RICHMOND, Va. -- You aren't supposed to touch the quarterback in practices of any kind. But the rush didn't pull back in time and Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer found himself knocked over during an 11-on-11 session against Washington on Thursday.
"It’s all in good competition," Hoyer said with a chuckle after practice. "We can get a lot out of this, they can get a lot out of it. You just hope you come out healthy and get a good look -- we’ve been practicing against the same guys, same schemes, so now you come out here, you see different players, different schemes and you have to react."
There was a bit of an extra edge to Thursday's practice. There was some jawing between the defensive backs and wide receivers, namely Washington's DeAngelo Hall and Houston's DeAndre Hopkins. On another field, Texans defensive backs Johnathan Joseph and Rahim Moore had some fun going back and forth with fans lined up outside the field.
And while there wasn't live tackling, the contact was more active than it would have been in a single-team practice.
"When you go against your teammate, it’s like your brothers out there," Texans running back Alfred Blue said. "You don’t really want to hurt them or do nothing. When you go against another team, it’s like you’re the enemy, so it does ramp up."
Blue was asked if there's still a sense of protecting each other so as not to cause injuries.
"I wouldn’t say that," he replied. "They were out there bumping. I wouldn’t say they were holding back any."
It was good practice for the Texans as long as no significant injuries come out of it. There were no apparent ones, though tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz seemed to have a groin issue midway through practice.
Some other notes from Thursday's practice:
Hoyer got his day running the first team, though there was quite a bit of variety among the receivers. He had a nice connection with receiver Cecil Shorts III on a few plays and Shorts did a nice job of getting open against Washington's defensive backs.
Since pads went on, we've seen a lot of drops from the Texans' pass-catchers. Thursday was no different. Jaelen Strong had one hit him in the chest. Tight end Mike McFarland had one go right through his hands. Even Hopkins had a rare drop on a throw from Ryan Mallett. Hopkins later made a nice touchdown catch from Hoyer during a goal-line drill.
Speaking of those goal-line drills, the teams had their first-team and second-team offense and defense each get a turn. The only defensive group to prevent a touchdown was the Texans' first-team defense. Safety Rahim Moore shot through to stuff a run that got Washington off the field.
Moore spent quite a bit of time playing alongside Andre Hal. Hal came in as a cornerback last year, but the Texans have converted him this offseason. "I’ve seen greatness in him," Moore said after practice. "He’s an unbelievable guy. God’s blessed him with talents. He’s over there working out right now. Our communication today was superb. I told him if we do that today, nobody can stop us."
Safety Lonnie Ballentine, defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan, linebacker Mike Mohamed and running back Chris Polk were at practice, but did not participate. Mohamed's absence opened the door for Max Bullough to see a lot of action.
I'll be keeping an eye on running back Kenny Hilliard, the Texans' seventh-round pick. He got a lot of work today in that running back group, which is a given considering how thin it is right now. Blue, Hilliard, Grimes and fullback Jay Prosch are the healthy players in the group.