HOUSTON (CBS HOUSTON) – The Houston Texans held their first padded practice at the Methodist Training Center on Tuesday and it was met with great enthusiasm from the defense who began the day with a dominating performance on the goal line.
Head Coach Bill O’Brien seemed to expect that the defense would perform well in the first padded practice, but reiterated that the offense has to improve.
“The defense did a good job. That’s kind of the way it is most times,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got all those guys back on defense. Offensively, we just need to – next time we get down there, we have to do a better job.”
The Texans return 10 starters on a defense that allowed the third fewest yards per game in the NFL in 2015. There was some added excitement and competitive fire on Tuesday.
“I think today is when guys can kind of separate themselves because with helmets on everyone looks good. But when you get the contact some guys shy away from it and some guys try to initiate it,” cornerback Jonathan Joseph said.
The veteran players on the Texans defense look at the first padded practice as a way of unleashing some pent up aggression.
“We’ve been in panties (shorts and shells) for OTAs, so the first day of pads is always when you find out who the football players are that are not shying away from contact,” safety Quintin Demps said about the first padded practice. “It reminds you we’re playing football now. I’ve got to be aggressive. I get paid to be aggressive and it’s a good feeling.”
One thing that is possible in a padded practice is greater focus on the Texans’ running game something that is not easily simulated when there is no contact at practice. The running game, which added a starter in free agent signee Lamar Miller, needs to catch-up with the rest of the offense.
“We run the ball. I mean, we just threw 6,000 passes since OTAs started,” Coach O’Brien said. “You run the ball in pads. We’re behind in the running game on both sides and we’ll just continue to get better at that.”
Alex Del Barrio can be heard on Saturday afternoons with Matt Murphy from 3-7 pm and on Sunday afternoons with Jeremy Branham on Sportsradio 610. Follow Alex Del Barrio on Twitter: @alexdelbarrio