Wednesday’s joint practice between the Texans and Lions was a reunion for Houston coach Bill O’Brien and Detroit coach Matt Patricia.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 8: Detroit Lions Head Football Coach Matt Patricia watches the game from the elevated sidelines during the preseason game against the New England Patriots at Ford Field on August 8, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. New England defeated Detroit 31-3. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

The two worked as assistants with the New England Patriots from 2007-11.

O’Brien said the first of two practices between these teams before Saturday’s preseason game ran like clockwork.

HOUSTON, TX – DECEMBER 30: Head coach Bill O’Brien of the Houston Texans watches warmups before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

“He and I, we go back a long way, coached together in New England, didn’t really even have to meet about this,” O’Brien said. “We just knew how it would work. It was a smooth operation.”

O’Brien and Patricia have remained close friends from their time working together under New England coach Bill Belichick, and Patricia said it was easy to fall right back into their old routine when they got back together on Wednesday.

“We spent a lot of time together at New England,” Patricia said. “He was the offensive coordinator; I was the defensive coordinator. It’s funny when we get into practices like this, it’s just like old times kind of: ‘Hey what do you want to do this period? Let’s do this. How many reps here? What does this look like?’

HOUSTON, TX – DECEMBER 09: Head coach Bill O’Brien of the Houston Texans before playing the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

“That conversation comes right back to what we did a long time ago.”

The teams went through about a two-hour practice on Wednesday morning in which they conducted drills separately early in the day before working together. Patricia, recovering from offseason leg surgery, zipped around from field to field on a four-wheeler, and O’Brien was seen standing near his ATV and chatting with him several times during practice.

It is the second consecutive week both teams have held joint practices. The Texans worked out with the Packers for two days last week before Thursday’s preseason opener at Green Bay. Detroit hosted Belichick and the Patriots for two workouts in advance of the team’s first preseason game on Thursday.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 23: Head coach Matt Patricia of the Detroit Lions hugs Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots after a 26-10 win over his former team at Ford Field on September 23, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson and Lion’s signal-caller Matt Stafford took many of the snaps in Wednesday’s workouts. They both made some nice passes, with Stafford connecting with the first-round pick T.J. Hockenson on one long throw.

The Lions believe that chasing around dual-threat quarterback Watson for a few days this week will help them prepare for their season opener when they’ll meet Arizona and Kyler Murray, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner and the top overall pick in this year’s draft.

Along with dealing with the Texans, the Lions were also fighting the weather conditions Wednesday. Where they normally practice in Allen Park, Michigan, temperatures are usually in the low to mid-70s in the mornings. In Houston on Wednesday temperatures soared to above 90 degrees with high humidity by the time practice wrapped up just before 11 a.m.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – DECEMBER 30: Head coach Matt Patricia of the Detroit Lions watches from the sideline during the second half of a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 30, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Patricia said he and his staff have been getting the team ready for the conditions for a while.

“Making sure that we’re doing a good job with our players to hydrate and to make sure they are prepared,” he said. “We’ve tried to stress that through the last 48 hours or so through the travel. Obviously getting on the plane, that dehydrates you, too. … We’re just going to have to do a really good job of monitoring everything. I’ve talked to coach O’Brien at length about taking his guidance and his lead as far as the heat is concerned because he is obviously in tune with it a little bit more than we are.”

Patricia said it’s not only important to be cognizant of the heat’s effect while the practice is going on, but also later in the day and evening as they prepare for a second day in the conditions Thursday.

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Comments