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10 questions with Kirksey


Wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey has coached two of the all-time bests in Jerry Rice and Andre Johnson.

Texans wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey has a wealth of talent at his disposal, led by Pro Bowler Andre Johnson. Kirksey has 13 years of NFL coaching experience with the Texans, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. He's coached wide receivers, running backs, tight ends and quarterbacks in his career.

Under Kirksey from 1994-99, wide receiver Jerry Rice caught 606 passes for 6,666 yards for the San Francisco 49ers.

*1. Describe the feeling you had about your wide receivers as a whole going into the first preseason game? *

"I felt good about them. They were prepared. They've been working hard, and it's a good group of young men. They're all competitive. I thought they played well. They're some things we need to clean up, some mistakes we made, but other than that I thought they played well."

*2. André Davis caught three passes. The reporters even mentioned how he has yet to miss a pass in practice. How do you feel about his performance in Saturday night's game? *

"Well André, again, he's developed into a good pro football player right now. He's doing all the little things that we want him to do. He's smart, he understands the schemes, and he has something that most defenses fear, and that's speed on the field."

3. Andre Johnson says that he's never felt better in his career. What has impressed you the most about him this preseason?

"I just think his mindset right now. He's playing the game mentally as well as physically. In the past, people just pointed out that he's so talented and that he's got size and strength and things like that. Now he's playing the game so much smarter than he did before."

4. You coached Jerry Rice and Jimmy Smith. Where does Andre Johnson stack up with them?

"I think that he's right there. Behind Jerry and maybe a little bit in front of Jimmy simply because he's so physical and he has Jimmy Smith's speed and things of that nature. But I'd say he's in the mix and that he's a tremendous football player. He's at the age right now where he's not going to do anything but get better within the next two to three years."

*5. Who is the No. 3 wide receiver on the Texans right now? *

"That's a good question. You know, they're very competitive. The way you look at it all just depends on who is in the ball game right now. Andre (Johnson), André Davis, and Kevin (Walter) and David (Anderson) are in the mix, and Jacoby (Jones) is not too far behind. It's a good mixture right there, so it's hard to tell."

6. Coach Gary Kubiak coached in Denver when Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey both went over 100 receptions in one season. Do you think that's possible for Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson?

"You know, it's always possible. But the thing about our offense is that it is so balanced. We're going to run the ball and we're going to throw it, too. As long as we're winning, it doesn't make a difference who gets to 100 or who doesn't. Right now the system itself might not intend to throw 100 passes to each receiver."

7. Darnell Jenkins showed his ability at Kansas City. What do you like about his game?

"Well again, he's been improving since he's been here. We're excited about him. He's a tough kid. He just needs a little bit more experience right now, but at the same time he's an exciting player for us."

8. With your history of coaching running backs as well as wide receivers, do you sometimes share your coaching knowledge with running backs coach Chick Harris?

"He doesn't listen to a thing I say. No, I'm just kidding. We do talk about it sometimes, and that's a good thing. Coach Harris is a great running backs coach. I see the same things he does and if he has anything he will ask me, but he doesn't ask me very often."

9. Do you feel like the offense can count on Jacoby Jones to be a major factor this year?

"I think right now we know his punt return skills are very important to this team. I just think that if he handles that part of his game, the offensive end will find a way to fit him in. But right now, we're excited about him returning kicks and being that third or fourth receiver for us down the road."

*10. If you could describe this season's Houston Texans in one word, what would it be? *


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