Sean Pendergast

Four Observations From Houston Texans Mandatory Minicamp

DeMeco Ryans is seeing even more advanced leadership in his young quarterback, C.J. Stroud.
DeMeco Ryans is seeing even more advanced leadership in his young quarterback, C.J. Stroud. Photo by Eric Sauseda
The end is in sight for the Houston Texans’ off-season program with three mandatory minicamp sessions taking place across the street from NRG Stadium this week. As Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans indicated following practice, the goal for these sessions is for players to ou themselves in a position to compete for their roles come training camp in mid July.

The other goal for players is to leave these sessions healthy and intact, and aside from a couple instances of players dragging one another to the ground, a minicamp no-no, players were safe out there. In other words, no injuries to report.

As far as other key observations, here you go:

There’s definitely a different energy with this team
Given this is the first juncture of the off-season where everyone, rookie and veterans, are required to be there, this was our first look at the Texans with their new add-one. Texan fans, you’ll feel this if you can attend training camp, and it’s the surreal vibe that this team now has Stefon Diggs, Danielle Hunter, and Joe Mixon, to name the major additions. It is a 180,000 degree difference from the minicamps of the David Culley and Lovie Smith Eras. You can just feel that this is high level work occurring in front of you, playing and coaching.

Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard are working their way back
Two faces that were not in attendance at the practice were the Texans’ starting offensive tackles, Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard. Neither were at the voluntary sessions the last couple weeks either. Following practice on Tuesday, Ryans reminded the media that both players are returning from surgeries on lower extremities, but that they’ll both be back in time for training camp. In the meantime, players like rookie Blake Fisher and fifth year swing tackle Charlie Heck are getting valuable reps.

C.J. Stroud’s leadership has evolved
A year ago, C.J. Stroud had not even been named the Texans’ starting quarterback. On paper, he was in a battle with Davis Mills and Case Keenum, even if we all knew the eventual outcome. As a result, this wasn’t really “Stroud’s team” yet. Well, that’s completely changed. Stroud has always carried himself with leadership qualities, but everyone from DeMeco Ryans to Tank Dell pointed out after practice how Stroud has taken leadership to another level this offseason, visibly holding teammates accountable for mistakes and setting a higher standard for the coming season.

Kamari Lassiter will have a role, for sure
The Texans’ top draft pick from the 2024 draft is a clear favorite of DeMeco Ryans, as he’s continually brought up Lassiter’s name when asked about that position group. Based on Tuesday’s practice, Lassiter is absolutely in the mix for the outside corner spot opposite Derek Stingley. Most of the conjecture about Lassiter pointed to him playing slot corner, but he looked very comfortable covering routes on the outside, including running stride for stride with Dell on a deep ball.

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast