The Houston Texans held a shorter, walkthrough type of training camp practice after three consecutive days in full pads. The NFL referees were on hand again, but the team periods definitely weren't as intense as the players get a 36-hour break before their Saturday night scrimmage.
"I couldn't have asked for any more in those three pad days we had, especially the last one we had yesterday, the effort was excellent, the finishing was exactly what we wanted," head coach David Culley said. "Again, the consistency is still not there, but today was a day of basically let them recover, let them get ready for our scrimmage tomorrow night, and we got that done today. Basically again today was what we call like assignment, alignment, communication. Guys just getting their techniques without having to be wide open."
Tight end Pharaoh Brown appears to be getting back to full speed after coming off the Active/Non-Football Injury list this week.
"He's starting to get more and more and more reps right now with us, and he's one of those guys that we're counting on at that position to be able to help us," Culley said.
Six-year veteran defensive lineman Shaq Lawson knew Culley from their time in Buffalo together. Traded from the Dolphins this offseason, Lawson fits the mold of what defensive coordinator Lovie Smith likes to see in his system.
"He's quick, he has great movement," Culley said. "He's got a great first step. Lovie loves that in those guys at that position. He plays with good leverage, and he's got good hands, and basically what we teach all those guys to do, he has that."
"The defensive line is going to set the tempo, how far this team goes and this defense goes," Lawson said.
Practice was interrupted with a major downpour about midway through, but the storm ended as quickly as it started. Players were able to throw footballs and gear to fans while running back Mark Ingram and wide receiver Brandin Cooks spoke to fans after practice from an interview with Drew Dougherty on the field.
Friday's practice also had players' and coaches' families, fans and one very famous Olympic gymnast, Simone Biles watching from the stands. Biles had just returned home to Houston on Thursday and attended Texans training camp on Friday to watch boyfriend Jonathan Owens at work.
Phillip Lindsay spoke with James Palmer of NFL Network, covering Friday's practice. He said with the number of running backs in the room, there would still be "enough to go around." The Texans plan to play to the strengths of their backs in running the ball more effectively in 2021.
"We're going to be aggressive," Phillip Lindsay told NFL Network. "We have a bunch of vets, people that have played a lot in this league."
Jacob Martin said that making the position switch to a 4-3 defensive end is like "homecoming." In college, that's the position that Martin played so the fourth-year veteran has the versatility to make the switch. He also put on a little weight this offseason, thanks to some extra steak, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, rice, potatoes and Chipotle.
Martin said the chemistry among d-line group has been "amazing." A group of them worked out and trained together in Houston this offseason, including new players that signed.
Wide receiver Anthony Miller had his one-year-old son join him at his post-practice press conference.
Miller talked about the importance of getting on the same page as quarterback Tyrod Taylor so the two can develop chemistry on the quick throws.
"I'm in the slot, so I've got a lot of intermediate routes, short routes," Miller said. "So getting the ball out quick, that will pertain to me in my position. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure we sync up well so we can be as successful as we want to be."
The Houston Texans will practice next at 7 p.m. Saturday night at the Houston Methodist Training Center.
Check out the best photos from Day 9 of Training Camp presented by Xfinity.