Davis Mills bounced back Monday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.
The Houston Texans took to the field with pads on for the first time. Here are 11 observations from the first padded practice.
1. Davis Mills had a much better day today than he did on Saturday. Saturday saw Mills struggling to quickly decide and beat some solid coverage. Monday saw the offense chipping away at the defense with short and quick completions. Mills is much speedier than last year’s version in deciding.
2. Davis Mills has yet to throw an interception. This is a fact that delights and perturbs Lovie Smith who is the head coach but also calls the defense. In fact, Mills hasn’t really gotten close to throwing an interception.
3. Davis Mills has still yet to hit a clean deep ball. This isn’t a concern, Mills had some of the best deep ball numbers last year, but it would be nice to see him hook up on one of these plays.
4. Kyle Allen tossed a touchdown in the two-minute drill. He hit Chad Beebe on the sideline for a score. This came after Davis Mills led an unsuccessful two-minute drive.
5. The best play of the day from Davis Mills was in the red zone. He surveyed the field after the snap and tossed a dart only where a fully stretched Brevin Jordan could catch it. Jordan landed in the end zone. Touchdown offense.
6. Brandin Cooks is so good. Nobody can consistently cover him. Steven Nelson had a very physical win early in practice against Cooks, but later Nelson was yet another Cooks victim.
7. The most regular victim of Brandin Cooks’ skills was Derek Stingley. The rookie cornerback found himself on Cooks a ton and rarely “won” the rep. After practice Cooks and Stingley were working 1-on-1 on the practice field.
8. Jalen Camp had a few nice plays Monday. The second-year player from Georgia Tech is long and athletic. He skied for a pass early in practice and later hauled in a deep pass. There is competition in front of him but there is an opportunity for the youngster as well.
9. Rasheem Green is set to be a factor for this defensive line. I need more time to watch him in pads, but he blew up a play today that would have been a quarterback sack in a live rep. His physical stature stands out among the defensive linemen.
10. Nico Collins has a best friend that helps him a ton: the sideline. It is rare to see a player in just his second year use the sideline as much as Collins does, but he frequently makes plays on the sideline. Collins was practicing sideline and back of end zone catches with Mills and his footwork was very clean.
11. The running backs have a little more than you think they have. Marlon Mack is shifty and looks a lot closer to the player he was that rushed for 1,999 yards over two seasons in Indianapolis. Rookie Dameon Pierce has plenty of burst and vision to his game. When asked how the team improved the running game left tackle Laremy Tunsil said “we went and got Pep Hamilton and we’re fixing to get this (expletive) rolling.”
The Houston Texans will look to get back on track this week against the Broncos, who are suddenly back in playoff contention after ripping off five straight wins.
Too bad Houston didn't get to play the Broncos earlier in the season.
The Texans host Russel Wilson and company this Sunday at NRG and are currently 3.5 point favorites. Vegas is expecting a lot of points as they set the total at 47, the second-highest of the week.
After two straight games with over 100 yards rushing, Devin Singletary and the Texans rushing game came crashing back down to Earth with 32 rushing yards combined between Singletary and Dameon Pierce.
Things could change this Sunday, with the Broncos allowing the most rushing yards per game (155.18). To be fair, many of the Broncos stats are skewed with their terrible start to the season, and a game in which they allowed a whopping 70 points to the Dolphins.
During Denver's winning streak, they held the Chiefs and Bills to 9 and 22 points, respectively. But the one edge the Texans have over almost every team in the NFL is quarterback play.
The Texans and CJ Stroud are 1st in passing yards per game (297.6) and 4th in total yards per game (396.4).
So who will come out ahead in this critical matchup?
Check out the video above for a full early breakdown of the game, plus predictions. And go Texans!