After the second day in pads Bill O'Brien was asked if he's concerned about depth on his roster.
He talked about some areas of the squad then said "But this is the team. It's a different year than most years because you have 80 on the roster, except you have some injuries, you're already at 70. So we're starting to get ready for the season pretty quickly."
It might feel like opening night is far off but the staff knows that it'll get here in a hurry and they better have everyone in optimal health. The challenge of getting everyone in prime football shape yet cutting down on the amount of players needing medical attention is huge.
Saturday's practice was shorter than Friday's while Sunday is an off day. Both padded practices so far have been in the bubble at the Houston Methodist Training Center but that will change on days the team is out of pads.
"We will go back and forth between inside and outside. I think full pads will be inside, but when we go to shells or OTA-type practice, if that's what we're going to do, we'll go outside."
With no off season program, the team is being more careful than ever about players' bodies. Times have changed from the earliest Texans camps which saw morning and evening practices on the same day, every other day.
In those days, Dom Capers always wanted to make sure players got at least two meals between each practice. Early in the Kubiak era there was a morning practice outside and afternoon session in the bubble. Plus two media availabilities with the head coach (wow).
Of course this was all prior to the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement which saw camp practices dialed down considerably.
The ramp up aspect of this year combined with the off field distancing makes for a very different camp. Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby said "attitude is a competitive advantage" emphasizing how a positive outlook will certainly go a long way toward navigating through camp and Covid-19 protocols combined.
O'Brien's '70' is not a hard number. He previously said that some players would get rest or ramp up at different paces. Everything is pointing toward September 10.
The preseason games are helpful but there is a big 'hold your breath' aspect to watching the players take the field and hoping for no injuries, like the one that knocked Lamar Miller out for the season last year.
Injuries can happen anytime, of course. But the Texans are controlling their situation as best they can. And getting everyone ready for opening night.