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Houston Texans

Camp arrival quotes


The Texans reported to Reliant Stadium for training camp Thursday, taking physicals and picking up playbooks before practice begins on Friday. Several players spoke to the media about what camp will be like in 2008.

Texans TE Owen Daniels
(on his anticipation of training camp starting) "Yeah, I'm excited. I think this time of year, the fans get excited. There's not that much going on in sports. The training camps start and it gets everybody fired up, and the players are the same."

(on the Astros playing) "They are, but I don't know how they are doing. Right now, there is not as much excitement as there could be."

(on his thoughts about this year's team) "I'm excited about this team just like everybody else is. We were 8-8 last year but we weren't happy with that record. We were in some games that were close and could have done better and pulled out some more victories. Our goal is the same every year, and that's to get to the playoffs and once we get there and we get heading to other things. But to get this city and this team to the playoffs is the most important thing."

(on missing the playoffs) "Well, it's tough; everyone knows we play in the toughest division in the NFL. We haven't done well since I've been here. Against our opponents in our division, I think we were like 1-5 and 7-3 against rest of NFL. We're a good team and (with) good competition, we can do play well and do a lot of stuff."

(on being a veteran) "I get more confident every year. It was an interesting year and just finding my spot and role the last couple of years, developing that role. having everyone see what I can do and develop that role. To know that people have confidence in me is huge."

Texans S Will Demps
(on improving from last year) "We've got to limit the turnovers. We've got to get more big plays on defense and we can kind of see that action going on the defense side. We're taking the right directions. We need stay healthy and get acquainted with each other and just move forward."

(on goals for the year) "Playoffs is the main goal. We've still got to take it week by week and stay healthy. And by meeting, just in the weight room, just take it day by day. It's going to be a long year. The mountain is up there, and we want to take it. And once we take it week by week and you start seeing by November – we've got to win those games – we can kind of push our way into the playoffs. It's a fun time of the year, training camp, but we kind of dread it. But all the guys come back. The media's here."

Texans WR Andre Johnson
(on how he feels) "I actually feel pretty good. I was out running routes yesterday and I haven't had anything since I have been out running or anything. "

(on how he will approach practice) "I have no choice. I mean, I'm running full speed and I feel fine, so I have dealt with that."

(on what his mindset is coming into camp) "I only have one mindset, and that's to get to the playoffs. Anything else, you know, really doesn't matter. That's my goal: Getting to the playoffs, and once we're there, see what happens."

(on his attitude toward the season) "I have always been encouraged; (it's) just (that) the past few years things haven't turned out the way we wanted them to. I'm excited about the season, everybody starting camp and getting ready to accomplish their goals. Everybody's goal is getting to the Super Bowl, you know. We have that goal, too."

(on the team's attitude in OTAs) "From the outside looking in – you know, I wasn't practicing – you can definitely see a different type of attitude. Guys were competing. You know guys are excited and they want to win around here, and that attitude is going to take us a long way. "

(on his expectations of QB Matt Schaub) "I'm excited about it. Unfortunately, we were both injured last year, so this season hopefully we can both stay healthy and we will see what happens."

(on the team's struggles against the division last year) "If we play against those teams, we will try to play the best, and that's something we have to do against those teams. We play three division games in the first five games. (We're) going to have to get off to a great start. You go out and lose those three games and you can be out of it. Guys know what we have to do to get where we want to be."

Texans WR Jacoby Jones
(on getting back to training camp) "It's been a long offseason. We had pretty good OTAs, and I'm ready to get back to work."

(on what he has to work on the most) "I think I need to work on my consistency, to make plays over and over."

(on getting back to his original level) "Oh, yeah. I'm hungry. I'm ready to play."

(on being better than last year) "From the OTAs, man, from the first snap of practice, everyone had that spark in them. Everyone was moving around real fast. It was like Mr. Beat'em up."

(on working with the offensive line) "Everyone's got the same intensity, from Matt (Schaub) to the offensive line (to) the running backs. Everything looks pretty good."

Texans G Chester Pitts
(on if this is the year the Texans make the playoffs) "This is the year we were better than we were last year."

(on T Duane Brown's contract situation) "Let 'em work. Let the agents work. Let the folks upstairs do their job."

(on his offseason activities) "I spent a lot of time working on football. I did get to do some cool, fun things I never got to do before. I spent most of my offseason preparing for the next season."

(on starting training camp) "It's much more exciting for you and all the fans at home. As far as training camp goes, I'm not too thrilled about that, but when September 1 hits, I mean, that's when the season is fun for me. But as training camp goes, naw, I'm not as excited about it as you guys are."

(on going to the ESPYSs "The ESPYs were phenomenal. I had a great time. It really is like the Oscars for athletes. I mean, the whole red carpet, hang out and meet all the people I watch on ESPN, SportsCenter, the news. I got to meet Candace Parker. She is that pretty. I got to meet The Bus (Jerome Bettis). That was cool. I met a lot of basketball players that were really cool."

(on visiting the Playboy mansion) "It was pretty cool. I just wanted a tour of the grounds. I just wanted to see all the animals. You know, the gerbils, monkeys. I toured around to go see the mahogany on the wall. I didn't actually get in it, but I squatted down, peered through it, checked it out loud, breathed it all in. I was good, I was focused and I was there for charity to play poker."

(on his Super Bowl commercial) "You know, honestly, there were a lot people that were like, 'Wow; was that for real? Did you really bag groceries?' I was proud. It's nice to get recognized for something that people think is kind of cool or different or whatever it may be. I really enjoyed it. Not one person said it wasn't cool to me."

(on assistant head coach/offense Alex Gibbs) "You know what? He's an angry little Cherokee. That's what he calls himself, and that's what I'm going to call him. But I enjoy his passion. He's always like that – always ready to coach, always ready to get the most out of you. I want to be the best, and I think he can help me get there. "

(on what Gibbs brings) "His knowledge of the game. The way he ties all the schemes together. The run game, the play-action game. There's always continuity."

{QUOTE}(on QB Matt Schuab) "Matt is a great guy. That's were you start. He's a great man, an honest kid. He will do anything for you. With that attitude, he's really hungry. He has some great tools at that and can get the ball down the field. I have really high expectations from him this year, and he's really going to make us look good."

(on G/C Steve McKinney's departure) "It's going to be rough. Skinny was with me my entire career. He's like my first veteran lineman. I mean, he was only like year six, but Skinny is Steve McKinney. I mean, I know it's a business and I know in time the Texans will say goodbye to my big behind, too, but I would love for him to stick around one more year."

Texans CB Dunta Robinson
(on the timetable of his return) "Right now, it's day to day. As long as I keep improving – I really haven't set a table for myself – but as long as I keep getting better, the faster I'll be out there on the football field. But right now, I feel good, so it's going to be day to day."

(on if he set a particular game to come back) "I think it's kind of too far down the road. I really don't want to rush myself back, so I'm going to take my time. The coaches have given me all the time that I need, so I'm going to take that time and make sure that I'm 100 percent and make sure that I'm ready to go out there on the field and give my teammates the best of me and not just get out on the field because I want to be out there because I can be out there."

(on helping the other guys while not playing) "First, I have to take care of myself on the side. I'll be doing a lot of work on the side with the new trainers and just trying to get myself better every day. In the process of that, I'll be helping the young guys in the secondary, and any rookie that has a question, I'm willing to help. I've been watching some film with some of the young guys as of now and I'm just going to continue to feed my brain and get my body ready."

(on the progress he has made in the last month) "I've made a lot of progress. I've made great strides in the last month. With this thing, I feel better. I can tell I'm on the back end, because I'm feeling better every week. I haven't had a setback since day one, and that's really a blessing. As long as I keep working hard, everything will be fine. I know there was a year timetable set for me, but I think I'll be back before that point in time. I think I'll be back before November. I just have to keep working hard to get back on the field."

(on it being difficult to stay patient) "Oh, definitely. Mentally, you've got to be super strong, because I'm eight-and-a-half months into this thing and my knee is still not where I want it to be. And that was something that I was told in the beginning, that it was going be a long road. It's been long and it's been hard, but you've just got to keep working, man, and you can't feel sorry for yourself. I've been working since day one and I've just got to continue to work until my knee gets back to where I think I'm ready to go. It's going take a little more work, but I'm a long way from where I was."

(on what will tell him he's ready) "I've got to get out there and line up against Andre Johnson, and that's going to tell me if I'm ready or not. Right now, it's not the time, so I've got to keep working. And that's going to be my test, once I get out there in practice and line up against the receivers and do all the cutting and planting and all the things I was doing in the past. That's going to be the big key."

(on the workouts he's doing right now) "I'm doing a lot of mobility work, shuffling, backpedaling, pretty much everything; it's just not full speed. It's probably three quarters speed. It's feeling fine; I could play if I wanted to right now, but mentally, I'm not ready and I still have some pain in my knee and I'm just going to keep working on that and getting myself better."

(on rookie CB Antwaun Molden) "I like him. I think he's going be a good player for us. I think he has the potential to be a great player in this league. He has that work ethic; he practices hard and he's willing to learn. When you're a rookie and you come in willing to learn, I think those are the key ingredients of becoming a good player in this league."

Texans LB DeMeco Ryans
(on the outlook for the 2008 Texans) "Right now, we are in work mode with training camp just getting started. We're just in work mode trying to put our team together and see where it takes us. We look forward to coming back, and being in two-a-days can get heavy on you and tough, but it's something we have to do and just push through it."

(on his expectations for training camp) "I expect us to just go out and compete hard in training camp and come out with the best 53 players we can possibly get."

(on his expectations for the season) "Better than last year."

(on the difference in OTAs from this year and last year) "There was a difference in the competitive nature of our team and how much more competitive we are on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I think there is a lot more competition at each position than there was last year. "

(on the addition of LB Rosevelt Colvin to the defense) "He helps us by bringing in experience and knowledge of the game. He's a guy that's been to the playoffs, been to the big game where we're trying to get to. He has that knowledge to shed on us and let us know what it takes to get there."

Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on how he feels coming into the training camp) "I feel great. You know, everyone is excited. We have had a great offseason - everyone participated in their offseason programs. Guys are healthy and ready to go. You can just feel the energy level with everyone back in town and ready to go."

(on if he's ready to lead the team) "Definitely, without a doubt. I know what I need to do and work on my game. I'm ready for that challenge and I'm looking forward to getting us kicked off tomorrow."

(on expectations for this year) "Well my expectations are the sky is the limit for this team. As long as we can focus on going out and playing consistent football, taking care of it and, you know, understand the details of what it takes to win week in and week out. All we can control is our game. Just execute our game and our fundamentals and keep playing and good things will happen for this team."

(on being 100 percent healthy) "I am. Everything is healthy and my shoulder feels good. I'm ready to go"

(on telling OT Duane Brown to practice) "Well I definitely have said that to him. I haven't spoken with him recently, but I told him earlier in the offseason when he came in, you know, it's important that you get here on time. And I'm sure his people are working hard with him as are the working people upstairs. We are hoping he gets in here as soon as possible because he is a big part of what we will accomplish this season. And we need him in here from day one in order for him to know what we are doing and understand what training camp is all about and get ready to go for Pittsburg."

(on the difference of energy level this year compared to last year) "Definitely, I mean obviously last year I was the new guy, so the atmosphere was kind of new for me. But you can tell coming in this year (there is) a higher level of energy about getting kicked off because the taste of victory we had last season - you know with going 8- 8, the possibilities of getting even better this season. So the guys are anxious to get back to work and you can definitely see it."

(on taking on a leadership role) "I'm more comfortable this year. Last year, everything was just new for me with moving and everything else that goes on when you're in transition from one team to another. Now I'm comfortable with my surroundings and everyone that's around me, my teammates and the coaches and what they ask of me - so definitely a lot more comfortable going into this year."

(on making mistakes) "Oh definitely, I mean there is a time and a place for that, understanding your teammates and their different personalities is a part of that, but I definitely get in their face."

(on WR Andre Johnson's health) "Great. We have been throwing here for a couple of weeks. He says he is good and feels great so, you know, it's great to have everyone back and healthy."

(on what it is like to quarterback his own team) "Oh, it was great to get my own team. I think that anyone that is a competitor wants to get that opportunity. And last year there were some good times and bad times, you just take what you can from each of those situations and apply what you have learned and move forward. So I'm definitely looking forward to this year and correcting those mistakes. "

(on preparing differently this year after suffering injuries last year) "Well I didn't necessarily prepare any differently. It's just a matter of getting my shoulder healthy and strong again, and we have done that. Now, it's just as matter of staying healthy and doing it on the field."

(on the toughness of Gary Kubiak on quarterbacks) "You know, he is the head coach and he has played in this league. He knows what it takes to be successful, you know, as a team and as a quarterback at this level. I don't mind when he screams and hollers; it's because he cares and wants you to get it right and do it better to do what it takes to win and I understand that. So I don't mind those things, because if I did mess up, I know when I mess up, and when he yells at me I know he is going to do it so it's not a surprise. So you just kind of shake it off and move on to the next play because that's what you have to do at this level. "

(on doubting his abilities as NFL quarterback) "I didn't have any doubts. I know what I am capable of doing and I know what I can do at this position, so I had no doubts that I could play quarterback in this league and play well. It's just a matter of staying on the field and staying consistently good for 16 weeks."

(on the health of the team and success) "Well, I think we can be very good. At this level, parity is so even, but you look at the games last year when everyone was healthy and how we performed, the sky is the limit for this ball club and we getting even better with some of the additions we're making this offseason."

(on the mental grind of training camp) "Well, it is and it isn't. You're excited because everyone is together again and you're starting to formulate your team. From day one, obviously, training camp isn't much fun because you're just grinding out every day. It's long days in the heat, but it's something you go through. And it makes us better on the other end because we develop our continuity as a team and our camaraderie. At the same time, it's taxing on your body and your mind, but when you get out of it, the games come easy."

(on rehabbing while the team is playing) "Well, it's definitely difficult when your team is out there practicing and you're watching. It's a hard pill to swallow, but it's one that comes with the game. Injuries happen. You just have to try to get healthy as quickly as possible so you can get back out there."

Texans G Fred Weary
(on his leg) "It's doing good, real good. It just got cleared today, so I will feel good tomorrow and get ready."

(on being an original Texan and being better) "Everybody's got that mentality right now. We were 8-8 last year; we kind of pushed the envelope. Going into this (year), we expect a lot more from this football team. Me, Chester (Pitts), we've been around since the start and we can't do it all. It would be real good to see us have a successful season."

(on the attitude of the players) "It's a lot different. (From) when Kubiak first came to this organization, things have changed a lot. Players have taken hold to what he wants and what he expects from us and taken it to the football field."

(on having a successful season) "Taking one step at a time. First, we've got to go into training camp and be a lot better than we were last year in training camp. We can come out and say we were better this time in training camp than we were last year. "

(on being able to compete) "It's like chopping wood and everything. We've got to take care of one obstacle first. The first obstacle is going to be Pittsburgh from day one; hopefully, we can get a win there."

(on it being difficult to make the playoffs out of the AFC South) "We'll see. We play in the toughest (division). I feel like being in the AFC South with Indy and Jacksonville and all them were playoff teams last year. We're heading in the right direction."

(on if the team can succeed) "We can get it done as long as we work hard each and every day and stay focused and do what the coaches tell us to do."

(on QB Matt Schaub in his first season in Houston) "Matt did a great job. Growing from year one to year two, I think he's done a great job. He's done real well and continues to go out there and practice. He's only going to get better each and every day. He's a caring person who wants to see this team succeed."

(on assistant head coach/offense Alex Gibbs) "He's a great coach. He's real demanding. For the most part, that's what you need from the offensive line. You want your players to be as demanding as the coach is. That's what he's trying to put in each and every one of us. He wants us to be as demanding ourselves and get the job done. He's a hardnosed coach and expects a lot from his players. He knows a lot of techniques and he knows football."

Texans T Eric Winston(on why this team is better this year) "I think the talent level, first of all, has just raised so much. I mean, just look at our backups now that are proven veterans in the league. If guys like Ephraim don't end up starting, that is 11 years of experience, that is our swing tackle, and if he does end up starting, then we have a first-round pick as our swing tackle. Either way you look at it, you have that situation right there. You look at a guy like Chris Brown at running back, if he is backing up Ahman (Green), that's a lot of talent. Steve Slaton is a guy that is a third-round pick that has proven himself in college. Our receiving corps, everybody from David Anderson all the way up to Andre (Johnson) has caught touchdown passes in this league. That is a big deal. When you have that kind of depth going around and you have those kinds of people that you can plug in and out, that makes for a good team. And on top of that, you have a different mindset. I think last year, we were really trying to put ourselves in a position to get into the playoffs. This year, it is playoffs or bust. That is the type of mindset this team has, and I think that is what is making it so exciting."

(on the extra pressure of "playoffs or bust") "I don't think it is extra pressure. I think it is what it is. That is just us; that is where we are at as a team. I think if you ask Andre (Johnson) that, I think he'd say the same thing. I don't think he wants to wait around for another year to try and get in there. He has been waiting for six years now, and Chester Pitts, seven years. We all want to get in there. That is kind of the mindset of this team, and I think we are good enough to be there. I think everyone realizes that, and I think that's what we are out there to do."

(on battling the heat and assistant head coach/offense Alex Gibbs) "Probably not too much fun. I like him a lot; I really do. I love guys who just love to coach. Those are fun guys to play for, because you know they care a lot. You know they are trying to make you better, and the screaming and stuff, that is just something you get used to. We have been doing this all our lives. That is just their way of talking to me. Gibbs is a great coach, and I have learned a lot from him already. I can't wait for the season and through these two-a-days to keep learning more from him. And (offensive line) coach (John) Benton is the same way. He keeps on improving his coaching, too. He has been an un-praised person on the offensive line. He has been the one making consistent calls throughout my three years here, and I have learned a lot from his teaching as well."

(on T Duane Brown's possible contract negotiations) "I am not going to comment on that. That is his business and that is what he needs to do. I hope he gets as much money as he can. I really do. If he has to hold out for a day or two, then that is what he feels like he needs to do. I am not going to tell him one way or the other; that is between him and what he feels like he is worth and what they are willing to give him. I totally understand that situation and I hope one of these days I am in a situation where I can get a big contract. I will never tell a guy that he needs to get here right away for camp, because if not we are not going to be a great team We want him here and we want him to get here as fast as possible, but that is his situation and he needs to resolve it to where he is happy because if he's not, he is going to be mad when he gets here."

(on Gibbs) "He is just a fiery individual. He is a guy you can tell really loves football and really loves to be a coach. It is hard to believe that he was out of it for a year, because he is that kind of guy. I think he loves coaching, he loves being around the guys and he loves helping guys improve. I think that is all you can really ask for from a coach. He is just a guy that can help you improve and can help you open your eyes to different aspects of the game."

(on why he calls Gibbs the "mad scientist") "A lot of coaches teach the same things over and over, and not to say that he is not doing that, but he is always adding things. He is always trying new things and always mixing things together. I think that is why he has been so successful. I think a lot of coaches study each other – you know, study their counterparts – and they are probably going to do that in this situation. I think if you are really good, there is no way to get a beat on you. You never can understand what he is going to do, because one day he says we are going to block a play one way and the next day with the same play, we are going to block it totally different. You are not going to get a beat on us. I think that is really exciting. Now, that puts a lot of pressure on the offensive line, but we like that. We are a bunch of veterans up there, and I think everyone is going to respond really well to that."

(on Gibbs' personality) "I think he deals with everyone in a different way. I think he demands the same thing from people but I think he also deals with people in a different way. With the older guys, he really leaves them alone but kind of throws out suggestions. With me, you know, I am kind of in the middle, but he is on me a little bit more. But with some of the rookies like Duane (Brown), he is on them pretty hard, but that is natural throughout the league. The coaches are going to stay on the rookies a little bit. They are going to vent on the rookies and not normally the older guys."

(on if he knew what Gibbs was like prior to his arrival) "Well, before he got here and before he signed, I asked Ephraim (Salaam) and I had a friend from Midland Lee way before I did, his name is Casey Jones and he was a backup center in Denver during Coach Gibbs' tenure there. He was telling me a lot of stories about him, even before he was signed here. I had heard some stories and I think that everyone has had different experiences with him. But the impression that I got the most was that they got better because of him."

(on the players' feelings toward Gibbs) "I think a little bit of everything. I think that is the part that makes him effective. If you are not a little bit afraid of your coach, then it probably is not good. And you have to have a certain likeability about yourself when you are a coach relating to a player. I think he knows when to turn it on and off. He knows when to really stay on somebody and when to back off. Of course, I have only had a little experience with him. It is OTA's. It is not stressful for coaches. Ask me that question at the end of the season when the pressure of the season has set in and they are trying to win games and we are trying to win games, and when his butt is on the line and so is mine. I think that is when you will really see what kind of person they are, when their chips are down and the stress is really on."

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