After a much-needed off day, the Houston Texans returned to the practice field for Day 6 of training camp. Here are a few observations.
OLs Tytus Howard, Kenyon Green will miss time
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
There were some significant absences from the practice field at Houston Methodist Training Center on Friday. Offensive linemen Tytus Howard and rookie Kenyon Green were not in attendance when the Texans took the field. According to head coach Lovie Smith, both will miss a significant amount of time but may be ready for the Texans’ first preseason game on Aug. 13 against the New Orleans Saints.
Multiple sources have reported that Tytus Howard tested positive for COVID-19 and will be monitored and tested daily until he can produce negative results after taking numerous coronavirus tests. Green left practice early on Wednesday under his own will with a slight limp and, for precautionary measures, was held out of practice on Friday.
“They’re both out injury-wise,” said coach Smith about his two offensive linemen. “We don’t necessarily go over what the injury is, but both of them are out for a period of time. They don’t have season-ending injuries. They’ll be out for a period of time, and we expect to get them back shortly.”
One 'Heck' of a day
(AP Photo/Justin Rex)
Third-year lineman Charlie Heck replaced Tytus Howard at right tackle and edge rusher Maliek Collins gave him problems the entire time they were matched against each other.
Collins continuously beat Heck at the snap with power and agility. At one point, offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton sent the fullback over to help give Mills enough time in the pocket.
As previously mentioned, starting right tackle Howard will miss some time from practice due to NFL health and safety protocols regarding COVID-19. If at any point during the season he has to miss a game or two, the Texans may have to explore other options as his backup if Heck cannot stack together multiple days of productive football.
Jalen Pitre becoming a problem for the offense
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
The Texans were left with a void at safety when former third-round pick Justin Reid decided against signing back with the team and agreed to terms with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason.
Reid’s athleticism and football IQ impressed Houston’s defensive coaches, and with his departure, they were looking to bring in another player of his caliber. They may have exceeded it by drafting Jalen Pitre.
During seven-on-seven drills, Pitre snagged his first interception of training camp by making a spectacular catch after linebacker Neville Hewitt tipped a Davis Mills pass high in the air.
“What we should notice about Jalen is he’s just blending in now,” Smith said. “Of course, he’s one of our starting safeties. We aren’t giving out any starting spots, but he’s been working with the ones. But he’s intelligent, smart, everything we’re looking for in a safety, he has. Can’t wait for him to actually play his first game.”
Pitre, who was selected with the 37th overall pick in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, also has some adjustments to make in pass coverage when he is going up against tight ends. On Friday, Pharaoh Brown used his massive 6-foot-6 frame to body the 5-11 Pitre for a catch in 11-on-11 drills.
What we should notice about Jalen (Pitre) is he's just blending in now. Of course, he's one of our starting safeties. We aren't giving out any starting spots, but he's been working with the ones. But he's intelligent, smart, everything we're looking for in a safety, he has. pic.twitter.com/74MT2o2ai2
— #SARGE (@BigSargeSportz) August 5, 2022
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas attended training camp as a special invited guest of coach Lovie Smith. Silas was pleased with what he saw from the Texans and equated what Smith is doing in helping rebuild the Texans to what he is doing with his young core of players for the Rockets.
Smith and Silas had never met before, but both felt the need to make sure they met face to face and continue to communicate with each other regularly.
“It’s very special. Stephen is doing a great job,” coach Smith said. “I’m a big basketball fan. I see what he’s doing with our Rockets. A young basketball team developing, a lot of great young talent, can’t wait to see them play next year. He’s H-town like we are, so it’s good for us to compare notes but good to see him at practice.”
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