GREEN BAY, Wis. – Practices are finished in Green Bay and now it's on to, sort of, the real thing.
The Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers will each play their preseason opener at legendary Lambeau Field on Thursday night.
For both teams, the joint practices meant being able to hit someone else and also getting to test different position groups against an opponent. For the Texans, specifically, it was a chance to work out the depth in several position groups, including secondary, tight end and running backs.
Here are some of the highlights and reactions from the second and final day of joint practices:
Rookie running backs stepping up
It's hard to demand much of undrafted running backs, but the Texans may be using one or more extensively this season unless things change. Both Damarea Crockett and Karan Higdon have played well in the two joint practices and are likely to get extended time on Thursday night. Crockett, in particular, made a great cut and had a long run during an 11-on-11 drill, plus he caught passes in a running backs drill. D'Onta Foreman was long thought to be the definite backup to Lamar Miller, but he is now a member of the Colts.
There are other players in the Texans backfield, such as Buddy Howell and Josh Ferguson, who have more experience, but the rookies have looked good.
Bill O'Brien on Karan Higdon
"I think he's getting better. It's hard -- young backs making the jump from college football. He had an injury when he got here. He rehabbed hard during the offseason and into the summer and he's come back in shape. He's doing pretty good. We'll see how he performs in the games and how he continues to get better."
Going to War(ring)
Many Texans fans were confused when Houston drafted a tight end in the third round, especially one with middling stats due to an offense that wasn't built around the tight end. And many college football offenses aren't unless you're Iowa or Wisconsin. But after missing some time due to injury, San Diego State's Kahale Warring has been a revelation at the joint practices in Green Bay. Warring caught touchdowns on both days, using his strength and speed to create good positioning and get open. We haven't seen all that much of him yet, but what we have seen has been impressive. If Warring and the Jordans, Thomas and Akins, can show they can block well, the Texans might have a great tight end corps.
O'Brien on Texans tight ends
"That's going to be a tough one to figure out. How many do you want to keep? They're all battling-- the guys that are out there on the practice field. (Darren) Fells has had a good camp. Kahale (Warring) looks like he had a pretty good couple of days here. Jordan Akins has had a good camp."
For the second consecutive day, as is common during joint practices, there was a bit of a fight, in the football practice sense. On Monday, Texans rookie cornerback Lonnie Johnson laid out Packers rookie tight end Jace Sternberger, causing a scuffle. Johnson did not practice Tuesday, but Texans offensive lineman Matt Kalil got into a brief skirmish with a Packers defender during 11-on-11 drills after DeShaun Watson got knocked down. Less than five seconds later, both full teams were out on the field, and 15 seconds after that, the fight was broken up. No harm, no foul. Johnson will play in Thursday night's game, according to coach Bill O'Brien.
When asked if he was bothered by the hit that knocked him down, Watson responded, "No, I was not."
Dancing with Steven Mitchell
Texans wide receiver Steven Mitchell also had some fun dancing to "Swag Surfin," while Cullen Gillaspia led the team on the sideline in dancing to Waka Flocka Flame's "Grove St. Party." The team likes to dance.