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10 questions with Walter


Wide receiver Kevin Walter tries to simulate two-a-days during his time off before training camp.

Wide receiver Kevin Walter put together a career season in 2008, finishing with 60 catches for 899 yards and eight touchdowns. He was a fantasy football goldmine. This season, he plans to boost those stats by increasing his yards after the catch. Fantasy players better draft him early.

1. For the first time ever, coach Gary Kubiak excused most of the veterans from practice during mini-camps. What did you think of that format?

"I had never been a part of something like for mini-camp where the veterans didn't have to practice. I think we still got good work done. We worked out with (strength and conditioning coach) Ray (Wright) in the weight room. People watched film. We got good work done, even though we weren't outside practicing."

2. You and Andre Johnson are the returning starters and there is a deep unit of receivers. How beneficial was it for some of the younger wideouts to get more reps during mini-camp?

"I think it was really important for them. The more reps they get and the more experience they get, the more they can help the team. During OTAs, they didn't get as much work. Now, they have gotten sharper and when training camp rolls around, they will be better prepared."

{QUOTE}3. You put up stellar numbers last year: 60 catches for 899 yards and eight touchdowns. What are you working on this year to improve your production?

"Each year, I have improved. Last year, I worked on my yards after the catch and I think I continue to do a better job with that. This year, I really want to work on my stiff arm and other moves that get you a few more yards after the catch. Once you get the ball in your hands, you have to do something special with it. Obviously, protecting the ball is the most important thing; turnovers can change the momentum of a game. But I do want to improve my yards after the catch."

4. What are the benefits of playing opposite of Andre Johnson?

"It's great. We try to get the double teams off of him, but people are coming after him no matter what because of the quality of receiver that he is. He demands a lot of attention. It opens up things for Owen (Daniels) and myself, and we have to take advantage of that. If we see one-on-one coverage, we need to recognize that and make a big play."

5. Which formation were you most effective in last season?

"We run so many different formations, so we spread it all around the field. Sometimes I am in the slot; sometimes I am out wide; sometimes I am in the "X" and next to the tight end. We just have so many different formations, which is why I think it's difficult for defenses to defend against our offense. We can make plays from a lot of different positions. We have to continue to do what we did last year and move the ball, but we have to do a better job of scoring points and converting in the red zone."

6. Were you surprised when you found out that you and Johnson were the top receiving tandem in the league with 2,474 receiving yards?

"I wasn't too surprised because I knew we were being productive, and 'Dre is the best receiver on the planet. He helps our case for sure. I am lucky to play next to him and watch him every day. I think all of the receivers watch his game and try to apply it to their games. We each know our roles as receivers on this team, and we like our roles. But it always helps to watch 'Dre and learn from him."

7. When you look at the schedule, which team are you most excited to face?

"Are you kidding me? Going to Cincinnati, back to my old squad. I haven't been back there since 2005. The last game I played on that field was a playoff game against Pittsburgh, which we lost the year the Steelers won the Super Bowl. Going back to Cincinnati and playing on that field will be huge. Also, there's the Monday night game at home against the Titans."

8. What are you doing with your free time before training camp?

"I think these next four weeks are some of the most important of the offseason. This is where you get your mind right. This is where you get your hard work in and your body prepared physically for training camp. I take these next few weeks very seriously. I will go up to the Northeast with my wife to see her family. I have trainers up there that I work with and I'll do my lifting and go through workouts. I know for a fact that come July 31, I will be ready to roll. I will be a hungry guy and ready to get after it."

9. Is there anything special you do to prepare for training camp?

"When I work out these next four weeks, I simulate two-a-days. I wake up early in the morning and go through speed drills and then I will lift in the afternoon and then I will work on my receiving, catching balls with the jugs. There are some corners and DBs up north that I work with. So I wake up early, get a workout in, eat lunch, rest and get another workout in – that helps me get my mind and body right for training camp. You can't simulate in the Northeast how hot it will be in Houston, but that does get my body ready to roll."

10. What helps you get through the grueling days of training camp?

"I just think, 'If you want to be the best, you have to practice it.' Everyone is doing it, so you have to be out there doing it better. I focus on staying hydrated and I get a lot of massages and go to the chiropractor. I also have a hyperbaric chamber that helps out. All of that helps prevent soreness and gets your body fresh for the next day. It helps me come back the next day and have an even better day."

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