Following are excerpts from players after the first two-a-day practice of the 2006 season.
**Defensive end Mario Williams
(on his first practice as a Texan)** "It's business now, this is our life. You've got to take it seriously, it's not OTA's. You have to kick it up a notch, run with it and keep going hard."
(on his first day in an NFL training camp) "Just keeping up that intensity and being consistent with it. I'm trying to get into this mentality since it's so hot and just remember you have to finish how you started."
(on the difference of NFL training camp vs. college) "It's totally different. You're playing against players who have been in the league for ten years. They don't have to exert themselves to their full potential, and yet their technique is so good that you really have to be on your P's and Q's out here."
(on the team's leadership) "I try to lead by example. I really don't have much to say unless there's a dire need or something like that. But the veterans are really stepping up and pulling everyone together when we're tired."
**Quarterback David Carr
(on first day of training camp under head coach Gary Kubiak)** "As far as first days of camp go, this was nice because it felt like we came in with something in the sack. We'd already done some good work, so it didn't feel like we were just starting brand new all over again. I felt like I had some things that I learned in the spring that I could carry over. We had a pretty good practice so hopefully if we keep running those things together since we have 30 more practices, by the end we should be a pretty good football team."
(on his leadership style) "Now that we have a system in place where I really understand not just my position, but everybody's position, I'm going to make sure everyone's in place and make sure we're all running the same unit."
(on the practice structure) "I like it. It's a little bit different, but it's not as broken-up. Right when you get going, you go and when you're done, you're done. There's not a lot of standing around. We're always doing something, and I like this tempo."
Dolphins QB Joey Harrington, a fellow 2002 draftee, struggle) **"I think you realize how hard it is to keep a job and how hard it is to win a job in this league. We're in two different situations, for him to be working to get a job and me still have one with guys who believe in me, it's kind of nice but at the same time it's kind of tough. Especially going through a season where you win two games. That's hard, not a lot of quarterbacks come back. Obviously some guys here, head coach Gary Kubiak included, believed in me enough to put me back out here. They feel like I can win games and I feel like I can win games. So it's just a matter of going out there and doing it."
(on the struggle during his first four seasons) "Standing here right now, the way I feel about this offense, the group of guys around me and my coaching staff, it was definitely worth it. Going through a two win season and 76 sacks in my first year, this is definitely worth it. There's a different feeling about this team than what we've had before. I know I feel better about myself, better than I've felt in five years of playing football, so I'm excited."
**Linebacker Sam Cowart
(on his impression of LB DeMeco Ryans**) "DeMeco's going to be good. To me, you get different types of linebackers; some tall, some medium sized, some short, some can run, some can't run and some can hit. When you look at film of other teams, I look at other linebackers, I look at their eyes, instinct, and do they have good footwork. He has all three."
**Running Back Domanick Davis
(on the intensity of practice)** "Yeah, it has; we're getting a little bit closer. Like Coach Kubiak said, early on you have guys running around fast. (They) kind of got a little tired at the end; the atmosphere is different. You have everybody, and they are ready to go."
(on the public's concerns about the Texans' draft) "It doesn't do anything to me. It could have gone either way. If they had taken Reggie Bush; it wouldn't have changed anything for me. I would have come out here and done what the team needed me to do, and that's it. That's the kind of player I am."
(on his feelings about practice) "I'm feeling pretty good. I did a little more than they wanted me to do so it's feeling pretty good."
(on his injury) "Whenever I start feeling like it's back to normal then that's when I'll do more. I'm kind of pushing it a little more to see how far it'll let me go without swelling up, and it's not so that's pretty good. Coming in they wanted me to do individual drills and maybe one or two plays. I did way more than that because I'm pushing myself a little hard too. It's not normal but it feels good enough to do it. I'm just going to take it one day at a time and just take it slow. I won't work in the afternoon, but I'll get my mental reps up."
(about new season and Kubiak) "It's great. Just coming off the injury; I sat out a long time I couldn't run with the guys. I couldn't practice with them so it still feels good to be on the field doing as little as I'm doing. I appreciate everything that's going on right now."
(on difference from last year) "It's different, really different. We have a new coach in with zone blocking. He wants to run the ball and that's good for me. I'm really looking forward to having a good season.
"Everything is different. New coaching staff, new system, new everything. The attitude is different. Everybody is tired of losing we're ready to start winning out here, that's the attitude. Even the heat is different!"
(on leadership) "I'm not the kind of leader that's going to get out here and talk about doing this and doing that. I'm going to try to be a leader by what I do. I want to be the leader they can count on when they need me to come through. More actions than anything, you won't hear me talk or say anything, maybe clown or say something to get the guys to have fun with what we're doing and that's it."
(on zone blocking) "Last year we started doing it but then we started doing what other teams were doing. We didn't have out own identity."
(on the offensive line) ""The offensive line is doing a great job. They're doing whatever they need to do to get it done. The atmosphere is much better. We want to win and we're going to do what it takes. You see guys doing that extra effort and that's where big plays come from."
Defensive Coordinator Richard Smith
(on DE Mario Williams's performance) "He looked good. This isn't the Mario show, it's everybody. He had his good plays, and he had some bad plays. What he'll do from here, this afternoon at 2:15, he'll watch it, he'll get better, and hopefully we'll come out this afternoon and perform at a higher level. That's just not him, that's our entire unit."
(on any player standing out) "No, right now what we are trying to do is develop an identity and hardness and push ourselves through the hard times. That's going to come over time. You just don't wake up and get out of bed and say, 'hey, I'm ready to go and that's it, I've developed this.' It comes through working through fatigue, the heat, and humidity. That's what we are trying to develop; accountability to each other."
(on DT Travis Johnson) "I thought Travis looked pretty good this morning. What we tried to do is limit his number of plays because he just came off a calf injury during a mini camp pass rush drill. We are trying to limit his number of reps, but I thought he looked pretty good today in the reps that he did take."
**Tight End Bennie Joppru
(on good timing) "**Timing-wise, it could not have worked out any better. It is unfortunate, but we have a new coaching staff, new management and basically I am starting all over."
(on lowest point while being injured) "For about two years you get looks down here from old management or what have you, or coaches that really don't believe you are truly injured, and you are called soft. I had never been called soft in my life until I came here."
*Head Coach Gary Kubiak *
(on DE Mario Williams' practice today) "He was pretty good. He was knocking some guys in the backfield. It was exciting to get started. Everybody really had a lot of anxiety out here this morning. I mean guys were out here half- an- hour before practice even started and gassing themselves really quick. We just have to settle down now and get in our work mode, but I was impressed. A couple guys struggled with the heat a little bit. Eric Moulds had a little problem and Charles Spencer at the end of practice. I felt for the most it was pretty good."
(on having RB Domanick Davis back at practice) "It was very good. We kept an eye on him. We limited him just a little bit, but it was interesting because he wanted more. This is a huge week for the team and Davis, and I think we all know that. We have to watch that knee and see how he responds to what were doing. We have to be smart as coaches. But every positive step is going to be very exciting."
(on RB Domanick Davis trying more than he had to in practice) "I don't think he did more than he should have because we were monitoring that. I think he probably got a little bit more out of himself maybe than he thought. I saw a couple times we were trying to sit him out on some reps and he said, 'no I'm fine let me go'. That's going to be a day- to- day process. Now that we see how his knee responds, he will go once a day. He is the only player that will practice one time today. After this it will be two more. He will be monitored on a day- to- day basis."
(on DE Mario Williams' quick progress) "Until I get up there and watch the film, I just know one thing: if you run the ball his way, there is a lot of havoc going on over there. There are a lot of guys going backwards, and that is what he is here for, a tremendous young talent. It's going to be about consistency with him as a pro. TE Bennie Joppru probably had one of the best off seasons of any player that's out here. The key for him as you all know is he has not been able to stay healthy."
(on starting training camp as a head coach) "It was very exciting. Just driving down Kirby today knowing that I was coming here to do that was pretty exciting. You find out it's about work, and we have a lot of that to do, and it's going to be a long process. So you just put your blinders on and go to work."
(on his coaching staff) "I don't know if you all noticed, but one of them (Offensive line coach John Benton) was missing this morning because his wife went into labor about 5:30 (a.m.). He's on his way to have his second child as we speak. I think they (the coaches) were more geeked up than the players. I called them in this morning, and I told them to calm down, we have a long way to go and we can not do it all in one day. They were sitting in there a half hour before our meeting was supposed to start, and they were out here early. I think everybody just needs to settle down. They will know what's expected, in our routine now and we just need to settle down and work."
**(on bringing hope to
fans)** "I know this city is so excited. There is not a place I go where somebody doesn't come up and talk about this season and what's going on. That's great to have this crowd out here today watching practice for the players and every body. In this business it helps you turn your motor a little faster. We understand all that and we are out here working hard for this whole city and we are going to continue to do that."
(on the team's conditioning) "I thought they look pretty good. For the most part I thought are guys could have gone all day. We got after it pretty good this morning. The question is how we come back, how we get into routine and keep going. I think we had a really good off-season and our guys continued throughout the summer."
(on putting pressure on DT Travis Johnson) "I've been very impressed with Travis (Johnson, DT). You don't want to put the carpet before the horse. I'll tell you all like I told him: Travis, it's time to be a big time player on this team and there isn't another year of growing. Now is the time. He comes out and misses time during the off-season due to injury, which is not his fault. A lot of players can relax a little bit when that happens. We've challenged him in front of the football team before we took our summer break and that he had more to do than anyone else on this team, and he stayed here and he did it."
(on QB David Carr's progression) "I was excited about how David came back today. I was concerned because you worry about how you come back the first day and how much you let go and all the work you did this summer. I thought David retained that well. His feet were good, his eyesight has to continue to get better as a quarterback, which I'm on him everyday. He knew what was going on. There was no doubt what was happening. David picked up where he left off."
(on the business feel of training camp) "That's the way it has to be. It's business, you come out here and get your job done. That's what we have to do. We can have fun doing that but the bottom line is everybody's got a job to do; everybody has their way of getting themselves ready. We have some tough spots to figure out who's going to be the player here or there for our football team."
(on his expectation of the veterans) "I expect a lot out of all of them. Of course those guys need to step up. That goes without saying. We're going to find our leaders and find our football team in about four, five and six weeks."
**Post-afternoon practice quotes
Head Coach Gary Kubiak **
(on WR Jerome Mathis' injury) "We'll get an x-ray on him. We'll get him back to the locker room. He twisted his foot. It's training camp; you get a lot of reps everyday and that's a concern. Everything that you do you try to protect your players. We have to go, we have to get better, and we are hoping that he is going to be fine. The other guys (WR Eric Moulds and T Charles Spencer) are fine. They just cramped up."
(on the second workout) "We put the pads on for the first time, so that's always a shock for the guys, but I thought they practiced very well. I thought the defense practiced exceptional this afternoon. That's what we're looking for. They were very physical. We had a blitz period today, and they came ready to practice. That's what this is about—competing. The offense has to step up. I liked the way some of our young guys are practicing. I'm very impressed with some young guys, without specifically talking about names. I see some guys that are working with the second and third groups that are saying, 'Hey I want to be on this team,' and that's where we need to get better."
(on speaking out publicly on certain issues) "Well, I'm honest. When I talk to the guys after practice, I tell them I am going to speak from the heart. I'm going to tell them what I feel and what I think we have to do to get better and be a team. We are all men; we can't hide in this business. You have to bust your butt as a player and a coach to have any chance to be successful, and we are going to do that. We are going to talk to each other like men and get this thing going in the right direction."
(on the first day of training camp) "My head is spinning. It's hard to believe that's one day, but it's training camp. When you have been doing it for a long time, you know how it is. You walk off the field sometimes in the morning and say, 'We are pretty good' and then you walk off the field sometimes in the afternoon and say, 'What the heck happened today?' That's training camp, but as long as you keep the blinders on and keep going, you will get to where you need to go. I've been there, and I just expect it."
(on CB Demarcus Faggins' injury) "He rolled his foot and they are a little concerned. They are going to x-ray his foot, but we are going to have to wait and see. I really don't know."
Defensive endTravis Johnson**
(on being singled out by head coach Gary Kubiak)** "As I've said, as much as you give him, the more you expect from him. If they give you enough money and ask you to lose 20 pounds, you lose 20 pounds. That's what I did. You just do what you're asked. I did my part during the off-season; now I have to do my part in this part of the season."
(on trying to prove himself to everybody else) "Every day I'm going to try and prove myself and prove everybody wrong. The people who said I couldn't do it are wrong. That's all you can expect to do is put a little fire on it and keep going. I fight best when my back is against the wall."
(on if he gauges himself against DE Mario Williams) "I gauge myself against myself. My expectations for myself are higher than anybody else's expectations."
**Linebacker DeMeco Ryans
(on what people said to him about his birthday, which is today)** "Oh, happy birthday, that's it. It's a grind. We started two-a-days and everybody is in the two-a-day mode, trying to get through practice. I'll never forget this one. I'm starting my first NFL training camp on my birthday, so it was pretty memorable."
(on Kubiak praising him publicly) "It's good that he speaks highly of me, but I know that I still need to go out and compete everyday, or nobody will be talking about me. I just keep tunnel vision and I keep working hard everyday."
(on the toughest part of the transition into an NFL training camp) "The terminology and just being accountable after having just learned the system. Also, getting thrown into the fire and being expected to play. It's pretty tough. Football is football. It's a little faster game since guys are stronger, but I've gotten faster and stronger, so it's still football."
**Tackle Zach Wiegert
(on DE Mario Williams)** "I went against him about 14 or 15 times before. I had a pretty good feel for him this off-season. He's just a great talent. The more he plays he's just going to keep getting better and better. It's just a matter of taking the reps. He's just learning to read things better. He'll pick up some things here and there. He's got the physical talent. You give him five to six weeks and these preseason games under his belt; he's going to be ready on opening day to dominate."
(on rookies who get more attention than veterans) "I've never been one who cared much about attention. I just figured I'd rather win games and if the attention came, it would come. I'm glad he (DE Mario Williams) has to deal with it and not me."
(on what head coach Gary Kubiak has brought to the offensive line) "It's a lot of the same techniques, really. His is more of a speed-type deal. Last year, we did a lot of more inside and power zone stuff. We still zone blocked, but it was straight-ahead stuff. This is more of getting to the edges. It's identical, basically, to what