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Caldwell adapting, making strides


Rookie center Antoine Caldwell talked with's Nick Scurfield about his first week of training camp. Caldwell, a third-round draft pick out of Alabama, has been playing at both center and guard as he adapts to the pro level.

Nick Scurfield:"With Chester Pitts and Chris Myers both out, you've been getting a lot of reps in camp. How do you think you've been doing so far?"

Antoine Caldwell:"I think it's been going good. It's been fast, it's been a lot of preparation, but it's been good for me. When Chris went down, the coaches came to me, they expected me to be able step up and take his spot, and that's what I've been able to do so far and it's been pretty good."

Nick Scurfield:"How have you been doing at center? Gary Kubiak said the other day that they really want you to get that position down, but you've also been playing at guard."

Antoine Caldwell:"I think I've been doing pretty well. I need to be able to play faster. Being able to play faster means being prepared more, coming out of the meetings knowing exactly what your assignment is and being able to execute at full speed. Right now, that's what I'm trying to do, make sure I know my assignment so I can play faster."

Nick Scurfield:"What would you say the biggest difference is here between college and the pros?"

{QUOTE}Antoine Caldwell:"It's the preparation. We install things in the meetings in the morning time and when you come out here in the afternoon, they expect you to know it like that. In college, you may stay on the same thing for two or three days preparing for the same thing, but here, we get it in the morning and in the afternoon, you better know your assignment and Coach (Alex) Gibbs is all over it if you don't, so you've got to do a good job of knowing your assignments when you get out there."

Nick Scurfield: "You've got a fellow Alabama guy here in Houston in DeMeco Ryans. How much has he been helping you adjust?"

Antoine Caldwell:"He's been great. He's been a rock for me in this whole training camp because it's been tough with the whole mental preparation. Physically, everything's kind of been real fast, but if I need some encouraging words or some uplift I go to DeMeco, and he's been there to be able to help me out the whole training camp."

Nick Scurfield:"Coach Gibbs is known for getting on the players pretty hard. How has it been playing for him so far?"

Antoine Caldwell:"It's been great. I need that. He's a demanding coach. If you're not getting it right, he's going to make sure you get it right. It makes sure you don't get complacent, you're always pushing through things, trying to strive to be better, and that's what I need."

Nick Scurfield:"You've also got a Hall of Famer in Bruce Matthews giving you a lot of pointers. How much has he helped you?"

Antoine Caldwell:"I'm just like a sponge when it comes to him. Everything he's done, he played in the league 18, 19 years and he's probably on me more than Coach Gibbs is, talking to me about my steps, my mental preparation, different things that are going to send my game to the next level. That's what I've been able to do so far."

Nick Scurfield:"You're going to continue to have a lot of reps until the first preseason game on Saturday. What's the biggest thing you're trying to work on between now and then?"

Antoine Caldwell:"Just playing faster, and that comes with knowledge of the game, knowing exactly who I've got every play, every rep. When that comes, then I'll be ready to go."

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