Kool-Aid pie, I think I was like eight or nine years old, and I still eat it to this day. I can't eat it right now because I'm in season. I'm trying to take care of my body, but as soon as the offseason hits I've got to have some. Tytus Howard
The 2021 Houston Texans made their padded practice debut on Tuesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
"We've been waiting on this day right now for six days, and we got out there, and what I saw and what I heard was exactly what we expected, guys playing football the way you're supposed to play football," head coach David Culley said. "The thing we found out today out there with pads on today is when you don't have pads on like we've been in this ramp-up period is you don't really get to see leverage finish. You don't get to see guys when they take the angles. If you take a bad angle with pads on, it's different than taking a bad angle when you don't have pads on, and so today that was good."
Tight end Pharaoh Brown and cornerback Lonnie Johnson practiced for the first time after starting camp on the Active/Non-Football Injury list. According to head coach David Culley, Brown and Johnson are still going through the "ramp up" right now and have limited reps.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson was not on the field for the team's first day in pads.
"As I said before, we're day-to-day with it," Culley said. "The only thing that's changed from the standpoint of that is we make decisions every day based on what's best for our football team, and I'm going to leave it at that."
The Texans got to work on the practice fields with a threat of raining looming the entire time, but instead, it was a mild day with temperatures in the 80's and plenty of cloud cover.
"One of the five greatest days in the history of our franchise…weatherwise," Marc Vandermeer said, comparing it to a warmer version of prior camp practices at The Greenbrier in West Virginia.
In early 9-on-7 drills, running backs got plenty of work with consecutive run plays with handoffs from quarterback Davis Mills. On the other half of the field, Taylor and Jeff Driskel worked with receivers.
In team drills, Tyrod Taylor made a nice adjustment to find rookie wideout Nico Collins deep for a catch.
Phillip Lindsay was quick and eluded defenders to get close to a first down.
Jeff Driskel and Anthony Miller connected on a long reception on third down.
Ka'imi Fairbairn finished out the period by making all of his field goals from increasing distances, the longest being 52 yards.
During special teams work, assistant special teams coordinator Sean Baker had plenty of enthusiasm for defensive backs as they ran through their blocking drills.
Vernon Hargreaves III had an interception in 7-on-7s and then followed it up with another pick during team drills later in practice.
Wide receiver Chris Conley plucked the throw from Taylor with one hand near the sideline by the fans which got them excited.
The two-minute team period was definitely the highlight of the day.
"We feel the same way about whoever is running the show in that particular thing, even the second group that ran it today," Culley said. "They were fortunate enough that they were able to score today on that. The second group was not able to score. Actually, the defense ended up finishing with an interception. But basically whoever is running that offense, whoever is running that two-minute offense, that's what we expect, and touchdowns, that's what you're going to see, and you'll see that out of any of those guys, whoever the quarterback is."
Taylor threw a great pass to Keke Coutee in the middle of the field to move the chains. Coutee, whose helmet came off during the play, received big cheers from his fellow wide receivers along the sideline.
"Tyrod, he's a new guy, learning very well," Coutee said. "Everybody is learning each other right now. This is a whole new team, so I feel like we're gelling pretty well right now."
Brandin Cooks followed up with a deep catch to get the offense into the redzone. With 26 seconds remaining, Taylor scrambled into the endzone for a touchdown.
Coincidentally, it was also Taylor's birthday and he received a water bottle shower from his offensive linemen after practice.
"Oh yeah, it's his birthday," Tytus Howard said. "We had to do it for his birthday, show a little love for our QB."
Laremy Tunsil observed Howard answering questions from the media after practice. Howard made sure to throw some praise his way.
"Yeah, man, ever since LT (Laremy Tunsil) been here, he has been nothing but like a big brother to me, helping me out on and off the field, just giving me ideas and ways to help my game get better," Howard said. "I'm appreciative of my boy right there."
Howard and the offensive lineman signed footballs and threw them into the stands for Texans fans.
The Texans return for training camp practice on Wednesday morning at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
Check out photos from the sixth day of Texans Training Camp presented by Xfinity.