I think Doc Rivers, what he said after the other night, what he said after their game really hit home for me. I think that's something that should be played on loop. Head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien
The Houston Texans held their first of two intra-squad scrimmages on Thursday night at NRG Stadium. With their regular season opener exactly two weeks away at Kansas City, the team got a lot accomplished according to head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien.
"I feel like we got a lot out of it," O'Brien said Thursday night. "Obviously we weren't really going live. We did a lot of thud situations. We did get a lot of situations done. We had third down. We were in the red area. We had long drives. We got a lot of special teams work done. We were able to get a lot done. We were able to get a lot of guys on film, which was good. We'll probably do this to some degree probably one more time, but I thought tonight was good. We warmed up like we would for a game. We had our whole routine like it was a night game for the day today as best we could."
In light of the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, teams in all professional sports leagues have cancelled games and practices. The Texans also considered cancelling their scrimmage, but ultimately decided not to, according to O'Brien. Instead, the team decided to talk about the social injustices and police brutality in the black community and how to affect change.
After practice, Kenny Stills spoke at length to the players who were still on the field. Stills has been active in social justice causes throughout his time in the NFL. Deshaun Watson, Michael Thomas, J.J. Watt also spoke to players after practice. Media members were sitting in throughout field level in the stadium, but could not hear the player discussion. After practice, O'Brien answered questions about the scrimmage and player reaction to the recent events in Wisconsin and throughout the country.
"As a team, we decided that we want to go out there and scrimmage, get something done," O'Brien said. "We play two weeks from now. So we felt like that was important. We also felt like it was it was important to give the guys time to talk about things, you know, like you said, Kenny and Michael and, you know, J.J. and Deshaun and a lot of guys spoke there at the end, wasn't just two."
Watson threw a touchdown pass to Stills and also rushed for a score. O'Brien said he liked what he saw from the fourth-year quarterback in the scrimmage.
"It was good; I thought he did some good things," O'Brien said. "He was put into some tough situations. He had fourth-and-goal at the three. He had different situations on third down. He was backed up in his own end. I thought he handled it really well. He's had a really good camp and I thought a lot of the skill guys played well tonight. So, yeah, I thought we were able to get a lot done offensively."
Outside linebacker Jacob Martin scooped up a fumbled snap and ran it back for a touchdown. Martin was named as one of defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver's standouts in camp this year.
"Jacob plays with a lot of energy," O'Brien said. "He plays fast. He plays hard. He only knows one speed. He does everything we ask him to do. In that regard, he's very similar to how I described A.J. Moore. He's DTS: he's dependable; he's tough; he's smart; he's out there every day working hard to get better. He's put some weight on. I think he's playing at a really good level right now."
Safety A.J. Moore made a big interception to end the scrimmage. All of the defensive players came onto the field to celebrate with the third-year undrafted safety and special teams leader who has shined in camp this year.
"He just is a guy that plays with a lot – there's a lot of guys like this but A.J. plays with a lot of energy," O'Brien said. "He does whatever you ask him to do. He puts the team first. He's definitely DTS. He's dependable, he's tough, he's smart. He has a really good role on our football team. He's improved on defense. He's improved on special teams. He's a fun guy to coach."
The Texans kick off their 2020 regular season on Thursday, September 10 against the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:20 p.m. CT on NBC and SportsRadio 610.