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Quotes: Texans OTAs Day 3

Posted May 23, 2013

Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media following Day 3 of OTAs.


Owner Bob McNair
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
SS Danieal Manning
DE J.J. Watt

Owner Bob McNair
(on donating $100,000 through the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation to the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma Disaster Relief fund in Oklahoma City) “Well, it’s just a tragic event. We were watching it on television, and actually, an acquaintance of ours, their family lives there. Fortunately, they weren’t hurt, but their home was pretty much destroyed. It’s just an unbelievable situation and we just wanted to say that we’re sorry that you have had this disaster, and hopefully this will help a little bit.”

(on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones calling him perhaps the best owner in the NFL and calling Houston’s Super Bowl bid the best he had ever seen) “I think that’s neat. Maybe he’s soliciting my vote for Dallas in one of the future Super Bowls! (laughing) We’re good friends, and I appreciate that very much. It was very kind of him.”

(on whether it surprises him that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called him the best owner in the NFL) “I haven’t either, and probably that was an exaggeration, but it was nice of him to do it.”

(on if he will be disappointed if the Texans aren’t in the Super Bowl this season) “Well, I think we’ll always be disappointed if we’re not a Super Bowl team, because that’s our goal. But I think the thing that we’re looking forward to is I see a lot of speed out here, and I think we’re getting faster each year. Speed covers up a lot of things, so that’s real exciting. But we’ve got good young players, and our young players that were rookies last year are coming back and playing better and showing some maturity, so I just think the team is going to be better.”

(on New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft saying that part of the vote for Houston to host Super Bowl LI was a testament to Mr. McNair’s goodwill throughout the NFL) “That’s awfully nice of him. I’m chairman of the finance committee and he serves on that committee with me, and we do spend a lot of time – more than I ever thought. But I think that’s nice of him to recognize the effort that we put out on behalf of the League. He’s a great owner up there and they’ve got a terrific organization. They’ve been very successful, and we’ve said all along that if we could obtain the kind of success that they’ve had up there, that would be a great moment for us.”

(on Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie saying it was overdue for Houston to host another Super Bowl) “He’s on the Super Bowl committee, too, so that was good to hear him say that. I think it’s just a recognition on the part of the League that our organization really has the respect of the other members. When your peer group respects what you’re doing and respects your team and respects your organization, that’s the highest compliment, so we feel real good about that.”

(on whether an 18-game regular-season schedule is coming to the NFL, sooner or later) “I don’t know. There are a lot of issues with it. If you extend the season, you’ve got issues with it being awfully cold up north if you’re playing in February; and if you start early, you’re starting before Labor Day and a lot of people are still on vacation. So there are a number of issues involved, and I don’t know whether that will happen or not. I know our coaches would rather stay with a four-game preseason because we’ve got all these rookies, and that’s our chance to work with them. And for the die-hard fan, this is their chance – even though the preseason game doesn’t count on the record, it’s your opportunity to see what kind of talent you have and the depth of that talent, and you’re not going to be able to see it until later in the year unless there’s some injuries. Then all of a sudden, a player comes forth and you either know something about them or you don’t, because you’ve been watching them play. So it’s an important part of the whole program.”

(on which way he would lean if a proposed 18-game schedule came up for a vote) “I don’t know, because a lot of other things would be impacted. What would you do with your roster? Would you increase your roster? What would you do with injured reserve rules? Would you let players go on it and then come back off? There would be a number of questions involved, and at this point in time, I’m not sure that that’s a good idea.”

(on what he hopes to see from QB Matt Schaub this season) “Good, steady play – the way he’s been playing. I think he’s highly motivated and I think he’s going to have a great year. I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him.”

(on DE J.J. Watt’s impact in the community) “He’s been unbelievable. And we’re not pushing him; we’re not saying, ‘J.J., you need to get out there and to this, you need to do that.’ He’s out there doing it on his own. That’s the kind of guy he is. We’ve got a lot of players – (C) Chris Myers got an award the other night, as you know, from the Impact A Hero group for wounded veterans because of the work he’s done for them. And (QB) Matt Schaub and (WR) Andre Johnson and just a number of our guys are out doing things in the community, trying to make a difference. When you get guys that are good, solid guys plus great football players, that’s what you get.”

(on the keys to sustaining success on the field over a long period of time in the NFL) “We’ve got to keep bringing in good young players, and (Executive Vice President/General Manager) Rick Smith and his staff are doing a great job of that, and the coaches work very well with them. It’s really a team effort to select these players. If Rick selects players that the coaches don’t want, they aren’t going to play, so they have to be of the same mind. But that’s what you have to do; you have to go out and get these good young players and coach them up and have them ready to go, because you’re going to lose some of your starters. The more successful you are, the more difficult it’s going to be to keep those core players, but that’s our focus – to keep that core group together.”
(on if he feels a mid-level round draft pick has to fall to them to be able to maintain that consistency) “We need to keep (QB) Matt (Schaub) healthy, but we’ve got some good, young quarterbacks out here. We’ve got to develop them. It’s the same thing at that position. If something happens to Matt, we have to have somebody that can step in there. (QB) T.J. (Yates) did it the year before last. We have to have people that can do it now. That’s the key to your success. If you’re prepared for those events and if you have young players coming along that can fill those gaps, you can continue to be a very solid team. That’s what we try to do.”

(on the motivation of the donation to Moore, Oklahoma) “We were very concerned about what’s happened up there. It’s total devastation. The group that we’ve dedicated these funds to, they go in and they have mobile kitchens, they go in and provide meals, water, bedding and all kinds of everyday kind of support that you need. We just wanted to reach out to them and let them know that we’re concerned about them and thinking about them and wanted to try and help a little bit.”

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the first week of OTAs) “It was really good. I’m excited. Our young guys have come a long way. I think the five practices they got in the mini-camp really helped them. It’s been good. We had some good work; not too hot. So, make it through and come back next Tuesday and get going again.”

(on if he’s keeping a close eye on how much the young players grasp) “Yeah. As a matter of fact, I told the team after practice, I think one of the keys to longevity in this League success-wise is young players getting better real quick. It’s fun for me right now to sit here and watch (WR) Keshawn (Martin), to watch (CB) Roc (Carmichael), (DE) Delano (Johnson), (G) Brandon Brooks all of the sudden become pros at a very young age. If we’re going to keep going, be consistent at what we’re doing, guys like that have to step up and contribute right away. I like what I see. I think some young guys have really come in here a lot better football player right now than they were last year.”

(on OLB Brooks Reed) “He’s doing great. First off, boy, bless him. He probably feels like a yo-yo sometimes; he’s bounced around a little bit. We thought it was important that he took his reps inside with where we’re at as a team right now. He’s fine. I mean, he has no problem mentally. He’s looked really good and he’s healthy. He’s coming off that surgery but he’s doing good. For the better of the team right now, that’s where he’s working. He’s doing a good job.”

(on CB Brandon Harris’ injury status) “He’s fine. We’re putting him through the protocol that you would do during the regular season. A guy gets dinged like that, gets knocked out like he did, we’ll put him through the total protocol. You probably won’t see him for a good week as he goes through the process.”

(on what he has seen from WR Keshawn Martin) “It’s automatic for him now. All his talent has taken over because he doesn’t have to work so hard at the little things; assignment, those type of things. He just comes out here and plays. Very confident young man and it shows. It shows every day.”

(on if there is more pressure on QB Matt Schaub after the team has gone to the same round of the playoffs two years in a row) “I think the pressure is the same all the time. I don’t think it changes. (QB) Matt’s (Schaub) goal is to win a championship and we’ve got to get a team that can get that done. He’s got his job to do with the football team. Right now, this time of year, it’s about chemistry of the team. Putting this 2013 group together, we’re going to be different, we’re going to have a different personality and trying to start to put that together.”

(on OLB Whitney Mercilus) “He’s done really good. First off, you can tell he’s confident. Whitney has probably talked more in a day than he did all last year. He’s coming out of his shell from that standpoint. He’s another player; here’s a second-year guy that’s being asked to become a great player real quick. If we’re going to get to where we want to go, those are the type of things that have to happen. He’s off to a good start.”

(on how OLB Sam Montgomery looks dropping into coverage) “He’s doing fine. The position he’s playing, he’s not asked to drop a lot. He has gotten in better shape. I think he struggled the first camp we had that weekend. So he’s in much better shape and then his ability starts to take over. I think he’s progressing well, he and (OLB) Trevardo (Williams) both.”

(on if he plans to change the rotation on the right side of the offensive line from last season) “I’ll do what I think is best for our team and I don’t know what that is right now. (G) Brandon (Brooks) is working as the starting right guard. (T Derek) Newton is out. (T) Brennan Williams has not been able to practice. (T) Ryan Harris is on the right side. We have a lot of things going on right now, but if we have two solid starters that are consistent throughout the course of camp, then that’s the way we’ll go. But I think with what we went through last year, I think those young guys did a hell of a job.”

(on if QB Matt Schaub looks 100 percent) “Yeah. He looks fine to me. He’s had a good offseason. Obviously, he hasn’t missed anything; plays all last year. I kind of forgot about him missing OTAs last year. But I think it’s important no matter how long you play, I think you need to get out here and get some reps in. I’ve got to protect some of these guys and give them days off here or there, some of these older guys throughout these 10 days. But I think it’s important that he goes through OTAs again.”

(on how RB Arian Foster has changed) “How long has (RB) Arian (Foster) been with me now? Four years? Maybe having the best offseason I’ve seen him have. He’s doing something a little different training-wise. He’d have to tell you what he’s doing. I think he looks a little slimmer. I don’t know if he weighs (different). But he just looks a little different, how he’s carrying his weight. He’s been excellent throughout the course of the offseason; expects a lot of himself.”

(on if he’s intending to bring in competition for the kicking position) “Well, the young man we have here now can do both. (P Andrew) Shapiro can do both. But the way camp is set up now with the numbers, whoever that other guy is, and so our other guy is Shapiro, you want him to build it. Do both to take something off the punter and your kicker so you can use those roster spots somewhere else. Our plan is to go to camp that way and let them both compete against him because he’s a kid that’s done both pretty well in college.”         

(on what he’s seen specifically from WR Keshawn Martin that has changed) “These three days have been very impressive to me. I just see a guy that, year two, nothing’s hard for him anymore. He understands everything that’s going on so he just comes out here and works and gets better every day. Me sitting (WR) Andre (Johnson) every other day makes him a starter, too, from that standpoint. I’m really excited about what I’ve seen these past three days.”

(on if drafting a wide receiver in the first round may have lit a fire under some of the younger receivers) “I’m sure. You’re (WR) Lestar (Jean) and (WR) Keshawn (Martin) and you’ve been working all last year and we draft a one and he goes in the huddle with the first group. That’ll get you going. But I don’t think in this case that’s what’s happened with them. I think that they’ve been workers the whole time. I think they see opportunity. I think that’s what they see and when guys get opportunities you usually find out what they have.”

(on what is different about QB Case Keenum) “Confidence. Just confidence. Just watching him operate knowing exactly what he’s doing, making all the calls. He’s going to be fun to watch. He’s very competitive right now. That’s a good thing for our team.”

(on QB Case Keenum saying head coach Gary Kubiak’s praise for him changes nothing) “He’s a good kid. I remember talking to (Kevin Sumlin) about him and (Kliff) Kingsbury about him and they said you can say anything you want to him. He’s heard it all. So I’m going to assume they coached him pretty darn hard. He’s doing a good job. He’s come a long way.”

(on if he is bothered at the criticism of QB Matt Schaub following the loss in the playoffs) “Well, we were there because of him. Hell, that’s part of playing quarterback. It just makes you better, pushes you every day. It’s part of your career, part of your makeup. He’s doing fine. He’s had a really good three days.”

(on if he feels he doesn’t need to defend QB Matt Schaub because that’s just the way people are about quarterbacks) “I think it’s part of the job. If you can’t take a little of that in this business, you’re probably not going to last very long. That’s what it’s all about.”

(on if he worries about situations and injuries to players in OTAs like that suffered by San Francisco 49ers WR Michael Crabtree) “Yeah, you do. You get 10 days and to be honest with you, you hold your breath every day. You want to get better as a team. You catch all the young guys up but freak accidents happen. We had (TE Phillip) Supernaw and (NT) Sunny (Harris) the first day. (We)  weren’t even in a team period, just running an individual drill and both of them hurt their foot. It’s part of football but it’s the bad part. That’s why you’ll always hear us on their tail to stay of the ground, to protect each other. I think it’s about respect. We usually do a pretty good job but they get tired and those things happen, unfortunately.”    

SS Danieal Manning
(on if he has visited much with FS Ed Reed) “When he was here, we talked a little bit about ball and how to give quarterbacks different looks and (I) liked his perspective on it, obviously. I think he’s going to improve my game a lot as well.”

(on what he can learn from FS Ed Reed) “A ton of play-making. He makes plays on balls every day. Every chance he gets, he always has himself in the right position. If he’s not making a play, he’s helping his team or he’s helping certain players be in the right position to make plays and that’s something you want to take from a guy like that.”

(on if the safeties are interchangeable in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ system) “On paper there is a real strong (safety) and free (safety) but in certain formations it’ll get us interchangeable. Mainly, I might have to play free certain formations; sometimes he’s down in the box in certain formations. So it doesn’t matter in this defense.”

(on if it makes a difference to him if he is playing free or strong safety, or for FS Ed Reed) “It doesn’t. I mean, when he came in earlier, he said, ‘Look man, we’re just gonna play either side. Whatever you feel comfortable with, we’ll just play. We’ll make our calls and adjustments that way.’”

DE J.J. Watt
(on how the rookies are fitting in) “They’re doing well. As long as they work hard and give us everything they’ve got, we’ll teach them the right way to do things. So far, we’ve had some great rookies.”

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