Houston Texans insider reveals biggest takeaways from Day 1 of minicamp

What are the biggest takeaways from the Houston Texans first day of mandatory mini-camp?

How did CJ Stroud perform with the starters?

ESPN’s Houston's Jake Asman, Brad Kellner, and Cody Stoots break it down on The Wheelhouse!

LISTEN to The Wheelhouse on ESPN Houston 97.5 or 92.5 FM every weekday from 3-7 PM CST!

Editor's note: If you missed Cody's 11 observations from Day 1 of minicamp you can read it below:

1. C.J. Stroud had an up-and-down day. There was nothing horrible about his day but Stroud had some bad moments. The bad moments were often followed by an impressive play or two. There’s plenty to dig into from this practice for a rookie quarterback.

2. C.J. Stroud’s worst moment of the day was on a rollout. The naked bootleg had Stroud with a roll to his left, but the throw left plenty to be desired. Stroud threw it to nowhere and nobody.

3. The previous play was bad, but the next one was the throw of the day. Stroud hit Nico Collins down the sideline for a big play. The pass was perfectly placed to beat the coverage of the defense. Collins hauled it in and went out of bounds. Fantastic stuff from the rookie quarterback.

4. Noah Brown dropped a pass out of the slot that would have been a big play. The coverage was there, but it hit Brown in the hands and he didn’t come up with it. Later, Brown came over and dapped up C.J. Stroud, who had thrown the ball, and the two had a discussion in what can be assumed about the offense and that play.

5. Brevin Jordan dropped a touchdown pass in 7-on-7 work that C.J. Stroud threaded perfectly. Another rep in the red zone 7-on-7 drill saw Stroud find rookie running back Xazavian Valladay for a touchdown. Stroud had checked it down to shortly before the end zone and Valladay took it in.

6. C.J. Stroud threw the best ball to the back corner of the end zone. His pass in that 7-on-7 set was better than Davis Mills and Case Keenum.

7. Davis Mills outperformed C.J. Stroud in the 7-on-7 drills in the red zone. Mills had a nice day, but I wouldn’t categorically say it is for sure better than C.J. Stroud’s day. Both quarterbacks led “game-winning drives” in the two-minute drill near the end of the practice.

8. Will Anderson was a menace. Well, as much of a menace as you can be when it is no pads at minicamp. Anderson flashed the suddenness and speed you would expect from him. One play saw him dart into the backfield for what would have been a tackle for a loss. There was another play where he was held but would have had a sack. It’s no pads, and it wasn’t the team’s top linemen he was beating, but wins are wins.

9. The secondary is going to be interesting and fun to watch this season. There are deep options at the corner spot and Jalen Pitre is still all over the field. Derek Stingley looks like he’s competing for Mr. Universe. He looks like a million bucks, and nobody really challenges him. Eric Murray lined up where the absent Jimmie Ward would likely line up. The secondary is one of the stronger parts of the team.

10. The linebacker room is intriguing. Christian Kirksey is larger than almost all the backers and his long-term fit is unclear with some free agent additions in the room. Sleek and lean is how I would describe a lot of the linebackers, maybe venturing into the small territory. Henry To’oTo’o was barking orders, but his size disadvantage is clear. Christian Harris will be fun to watch this season.

11. The tight end room is something to monitor. We know about veteran Dalton Schultz, he will obviously be on the team and contributing a ton. Second-year tight end Teagan Quitoriano has leaned out a lot compared to how he looked last season. His athleticism is easy to see. Brevin Jordan might be in a fight to keep his spot, but I couldn’t tell you for sure who would take it. Andrew Beck is the hybrid player for the team. Part tight end, part fullback. Beck is constantly chatting and talking with the other tight ends about plays and the results of plays.


C.J. Stroud might as well be tied to quarterback coach Jerrod Johnson’s hip. The two are constantly next to each other and talking.

Dameon Pierce was absent from practice as he was sick.

No clear reason for the absences of offensive lineman Kenyon Green and safety Jimmie Ward.

Tank Dell dropped a punt. He is small. You knew that, but he is jarringly small and skinny compared to his peers.

The weirdest number on a player is cornerback Shaquill Griffin wearing number 16.

Devin Singletary dropped a touchdown pass in 7-on-7 work.

Jalen Pitre had what would have been a sack in a live rep when he blitzed C.J. Stroud.

Ka’imi Fairbairn nailed his two field goals at the end of the practice.

DeMeco Ryans is fun to watch at practice. He is so excited and constantly smiling. He’s very vocal too.

Both Cal McNair and J.J. Watt offered the first question to Mark Berman today in their media availabilities. Berman, of course, finished a legendary media career yesterday.

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The Texans host the Steelers at NRG this Sunday. Composite Getty Image.

What: Texans vs. Steelers

When: 10/1 12pm CST kickoff

Where: Houston, TX NRG Stadium

TV/Radio: KHOU-TV, KILT-Radio

Betting Lines: Steelers -2.5 (-120), O/U 42 (-110) *As of this writing

The Watt Brother Bowl takes place on Sunday. I'm calling it that because the Texans are honoring their all-time great J.J. while they're playing his younger brother and current hell raising edge rusher for the Steelers T.J. The Steelers have won four of the last five matchups vs. the Texans by an average score of 28-17. The biggest difference is that the Steelers have a second year starter at quarterback in Kenny Pickett, and the Texans have a rookie in C.J. Stroud. When you look at the two quarterbacks, both organizations have full faith in each guy. Both teams have tried to build a defense to help their young signal callers. Both are still trying to surround their franchise guys with weapons.

When the Steelers have the ball: Here's a game where Will Anderson Jr can make headway as a proven EDGE. Stacking consistent performances together and helping your team win games by making winning plays. It helps that Pickett has tiny hands. This was a knock on him during draft season last year. Hand size for a quarterback impacts grip. That can not only impact accuracy, but it could make it easier to strip the ball from him.

While he doesn't have the weapons to torch this defense, Pickett does hand the ball off to Najee Harris who's more than capable. Averaging only 67 yards rushing as a team can't be taken lightly. Denzel Perryman is expected to miss the game Sunday, so hopefully that won't help jumpstart the Steelers' run game. The Texans defense will have to key in on the run, given that they average giving up 117 a game on the ground. Those aforementioned weapons may not be scary, but the injuries to the defensive backs has hurt. Tavierre Thomas is expected to miss the game recovering from hand surgery. Jimmie Ward coming back last week showed what happens when they have a top safety back there, especially when the pass rush is turning up. Hopefully, the Texans can capitalize again this week, with safety Jalen Pitre expected to return to action.

When the Texans have the ball: Good luck stopping Tank Dell and Stroud! These guys have already established themselves as a formidable duo three games into their careers. A great way to get that connection going is to pound the rock. The Steelers are giving up over 150 yards on the ground per game so far this season. That's also a good way to keep T.J. at bay while J.J. watches. With Laremy Tunsil and Josh Jones both expected to miss the game, here are the offensive line starters: Austin Deculus, Kendrick Green, Jarrett Patterson, Shaq Mason, and George Fant.

Making the younger Watt brother slow down a bit instead of going balls to the wall after Stroud because a run could be coming will help the pass game tremendously. Stroud will have to continue to make quick decisions, but even quicker this game. I wouldn't be surprised to see his first pick of his career here, given the pressure he's most likely to be under. Especially when your offensive line starters were mostly all backups to begin this season.

Outcome: I failed to place a money line bet on the Texans last week because the game started and the live bet wasn't as profitable. I wanted to take a chance on them given their recent record against the Jags. Looking at their last five vs. the Steelers, one would say why make that bet this week? It's because I believe in Stroud more than I believe in Pickett. While T.J. Watt is a different kind of monster, Will Anderson Jr is on his way to becoming something special. Texans win/cover, and hit the over, but barely: Texans 24, Steelers 20.

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