HOUSTON -- Deshaun Watson entered the training complex outside NRG Stadium wearing a gray hoodie with the Houston Texans logo. On the field, he was seen wearing his No. 4 red non-contact jersey. He also played defense, lining up on the scout team as a safety and wearing a No. 23 jersey. During drills, he was last in line with the other quarterbacks.
He was everything - and everywhere - except he wasn't really the Watson who Texans fans recognize.
First-year head coach David Culley addressed the elephant in the room after practice. Well, he at least tried to put it into context of why Watson's role was limited and his positions so peculiar.
"Not going through the offseason, especially with the nature of the way the league is right now with the limited reps, and the limited things that we can do during the offseason ... we want to make sure that during this ramp-up period, that nothing happens," Culley said of Watson's role. "I mean, guys throw too much, guys' arms get sore. And we want to make sure none of those things happen."
Watson, who requested a trade from the organization this offseason, returned Sunday for the start of camp. But he's clearly not here to make friends or reconcile with the front office, rather only to avoid the league's $50,000-per-day fine for missing camp practice.
Culley did say that interactions with the 25-year-old have been courteous.
"It's not been a distraction at all," Culley said. "Very professional about everything, just like all the guys who have been here. It's been business as usual."
That "business-as-usual" approach could be lasting a tad longer. The NFL will have the option of placing Watson on the commissioner's exempt list due to his current off-field issues.
Watson still is facing 22 civil lawsuits of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. The league released a statement Monday, stating that as of now, his legal situation will not put any restrictions on taking part in club activities.
Well then, could Watson start come Week 1?
"We'll kind of take it one day at a time and ultimately we're going to do what we feel is best for the Houston Texans," Texans general manager Nick Caserio said of Watson's status for the season-opener against Jacksonville.
Culley also declined to comment on the status of Watson's role as of this time.
For now, the 'franchise quarterback' will be at practice. He will go through plays, along with Tyrod Taylor, Jeff Driskel and rookie Davis Mills. He'll have conversations with offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton and Culley on what to look at during individual drills.
That likely is the end until otherwise. He will not participate in team drills, nor will he take reps away from the other three quarterbacks.
Watson is essentially going through the motions, all intended to keep him from being fined and get him out of Houston.
“I’m not going to get into an individual discussion about who is going to be doing what,” Caserio said before practice. “Everybody will go out there. Whatever they’re going to do, they’re going to do.”
Here's some other takeaways from Day 1 of Texans camp:
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Miller making it look easy
TexansDaily.com on Wednesday reported that the Texans officially traded receiver Randall Cobb back to the Green Bay Packers. Part of the reason Caserio might have been willing to let go of Cobb so easily was due to the acquisition of former Chicago Bears wideout Anthony Miller.
Miller, who now will wear the No. 3 as he did in college at Memphis, might just need a fresh start. That start could have come in his first practice as working with the quarterbacks came second nature.
During individual drills, Miller did not drop a pass. He ran smooth routes and was able to beat several defensive backs during seven-on-seven drills.
Culley said that both Cobb and Miller play a similar game as "inside receivers," likely meaning he'll get first cracks at taking over in the slot. Other names for reps include Keke Coutee and Alex Erickson from Cincinnati.
In his final season with the Bears, Miller recorded 49 catches for 485 yards and two touchdowns. A good start in a contract year is something. He's a stable No. 3 weapon and could be the name to watch for on Tuesday.
It was a good first day, but he still has a way to go before being safe.
Mills makes most of reps
As mentioned, the rookie quarterback from Stanford will have the opportunity to make the most of Watson missing time.
It was a limited look, but the tools are there just like Cardinal coach David Shaw said they would be.
Mills flashed his big-arm mentality by connecting twice on passes 20-plus yards down the field. In both individual and team reps, he looked the part of an accurate passer who can keep drives alive.
The other thing that was promising was his footwork. Mills maneuvered out of the pocket to evade pressure from the pass rush. He made it look easy when flustered and forced to move.
The Texans view him as a name on the rise, and with time, he very well could be.
If Wednesday showed a glimpse of what the rookies could do, Brevin Jordan and Nico Collins are in for big seasons.
It was hard to take one's eyes off the 6-4 Collins, the team's third-round pick out of Michigan. He showed off that big frame during team drills and seven-on-seven reps.
Jordan, the team's fifth-round pick of Miami, also looks the part of potential early contributor. Still working on becoming a stronger blocker, there's wasn't a fault with his hands. From what was seen, Jordan did not drop a single catchable pass thrown his direction.
Veteran wide receiver Brandin Cooks said that he doesn't believe Collins is a rookie, let alone a player who elected to opt out during his final season in Ann Arbor. Jordan also has been considered by many names around the league as a "steal" for the Texans' offense.
Both players caught passes from Mills and Taylor. The sooner they are in-sync with both quarterbacks, the better off Houston's receiving corp can be.
CONTINUE READING: Texans Will Trade QB Deshaun Watson Now - At This Price