While most were familiar faces that returned, the Texans voluntary veteran minicamp already felt different under head coach Bill O'Brien. Players have adapted well to the changes under the new coaching staff, according to O'Brien.
"From drill-to-drill and the guys understanding the tempo of things, for a first day, I thought we got off to a good start," O'Brien said Tuesday.
During their first practice which lasted around two hours, players wore nameless jerseys with plain steel blue helmets sans the Texans bullhead. O'Brien told reporters not to read too much into that after his first post-practice press conference.
"You send the helmets out for conditioning, you send the jerseys out for conditioning," O'Brien said. "Everything is about conditioning the equipment."
Arian Foster was cleared and returned for his first day of practice after undergoing season-ending back surgery last year. Also present were all three quarterbacks: Case Keenum, T.J. Yates, and Ryan Fitzpatrick worked hard this offseason learning O'Brien's system and terminology.
"It's a steep learning curve," Fitzpatrick said. "I've been in a lot of different offenses. I've never been in this offense. Just like my rookie year, I've had to come in and learn something new. That being said, just in terms of conceptually different things we're trying to do, there's only so many ways you can do it. So there's stuff I've done over my career that I can pull from those experiences and apply it to this. There's going to be learning every day and trying to get a grasp of this system."
The Texans were able to add this week's pre-draft voluntary veteran minicamp due to having a new coaching staff on board. O'Brien hopes that this week gets the veterans accustomed to the flow of practice before rookies arrive next week. The added bonus of this week's minicamp is that it gives the front office a chance for a final roster evaluation heading into Thursday's draft.
The Texans veterans participated in a voluntary minicamp on Tuesday.
"I think you do come out here and you definitely evaluate every position," O'Brien said. "You evaluate, obviously, the individual player and then you evaluate the depth at that position. The majority of our 2014 team is more than likely, based on the draft and how many rookies are going to make the team, the majority of the team is here on the field, so you're evaluating as it relates to the draft but also as it relates to next year's team and the depth at each position and all those things."
Rookies will report to Reliant Stadium next week with minicamp scheduled for May 16-18.