O’Brien: Defense had ‘upper hand’ over offense in practice

HOUSTON – As Houston Texans training camp continues, there has been a clear "winner" of practices with the defense seemingly progressing faster than that of their offensive counterparts.

"I’d say the defense had the upper hand today," head coach Bill O’Brien said after Tuesday morning’s practice.

While not knocking the accomplishment of the defense performing well at camp, the offense is having a tougher time installing O’Brien’s intricate playbook on the field. The first-year head coach, however, isn’t wanting to hear any excuses.

"We have a high standard here," O’Brien said. "So we talk to them a lot about the progression from the meeting room to the walkthrough to execution on the field. You know, we’re all here to execute on the field and produce on the field, coach or player. So when we go out there we have a high standard of what our expectations are. When there is a mistake, we have to correct it, but we have to make sure they know those types of mistakes have to be corrected. Certain mistakes are unacceptable: turnovers, dumb penalties, line of scrimmage penalties. I think our guys are learning that and trying to play more disciplined and they’re working hard to correct mistakes."

The Texans are still learning the hard way that perfection is demanded of them and if there is any mistakes, they will have to pay for it with some extra work. O’Brien pays no favorites, quarterback Case Keenum and rookie free-agent center missed a snap, resulting in a fumble during drills and were soon seen doing a lap together.

"For one, you don’t want to run that lap." tackle Duane Brown said. "It’s tiring enough going against our defense. You have a mental mistake and a lack of focus, that lap reminds you that you don’t want to do that again. I think it holds everyone accountable."

The offense did have some good moments. Keenum changed a play on the line of scrimmage as a result of a defensive shift and starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick made some interesting arm angle changes to get the football past oncoming defensive players. Young offensive linemen Ben Jones and rookie Xavier Su’a-Filo have both been performing well with the tough task of taking on the Texans’ defensive line, featuring J.J. Watt, everyday.

"I think these guys worked hard today," O’Brien said on the overall performance of Tuesday morning’s practice. "We have a lot of installation right now. So today was first, second and third down, no huddle, different special teams situations, different drills. I still think they are learning how we practice, especially the guys that have been here. Overall, I think it was a good day. The guys are competing. Like I’ve said from day one, it’s a very enjoyable group of guys to coach."

Follow Shawn Ramsey on Twitter: @ShawnPRamsey