It’s hot, it’s two hours and it’s the last padded practice so they got to prove it again tomorrow mentally and they have to keep going forward. You just want everybody to have a hell of a lot of fun and enjoy it. Offensive Line Coach James Campen
The Texans practiced outdoors in full pads on Wednesday. The practice was about two hours, with a brief rainstorm sandwiched in between the steamy periods at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
"We want them to be tough, physical and smart and be able to depend on them when it's 140 degrees like it was out here today," Offensive Coordinator Tim Kelly said. "We want a tough football team. Even if that means coming out and grinding through some of the tougher practices. Our guys have responded well and put in a lot of work over the last couple of weeks to try and build that."
The final preseason game, versus the Buccaneers, is just three days away.
"Some things we are doing a pretty good job of, others, we need to improve upon," Defensive Coordinator Lovie Smith said. "It's always good when you get a chance to play the Super Bowl Champion to get a great evaluation of exactly where we are, but we like some of the things we've done."
The Texans plan on playing the starters until some time in the third quarter. They're doing so for continuity and to evaluate how well halftime adjustments go.
"I think it's very important for not just young players but even veteran players to really ramp up reps and get reps the closer we get to the start of the regular season," passing game Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach Pep Hamilton said. "You know, even today, I mentioned to our group that we have to really value what I call the grass room time as much as we do our classroom time because we have to develop the muscle memory that's going to allow us to go out and play winning football on game day."
The temperatures were in the mid-90's, and competition heated up early as things got a bit chippy during 1-on-1s with the defensive linemen and tight ends.
During team drills, receiver Brandin Cooks made a tremendous catch downfield. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Cooks connected several times in team drills.
In 7-on-7s, linebacker Zach Cunningham came up with a big interception.
Taylor threw a beautiful pass in traffic to Jordan Akins. He followed it with another sideline completion to the tight end.
Rookie receiver Nico Collins, back at practice after missing the second preseason game, caught a deep ball in the period.
The offensive line still has one more preseason game to finalize the starting five and the depth behind it. Offensive Line Coach James Campen says Saturday's contest is "very important."
"Usually you have four and now only having three (preseason games), for every guy that's in that room, it is so important for them to play well and to make the evaluations hard," Campen said.
Campen is not on Instagram, so he missed this post from Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers after the Texans-Packers preseason game, but said he's grateful for the kind words:
In the second team period, defensiv back Terrence Brooks had an interception against the scout team.
During 7-on-7 red-zone drills, cloud cover brought along a nice breeze and respite from the heat, but only until they opened up for a summer rainstorm.
Running back David Johnson had a nice run to get to first-and-goal. His run was followed by what looked like touchdown passes to three different receivers on three different iterations of red-zone drills.
Towards the end of practice, the team did some goal-line work. Defensive back Justin Reid came up with a big pass breakup in the end zone.
The Texans will return to the practice field on Thursday at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Houston will host Tampa Bay in the final preseason game on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. CDT on ABC-13 and Sports Radio 610. Find tickets here.
Check out the top photos from Day 21 of Texans Training Camp presented by Xfinity.