Skirmish breaks out at Texans camp again

Texans veteran safety M.J. Stewart crashed through a block from wide receiver Johnny Johnson III. When Johnson shoved Stewart in the back, the biggest fight of training camp unfolded Monday morning.

For the second consecutive day, the Texans had a confrontation at camp as tempers boiled over during another hot day in the Texas heat. One day after linebacker Christian Harris and running back Devin Singletary got in a shoving match before being separated, this incident involved multiple players from the offense and defense before cooler heads prevailed.

During this latest melee, defensive end Chase Winovich dove over the top onto a pile of bodies. Once the brief fight was over, there were no further incidents as practice resumed.

The Texans are off Tuesday before hosting a joint practice session with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday and Thursday in advance of Saturday night’s preseason game at NRG Stadium.

“There was a little scuffle today, not important,” said Texans coach DeMeco Ryans, who has stated he wants the team to play with a certain edginess and intensity. “It’s football. It’s training camp. It gets a little testy. We’re probably at our wits’ end going against each other, so it will be really good and refreshing to have Miami come in over the next three days. Really looking forward to those joint practices against Miami. It’s coming at the right time for our group and our guys will be ready to go and excited about it.”

Training camp fights didn’t happen the previous two seasons under the tenures of coaches Lovie Smith and David Culley.

Ryans has already had a discussion with Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel, his former 49ers colleague, about the tenor they expect from practice. They’re looking for a productive, interactive experience at practice, not a brawl. Should a punch be thrown, they’ve agreed the player will be ejected from practice.

“We had a conversation and both of us view it the same way,” Ryans said. “We don’t want to turn it into a shoving match. We just want both of our teams to get better at football, so we want to practice. We don’t want to lose time on guys wasting time on stuff that doesn’t matter about football when it comes to shoving and fighting.

“We don’t want those things, so in our agreement, if anybody throws a punch, just like what happens in a game, we’re going to play within the rules. You throw a punch in a game, you’re kicked out. It’s the same thing in practice. Now, if anybody’s throwing punches, we have to get them out of practice, but we just want these practices to be productive. That’s what it’s about and we’ll handle it that way.”

Although the intensity is welcomed, there’s a fine line between playing tough and playing smart.

“It’s football, you know it happens,” safety Jalen Pitre said. “At the end of the day, we know there’s going to be fights, but we just try not to get anybody hurt. We know emotions are going to be high and it gets hot out here, so people are going to be mad sometimes. But when we do fight, we also want to respect each other and make sure nobody is getting hurt because that’s the last thing we need.

Texans veteran middle linebacker Denzel Perryman said the team is definitely ready to face a different opponent. It’s time.

“I don’t know if you all have been watching practice, but it’s been getting a little intense out there, a little chippy,” Perryman said. “I’m pretty sure guys will be excited to go get someone else, hit someone else different this time.”

As for people jumping over the top during a scuffle, Perryman said that was an ill-advised maneuver.

“No, I’m way smarter than that,” Perryman said. “I told whoever that was, can’t name drop, but I told that person, ‘Hey, man don’t do that. Got to be smart. Got to be smart.’”

When the Texans face the Dolphins, it’s time for football, not combat.

“We’re not getting ready to fight, man,” Perryman said. “We’re just getting ready to compete. You don’t do that. Got to protect the team.”

NOTES: Texans offensive tackle Austin Deculus got his leg knocked into in practice in a scrum and left the field with a trainer. The initial diagnosis is just soreness and it’s not considered serious.

Several key players were given a day of rest, including Pro Bowl left offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, defensive end Will Anderson Jr., defensive tackle Maliek Collins and wide receiver John Metchie III.

“Just body management,” Ryans said. “You’ll see guys under a load management, and some guys won’t be out there.” ...

Veteran quarterback Case Keenum isn’t practicing due to a soft-tissue injury in his left leg, per a league source. Keenum has been out the past two practices and the team signed quarterback E.J. Perry on Sunday morning.

Defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway didn’t practice, but is expected to return soon after sustaining an upper body injury Sunday.

Not practicing: linebacker Christian Kirksey (strained hamstring), tight end Brevin Jordan (hamstring), tight end Dalton Keene, safety Brandon Hill (hamstring), defensive tackle Thomas Booker (wrist), offensive tackle Tytus Howard (hand surgery) and wide receiver Jared Wayne (Grade 2 hamstring strain). ...

The Texans released wide receiver Victor Bolden one day after adding the former Arlington Renegades player. ...

Reserve offensive lineman Michael Deiter lined up at left tackle. He has previously just played center or guard.

Offensive tackle Charlie Heck remains on the physically unable to perform list with a recurring foot issue that has lingered since the offseason, according to a league source.

The Texans signed veteran offensive tackle George Fant to a one-year, $4 million contract and he is lining up with the first-team offense at right tackle.

“With our offensive line, there will be a lot of shuffling,” Ryans said. “As of right now in training camp with every position, there’s a lot of shuffling guys around. Guys will play different positions, and this is a time to see what guys can handle. Who can absorb multiple positions? When you go into a season, and you’re limited in the number of guys you can have on your roster, it’s very comforting to have guys that have versatility and flexibility to do more than one thing.” ...

Ryans has fond memories of his work with McDaniel with the 49ers, and with the Texans when he was a quality control coach under Gary Kubiak.

“With McDaniel, our offices were right next to each other, so I spent a lot of time with him,” Ryans said. “One thing that I know about McDaniel is, the thing that jumps out is he’s the first guy in the building. Every morning, he’s the first guy in.

“He’s always grinding on tape, always looking for different ways to try different runs, attack in a different manner. McDaniel doesn’t just go with the flow of the norm of how things have been. He’s going to press the button or try different things and it’s worked out for him great there in Miami. He’s done a really good job of leading that team.”

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

Houston Texans Rookie Minicamp

Photo: Alex Bierens de Haan / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

Texans work out corner, safety, linebacker

The Texans worked out cornerback Jordan Miller, safety Scott Nelson and linebacker Joel Dublanko on Monday, according to league sources.

Miller played for the Arlington Renegades this past season. He played collegiately at Washington, intercepting six passes in college before being drafted in the fifth round by the Atlanta Falcons.

Miller has also played for the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals.

He has five career tackle and one fumble recovery.

Nelson is a 6-foot-2, 203-pound former undrafted free agent from Wisconsin who has played for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seahawks.

The 6-foot-2, 203-pounder recorded 125 career tackles at Wisconsin.

Dublanko is a former team captain and all-conference linebacker at Cincinnati who has played in the XFL for the San Antonio Brahmas.

Aaron Wilson is a contributor to Sports Talk 790.

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