11 observations from Texans training camp Day 8

The defense is constantly defeating the offense.Image via: HoustonTexans/Screenshot.

The Houston Texans had officials out on the field as more team and individual work was on the docket in pads yet again.

1. Deshaun Watson remains out for the Texans and head coach David Culley explained there is no change on Watson. Culley said he and general manager Nick Caserio meet regularly on the team and how to handle each day.

2. The Texans should think about swapping out Jeff Driskel for a different quarterback. With rookie quarterback Davis Mills struggling and Driskel also having a rough day constantly, the Texans aren't getting a ton out of the reps not involving Tyrod Taylor. The team previously had Ryan Finley on the team after an offseason trade, and Finley is still a free agent.

3. Davis Mills had a couple of rough spots on Thursday. Mills overthrew tight end Ryan Izzo in seven-on-seven drills. Mills also threw another interception in practice. He scrambled out to his right and tried to beat three defenders, but safety Lonnie Johnson came down with the ball.

4. Veteran wide receiver Chris Conley cooked Bradley Roby for a score in one-on-one drills. Conley has made some great plays and has been very consistent this camp. Only Brandin Cooks has been better and more consistent.

5. Bradley Roby might have been beaten by Conley once, butRoby had almost no losses the rest of practice. Roby even had a pass breakup on a surefire score as well.

6. Keke Coutee shakes loose from defenders with ease. Coutee drew cheers when he juked out second-year cornerback John Reid and drew a pass interference call in team drills. Coutee however did drop an over-the-shoulder dime later in practice.

7. The defense is constantly defeating the offense. The consistency on offense just isn't there right now. Head coach David Culley mentioned after practice he wasn't pleased with the offense today, but gave credit to the defense for their string of successful days.

8. Rookie Roy Lopez had another few successful plays as he builds on his big Wednesday. Lopez immediately beat his blocker to reroute a rushing play. Lopez also had what looked to be a sack in team reps.

9. Defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker has only practiced a handful of days, but has shown up more than a few times altering plays. The competition for the defensive line spots will be hard. Jacob Martin, who is now listed as a defensive lineman after being a linebacker last year, had a speedy sack in drills.

10. Third-year offensive lineman Max Scharping is on his way to bouncing back after a poor 2020 season. He's played left guard mostly and if the Texans had to play tomorrow, he would likely be in the starting rotation. It will be interesting to see how the line changes their positions when Marcus Cannon and Lane Taylor return from the physically unable to perform list.

11. Third-year tight end Kahale Warring had a pass bounce off his hands in the end zone that ended up in an interception. Against air and in one-on-one sessions, Warring has some plays that really wow. Warring is absent and a non-factor during the team sessions though. It will be an uphill battle with some solid performances in preseason games needed for Warring to make the team.

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1. Davis Mills had an up-and-down day under center Friday. One play saw Mills drop back and try to get rid of the ball as Jonathan Greenard was rushing him only to have Greenard leap up and intercept Mills for what would have been an interception returned for a score.

2. A few plays later Davis Mills showcased his short memory. Mills surveyed the field, looked off the safety, and pitched a strike to Brevin Jordan over the middle, wide open, for a touchdown.

3. Davis Mills doesn’t stack bad plays. It is rare to see multiple bad plays happen in a row and Mills be the cause, or a cause, of the play not working. When he misses something, he usually makes up for it the next play.

4. It was a makeshift offensive line on Friday. Max Scharping played a lot at left guard. Charlie Heck saw some snaps at left tackle while Laremy Tunsil took a breather. Veteran lineman Cedric Ogbuehi played some at right tackle. There was plenty of work emphasized on the rushing attack Friday. The offensive line was fine, nothing special. I would say slight edge to the defense overall.

5. Rookie Kenyon Green didn’t practice. Right tackle Tytus Howard didn’t practice either. Pro Football Network is reporting Tytus Howard is out with a positive Covid test. Kenyon Green was banged up last practice, but Lovie Smith expects both back in the coming days.

6.The offensive line had its hands full with the defensive line today. Jonathan Greenard made the above-mentioned play of the practice with an interception. It felt constantly like there was some level of success from the defensive line. Not to say they dominated, but I would think the defense is happy with their day.

7. Maliek Collins has been a nice player in camp. He looks a bit quicker than last year. Collins downplayed how many “close” plays he had last year citing that everyone knows the saying “close but no cigar.” I asked him if he expected a lot of cigars this year. He chuckled and said yes. Teammate Roy Lopez gushed about what he believes Collins can be for this team and called his teammate one of the best defensive tackles in the league.

8. I almost wonder if quiet Derek Stingley days are good days. Stingley wasn’t involved in a lot of plays, but I know Davis Mills saw him on Friday. Mills dropped back on one play and made a read to his left seeing Chris Moore. Stingley darted from coverage towards Moore causing Mills to move off Moore and head to Nico Collins for a score. Yes, the defense allowed a touchdown, but Stingley did his job.

9. Rookie safety Jalen Pitre is a “starting” safety for the team according to Lovie Smith. Pitre had an interception, depending on who you ask, in practice. It is clear the Texans trust him and have put a lot on his plate. I would expect to see a lot of the rookie safety, good or bad, this season.

10. Lovie Smith praised the team’s depth at linebacker earlier in camp. I scoffed a little at the notion, but there seems to be a new linebacker making a play each day. Christian Kirksey had a nice stop in the run game today. Kevin Pierre-Louis, who played very little last year, has flashed. There’s some depth here, despite my skepticism.

11. Ka'imi Fairbairn doesn’t have a challenger in camp this year. I believed this offseason should have seen at the very least someone to challenge the kicker heading into his seventh year in the league. He’s been solid in camp so far, but there have been some misses. It is tough to judge distance, but the team clearly has faith in him with no challenger in sight.

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