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Texans Quotes: September 3

Posted Sep 3, 2013

Get quotes from Tuesday here.

ILB Brian Cushing
CB Kareem Jackson
WR Andre Johnson
SS Danieal Manning
C Chris Myers
OLB Brooks Reed
G Wade Smith
S D.J. Swearinger

ILB Brian Cushing
(on if it’s too soon to talk about San Diego) “I think it’s a little too soon. We obviously know what their personnel is, what kind of stuff they run but we haven’t completely locked in on them. Later this week we will, but right now we’re just taking care of us and trying to get in the best shape we can. We’ve got these two extra days, so really trying to capitalize on that.”

(on San Diego TE Antonio Gates and QB Philip Rivers being pretty good weapons) “Absolutely. They’re an explosive offense with a lot of good playmakers and a very good quarterback leading them, so they’re very capable of the big play and making things happen. We have to be aware of that and be prepared for a fast-pace, up-tempo kind of game.”

(on the challenges QB Philip Rivers presents) “I think he’s one of those kinds of guys that has a gunslinger-type of attitude. He’s got a tremendous arm. He can make any throw on the field. One of those guys you really can’t let up against. There’s no quit in him. He’s a very vocal, aggressive kind of quarterback that we’re just going to have to get after for four quarters and make sure we stay on top of big plays and take care of our job.”

(on opening the season on the big stage of Monday Night Football) “That’s what you want. You want the prime time spotlight. To have that, it’s something that we’ve earned over these past couple years and people want to see us play and we want to play for the fans. We want to go out there and have a great game and show America what we’re all about.”

(on if he thinks he’s better now than he was before he tore his ACL) “I do. I do because I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’ve been through a pretty tough year. I think it’s made me stronger mentally and physically from this. I also don’t take anything for granted anymore. Every single practice I go out there and I’m excited. I know I’m back. Six or seven months ago I wasn’t anywhere near that. So I mean, just the road to recovery, being back has made me just a better person overall.”

(on his workout video clip with Connor Barwin) “It was kind of the end of our training in the summer and really wanted to see where we were and we kind of went head-to-head in a little bit of training stuff. We were back where I train in New Jersey and Connor (Barwin) is a very competitive guy. I’m very competitive. I think if you ask either of us we’ll both tell you that we’re better than each other. That’s just the kind of the attitude we have. We love to go head-to-head. It was kind of one of those things, it was the end of the summer, it was an accumulation of all the hard work we put in and just wanted to test where we were and see where we were at.”

(on if there is a technique to flipping tires) “There’s a technique but it might take me a little bit of time on how to explain it. I don’t recommend that any of you guys try it. It’s just one of those things that we train in all different kind of ways. There’s not one set way we do things. We just like to challenge ourselves and there’s no real limit to what we do.”

(on if he’ll take a moment before the season to embrace the fact that he’s back from his injury) “I will. I think it will all sink in when we play San Diego and realize I’m really back. Preseason is over and it’s really time to go four quarters. It’s time to go dominate and return to the player I know that I am and get this team going again. It’s a very exciting time for me and there’s a lot to look back on but at the same time, it’s time to start the season.”

CB Kareem Jackson
(on the emotions after a long training camp and the season being just a few days away) “A whole lot of excitement on my part. The preseason is over with, camp’s over and we get down to the ones that count. For us, we’ve just got to hit the ground running. We had a great camp as a team. We had a good preseason as a team. We’re looking forward to this first game on the big stage, Monday Night. The whole world will be watching, so we’re definitely excited about it.”

(on if he has to control the emotions since the first game is on Monday Night Football) “Somewhat, but we have a group of guys on this team, a group of great guys as far as veterans and leaders. For the most part, guys know what to expect. Last year, we had a couple of big-time guys, so we pretty much know what to expect. As far as controlling emotions, we just know we’ve got to be ready to go for it.”

(on S D.J. Swearinger) “Like you said, he’s a great listener, learner. He has a great talent. He’s definitely going to help us on defense, special teams, whatever it is. The guy’s very physical. One of the things that as a guy you can’t teach is being physical. He brings a lot to the table. He’s had a great camp, a great preseason, so we’re definitely looking forward to it.”

(on how much it helps to have the extra day this week to get guys healthy) “I think it’ll work in our favor. Like you said, getting (G) Wade (Smith) back, getting an extra couple of days to heal up and rehab or whatever. So it’ll definitely work in our favor.”

(on having FS Ed Reed back out there) “It feels good to have him out there. It’s the first time with him out there and kind of working with us and the DB group (defensive backs). He’s been working in the team run and pass a little bit, so he looks pretty good out there. You can tell he’s not entirely 100 percent. He’s working to get back to 100 percent. He’s working in the right direction. Hopefully, he’ll be there soon.”

(on if he gets any kind of feeling as to whether FS Ed Reed will be ready) “I’m not really sure. I can’t really say. Physically, that’ll be something that he’ll have to monitor himself. He’s a vet, he’s been doing it for a while, so he definitely can tell if he’s ready to go or not. That’ll be his call.”

(on the attention the team is receiving heading into the season) “Honestly, I haven’t really been keeping up with it. I haven’t really seen it. Nothing that has been jumping up and catching my eye. Like Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) said, I think we have (earned the attention) from where we started out when I first got here to where we are now. We’ve definitely put our self into the situation where we can be a contender every year and I think that’s something we’ve worked on for years. We’ll continue to work on it. Being a contender is fine. For us, we want to be able to push past that second round, and that’s been the case the last two years, we’ve lost in the second round. For us, that ultimate goal is to be in that big game at the end of the year and only two teams can do that. We’ll start our quest on Monday night, so we’re looking forward to it.”

WR Andre Johnson
(on how he’s feeling physically) “I’m feeling fine physically. Just ready for everything to get started. I feel like we, these past two days, had some good work as a team and everyone’s excited. It’s the opening week of the NFL. Just excited about football and being able to play some games.”

(on players saying that anything less than a Super Bowl this season would be a failure) “That’s the ultimate goal. That’s why we play. I’m pretty sure there are 31 other teams in the league that feel the same way. That’s the ultimate goal, but there are some other goals you have to accomplish in order to get to that step.”

(on if he agrees with the thought that anything less than a Super Bowl would be a failure) “I agree with it. I’ve felt that way since the day I got here. That’s why I play and that’s why I’ve been playing this game. Like I said, that’s the ultimate goal.”

(on if he still gets excited for opening games) “Yeah, I’m always excited about playing football period, whether it’s a regular season game, preseason game. Just to be out on the field, doing something that you love to do and getting to compete against the best guys. It’s always fun to do. It’s a challenge.”

(on if this is the best team he’s been a part of) “Yeah, I feel like it is. The thing about it is, I just think that since I’ve been here, I know since Coach (Gary) Kubiak has gotten here, we’ve just been adding pieces and getting better as a team. I think, as the years have been moving along, each team’s been better and better. We have a lot of guys who can make plays for us and hopefully we can put that together this year.”

(on where WR DeAndre Hopkins is at this point) “I think he’s come along well. He’s a rookie still. There are things he’s going to have to learn. Now, he’s really going to have to learn more on the fly because he missed preseason games and things like that. Every little mistake is big now. Nobody’s perfect. Even I make mistakes. You just have to have a short term memory and just move on from it. I think he’s done well so far and I think he’s going to help us out a whole lot.”

(on what advice he’ll give WR DeAndre Hopkins before Monday and if he’ll pull him aside) “I’m talking to him all the time. The one thing I’ll just tell him is to go out and play as hard as you can, worry about the mistakes later and just leave it all out on the field. A lot of times good things happen just by giving effort. You can’t think while you’re playing. You have to go out and try to execute to the best of your abilities and move on from it.”

(on what makes this team the best one he’s been a part of and in what areas the team has improved) “I just think we’ve been able to keep the core of our guys together for a while and then adding pieces to it. It makes you a lot better than what you were before. We’ve added some pieces. We have some young guys that can come in and play for us. I told the receivers that I feel like this is probably the best group we’ve had since I’ve been here. We have a lot of young guys, but a whole bunch of talent. That’s why I feel like that.”

(on how he feels about having FS Ed Reed back on the field and if he thinks Reed will play) “I don’t know. Only Ed knows that, if he’s able to play. I know he’s real close to feeling well and whatnot, just from talking to him. Just to see him out on the field is always a positive. I don’t think if he wasn’t feeling good, he would not be out there. We’ll just see how it goes day-by-day. He knows when he’ll be ready. Hopefully, it will be Monday night.”

(on what it’s like watching ILB Brian Cushing getting the team prepared prior to a game) “He’s the guy on our defense. He’s always broke the team down before games and things like that. I guess when you get used to seeing that and then it’s taken away from you, you have to have other guys step up and fill that void. When he went out there and played in the preseason game, just to see him out there and back in the huddle breaking the guys down, it was a great feeling just to see him back out there. He’s a big part of our defense. It’s just great to have him back out on the field with us.”

(on how to improve in the red zone) “I just think we have to execute better, just being more consistent. I think that’s the biggest thing. Don’t have any negative plays. We have to get positive yardage, whether it’s one-yard or whatever. When you get into the red zone, that’s the biggest thing is not going backwards and doing anything that hurts yourself.”

(on if he was extra motivated last year because of talk about his decline and if he wondered if he was on the decline last year) “I never wondered about what I can do as a player. I just knew I was just battling through my injuries to get back to feeling like myself. I knew I wasn’t feeling like myself at the beginning of the season. People are going to talk. That’s just a part of it. For some reason in football, once you get over the age of 30, you’re too old. That’s everyone’s opinion. I guess you guys can sit back and watch and see what happens this season.”

(on if he can be better than last season) “Yeah, I think I can be better. I feel like you can always get better. I don’t know. Let’s see what happens.”

(on what’s got to happen to get him more touchdowns) “Like I said before, that’s out of my control. I just run what plays are called and go on from that. I can’t really speak on that.”

SS Danieal Manning
(on the test the Chargers pose) “This team has a, especially with the quarterback that they have over there, they have a great running back, they run the ball a lot. Of course, they have a great tight end. You’re going to have to match up with him well. Other than that, they’ve got receivers that can make plays. But it’s about what we do. I think we’re going to get a good game plan in. We haven’t quite seen the game plan, but we’ve touched base on some of it. I think, when we get in on Thursday, I think they’re definitely going to show us how we’re going to approach this game, especially since that will be our first work day, so we’ll touch base on that.”

(on how much he’s been keeping tabs on the Chargers) “Since we started camp. That’s always what we work for from day one. We’ve seen a little bit of film on them in the preseason. Like I said, they’ve been running the ball well. They’ve got two good backs. They brought a guy in from New England, (RB Danny) Woodhead, he can do some things. We had to matchup with him last season. They’re going to try to use him against us. That’s just my opinion. We’ve got our work cut out for us definitely and it being a Monday night game playing that team out there. There’s a lot of stuff going on. We’re getting guys back, so that’s a good thing. Guys are going to be focusing in on that, so I think it’s going to be good.”

(on if he has to change his routine at all given how late the game is) “No, ball is ball. I think Kub (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) does a good job changing up how we work out. In the past, he’s been known to change up certain practice habits that we have. We may start earlier or we may start later depending on who we’re playing. But other than that, it’s still ball. You definitely have to go on with your ammunition, so we definitely have to study, watch film, we have to go through the bases of that. That’s a part of what the veteran guys weren’t doing as much during the preseason. You come in, you just go over bases, day one installments and not really get a chance to look at film on other teams you’re playing. So this will be a real good test of all of that stuff we’ve done building up.”

(on if he’s preparing as if FS Ed Reed will play) “I am, but I’m super confident in (FS Shiloh) Keo. Right now, that’s what we’re looking at going in. I really don’t know. Of course you guys probably know, Ed was out there. He looked pretty good moving around, but I’m confident in Keo.”

(on if he’s embracing the fact that the game is on Monday Night Football or if he tries not to think about it) “At this point, I’ve been playing ball for eight years, I don’t think about it as much. It’s always exciting, but I don’t think about it as much.”

C Chris Myers
(on how ready he feels for the season and if he feels the team has gotten all of the work they’ve needed) “I do. I do. We’ve had a great camp, a great offseason. Crucial pieces added to the team with rookies and veterans added at spots that we definitely needed. To be able to come in here and show the improvement of the team and overall team leadership, the core nucleus of guys that we have is great.”

(on what’s the difference in this year’s team) “I think, just as a whole, the veteran leadership. There’s always been some vets here and there on the team that step up and take that role on, but, as a whole, at every position, there are guys taking advantage of it.”

(on if he gets more excited about playing on Monday Night Football than other games) “I do. Obviously, you have to. If you can’t get up for Monday Night, then you shouldn’t be in the business.”

OLB Brooks Reed
(on if there’s more pressure to get to the quarterback this year) “The secondary’s relying on that front four to get to the quarterback, so there is pressure to get to the quarterback more this year, definitely.”

(on how much more excited he is for Monday Night Football as opposed to a regular game) “Real excited. It’s going to be a late-night game and that’s what I’m used to. Playing back at Arizona, games would always start late at night. It’s going to be fun playing Monday Night Football under the lights and showcase what this team can do.”

G Wade Smith
(on if he’ll play this week) “Well, I play left guard and I’m not the decision-maker here, but, if I’m ready to go and the coaches feel good, then I’ll play.”

(on if the coaches have told him when they’ll make a decision about whether he’ll play this week) “No.”

(on if he’s hopeful that he’ll be able to play this week) “If I feel good, I’ll be ready to play, I’ll play.”

(on if he’s been watching his backups and seeing how they’ve been playing) “I fully expect whoever’s playing left guard is going to play well. Of course, I’ve watched them. Those are my guys. Definitely have been keeping up with them and the progress that they’ve been doing, with (G/C) Ben Jones and (G/T David) Quessenberry. They held down the fort for the preseason. The lights are coming on.”

(on how much the extra day will help guys who are banged up get ready to play) “I think it helps tremendously because we play the last game of Week 1. Any extra time you get to rehab and come back from injury, it’s going to help.”

(on if the team takes any pride in being the final game of Week 1) “It’s always fun to play in a primetime game. They don’t put just any teams in a primetime game, but however they make up the schedule, we have to line up and play games, and we have to line up and play well. That’s what we plan to do.”

S D.J. Swearinger
(on what he learned in the preseason that can carry over to the regular season) “I learned a lot, just the reps because experience comes with reps. I got the most reps out of anybody in the preseason, so that’s a big plus for me and I’ve just got to keep carrying on, keep practicing and I’ll be ready.”

(on how he feels knowing the season opener is just days away) “It’s humbling. It’s a blessing that my first NFL game is about to happen. I’m studying every day, getting better in practice and learning everything I need to learn, so I can be on my A-game on Monday.”

(on how he has responded to getting all of that work in the preseason) “This is the game I play. I’m a football player. Whatever I need to do to be where I am and be where I want to be, I’m going to do it. The reps weren’t a problem and I’m glad I got those reps.”

(on what the veteran guys have told him about staying calm for his first game, especially with it being on Monday Night Football) “Just like what they’ve been telling me for my first preseason game, they just told me to relax and slow everything down, and just play football like I know how to do. If I do that and continue to get better, then I’ll be a good player.”

(on if he’s able to take the veterans advice and if it’s a little nerve-racking going into his first game) “Oh, yeah. It is to a certain extent, but you’ve got to get a job done. You’ve got to relax and focus.”

(on if the team’s demeanor has changed since it’s a regular season game week) “Most definitely. The preseason’s over with. A couple of guys earlier were like the preseason’s over with, it’s the season now. Everything counts. It’s humbling and I’m ready to get going now.”

(on FS Ed Reed’s situation being unclear and if he’s on alert to play as a result) “Most definitely. It’s good to see him out there practicing and getting into the flow of things. If he’s not ready to go, whatever happens, I’m going to be ready to go whenever my number is called.”

(on being able to control his emotions since it’s his first game it’s Monday Night Football) “It’s just you’ve got to be a pro. At the end of the day, you’ve got to be a pro. You’ve got to focus, relax and, at the end of the day, you’ve got a job to do. Whatever it takes to get that job done, you’ve got to do it.”

Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy
Chargers QB Phillip Rivers

Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy
(on the biggest change he’s had to make in transitioning form a coordinator to head coach) “I think it’s something every day. I wouldn’t say it’s just football related. There are some things in the organization, something that comes up every day. I think Coach Kubiak gave me some great advice, back when I saw him back in February. I put it up on my board in my office. He said, ‘Just remember, it will get done. There will be so many things that are thrown at you, that you always have to remember that you’ll get it done. You’ve done it a certain way forever, just sometimes now there are so many different things that are going to be thrown at you on a day to day basis. Be patient with things and prioritize how you want to get things done every day and it will get done in the long run.’”

(on DE J.J. Watt and how difficult it is to try and duplicate successful season) “You love the way he plays the game. That’s what it’s all about. He truly goes out there and from watching him play the game, he loves the game. He plays with energy and excitement. He plays sideline to sideline. He does exactly what they ask him to do on defense. He makes a bunch of plays, not just pass rush—stopping the run, tipping balls. You just love the way he goes about his business. You see him throughout the training camp things you see on TV and everything. He’s a kid out there, just running around, having a great time. That’s the type of guy you should want to be able to build your organization around. When you have guys like that that just love to come out and play every day. He’s fun to watch. He’s a handful for everybody that’s playing against him. Everyone goes into a game planning; you always want to take certain players and try to neutralize them to a certain extent. They’re going to make their plays. The great players in this League, they find ways to make plays. It’s just a matter of neutralizing those and doing the best you can there.”

(on if he has spent extra time working with his offensive line on how to slow down DE J.J. Watt) “We have our plan. We have until Monday night to put that plan together. We’re doing that as we speak now. You’re going to plan and you’re always going to go in every week and say, ‘Hey listen, we have to take care of certain players or slide a protection away, double a certain guy, do whatever you’ve got to do.’ So we do that every week with certain players on a defense, but he’s a special talent. You always have to know where he is on every play.”

(on if this is a good time to catch the Texans being at home and the Texans being without DE Antonio Smith and potentially S Ed Reed) “They’ve got a great defense, regardless of who’s playing. They’re very well coached. (Defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips) has always had one of the top defenses in the league, year in and year out, doesn’t matter where he is or who he’s playing with. They’re a good defense. We understand that and they’ve got good depth on the roster. It’s a good squad.”

(on what he has seen from QB Phillip Rivers) “I love the way he approaches the game every day. It’s been that way from the first day we got here when Ken went in. Ken Whisenhunt, the coordinator, we sat down with Phillip and talked to him about our plan moving forward with how we were going to do certain things. He’s been all-in from day one. He loves the game. He competes every day. He’s one of the fiercest competitors in the league. He just wants to win. He wants to do whatever it takes to help the football team win. From the first install, he wanted to move to the next phase and figure out a way how we can do the next thing, what’s the next step, what’s the next progression in the offense. It’s great to have him.”

(on how QB Phillip Rivers has handled the up tempo pace McCoy brought in) “He loves it. He’s done a great job with everything we’ve done. He loves the system that (offensive coordinator) Ken Whisenhunt and the staff has installed here and some things that we’ve all kind of brought from wherever we’re coming from with him having some input also on what he’s had success with in the past. I think he really likes right now what we’re doing offensively.”

(on comparing QBs Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers) “There are a lot of similarities. No two players, like you mentioned, are exactly the same, but I think the two of them are two of the fiercest competitors in the league. They’ll do whatever it takes. They’ll spend as much time here in the facility. There are a lot of similarities, but everyone is different. Everyone has their own way of approaching things. Everyone has a strength and a weakness you try to help with or take advantage of, do whatever you can.”

(on the status of ILB Manti Te’o) “Well he’s getting better every day. We’re taking it one day at a time with him and he’s done a great job of following the plan and we’re going to keep going with that.”

(on if there is still a chance that ILB Manti Te’o will play Monday night) “Yep. We’ll announce the injury report as we go along in the week. He’s doing anything that he can so that as soon as he’s healthy, he’ll be out there.”

(on if the initial challenge of being a head coach was more than he expected and his preparation) “I think I’ve been very fortunate to work for two great organizations before coming here: Jerry Richardson and the Carolina Panthers, Pat Bowlen and the Denver Broncos. Being with John Fox, George Seifert, Josh McDaniels, being around John Elway in Denver and the personnel staffs, I’ve been very fortunate to be around some great coaches, some great organizations. Every organization runs it different. I’ve been schooled the right way I think, brought up the right way. I’ve coached some phenomenal players, been around some great coaches, so I’m a product of all those things, of all the people I’ve been around that have helped me get here. Everyone tells you that until you get that job, you never know what it’s going to be like. There are so many things that come up on a day to day, an operation here, something happens you have to fix or do something you want to change in the building the way things are done whether it be on the practice field or meetings. Now we’re getting into the in-season schedule, so that’s different. I’ve been very fortunate to be around some good people and great organizations to get me where I’m at today.”

(on what it will be like making his head coaching debut on Monday night in prime time) “It’s a great opportunity for our organization to go out on Monday night, be the last game of the week and show what type of organization we’re going to be for the future. It’s a great opportunity for our football team to play a very good Houston Texan team that is very well coached. I’ve known Gary (Kubiak) for a long time and I know the way he has a team prepared. I know plenty of guys that have played for him that absolutely love the way he does things. It’s a good football team, so we’re going to find out where we’re at.”

(on if he has been surprised to see the career path of QB Tim Tebow after he left Denver) “The only thing I know about Tim is the way we played with him. I don’t know exactly. I haven’t watched all of his games or everything about exactly what everybody else is doing. I just know he did a great job for the Denver Broncos when he was there. Obviously, we had the big playoff win two years ago and I wish him all the best in the future.”

(on ILB Brian Cushing returning to the lineup for the Texans) “He’s a great player. It was an unfortunate injury last year. That’s the bad part of this business. You never want to see that happen to anybody. Everybody works so hard and for something like that to happen, you feel for the player. He’s a great player and he’s part of the reason the defense has had this kind of success in the past years.”

(on the Texans defense as a whole) “Their defense has done a good job. All around, they all have their roles. They all understand their roles. They know exactly what (defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips) wants. You go back and watch all the film from last year, the last couple years, and all of the defenses that Wade has coached are very disciplined and do a good job and understand their roles in this system.”

Chargers QB Phillip Rivers
(on how DE J.J. Watt changes the way he prepares for a game) “He’s a great player obviously. It doesn’t change much the way I prepare. I know certainly he’s a guy you’ve got to know where he is and it’s really not too hard to find him. He’s a heck of a player and obviously can change the game on any play. We’ve got to be aware of where he is and do the best we can to manage him.”

(on the turnover on the offensive line and if he’s had time to gel with them and feels comfortable) “Yeah, I do. I think that they’ve come together quickly. A lot of people always ask about the receiver-quarterback timing and continuity. I think it’s maybe even more of a big deal for those five linemen working together, centers and guards, guards and tackles, double teams, things like that. We have four guys that are in new spots, three of them are new to the team. Jeromey Clary moves right tackle to right guard. (C) Nick Hardwick is the only guy in his spot from last year, so there’s been a lot of change, but I’m real confident, the team’s real confident in those five guys up front.”

(on playing against QB Matt Schaub in college and what stood out about him) “Well, Matt was a great player there at Virginia and he’s a great player now. Yeah, we had some good battles. I went up there to Virginia and I think they beat us 17 to 7 our junior year and we were able to win at home our senior year in a close game, down to the wire. It was a lot of back-and-forth, a lot of points scored in that game. Matt’s a class guy. He’s had a heck of a career and he’s a guy I’ve always pulled for.”

(on how it’s been adjusting to all of the changes on the coaching staff) “Yeah, it’s definitely been a challenge. I was real close with the old staff, so certainly went through an adjustment period. I can’t say enough about the type of people that have been hired. (Head) Coach (Mike) McCoy, (OC) Ken Whisenhunt, (QBs Coach) Frank Reich are the guys I’ve worked most closely with. They’re great guys, great coaches and it’s been a challenge, but one I’ve really enjoyed. Learning a new system, new ideas, maybe hearing a coach employing it in a little different way. It strikes you a little differently maybe than hearing it other than the way you’ve heard it for many years. It’s been real positive and certainly a challenge the whole offseason.”

(on what has been the best part about working under offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt) “I think the first thing I know that I appreciated, I think our other veteran players offensively, (TE) Antonio Gates, (WR) Malcolm Floyd, (C) Nick Hardwick, (G) Jeromey Clary, and guys that have been here with the old staff, is that they had a respect for what we had done in the past. They had a respect for some of the success we had offensively and things that we’ve done well. It wasn’t just, ‘Hey, here’s our offense. Learn it this way. We don’t care what you have done.’ It was very much a good mesh and a good back-and-forth to, ‘Well, here’s this that y’all have done, what do you like here? What do you like there?’ So it’s been a work in progress kind of mending a lot of systems together. Certainly, it’s Ken Whisenhunt’s system from a terminology standpoint, but just from concepts and things we’ve done, it’s been really fun and I know we’ve appreciated that. If you think about Ken Whisenhunt’s track record, obviously they were able to run the ball and they had a lot of success throwing it as well and they won the Super Bowl. Then, you think, him in Arizona with Kurt Warner and what they did there. So it’s a very diverse offense. It’s one I’ve enjoyed learning and becoming comfortable with and looking forward to get it going in the regular season.”

(on how huge it would be to start the season off with a win) “Yeah, it’s just what you said, this doesn’t make or break your season on Monday Night, but it’s huge to start off with a win. I think every team in the league, you’ve had so much time to prepare and there’s so much build up to that first game. It feels like there’s more significance on it and it’s huge to start off with a win. Understandably so, the Texans are seen as the better team and that makes sense right? 12-4 against 7-9 as far as going back from last year. We know in the NFL, any game, any Sunday and we definitely know the challenge that’s ahead. It’s a heck of a defense. Me speaking offensively, it’s a heck of a defense. I know our defense knows the challenges they present offensively. We want to go out and get it started the right way at home on Monday night. I don’t know if any of you saw the Clemson-Georgia game, when it’s all said and done, it’s like (Clemson Head Coach) Dabo Swinney said afterwards, when asked what does it mean, he said, ‘It means we’ve won the opener. Now, the season starts.’ I’m definitely not downplaying the significance. Every game is huge in this league, but we’ve got to go out and take it one play at a time and play. It certainly would be huge to start with a win.”

(on how it feels to have RB Ryan Mathews and TE Antonio Gates healthy) “(TE) Antonio (Gates) has been great. He’s been healthy. He feels good. All last year, he comes off the practice field and he’s having them monitor his foot and things over the past few years and now he’s like he was when he was really rolling. He’s healthy. He comes in, he’s done, he’s able to go about his routine. That’s big and you mentioned (RB) Ryan (Mathews), he’s had a heck of a preseason running the ball. He’s running confident. He’s running tough. Hopefully we can keep that going.”

(on if he had a chance to watch the LaDainian Tomlinson bio on NFL Network) “I did.”

(on what he thought of the LaDainian Tomlinson bio on NFL Network and watching the playback on that era while he is still with the Chargers) “I thought it was well done. I thought it was a heck of a story, the whole deal. I knew he was a special player and I knew some of it of which I was a part of, obviously the record-breaking season and obviously being his teammate through tough playoff losses and things like that. I knew, like all of us knew, we were playing with a first-ballot Hall of Famer. It was awesome being his teammate. But seeing it last night, you kind of see it, you felt like it was already put into history, which it certainly is. Again, it reminded me that this doesn’t last forever. There’s a guy you played a lot of football with, sat on the bus with, handed the ball to and all that. He’s now retired and they’re doing essentially a documentary. Time flies, but I thought it was a well-done piece.”

(on when he looks back at the era in which the team had a lot of success for a five-year stretch and if he thinks he’ll look back with regret) “I think LT (LaDainian Tomlinson) said it good when he said, ‘Championship days.’ There’s no consolation in that. I think he would agree, we’re playing to try to win a championship, to get to the top with your teammates that you fight and sweat and work with. I look back now and you kick yourself. Gosh, that ’06 team and how good we were. We lose that home game after 14-2 and we’ve won 11 in a row. We go to New England in a championship game and we’re all injured and that’s not an excuse. We’re all injured and we still have a chance and almost knock off undefeated New England in the championship game. Then, we win 11 in a row again to go 13-3 and lose to the Jets at home. You see that as three really opportunities that we’ve really, everybody can say, ‘Oh, that should have been our year,’ but those three, we had a legitimate chance to win it all, but we didn’t. I don’t think it takes away from those seasons that a lot of individuals had in those years and winning 11 games in a row and winning four or five straight division tiles. Again, that doesn’t make you feel any better, but those things still occurred. Only one team is ultimately happy every season, but we can’t change those things now. It’s like I told (C) Nick (Hardwick) and (TE Antonio) Gates and a couple of us just kind of as we were getting started this preseason, ‘Here we go again. We get another shot. How many more of these will we get?’ We get another shot, handful of us going into year 10, year 11, and we’ve been through the ups and downs of all of it. We get another shot. Thankful for the opportunity and looking forward to getting it started on Monday.”

(on how S Ed Reed can affect the game from a quarterback’s perspective) “You make sure you know where he is. He is just that type of player. Obviously I played him a handful of times when he was in Baltimore. He’s a Pro Bowl safety. He’s awesome, man. He’s just one of those guys, he has Cover-3, or he has whatever the coverage is, but he has an unbelievable instincts and a knack for reading routes and making plays off a gut feeling, all those things he’s so good at. He’s certainly a guy that you make sure you take an extra peek at before you let it go. You don’t necessarily prepare differently, but you have him on the radar to know if he’s playing or not.”

 

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