability of our players to play in the game."
Culley also said he was pleased with the communication between his staff during the first preseason game.
"I think logistically everything worked out good for us," Culley said. "The communication from upstairs to downstairs was good. I expect it to be a little bit better this week."
The team was in shells and shorts after two consecutive days of practice in full pads. The Texans did quite a bit of situational work in team periods. Players seem to enjoy the competition of various situations and the urgency.
One of the first situations, which the team has practiced on other occasions during this camp, was a "clock running down to kick a field goal to win" type of scenario. Tyrod Taylor got one final pass off to tight end Pharaoh Brown in the middle of the field. The offense rushed off the field to make way for Ka'imi Fairbairn and the field goal kicking unit.
In 7-on-7 drills, Nico Collins made a smooth catch in stride on a pass from Taylor.
Davis Mills connected on passes to tight ends Brevin Taylor and Jordan Akins on his series. Jeff Driskel threw a sideline pass to Scottie Phillips.
In team red zone work, Taylor found Brandin Cooks for a gain and then followed it up with a touchdown pass to No. 13.
The wide receivers are so competitive with one another that they keep a running sheet in the locker room to push each other every day.
"We've got everything from drops, catches, explosive plays, big plays, everything on there," wide receiver Chris Moore said. "It comes out to a percentage. I'm a guy, when I see it, I always want to be at the top, but I'm still working to get at the top."
Moore says he's not sure but he thinks it could be Cooks or Chris Conley.
Linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill made great play to prevent a touchdown in the same period, getting his hand on the ball. Afterwards, Grugier-Hill gave himself some pushups in the endzone, seemingly upset for not having nabbed an interception out of the play.
Defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III says the team appreciates the new coaching staff treating the players like pros but still allowing them to have fun and hang out. Hargreaves feels he can flourish in Lovie Smith's style of defense.
"I think I benefit a lot," Hargreaves said. "It's a lot of zone, a lot of eyes on the quarterback type stuff, breaking and reacting kind of stuff, and that's kind of what I do. We'll see. It's too soon to tell right now, but when the season gets going, we'll figure it out."
The Texans 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 ABC-13, SportsRadio 610 and HoustonTexans.com.