“Squishy pads walking back to the locker room, so today felt like a real day of camp.” Safety Jaylen Watkins on Tuesday’s steamy outdoor practice.
The Houston Texans practice outside at the Houston Methodist Training Center fields for the second consecutive day. After unseasonable pleasant weather on Monday, Houston remembered it was August and sweltering temperatures returned as the team got in their work early on Tuesday.
"It's just the reality; it's hot," head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien said. "Today I would say was the first really true training camp practice where we had to grind it out. We've had a few, couple full padded practices before this, but this was the first longest one and had a lot of different situations. It was pretty raggedy, but it will get better."
After stretching and some individual drills, practice kicked off with goal-line drills. The Texans offense and defense each got a chance to celebrate, although the defense may have been the winner in those reps.
"Obviously, our offense has a bunch of skill players, a bunch of talented guys and we made some good stops," defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver said. "But they did get in the end zone. But all I'm looking for is guys that as soon they cross the white line that something flips. Something flips in them. You need to go out there and be like running wild dogs once they snap that ball and I think today we saw a little bit of that out of our defense."
The Texans also got in plenty of work in the red zone, an area that saw great improvement in 2019. Houston ranked seventh in the NFL, with a 64.15 percent conversion rate.
"The redzone is an interesting part of the whole game," O'Brien said. "Everything shrinks down there. Windows open quickly and they close quickly. I think one of the main things down there, the reason why we were better was because of the experience of Deshaun (Watson) over the years. The more experience you get at quarterback, you understand how much faster the game is down there, you make really good decisions."
Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly also credits eliminating "bad football" in the red zone. The offense worked as a unit to operate efficiently, without penalties, turnovers or mistakes that would stall drives.
Nick Martin and Watson have been clicking in their fourth season together.
"The relationship between the center and the quarterback is a really special thing," Kelly said. "Him and Deshaun (Watson) have a great relationship. They do a great job of studying the game together, especially when we're preparing for an opponent so when we're on the field, you've heard us use this term, they're really seeing things from the same set of eyes."
Wide receiver Keke Coutee is having a good training camp so far both returning punts and in his receiving duties. Veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb has also been helping Coutee, who, according to O'Brien, is "on the right track."
Tight end Kahale Warring suited and practiced today. The second-year player has been on a ramp-up period in camp after being placed on Injured Reserve prior to the start of Week 1 last year.
Like all the defensive backs, Lonnie Johnson will see some versatility in how he's used on the field. Johnson's size and skill set should make for a seamless transition between the different roles he can play on defense.
"Lonnie came in here – he's what, 6'1, 220 pounds and he looks like the WILL linebacker, but he still moves like a corner," Weaver said. "That alone has showed me that he is motivated. He's been motivated to come in and prove why he was a second-round pick and to this point he's done nothing but show us that on the football field. It's awesome just to see that growth and that maturation in him and I can't wait to see all of things that he's going to do for us."
Players will have a day off on Wednesday but training camp practice will resume on Thursday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.