HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610) -- Day 3 of padded practices for the Houston Texans wrapped up late Monday morning at the Methodist Training Center, and it was the rare (first time ever at training camp?) sub-85 degree day, thanks to some early morning thunderstorms and cloudy skies.
Let's get right into it and get you all up to speed, courtesy of one of the 10 sets of media eyeballs (MINE!) allowed to fully observe Texans Camp.
My takeaways from today:
1. ATTENDANCE CHECK -- Good news! LB Dylan Cole and WR Kenny Stills were both activated from the respective lists they were on (Cole from the Physically Unable to Perform, Stills from the Non Football-Illness list), and back at full go.
Also, rookie WR Isaiah Coulter suited up for his first practice and got some work with the backups.
2. It's probably a good thing Coulter was back on the field, because the fifth-round pick out of Rhode Island is gonna have a tussle just to make the 53-man roster, if practice squad WR Chad Hansen and fringe WR Stevie Mitchell have anything to say about it.
Hansen has been making enough plays to draw attention from O'Brien in press conferences, and Williams made another deep play down the middle of the field against a busted coverage on a perfect deep ball from Deshaun Watson.
3. Defense ruled the day on Monday, as things just seemed a little off on the offensive side of the ball, even with Watson at the controls. The highlights were an A.J. Moore interception of an under thrown Watson deep ball (credit Charles Omenihu with the pressure), and a Cornell Armstrong interception of A.J. McCarron.
Even in the situational football segment at the end, the defense held up pretty well on "must have" down and distance situations.
4. If you've watched Anthony Weaver in a press conference or talked to him in person, I think words like "calm," "stoic," maybe even "stately" come to mind. He is like the Morgan Freeman of coaches, his voice just soothes.
Well, at practice on Monday, we saw a complete opposite side of Weaver -- very animated, very loud, and not using stately language at all! I mentioned last week the seeming increased energy level of the defense in drills this year, and perhaps some of that is the difference in social style from on high -- Weaver as compared to the much quieter, grandfatherly Romeo Crennel (who is still at practice every day, by the way).
5. There were some formations the Texans were running early in practice against air, and I can't give away the exact alignment, but let's just say that when Will Fuller, Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks, and Duke Johnson are on the field at the same time, it DOES get me very excited for the ridiculous track team that O'Brien has assembled for Deshaun to throw to.
6. Jack Easterby continues to lead Texans' camp in high fives, butt taps, and chest bumps per minute. I will continue to monitor this crucial element of the team as camp rolls along.
7. No J.J. Watt to be seen anywhere on Monday. So thus far, in three practices, we have one practice where J.J. did a few drills and then watched from the sideline, and two practices where he was altogether not there.
It's nothing to fret about, this is all part of the ramp-up plan that Watt, O'Brien and Easterby all agreed to before the season. It's just weird that he's not out there AT ALL. It gives sort of that Charles Jefferson from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" feeling, where that one student marveled at star high school player Jefferson at the mall, and said "Wow, I just thought he flew in for games!"
8. My new favorite/underrated drill -- wide receivers and defensive backs working on jams (or beating jams, for the wideouts) at the line scrimmage. Some good low key choppiness.
Speaking of which, Stills wasted no time turning up the juice in 11-on-11, early in practice getting into some jawing and shoving with Bradley Roby. Good stuff. We need more of that!
9. I focused on the offensive line during 11-on-11 a few times. Let's just say if THIS is the Tytus Howard we are getting for the 2020 regular season, the Texans might have the best tackle pairing in the AFC. He looks really, really good (from what I saw, when I focused on him).
Practice resumes on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m., and we will have you covered all day long here on SportsRadio 610!