Despite mistakes, Texans coach Bill O'Brien likes QB Brock Osweiler's progress

"I think with all that has been thrown at him, he has made a lot of progress," said Texans coach Bill O'Brien of the team's new $72 million quarterback, Brock Osweiler (17). Erik Williams/USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans defense pounced on opportunities during Tuesday's practice.

Linebacker Brian Cushing picked off quarterback Brock Osweiler early in the session, then cornerback A.J. Bouye jumped a route and intercepted Osweiler later. J.J. Watt and linebackers coach Mike Vrabel flanked Bouye as he ran the pick back the other way. Osweiler chased him, but never caught him.

It was an imperfect moment for Osweiler during the first practice of the Texans' mandatory veteran minicamp, but not one that overly concerned Texans coach Bill O'Brien. In fact, while O'Brien acknowledges Osweiler has made mistakes, he's been pleased that very few mistakes come in operating the Texans' offense. So far, he's liked what he's seen from the Texans' $72-million quarterback.

"He has been able to understand the operation of the offense," O'Brien said. "He has been able to function very well in the huddle, at the line of scrimmage. Just like everybody else, nothing is perfect in practice. You’re not game planning. He sees something new every day. Something new defensively. We put in new plays every day. I think with all that has been thrown at him, he has made a lot of progress."

As they began their three-day mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, the Texans were advanced beyond where they had been in each of the prior two seasons. With a short quarterback competition in the 2014 offseason and a much longer quarterback competition in the 2015 offseason, the Texans' eventual starter in each of those seasons got less time leading the offense than Osweiler has had so far.

This year they spent their three weeks of organized team activities learning different parts of the offense, with Osweiler leading all of it. They are spending this week putting it all together. While the practices have been limited -- they haven't been in pads and only had 10 organized team activity practices before minicamp began -- they'll have essentially installed their offense by the end of minicamp.

The most important aspect of that is how Osweiler learns. Before the pads go on in training camp, the learning matters most.

"I think the thing that I’m impressed with with Brock probably most of all is his ability to learn our system, our operation," O'Brien said. "... He has had his share of mistakes, but at the same time he has made very few mistakes with the operation of our offense. You know, how to run the huddle, how to command the huddle. I’ve seen some good leadership out of him on the sideline, in the huddle, in the weight room, in the meeting room. Just like I said last week, we’re really happy with his progress."