HOUSTON – Thursday morning marked the true beginning of the 2019 Houston Texans season with day 1 of training camp.
Camp will take place in Houston this year and the team welcomed the rather mild weather for the opening practice, but temperatures are expected to rise.
Thursday's big moment/story
The big moment of the opening practice came before things even began. With players making their way across the bridge to the practice fields, just before practice was set to begin, none other than No. 99, J.J. Watt, made his way to the field, fully dressed in practice gear.
His familiar left elbow brace indicated he was good to go for practice. His availability had been in question since he was placed on the "active/physically unable to perform" list earlier this week.
Not only was Watt he ready to go, but he also did his best to disrupt, which isn’t always great for the offense.
“He batted two passes, he was in the backfield quite a bit,” head coach Bill O’Brien said. “From an offensive perspective, it’s always hard when he’s out there because we’re trying to execute the play.”
Three things to know
- The Texans revamped secondary is not quite at full strength. Second-year safety Justin Reid is on the active/non-football injury list after being involved in a car accident last weekend. Reid was at practice and should be practicing soon. O’Brien indicated they are thankful he suffered no serious injuries.
- New cornerback Bradley Roby was on the field for practice after missing nearly all of the offseason on-field work due to an undisclosed injury. He’ll be counted on heavily, along with rookie second-round draft pick Lonnie Johnson. Johnson was matched up with Will Fuller several times as he quickly learned the speed of an NFL practice. Johnson made a nice, diving interception in the corner of the end zone when he was matched up with wide receiver Jester Weah.
- Second-year tight end Jordan Thomas hauled in a touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone from Deshaun Watson during 11-on-11 work. The reception was met with calls for offensive pass interference (push-off) from both linebacker Dylan Cole and safety A.J. Moore. Thomas’s response to their protests: "They’re not going to call that.”
Number(s) to know: 15-16-17
With DeAndre Hopkins still on the "active/physically unable to perform" list, the top three targets at wide receiver at practice for Watson are Fuller (No. 15), Keke Coutee (16) and Vyncint Smith (17).
- Fuller is returning from ACL surgery on his right knee, which cost him the final nine games of the 2018 season. He was having an exceptional campaign with 42 receptions, 503 yards and four touchdowns in the first seven games.
- Coutee was healthy for the entire offseason and put in lots of field time with Watson. KPRC 2's Adam Wexler asked Watson about what a big difference this camp is, having had all that time to work with a healthy Coutee. “It’s a big difference. Having the whole spring, the whole offseason, and now being able to start training camp healthy and getting on the same page and seeing different looks, it’s going to take us a long way,” he said.
- Smith was a surprise addition to the team last season as an undrafted free agent. He played in seven games last season and hauled in his first career touchdown pass in week 16 last season, nearly helping the Texans to a victory on the road at the Eagles.
Bill O’Brien responding to a question about what he weighs (as important) when it comes to the offensive linemen that he initially misheard:
“I thought you asked me what I weighed. I don’t really want to get into what I weigh right now,” O’Brien said with a laugh.
J.J. Watt on the first day of training camp:
“Today was really good work. It’s the first day, so it’s not like you’re going to get any groundbreaking results and you’re going to find out who’s the next Pro Bowler. We get to get back into the groove, knock the rust off, get back with the guys, communicate, learn the plays, put the work in, get adjusted. It’s a really good step. There are no pads, so it’s not real football.”