STOOTS ON TEXANS

11 observations you need to know about from Houston Texans minicamp

Laremy Tunsil finally made an appearance. Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans had one of their last official workouts before the summer break on Tuesday. Here are 11 observations from the practice.

1. Laremy Tunsil made his return to the team after missing the optional team activities this offseason. Tunsil, who had his contract reworked this offseason, was the only player to not workout ahead of mandatory reporting. His attendance gave the Texans 100 percent reporting for mandatory workouts.

2. I have been critical of Tunsil's choice to be absent from workouts this offseason. There is a new offensive system, new offensive line coaches, and a couple of new faces in new places along the offensive line. That being said, any concern about Tunsil physically was put to bed almost immediately. He looks to be in fantastic shape, appearing leaner than I remember. There were a few instances where Tunsil was on the move blocking, and he looked smooth. Tunsil clearly put in a lot of work even though he wasn't working out with the team. Davis Mills praised his knowledge of the playbook.

3. Watching the battle between the two tackles, Tunsil and Tytus Howard, and the edge rushers was fun. The tackles had more wins, but there were some hard reps between Jerry Hughes and Tytus Howard. Obo Okoronkwo won a hard rep against Tunsil forcing the quarterback off his spot.

4. Derek Stingley Jr. practiced a little more than he did in the previous open workouts. He did more walkthroughs and some position drills. He still is not participating in 1-on-1, 7-on-7, or team drills.

5. The concern for Stingley, Kenyon Green, and even John Metchie III dissipated post-practice. Lovie Smith said he expects Stingley and Green to be "full speed ready to go" for training camp, which starts next month. All of the players coming back from injury are where the Texans expected them to be, even Metchie. Smith said the team should be pretty close to 100 percent.

6. Nico Collins was one of the highlights of this workout. Collins and quarterback Davis Mills connected on a fun red zone score where Collins beat his man quick off the line and Mills lasered in a low and away throw to Collins. Touchdown. Collins seems to have added some muscle to his frame ahead of his second year in the NFL.

7. Until John Metchie is back, all the rest of the wideout spots are a battle. Chris Moore was here last year and had a nice corner catch for a score in drills. Phillip Dorsett could see some time on the field with Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins. Nobody has really separated themselves from the top two wideouts though.

8. The Texans will run the ball better this season. They really can't get worse, let's be honest. Expect to see a few runs behind the fullback, which Lovie Smith decreed would have a spot in the offense. The best back from the limited time we have been able to see workouts has been Marlon Mack, but Rex Burkhead shouldn't be discounted as a factor to start and play a lot.

9. Dameon Pierce had a two-play stretch where you saw his rookie status and potential flash. In the first play, Pierce caught the ball out of the backfield with a little effort and darted inside right to where defenders were waiting. He had the sideline and probably could've scored. In the very next play, he showed great vision and burst as he danced through an opening for a touchdown. There are plenty of good plays, but still some teachable moments.

10. Tavierre Thomas had a solid finish to his season last year and has flown under the radar as one of the better slot corners in the NFL. Thomas intercepted Kyle Allen for a pick six in practice.

11. The Texans have long been over-committed to kicker Kaʻimi Fairbairn. The end of a two-minute drill saw Fairbairn miss a field goal. The organization would do well to push the veteran kicker, who has not lived up to his contract extension.

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After Yordan Alvarez suffered an injury on Thursday from colliding into Jeremy Peña in short left field, many fans and media are questioning whether Alvarez should DH exclusively to keep injuries like this from happening.

While this may prevent injuries from happening in left field, there are numerous ways of getting hurt, such as running the bases, and we saw Alvarez miss some time recently with a hand injury from swinging the bat.

Plus, playing Yordan in left where he's at least an average outfielder, allows veterans like Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve to slide in the DH spot to get some much-needed rest over the course of the season. And there's an argument being made that Yordan is better at the plate when he's playing the field.

Be sure to check out the video above as we debate this hot topic!

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