“It was pretty awesome until I broke the bike. The bike that I was using was not equipped for a 290-pound man, and the seat broke off." J.J. Watt on participating in Packers tradition
The Texans and Packers held their first joint practice together in Green Bay on Monday. Players were in full pads had a productive day, according to head coach Bill O’Brien.
“It was great competition,” O’Brien said. “You're going against an excellent team, a very well-coached team, a team that has a lot of really good players. A lot of great situations came up. We see different looks, different schemes on both sides of the ball and on special teams. So, it was really good.”
J.J. Watt and Max Scharping were two Texans who had a memorable homecoming in Wisconsin.
Players from both teams took part in a longtime Packers tradition of riding across the parking lot of Lambeau Field to the practice facility on kids’ bikes.
Watt broke the little boy’s bike to no one’s surprise, but has already purchased a new bike to replace it.
Green Bay native Max Scharping’s family and high school coaches attended Monday’s practice. The rookie offensive lineman, who shows up to work at 5:30 a.m. and is the last to leave, and has developed “a great routine,” according to O’Brien.
“He's doing a really good job for us,” O’Brien said. “We think he's got a real good future for us.”
The first team offensive line competed and did a nice job of working together, according to O’Brien.
The Texans running backs are vying for roster spots behind starter Lamar Miller and got a healthy dose of reps at Monday’s practice.
The job of punt returner is one to watch as well with several players taking reps in practice every day.
“I think we've got three or four candidates back there,” O’Brien said. “Keke Coutee could do it, Stevie Mitchell could do it, Will Fuller can do it. Obviously, DeAndre Carter will be back, I think probably somewhere around Detroit, and we'll see. Even with DeAndre back there, he's a good punt returner but that's a job that has to be won.”
Carter, who returned 16 punts and nine kicks in seven games last year, is currently on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
Players have been enjoying togetherness in Wisconsin. Linebackers and safeties were playing Mario Kart. Defensive linemen enjoyed some card games and rap battles. Brandon Dunn, a.k.a. D.J. Dunny, is the best rapper of the group, according to Carlos Watkins.
National media was in abundance at Green Bay in addition to Canadian sports personality Cabbie Richards. He had a Jeopardy board set up for Aaron Rodgers on the field after practice. The categories were: Rodger That, O Canada, The Buck Stops Here, 2019 Schedule and Welcome to Westeros (now that Rodgers has had a role as Game of Thrones extra).
Watt left practice early and will likely not participate on Tuesday.
“It’s all just precautionary,” Watt said. “Groin tightened up just a little bit, so rather than try and push through it and try and do some damage to it, we just shut it down. I’ve gotten smarter as I got older, so I started listening to the trainers a little bit more than just listening to my own brain.”
Titus Howard was back at practice after sitting out on Saturday for “precautionary” reasons.
Starters will likely see some action in Thursday’s preseason opener at Lambeau Field after two days of joint practices.
“I think most everybody will play,” O’Brien said. “How much everybody plays depends on how many reps they get here. There's another practice here, we'll have to wait and see. I would say that most of the guys that travelled will play in the game, but I wouldn't be able to say that 100 percent will play in the game. We'll see how it goes here tomorrow.”
The Texans and Packers will hold another joint practice on Tuesday at the Don Hutson Center.