Linebacker Danny Clark returned to the Texans this offseason after spending the previous two campaigns with the New York Giants. The veteran recently took a timeout from training camp to answer '10 Questions' for HoustonTexans.com.
1. What's the biggest difference between the 2010 Texans and the 2007 Texans?
"Basically, it's a lot more mature ball club. The leadership is getting bigger. It's definitely a young team. We've gotten tons better from the time I was here before as far as being more productive on the offensive side of the field and the defensive guys are becoming more productive as well. Now it's just about fine tuning some things and getting guys to take our games to another level and I think that's the biggest difference."
2. How much has linebacker DeMeco Ryans progressed since 2007?
"Coming in, he was in his second year when I got here. To me, it seems like he's a guy that's been in this business before. He's a born leader. He's a guy that has incredible knee bends as far as technique goes. He understands how to play it physically but more importantly, he has a cognitive understanding of what it takes to be successful as a defender. He raises the expectations of his teammates so, just to see him now going into his fifth year as a guy that went to a couple of pro bowls, rookie of the year, been signed to a new contract, and understands that he's going to be a Texan for life, hopefully. It's a good feel to finally see him get his respect throughout the league and throughout the organization and ultimately his teammates."
3. How intense is Brian Cushing?
"Cushing is special. He's one of the best athletes I've seen in a long time. I'm anxious to see him use his God-given talent along with the technique and discipline that is being illustrated by the coaches. Once he's able to put these things together, he's a guy that could play and be one of the best in this business for a long time."
4. How tough is the competition in the linebacker corps?
"It's good. It's very healthy. It's up and going. It's alive and well. Guys are competing against each other to help out team win for those first four games and who knows where it'll be able to help down the road. It's a business based on opportunity and what you do with it so, I'm definitely looking forward to taking advantage of this opportunity. I want to be the one that wins that position and goes out to help us win the first four weeks."
5. What are the biggest differences between New York City and Houston?
"I can't say too many bad things about New York. I will be honest, I enjoyed the big city in so many ways. The energy in that place is unexplainable. It's a place where your heart rate goes up when you're plane touches the ground in New York. The food is fantastic but I'm a pizza guy. I'm from Chicago and I love pizza and know where some of the best pizza is in Chicago. Coming back to Houston though, I've gained about eight pounds since I've been here and it hasn't been because of the food. It's been because of the strength program. I do love the food here. This is like my second favorite city on the planet. I still have a house here, so I still love it here."
6. What's the biggest difference between the fans here and the ones in New York?
"The fans are definitely supportive. I got a really good sense of it on Twitter to be honest. I had all my New York fans and once I signed here, I lost some of my fans and a lot of them stayed in New York. But at the end of the day, I've learned that our fans are very loyal here in Houston. I think that they're waiting for a breakout year, a playoff season for out team, but ultimately we're looking for a championship."
7. What's your favorite sport other than football?
"I would have to say basketball because my son is really good. I was a decent basketball player in high school. I thought I could go play in college, but football is my passion. I think basketball is definitely my second favorite. Man, it's tough. It's between the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat of course."
8. So, does that make you a LeBron James fan?
"Yes, but Dwayne Wade, also. Dwayne Wade is from Chicago. He's actually from my neighborhood. So, it's good to see another Chicago kid going out and paving his own way."
9. Who is the most stylish Texan?
"I would say Morlon Greenwood but he's not here anymore. You know what's so funny, I haven't been out with the guys to see them go out there without football clothes on. I'll have to get back to you on that one."
10. Who's the funniest Texan?
"The funniest guy right now? Who do I laugh at? I'd say Darryl Sharpton. I call him, "Weird Al." He's a rookie and he's funny because he doesn't try. He's funny about what he says and when he's being serious. He has the craziest stories from college at the University of Miami. Of course he's next to me. He's a great kid and he's fun to watch and fun to listen to."