The Houston Texans held training camp practice outdoors on Monday for the first time since working in pads. Dylan Cole and Kenny Stills were placed on the roster over the weekend and made their camp debuts.
-Head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien says he prefers the grass surface and that the team will be back outside tomorrow.
"I think practicing on the turf, that can wear on you a little bit," O'Brien said. "I think it was good to be outside. I think we'll keep it that way. I think it was good. The guys came today with a lot of energy."
-Practice kicked off with some 11-on-11 team drills as Watson led the offense down the field and welcomed Stills back into the mix.
"Yeah, it was good to see Kenny back out there running around and being out there," O'Brien said. "He caught a couple of passes from Deshaun (Watson). I thought that was good. I think he's an important part of what we're doing. You're right, he's another year in the system. He's very comfortable with what we do, how we do things, how we use him. It was great to see him back out there."
Temperatures were mild (for August in Houston) but the trash-talking was not. Keion Crossen and the defensive backs and led by O'Brien and the offense had some fun bantering during drills.
Speaking of defensive backs, new safety Eric Murray has been getting a number of starting reps alongside third-year Justin Reid. The two seem to be in sync mentally, but different in their physical approach to the game.
"I think in ways that we're different, he's an enforcer type," Murray said. "I think for me personally, I'm more of a covering type. I can still bring some physicality too, but I think that's what separates us."
Duke Johnson said the difference in his comfort level from last year to this year has been been "night and day." Johnson, who arrived via trade last August, said he and David Johnson will exploit matchups that benefit each of them.
"When it comes to me and David, we try to pick matchups and put us on the field at the same time to create conflict with linebackers or safeties or try to take advantage of our skillset that we both have," Johnson said. "I think it's something that we can push and be good at if we work at it and just be consistent."
Duke Johnson said "absolutely nothing" surprises him about new teammate David.
"We came out the same year, so I kind of knew what he was capable of," Duke said. "I watched him when he was in Arizona. I think what has surprised a lot of people is the way that he's able to move at the size he is and what a great receiver he is out of the backfield."
Charles Omenihu worked this offseason to perfect his technique and get stronger. O'Brien says the second-year defensive lineman has a unique skillset and is having a good camp.
"He does a couple of things for us," O'Brien said. "He plays inside. He plays off the edge. He's a powerful guy. He's got good reach. He's an athletic guy. He's about 285 pounds, so he can do a couple of different things and I think with a year under his belt – he had a good day today. He had a good day the other day. I think he's getting better and better. He works very hard. Yeah, he can do a lot of different things for us."
Growing up, Nick Martin had gym in his basement where he, his dad and brother would work out. That was the inspiration behind Martin's gym setup for teammates during COVID-19.
The Texans will hold their next training camp practice on Tuesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.