The Texans and Miami Dolphins will mix it up during the second preseason game on Saturday afternoon at NRG Stadium.
Before they get to the Texans’ preseason home opener, however, the two teams are having the benefit of competing against each other in joint practices this week at the Texans’ facility. And as expected, it’s been pretty spirited with some extra action after the whistle.
It’s all part of getting ready for the test of the real season.
“Honestly, I like to see when guys get into it,” said Texans veteran linebacker Denzel Perryman, who has been through several joint preseason practices throughout his career. “I get back, you know, I’ll watch. But I like to see guys get into it. It’s nothing but a competitive edge at the end of the day.”
But there are far more benefits to joint practices than the skirmishes that break out. It’s the chance for players to go against someone other than their own teammates in practice for the first time in a few weeks. You get No. 1s vs No.1s and the speed of practice plays picks up quite a bit.
“You’re not seeing the same guy every day,” Perryman said. “I’m not going to be going against Dameon Pierce, I’m not going against ‘Motor,’ that’s what we call [Devin] Singletary. I’m not going against them every day, so you’re just sharpening your skills with that and just competing. And gameday, you kind of know, you kind of have a feel for each other, but gameday is a lot different.”
This week has especially been good for the Texans’ young defense which has been working against the Dolphins’ speedy and high-powered offense led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and featuring speedsters like wide receiver Tyreek Hill and running back Jeff Wilson.
It’s been a great test for the Texans’ young defense that features rookie defensive end Will Anderson and second-year safety Jalen Pitre.
“[They’ve] got a lot of fast players,” Texans safety Jimmy Ward said following Wednesday’s first joint practice. “That’s kind of how they built their offense. So, a lot of speed – speed in their running backs. They’ve got Jeff [Wilson Jr.]. Jeff [has] power and speed.
“But the wide receiver groups – all of them can run. So, of course they were going to make some plays and guys getting paid, too. But I feel like we made a lot of plays out here, too, and we took the ball away.”
It’s also a good opportunity for rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud to see some different looks from the defense and to get more experience playing closer to NFL game speed. Stroud, the Texans’ second overall pick in last spring’s NFL Draft, made his first start last week at New England and had a so-so performance.
Texans coach DeMeco Ryans still hasn’t said if Stroud will make his second start or how much he will play Saturday, but he sees the benefit of this week in his quarterback room.
“Yeah, with C.J. [Stroud], with all our quarterbacks, what I wanted to see was just [have] those guys operate [while] seeing a different defense, seeing a different scheme, seeing different pressures coming in,” said Ryans, who is 1-0 this preseason. “I’m seeing the guys operate cleanly, smoothly, and our guys made some plays. It was cool to see.”