The Houston Texans kicked off Week 1 of their organized team activities (OTAs) this week. Head Coach Lovie Smith was pleased with the turnout for the voluntary practices consisting of the team's veterans, new free agent signings and rookies.
"Everything we've been doing, phase one, phase two, has been leading up to our NFL version of spring ball, these OTAs," Smith said Tuesday. "As you can see, it's one thing to go through a lot of drills, but once you start getting offense vs. defense, decisions have to be made. We have good competition throughout at a lot of positions, so this work, just love it as much as anything."
Teams may conduct a total of 10 days OTAs with 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills, but no live contact. While OTAs offer a first look at the combination of players in the starting lineup, Smith says it's way too soon to read into rep counts at practice. OTAs is a time for teaching and players should aim for individual improvement.
"You get a chance to see the initial group that we put out there, but don't put too much into who's getting reps right now, who isn't," Smith said. "We don't have first, second, third teams right now. We kind of have a starting rotation and as much as anything, we want everybody to have an opportunity to show us who they are."
Several players are also currently coming off injury, including third-year DL Jonathan Greenard and rookies DB Derek Stingley Jr. and WR John Metchie III. While Stingley is healthy, Smith wants to ramp up players slowly this time of year.
"As you look, the guys that aren't getting reps, they have something going on," Smith said. "If a guy's getting a few reps, we're kind of easing them back into full competition."
The Texans will also hold a mandatory veteran minicamp June 14-16 at the Houston Methodist Training Center. Houston's remaining OTA dates are: May 26, May 31-June 1, June 3, June 6-9.
Check out the best photos from Week 1 of OTAs.