First-year Texans coach Lovie Smith has been pleased with the participation of his team during offseason workouts at NRG Stadium season.
The veteran coach was even more impressed with about 95 percent of his team in attendance when voluntary OTA practices kicked off this week at the Texans facility.
“Everything we’ve been doing, phase one, phase two, has been leading up to our NFL version of spring ball, these OTAs,” Smith said. “As you can see, it’s one thing to go through a lot of drills, but once you start getting offense vs. defense, decisions have to be made. We have good competition throughout at a lot of positions, so this work, just love it as much as anything.
“You get a chance to see the initial group that we put out there, but don’t put too much into who’s getting reps right now, who isn’t. We don’t have first, second, third teams right now. We kind of have a starting rotation and as much as anything, we want everybody to have an opportunity to show us who they are.”
Players like veteran receiver Brandin Cooks and second-year quarterback Davis Mills are participating as are other veterans who will be instrumental in the Texans rebounding from last season’s disappointing 4-13 finish.
“No one was satisfied with what happened last year,” Smith said. “How do you get better? Come to work every time you have an opportunity to get better. You show up, some more than others.
“It’s not like we’re going to make Brandin Cooks get every snap. We have some of our veteran players that I’m going to take some of their reps off a little bit. When you have as much competition as we have, you don’t have to tell guys to show up. They want every opportunity they can to show us who they are.”
A couple of notable absences, however, have been left tackle Laremy Tunsil and defensive lineman Maliek Collins. But Smith doesn’t seem too concerned about them not being around for OTAs.
“At Big Sandy, voluntary is voluntary,” said Smith, referencing his hometown. “You can show up as you like, you don’t have to. I kind of go on that in the end. Yeah, I’d like for guys to be up here all day, staying with the coaches and putting in as many hours as we like, but they have some options.
“Rules are in place, we follow the rules and it’s no more than that. Every player that’s not here right now, I’ve communicated with them and I’m okay with that.”