(SportsRadio 610) - The Texans held a night practice Thursday in preparation for their preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints Saturday at NRG stadium.
The entire day was about preparing the players, especially the rookies, for what a game day really looks and feels like.
Texans head coach Lovie Smith, who hasn’t been a head coach in the league since 2015 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told members of the media following Thursday’s practice it’ll be like riding a bike for him.
“You know they say when you know how to ride a bike, you know how to ride it most of the time. You know, I’m excited about it," Smith said. "To have an opportunity to lead a franchise like this, I love our football team. So it’s all good, can’t wait to get there."
As far as coaches' systematic approach and the execution of the night practice, Smith said it went accordingly.
“We need to get to the game now and play someone," Smith said. "We have our game plan in, feel good about it. Tonight’s practice went about as planned. This is what we normally do right at the end so we’re right on schedule.”
One guy that has his routine knocked for a loop was backup quarterback Kyle Allen, who was absent from Thursday evenings practice, as he recently tested positive for COVID-19.
Veteran quarterback Jeff Driskel will see quite a bit of action Saturday night against the Saints as starter Davis Mills is expected play only a couple of series.
Standout rookie defensive back Derek Stingley Jr. will not make his pro debut Saturday.
Stingley had surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury in his left foot in September 2021. While it has been nearly 11 months of recovery, the average recovery time for that type of injury in football players is just over 11 ½ months, so it is very likely the Texans are being extra precautious.
One of the biggest things the Texans and Smith are looking forward to Saturday night is seeing some hitting and tackling.
“We haven't tackled full speed. We haven't put anybody down. We haven't cut blocks, we don't cut below the knee. Just finishing plays. Playing against another opponent. Just that competition. I see preseason games, it's all about the regular season, getting ready for Indy (Indianapolis Colts), and I want to see the guys in as many situations as possible and see how they react to it. Some of the players, most of the players on our team I've been with, I kind of know, but there's a lot that we don't, and things change from year to year. That's what, guys finishing plays.”
That’s what it always comes down to. Finishing plays. Thursday’s jog through was about making sure guys were aligned correctly, understood assignments, ran the proper routes, got into the correct coverage, went through their reads and understood blocking assignments.
All of the things that the players have done for years at various levels and programs. But, it’s different when many are going to be playing in a new system and in the NFL for the first time.