The Texans kicked off their first day of training camp Friday morning.
After the Texans first training camp practice, members of the team spoke to the media about the signing of left tackle Duane Brown and the initial outlook of the team.
Texans owner Bob McNair
(on team injuries) "Well injuries can decimate your season. Yes, you're very much concerned about that. There's not much you can do about it, so you just go ahead and try to be as well prepared as you can be. You play with the cards that are dealt. We've had an unusually large amount of injuries the last two years. The odds are this year we shouldn't have that experience and I think that should be a big difference."
(on this years team) "Well I think we have a lot more speed. I think we have a lot more speed throughout the team. We've got a little more help from Mario (Williams). I think Mario (Williams) had a terrific year last year and I think he'll have an even better year this year. And with Rosevelt (Colvin) over there helping out and giving us a little more speed rush I think we'll make a big difference."
(on defense this year) "A lot of things fall into place. If they're able to put pressure on the quarterback, if they can contain the run and contain the quarterback, it makes it that much easier for the other positions. We haven't had enough speed before, but we have enough speed now that we can do that. It's going to make our linebackers look better so they can be in on more plays. It's going to make our corners look better. It's going to make it easier for the safeties so they're going to look better. It's just a matter of one guy doing his job and when he does that it makes you look that much better."
(on DE Mario Williams receiving recognition) "I'm excited because people haven't given him the recognition he's due and he's been terrific. He's a terrific player. He's been a terrific player. One person can't do it by themselves. I mean he's got more tools; he's got more teammates to help more. You get a chance more to see his talent and it's more obvious to everyone. He has separated himself. There are only 2-3 people that can play at the level he plays."
(on LT Duane Brown signing) "It's important for him to be out there. So, Rick (Smith) and Chris (Olsen) worked very hard and through the night. They recognize the importance of it and they weren't going to let the agent walk away until they worked a deal done. That's important and it will pay dividends for (Duane) Brown. These youngsters they can't miss training camp. Once they get behind, it's really tough to catch up."
(on the Texans new league perception) "I'm really proud because they've worked hard. We've just been so close and those that are close to the team knew we were close. From those who weren't that close it didn't appear that way, but we knew that we were. It boiled down to a few plays between the difference of being 10-6 and 8-8. We've just got to improve, and our coaching staff understands that. They really work on the mental side of the game. I think we got the physical talent now we've got to have the mental attitude we expect to win. We can't have anything less than that. They think we're good enough to win."
(on having a good players) "It's important. If you have a player who gets in trouble and you're dependent on and the next thing you know he's not on the field it changes your plans. Now you've got to change your mix and you got to have players you can depend on. When we send our people (scouts) out to the colleges we tell the college players if we can't depend on you that's going to effect were you're drafted and it's going to cost you money. I think that number one, we've been lucky that we've haven't had the problems but a large part of it is because we paid attention to who we drafted and try to make sure we have good solid people. Does that mean you won't ever have a problem? No. But does that mean you're going to increase the chance you won't have a problem? Yes. You're much more likely you won't have the problem because of the things you're doing."
Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on keeping guys healthy being a priority going into this season) "Well, yeah. We've had our share of share of people beat up around here. We have work to do. So, we have to get our reps in. You're always concerned about the health of your football team, but we also have to get better as a football team. We are going to have guys get nicked up and that's part of the deal. That will happen. We'll work through it and we're going to be a better football team at the end of camp."
(on having all his players in camp) "The only one that's not here is (RB) Chris Brown. I'm dealing with him on a family situation and I'm expecting him to be back here tonight and on the field in the morning."
(on what he differences he sees between this year's and last year's camp) "I don't know if you see a difference right now. I think we are more mature as a football team. When you're young and giddy, you have a lot of rah-rah stuff and sometimes you're not very good on the field. Right now, we are a very quiet football team. We just work and practice football. We have our leaders, so I think we are a little bit different from that standpoint. We're much more mature, but we've got a long way to go."
(on T Eric Winston saying that this season was playoffs or bust) "Well that's our goal as a franchise: to be a playoff football team. That will be our goal every year that we walk in this training camp. If you are a playoff team in this business then you have a chance for the ultimate prize. But right now, there is only one thing we can do and that's to have a good training camp. We had a good morning and we're going to go take a break and see if we can have a good afternoon."
(on T Duane Brown signing his contract right before practice) "We got it done early this morning, but it took some time for him to sign and stuff. He's the only guy I've ever seen sign a contract with his ankles taped. But we got him out here and we had a portion of the practice with him. It was a great job by GM Rick Smith and (Director of Football Administration) Chris (Olsen), you know they got all those guys signed."
(on if T Duane Brown will be working with the first team) "Yeah, he'll work with the first group. We have a long way to go before we play Pittsburgh and who's out there opening day. But he'll continue to work with that group and (T) Ephraim Salaam and (T) Rashad Butler will push the heck out of those two tackles that we have. So, we'll see what happens."
(on if QB Matt Schaub is back and healthy) "Yeah, he looked good. He really threw the ball well. He had a good offseason. He was fully lifting with the team the past six weeks. So, I don't see any reason to take it easy on him so-to-speak. He looks good to us, so we'll just keep going."
(on how important it was for T Duane Brown to not miss any practice) "I think it's important to the team. You know, it was obvious. The team walked out here; they knew he wasn't out here. We got it done. He was out here before practice was over. I think it's important that everybody is here, and he's a big part of where we are going and what we are doing. So, the guys notice. They noticed when he walked out."
(on how difficult it is going to be to sort out the safety position) "Well, I think it will sort itself out. It's a nice problem to have as coaches, because there are almost not enough reps to go around. But that's the way football is to me. When you think you have an abundance of something, within a day you could be shorthanded. So, we like the situation and we'll let those guys compete. It will work itself out and the best players will be there at the end."
(on how much more difficult with the 80 player limit) "Well, I think we are going to find out. I think it could be an adjustment everyday. Our approach will be that we will get our reps in. Our team needs our reps. In the afternoons, we will be totally non-combative. We'll be in hats every afternoon with a lot of teaching but trying to maintain the speed of the game. I think every team has an adjustment to make and I think it will be day to day."
(on how often they will wear pads during training camp) "When we do it will be in the morning. I can't put a number on it right now but it will be the third day before we put them on. I know that."
(on if not practicing with pads has become more of a league-wide change) "Yeah, I've probably more contact with other coaches this summer than I've ever had because I think everyone was just trying to figure out the best way to go about it. You see some teams starting with eight or nine players on PUP (Physically Unable to Play). So, that makes it even shorter. I think the bottom line is that every team has cut back somehow, someway. We understand our problems. I think us going to New Orleans in a couple of weeks will break our camp up a little quicker. So, we are just going to plug away, if we have to adjust then we'll adjust."
(on if he feels if RB Chris Taylor is back to where he was and where he fits in) "I felt that way the last four or five days of OTAs. I did not feel that way initially. It looked like he was definitely not the same. But he came out of OTAs very good. He looked good this morning. We are also going to work him a little bit at fullback. So, he's a big part of this team and he needs to have a good camp and stay healthy."
(on if staying healthy the biggest question with the running back group) "Yeah, I think we have enough of them that if we work them the right way then their legs should stay pretty fresh. You know, we can rotate (RB) Ahman Green and (RB) Chris Brown and then those young guys need all the reps they can get. We'll see how it pans out."
(on what it's like to work with LB Rosevelt Colvin) "Well, it will be my first exposure to him to be honest. I'll go back and watch the film, but I know he's a pro. He's been very successful in this business. It should be an easy adjustment, as far as knowing what we're doing. We'll have to see how he fits in what we're doing and how we're using him. We have to be smart. He's not a big enough guy, end-wise, to play down in and down out. We'll have to pick our spots, so I think it's up to us coaches to find his niche."
(on LB Rosevelt Colvin taking his new role on) "Yeah, I think he's kind of had it before. He's more of a like linebacker/pass rush guy. With our scheme we want to play him at the end position when we move (DE) Mario Williams around some. I think it's the same role but a little bit different position for him. We'll see. Like I said, he's been hurt for a period of time and now he's back so we'll see how he does."
(afternoon practice)(on thoughts on the first day) "Well, I mean it's just good to be back to work. We had to work really hard throughout the season. And it's funny how this business is, you get so excited for that first day. And now we just have to settle down and get our work down everyday. They got better as a team today and that is a key thing. We have to get there everyday."
(on afternoon practices and G Mike Brisiel's nose) "I think somebody spun around and threw an elbow or something. What we are trying to do in the afternoon is to stay non-combative. It is our job to protect each other. I think Mike is going to be fine. We are trying to use our afternoons for more teaching and less contact and hopefully calm them down a little bit."
(on if G Mike Brisiel broke his nose) "I don't know. I know he got a cut under his eye, but Mike wasn't that good looking the first time around. He will be alright."
(on the afternoon practices being relaxed) "What we are trying to do in the afternoons is totally stay away from pads and helmets, and still teach and maintain the speed of what we are doing and try to continue to get the reps. We have got to protect each other, and it's going to be extremely important from that standpoint with this 80 number."
(on any surprises from players) "Oh, it is way too early for that. I mean, I feel good. We got 80 guys coming back of this field this afternoon, other than (G) Mike (Brisiel) with a little cut. Everyday that we walk off this field and everybody is healthy and our team gets better, it is going to be good for this organization. We just need to have a good camp. Today is a good start."
General manager Rick Smith
(on the nature of contract negotiations in regard to T Duane Brown) "It's just a constant attempt to find common ground, and that's what you do and that's what we did all night last night and this morning, and thankfully we were able to come to an agreement."
(on his emotions when Brown and his agent agreed to terms) "Relief. Relief. I mean, it was a long night. It was a long night, literally. We agreed sometime around maybe 6:15 in the morning, and this thing started yesterday afternoon in earnest. So relief was the biggest thing."
(on the contracts of other picks late in the first round impacting the negotiations) "I think you make the right point. It's the market; it's the market analysis. And a lot of times people like to wait until other deals come in, but if we want our player out here and other deals aren't in, then you've got to find some common ground and that's what we were able to do. And again, I've got to say that (Director of Football Administration) Chris Olsen did an outstanding job for us. He is the one who did the vast majority of the negotiating as well as the research for all of the draft picks. I came in at the ninth hour for this particular deal. But he did an outstanding job for us, and that's why we were able to get all of our guys in on time."
(on what he does when he comes in at the ninth hour) "It varies. It just depends on what the emphases are, what the issues are, and so I don't think it's something that you can generalize. In this particular case, it's one thing. In another case, it might be another. So it's just a matter of, again, how do you find common ground? How do you reach a deal that's amenable to everybody? And that's what we were able to do."
(on rookies falling behind quickly if they miss training camp practices) "Well, you can, and that's why it was so important for him to be here today. And I think his representation understood that and we certainly emphasized that, and I think that's why we were able to get it done."
T Duane Brown
(on his grand entrance) "It felt great. I am an official member of the Houston Texans and I am ready to come in and go to work. It is a great opportunity for me and it's a blessing."
(on the official notice of signage) "It was great. I got up at about seven o'clock this morning and I wasn't sure if it was going to happen today, but I woke up bright and early."
(on his concern about signage) "I figured it was going to get done. I was just waiting for that authority and when the time came I just came in to work my butt off.
(on his anxiety) "I was just trying to get my mind right. I was ready to go."
(on if it was nerve racking waiting) "No, not really, I knew it would be by tomorrow. My agents kept me informed as to what was going on and I just got ready."
(on importance of being here and not miss anything) "It is very important. Everyday is a learning experience for me, and I feel like I need everyday I can get to prepare for the season - every period and every rep. So being able to come out here and get some work done on the first day helped me out."
(on the players backing him up to take a couple days) "It makes me feel real good to have the older guys on my side. And that they are here to help me out and comfort me throughout things. I appreciate them a lot."
(on what the players said to him when he arrived) "They saw me walk in the locker room this morning and they said 'OK. You are here. Get ready to work.'"
(on the money) "It's a blessing man. It is more money than I've ever seen in my life so I'm just trying to take care of it."
(on his first purchase) "I got a house. Had to get a house, but I don't know what is next."
(on if he is ready to play) "Definitely, it's the moment I have been waiting for. It's the level of competition I wanted to get to all my life. Me being an official member of the NFL, you know, it means a lot to me. I thank God everyday."
(on waiting before practice) "I got the call up to my hotel room. And I came over and I was just waiting on my agents and them to go over my contracts officially. I was waiting in Mr. Smith's office and we got it signed, sealed and delivered."
(on personal goals for camp) "Just to do the best I can and to work as hard as I can. That is all I can do. Wherever that places me at the end of the camp, I will be satisfied with that. As long as I give 100 percent and I give my best effort that is all I can ask for."
(on players taking him under their wing) "(T) Ephraim Salaam and (G) Chester Pitts have helped me and I really appreciate those guys a lot. You know they don't have to do that but they felt obligated to help me. They reached out. They heard I was coming in and I guess they can relate and they took time out to help me out."
(on what it means to him to be at the first practice) "It was really important me to get out here and run as much as I can. I feel like I need all the reps I can get to get where I want to be in my career. This is definitely a good starting point for the camp."
(on if his goal is a starting position) "No, I am not worried about that. I am just here to work hard and soak up as much as I can and to see where it puts me."
(on the transition to the NFL) "It was not as bad as when I started out. I started out and it was a whirlwind and I was just trying to get used to things; used to the speed and used to the camaraderie and everything. I felt pretty comfortable coming out."
LB Rosevelt Colvin
(on playing for the Texans) "What the Texans presented in front of me, it was a little bit better than the package some other teams presented in front of me. It has worked out, thus far. I signed the contract, passed the physical and made it through the first practice, so, just got to move forward."
(on the defense) "I think I got a skill set that is different than some guys on this defense and is the same as some guys on this defense. I just try to do my role and what they ask me to do. Now, I line up at defensive end a lot times so I'm trying to perfect that. If they want me to play safety, I got to work really hard at that. I think if you're good enough, and this is what Dick Jauron, my coach in Chicago said, if you're good enough they'll find you. So, they found me; hopefully, I'm good enough to make the team and contribute as much as I can during the season."
(on his preference of position) "I like to rush the passer. So, it doesn't matter where you line me up at, as long as I can rush, I'm good. You don't go out there and win ball games on your own though, so it's a collective effort. There are eleven guys on the field that try to collectively be successful on that particular play. If I've got to cover I'll cover, if I got to rush I'll rush, if I got to play the run I'll play the run. It's all a matter of commitment and do the best you can with what they ask you to do and help that guy next to you."
(on practicing with the defensive line) "It was 50/50. I did some things ok and I did some things terrible. I got a lot of from for improvement and hopefully I can make that up real fast."
(on playing in a 3-4 defense) "You know, playing in a 3-4 defense is 50/50. Cause as a 3-4 linebacker you're usually the rush guy when it goes to passing downs. Over the course of the season, my past years, I'd be down in a 3-point stance. So, I hope it's not that big of a transition than some people are expecting. It's been mixed in here and there. It shouldn't be that big a deal but, you know, I got a lot of work to do."
(on his start today) "Personally, I got a lot of work to do. The transition can move along faster than what someone would want me to be. I'm looking forward to just continue getting better every day, looking forward to going and sitting down right now. I think as a team, I 'm really trying to focus on myself and just get out of the other guy's way."
RB Ahman Green
(on his previous year and knee) "I didn't do anything different other than rehab. I just rested. The more running and pounding I did on it just made it worse. From November to December, to the early part of January I really didn't do anything. I just came to the game, came to the meeting. I did physical therapy to get the soreness out of there. Once the middle of January came I went back to Wisconsin, visited the doctor there on my right knee that I tore in '05. It was Dr. McKennzie. He did surgery on my right leg. I told him all my symptoms and all the pain I had and then on I did physical therapy. All in all, it was really bad bruise on my kneecap. The swelling was behind the kneecap. He told me whatever I was do up here continue to do it down in Houston."
(on his training method "movement prep") "It's kind of yoga, moving up and down the field. Building the strength in. It started in January. And from there, I did my old track stuff. You know biometrics; Jumping boxes, jumping rope. A month into it, I started feeling good."
(on today's practice) "I feel great. Other than the weather and the first day of training camp I can't complain."
(on being more eager than ever to play) "I'm going to get aerial. My hunger to play is there. Training camp is pretty much for the birds. The hunger is always there. If I didn't have that hunger, I wouldn't play no more."
(on retirement) "No. When I get to that point, it could be tomorrow, it could be 2 to 3 years from now, but now, I feel great. There was just frustration but nothing where it's like it's time for me to hang it up."
DT Amobi Okoye(on coming in with a year under his belt) "Well, last year I was scattered, real scattered. I'm just trying to fit in here. I know my duties around here and trying to get by, and now I comfortable and know what to expect. I'm just a whole lot more calm now."
(on his preparation this past off season) "Last year, it was a long year a long season coming in as a rookie because of all those pro days and all that crap. That was eliminated this year, so I just had a chance to work out, run and do things I wanted to do off the field. So that really got me geared up for camp this year.
(on knowing the speed of the NFL now) "Every rookie comes in thinking they are not really aware of what they can do and not, but at the same time they got this belief that its going be easy for them. But it isn't so – it's not the NFL for no reason."
(on the defensive line being a strength and the depth of the defensive line) "We're trying to carry the team, not even just the defense, on our back. We feel like we should be the group that should be delegated to do that, so I think we're going get it done. I don't think, I know we're going get it done. We've got great guys and everybody as and individual is good enough to play, good enough to start and it's going be a lot of competition out there.
RB Chris Taylor
(on how excited he is to be out there practicing instead of watching) "I'm excited. When the injury happened and going through the rehab process, some days, you feel like you're never going to get back to where you want it to be. You know, I worked hard and I'm back out here. It's like a dream come true."
(on if he is 100 percent physically and mentally) "I'm a little exhausted today. My legs were a little tired but once training camp gets going I'll be alright."
(on the depth at running back and where he sees himself on it) "I don't know right now. I'm just going to go out there and compete and give it my all every day."
(on what he thinks about getting some reps playing fullback) "Hey, whatever betters my chance of making the team, that's what I'll do."
(on if he thinks being versatile will help him make the team) "I don't know for sure. I just do what they tell me to do and play every play 100 percent."
(on if he has ever played fullback before) "No, I've never played fullback before."
(on what the biggest difference between running back and fullback is) "Well, fullback you have to take on those linebackers so I'm going to have to hit (LB) DeMeco Ryans every day. So hopefully that goes fine. I'm ready for anything, though."
(on what he has learned from FB Vonta Leach) "He tried to tell me every play and make sure I do the right things and to just be physical."
(on if he thinks about his injuries when he plays) "It's hard not to think about, but you have to try to take your mind off of it and just play. Once you start thinking about injuries, that's when injuries happen. I just go out there and play."
(on his journey from last year in the hospital room to today) "That was a painful feeling. In going through the rehab process, some days you feel good, some days you don't, but you never feel like you're going to be back 100 percent. But I'm out here and feeling good today."
(on how the coaching staff has not lost their confidence in him) "It feels good that they have confidence in me, but when we are out here on this field, I have to show it. I have to produce when I'm out here on this field."
DE Mario Williams
(on the start of training camp) "I think we're just trying to start one day at a time and take it that way. Like you said about the intensity, we just know we've got to do it every day and just focus on the day we're at right now. So today's the day, and we've just got to go out and do business and do what we do."
(on looking forward to the next season) "I'm really excited. I'm pretty much though just taking things one step at a time and just trying to get better. I'm out here running around with the guys and you know, become one with the D-line, the safeties, one with the defense. You know, just do what we got to do."
(on getting used to surroundings or feeling better) "It's a little bit of both pretty much. That's all I can really say. If anybody feels better, then they'll play better. Through reps and things like that you become more comfortable."
(on training camp being more enjoyable) "I guess I'm not worried about last year. Anytime I can come out here is great, you know, pretty much coming out here is good for me."
(on expectations for defense this year) "I mean just taking care of business. I'm not a big stat guy, I'm not trying to throw numbers up or say we need to stop this or stop that, but as long as I know what we've got to do every day - I mean pretty much we'll just take care of that when it comes."
(on if he thinks the defensive line sets the tone for the team) "I do. Just cause it's my position. And so do the other guys. We all see it that way. I'm not saying it's all on our shoulders but we're just playing ball pretty much."
(on negative criticism turning positive) "I really don't care. I mean seriously, it's a good thing, but the most important thing to me is in this facility and that's all that really matters right now. I don't have anything to prove to nobody except my teammates. So, like I said, I really don't care. As long as I know my guys are behind me I am behind my guys, that's all that matters."
(on DT Amobi Okoye) "I know he's a great athlete. What it all boils down to is us taking care of business. You know, just us being there for him when things are bad and things are good. I mean, he has everything capable of doing everything he needs to do. His mentality has definitely changed, and it's changed for the better. As far as the defensive line goes, we all got to stick together."
(on stopping the run) "We've definitely got to stop the run or otherwise they'll just run it all day and pass the ball. The first thing we got to do is stop the run and then get to the quarterback on our way there."
(on being a leader on defense) "I'm not trying to do anything except play ball. I mean, I'm just trying to get better. And being the defensive line are the guys are the guys I'm always with I'm just trying to push them, they're trying to push me. I really don't hoot and holler too much, just play ball.
(on celebrating after a game) "I don't celebrate too much.
(on how good a team can be) "Is that supposed to be a catch question? We can be as good as we want to be. Nothing is holding us back. There's no spell or jinx. It's up to us. It's just us coming out here getting better."
(on being the face of the franchise) "I really don't play much attention to it. You know I don't watch TV or read magazines."
(on looking forward to training camp) "Yeah, I was getting bored."