Notes and quotes from the Texans’ second day of 2012 Training Camp presented by XFINITY at the Methodist Training Center, which drew 4,278 fans to the morning practice:
*The Texans released defensive end Tracy Robertson, an undrafted rookie from Baylor. The Sunday-afternoon transaction leaves them with 88 players on the active roster, two shy of the 90-man limit.
*Inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton had a setback on Sunday morning in his rehab from a 2011 season-ending quadriceps injury. It’s unclear how long he will be out. The Texans were hoping that Sharpton, a third-year pro out of Miami (Fla.), would be back on the field in the next couple of days. “It’s kind of a hip issue going on with him,” head coach Gary Kubiak said. “We’re trying to get him to the point where he’s ready to work with the team, so we pushed him really hard (Sunday morning). We were going to push him today and tomorrow again. That’s what we normally do with players that show us for three days that you can practice like the normal guys and work with the trainers, and then we’ll turn you loose with the team. It’s kind of been one thing after another for him. I feel bad for him. He’s worked really hard. Hopefully, this isn’t too bad.”
*Cornerback Kareem Jackson missed practice on Sunday afternoon with a sore left hamstring. Kubiak said Jackson may miss practice on Monday morning as well, but he and Jackson both said it was a minor injury. “Just a little sore, not a pull, not a tear or anything,” Jackson said. “Not nothing serious. (We’re) just preventing it from being a serious issue, just kind of taking it easy a little bit. Nothing to be worried about.”
*With Andre Johnson sidelined by a groin injury, wide receiver Lestar Jean practiced as a starter on Sunday, just as he did when Johnson sat out of OTAs with a knee injury. “He’s got a ways to go,” Kubiak said. “I love his work habits. I love how he goes about his business. He’s got all the tools: the size, he can run, he’s smart. Lestar has just got to become a pro. Every day, he just has to be consistent and make a play. He had a couple chances to make plays this morning that he needs to make. I’m not being hard on him. That’s just way it is. If he’s going to step up and play like a starter, then he’s going to get a chance to start doing that. We’ve been impressed with his work.” Jean and rookie wide receiver DeVier Posey have been putting in extra work after each practice of camp, running routes and catching passes on the field. They both caught passes from a JUGS machine for about 15 minutes after practice on Sunday afternoon.
*Kubiak said the Texans will practice in pads for the first time on Monday. One of the players he’s excited to see is first-round draft pick Whitney Mercilus, the outside linebacker from Illinois, who has gotten extra reps in camp with Connor Barwin sitting out when the Texnas work indoors. “He’s looked very good,” Kubiak said. “He’s got the speed and all those things that we know that he has. Now, we’ll see the competitive nature. He’s getting a ton of reps because we’re holding Connor when we’re on the turf, so all those things add up to him playing very quickly.”
*The Texans have an open competition at right tackle between Rashad Butler, who has been with the team since 2007, and Derek Newton, a 2011 seventh-round pick out of Arkansas State. Butler has a decided edge in experience, but it will be a hotly-contested position battle. “He’s doing good,” Kubiak said of Butler. “He’s got competition. Newt is right there breathing down his neck. They are splitting reps. It’s going to be a good battle. It’s time for him to prove he can be a starter in this league.” Butler said he looks forward to taking advantage of his opportunity. “That’s what the league is about,” he said. “Some guys get the opportunity to come into the league and play right away and be successful. Other guys come into the league and battle to stay on the team. So you got to keep battling because when an opportunity comes, you’ve got to seize it.”
*Kubiak dished out praise for cornerback Brandon Harris, a 2011 second-round pick from Miami (Fla.) who played sparingly as a rookie. “The last five days of OTAs (organized team activities) and the first couple days of camp, Brandon has been a little different player,” Kubiak said. “Usually, guys will make a big jump from year one to two, so we’ll see.” Defensive backs coach Vance Joseph said earlier this offseason that Harris thrived in the Texans’ June 14-16 mini-camp.
Quotes of the Day
“It’s about what guys believe in the locker room. If you believe that we can make it to the Super Bowl and you work at that, it’s going to happen. If not, and you just live in the hype and say ‘they’re giving it to us’, nothing’s going to happen.” – FS Danieal Manning, on the expectations surrounding the Texans
“He’s a shutdown corner. When you’re calling defenses like Wade (Phillips) is, that’s a great comfort zone for you to have. It’s a great challenge for all of our offensive guys to go against him every day.” – Head coach Gary Kubiak, on Pro Bowl CB Johnathan Joseph
“He’s been impressive. We’re just two days in, but he’s hard to block… He’s just out here cutting it loose and making plays. He’s ready for a big year.” – Kubiak, on DE JJ Watt
“It makes me feel like the old guy. It’s phenomenal. It’s great. They were very respectful and great guys, and to see that they think highly of me is a wonderful blessing.” - Former San Antonio Spurs C David Robinson, who attended Sunday morning’s practice with his two sons, on Texans players lining up to take pictures with him after practice