“I got the feet, he (Jordan Thomas) has got the power. That’s a big boy.” Jordan Akins
The Houston Texans took practice inside the Houston Methodist training center on Sunday. Players were in full pads for the second consecutive day with a few players getting a rest day, like DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller V, Johnathan Joseph and Tashaun Gipson Sr.
For players coming off injury, Bill O'Brien said that managing reps comes down to experience level.
"A guy that's been around a long time, J.J. Watt, (Matt) Kalil," O'Brien said. "You're always in communication with the player. Relative to a younger player who really doesn't know, you're going to really kind of map that out a little bit more for him, and present it to him and then go from there."
J.J. Watt did participate after sitting out the first padded practice on Saturday.
Jordan Akins had a great day of practice, including an impressive catch for a first down in 11-on-11 drills. He followed it up with a touchdown and a turf angel celebration.
"Just the connection between me and D4 (Deshaun Watson), I think we're connecting more off the field this past offseason and it's showing on the field," Akins said.
Akins said that Watson spent a lot of time in the offseason working on chemistry off the field, from bowling to inviting everyone over to his house during holidays.
Lamar Miller's goal in the offseason was to drop body fat, improve speed and increase lower body strength.
"Me and Frank Gore, we work out a lot," Miller said. "He gave me some advice on, as he got older in the league he's been losing weight so I've been trying to take that same strategy. So far, I've been feeling good."
Miller said he still enjoys a burger and fries for his cheat meals.
O'Brien said Miller is the best pass protector of the running backs.
"He (Miller) does a really good job understanding the blitzes and the techniques that he needs to use to block blitzers," O'Brien said.
The battle for running back depth behind Miller and D'Onta Foreman is heating up now that the pads are on. O'Brien said the spot is "wide open" and divided into groups of first- and second-down guys, third-down backs and those that do "a little bit of everything."
"Special teams is a big factor in it," O'Brien said. "Is the guy willing to cover kicks? Like, Taiwan Jones, Buddy Howell."
O'Brien had high praise for special teams player and safety A.J. Moore who is off to a great start in camp with multiple interceptions on defense. Last year, Moore had a team-high 11 special teams tackles in his 16 games as a rookie.
Zach Cunningham came up with a new term for his biggest football trait.
Preseason is especially helpful for evaluating special teams players, according to O'Brien.
"You can run a certain scheme in the punt game, or in the punt return game or in the kickoff coverage game," O'Brien said. "It's not like the regular season where maybe you don't want to kick to a certain returner or whatever it is. In the preseason, you can do that. So, you get more tape on some of these guys that you want to see how they cover kicks."
Check out some of the best shots from the fourth day of training camp in Houston.