The Texans spoke to the media after the first practice of 2009 training camp. Following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Texans general manager Rick Smith(on signing second-round pick DE Connor Barwin) "I'm pleased, happy. That's important, especially in his case as he had not had an opportunity to have as many reps as some of the other rookies, especially with the late graduation date, so he's good."
(on status of negotiations to sign first-round pick LB Brian Cushing) "Nothing new. We've got very productive conversations, and we're working with Tom [Condon], and I'm hopeful we'll get this guy in as soon as we can."
(on when he might get in) "I don't know. I was hopeful that we might have him out there this morning. I totally understand this process. These things happen, and we're having productive conversations so expect that we'll get this done pretty soon."
(on the impact of slotting on the Cushing negotiations) "Well, it's a process, and we're letting the process run. They've got opinions, we've got opinions, and at some point we'll figure out a way to agree."
(on the status of CB Dunta Robinson) "I don't know. I think Dunta needs to be in camp, and that's my opinion. I think he needs to be here with his teammates and when he's coming in, that's a decision he's going to have to make."
(on the slotting situation where one agent represents numerous picks ahead of Texans' pick) "It's a unique situation, that's for sure. Tom has a real good understanding of the market because he does represent so many of the guys that are close to us, and that's why I think we can sit down [and talk]. We'll get a deal done soon."
(on his thoughts about TE Owen Daniels reporting to camp) "I'm happy, and I'm disappointed that we didn't get a deal done, because that's something that is important to me. We're going to build this football team through the draft, and that means that we've got to get our good players under contract long term, and that was a big goal of ours this offseason that we didn't accomplish. So, he's under contract this year, and we're not discussing his contract at this time. But we'll have another opportunity to sit down and try to get him under contract long term."
(on Daniels' disappointment that there are no imminent talks) " Well, I understand that. He and I had a long conversation last night, and I expressed our feelings to him and he expressed his feelings to us. We walked out of that meeting with an understanding about where we each sit. I will say again that he is a vital part of our football team, and our future, and we certainly intend to keep him around here for a long time."
(on whether he'll revisit Daniels contract situation during the year) "I'm not putting a timetable on it. At this point, what's important for me and this football team is that we get ready for the season. It's time to play football, it's not time to talk about contracts. That's our approach, and that's what we've communicated to them, and we've also communicated that he's important and that we will try to get him under contract long term."
(on LB DeMeco Ryans comments that it sends a bad message when team leaders don't have firm deals) "Well, it's a complicated process. It's an ongoing process, and I think that in a lot of respects, you can look at situations that when things don't happen the way you want them to happen, a lot of times you might interpret that as something that's bad but I think that you have a lot of examples in your own life I'm sure that you can look back on something that you thought would be a bad deal but turned out to be good. And I believe that we have a philosophy here that we're following. These deals are complicated at times, but we're going to be fair to our players. We're going to be good deals, and we're going to build this football team with guys that are important. And all the guys that we talked to this offseason are important. That's the reason we sat down to discuss long term contracts. Now we weren't able to get some of those deals done. We were able to get some of those done, and we'll keep moving."
(on the effect of the economy on contract negotiations) "We are not immune. You've heard a lot of people in our league say that we're not immune to the economy, and it absolutely is an impact. That's one of the factors that's involved. We've got some unrest with our collective bargaining agreement, that's another factor. There are any number of other factors. Each individual's case in terms of where he is with respect to his contract status is a factor, so there are an infinite number of factors that go into how you value those deals, and frankly that's what makes it so complicated sometimes."
(on whether Ryans' comments bother him) "No, it's not water off a duck's back. It's not bothersome. I understand it. It's my job to try to see all sides, and try to figure out how to represent our club and take care of our players, so I understand how he feels and I understand that perspective, but we've got our perspective and we're going to try to work together to get these deals done."
(on Ryans' contract renegotiations) "Again, I'm not going to put a timetable on any of these deals. Right now, we're ready to focus on football in the 2009 season, and that's what we're doing."
(on status of secondary depth) "I certainly hope so. I don't have a crystal ball. I like the group of guys we have, I like our coaching staff, the way that they're attacking. I like their approach. It's the first day of training camp. I let my eyes tell me what I believe and I know from the standpoint of the group of guys we put together, I feel good about the group and we'll see how they jell.
(on keeping negotiations away from the personal sphere) "That's not real difficult. I think the thing that's missing a lot of the time is that when we don't get deals done, it's a disappointment from our perspective because we don't sit down to negotiate a contract or sit down to extend a guy with the intent of not accomplishing the goal, so you've got to keep everything in perspective, I'm big about that. We try to do that and try to articulate our position and be as logical and thoughtful and fair as possible, and believe in what we're doing. We certainly do, and I know we'll be able to continue to build this football team."
(on growth of head coach Gary Kubiak since taking over as head coach) "It's been impressive. Even the first year, I think I talked about the fact that what I thought he had really demonstrated was an ability to really have a feel for the football team, to know when to pull away and when to push and those types of things. He's been more comfortable, obviously. Experience helps, and I think he's a very good head coach."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (morning practice)
(on CB Dunta Robinson not reporting) "As far as Dunta goes, I did not expect him to be here after what we've been through and where we are at. But I'm not going to judge. I'm going to let him and his representation handle their situation. We're going to work as a football team. We'd love to have him here."
(on his optimism for getting a deal done with LB Brian Cushing) "I hate to really say one way or another. I hope he's here very quick. I talked to Rick (Smith) back there just a few minutes ago. I know they're working on it, and I know Brian wants to be here as quick as possible. Hopefully, it won't be too long."
(on RB Clifton Dawson going down in practice) "I really don't know. They think he has some type of sprain. Just running a route, went down. We're going to go take a look at it at lunch."
(on rookie RB Arian Foster) "First off, he's an interesting prospect. Go back two years ago; he was very productive at Tennessee, very high on a lot of people's list. Senior year was not as good, or junior year, I can't remember if he was an early out, but his last year was not as good. There were some questions of work habits, those type of things. So he doesn't get drafted. We've got a very talented young man. His work habits have not been a problem. He's been great throughout the summer, so here's an opportunity for him. We'll see how he handles it. But he's been impressive."
(on the first practice of training camp) "It was fine. We can practice without a meeting, so we're coming out here and telling guys, 'Hey, we're working on first-day installation.' So from an assignment standpoint, pretty impressive. I think guys really gas themselves the first morning, so we've got to get them back in a routine, and they'll do that."
(on if they will take a different approach with RB Chris Brown "First off, the impressive thing is that I've been told we don't need to do that because he has been so good in the offseason, but I am going to do it. I just think that Chris' years in the league and some of the things that have happened to him, I know he is capable of doing it. So we will practice in the morning, when we are out here on the grass. He will watch in the afternoons and take everything in mentally. That will be our approach, but all indications are he's been great."
(on if Brown provides a different look that he likes) "Obviously. He can still play. He's still got some good football in him. The price that he paid in the offseason was probably as big, if not more than anybody, on the football team. So he's telling you, 'Hey, I want to do this. I want to help.' Our guys respect that, so we're going to try to go about it the right way to give him a chance to help us."
(on what is needed from QB Matt Schaub this season) "We need him on the field throughout the season. But Matt has been a fine player whenever he's been here and been healthy. He comes out here today and he's ready to go. He's the leader of this football team."
(on chemistry between Schaub and WR Andre Johnson) "They've been working together, so they can get off the bus throwing and catching. That's a good thing. This next month is about them getting better. They're going to have to continue to get better."
(on QB Dan Orlovsky) "I'll tell you what. I was impressed with him this morning. I know his abilities are very, very good. The standard of play, how hard he is on himself, will probably have a lot to do with the next step of his career, but a very talented young man."
Texans coach Gary Kubiak (afternoon)(on the afternoon practice session) "It was good. We're taking our afternoons and probably doing more teaching than anything else, so it's a new routine for our guys. It was a good start, we just got to settle in now and have a good month."
(on how OTAs and mini-camp impact his plans for training camp) "Well, it has definitely changed. I would say with our team, it didn't change that much my first few years because I felt like we had so much catching up to do, but our team has settled down now as far as the core group of players that we have, so I think we're way ahead from that standpoint. I think we can stop and teach a little more and maybe protect a few of these veteran guys a little more as we go through this process, so it's changed from that standpoint."
(on withholding veterans from some afternoon practices) "We're fine, we just have certain guys we're going to rest in the afternoon. Chris Brown we're going to rest, Cato June wont go in the afternoon. I probably will not have (Shaun) Cody out here in the afternoons. I did today because we're a little short at that position, but naturally Andre (Johnson) won't work in the afternoon, so we're just trying to teach and stand in that mode. Then, some of these guy who maybe aren't quite full speed can get out here in the afternoon and get some reps in."
(on his expectations for WR Jacoby Jones) "With Jacoby, he's been capable of doing great things for this team, but we've also seen the side that has not been so good. I think it's about becoming a pro, being consistent. I think his teammates all are watching him, not only the plays he makes on the field, but watching how he handles himself in a meeting room, how he handles himself as far as responsibility on a day-to-day basis, so I think it's about maturity. Obviously, the kid can play. There's no doubt about that. Becoming a professional, both as a player and as a man, I think is very important."
(on whether he sees differences in Jones between this year and last) "I think he's making steps that way, but I think that's a long-term process. That's not at one camp or one OTA. I think this is something he's got to prove to his teammates over a period of time."
(on how important Jones could be if productive) "Well, it's the key to their career. Take the team out of it and it's the key to a player's career that he can be accountable and be consistent, so if Jacoby does that, our team is better. Everybody is watching, there are a lot of eyes on him—including yours—so we'll see what happens."
(on what RB Steve Slaton needs to do to continue last year's success) "Well, he's got to get a lot better. He's got to get more physical as a player, picking up blitzes, that sort of thing. That was a weakness for him last year, so our team will get tougher, Steve will pick up more blitzes and do a better job from that standpoint. But just repeating our plays and what we do, he should be even more in tune. He's a very mature young man, so I expect him to continue to take a step."
(on how Slaton performed last year on instinct) "Yeah, you're right, it was a lot of raw ability that took over last year and there's a lot of it, and a great deal of speed. Now he's another year in the system, listening to John (Benton) and Alex (Gibbs) coach the running game and Kyle (Shanahan) coach the passing game, so he's just become more of a pro. Understanding a little bit better should help him reach another level."
(on the additional weight that Slaton has put on) "I think it's important. I think in the long haul, it will be very important for him, so he comes in with it. The problem around here in this heat is keeping it, so hopefully he can hang on to some of it."
Texans DE Connor Barwin
(on wrapping up his contract negotiations) "We were hoping that it would get done by this morning, and it got done late last night, so everything worked out."
(on how it felt to be out at practice) "It felt good. It felt real good just to have everything done, not miss any time. It felt really good, so I was happy to be out here right away."
(on missing some of the practice) "Yeah, a little bit, but it's a long camp. I have plenty of time to get in there and get all the one-on-ones I can get, so I'll get after it tomorrow and the rest of camp."
(on what he worked on in time between camp and mini-camp) "I just worked on my skills, technique, the different drills that Coach Kollar told me to work on all summer. I'd work on that a couple of days every afternoon during the week, so hopefully it will pay off once I get back to pass rush drills."
(on how important training camp is for him) "I think I took a step back missing OTAs but I rebounded at minicamp and kind of got up to speed, so I think I'm at the same level as every other rookie. Training camp is important for everyone."
(on how his experience against Greg Oden on the basketball court helps in football) "Well, it's just the mentality. You can't be scared going against these trees out here. You just can't worry about it. You have to use what you're good at—speed, then work on technique. I don't try to go through these guys. I try to go around them."
(on facing someone of that size) "Playing Greg Oden in college wasn't like a huge breakthrough for me as far as confidence goes. I wasn't scared to play against him. It's been like that my whole life; I've always been confident that I can beat them. I've never really looked at the size of people I play against."
(on how he and his team did in the game) "I did alright. They won the game, but I held my own."
(on how he would defend Greg Oden) "If I'm trying to guard Greg Oden, there's not much I can do once he gets close. So, obviously you just use your lower body strength to try and get him away from the basket."
(on his preparedness after missing OTAs due to graduation) "That time I missed didn't really set me back. It was fine to get a break. You hear about, as rookies, that first year being so long. I got a month to kind of relax and decompress a little bit, so I don't think it was a big setback. I got caught up when I got to mini-camp."
Texans T Duane Brown(on the first practice) "Compared to the old season, this is definitely a better day. It's all about nerves and everything. My nerves kind of get to me, and that makes me a little hotter than normal. But I felt pretty good. I'm trying to pace myself a little bit in practice. I felt pretty good."
(on practice drills against the defensive linemen) "Everyone's so excited to get after it and get the season going. The guys have been working so hard in the offseason, just ready to come out here and see how much it's going to pay off for you. We get after it, try to hit each other, but we definitely want to make each other better. "
(on TE Owen Daniels) "He's a great player. Me coming in last year, lining up beside him, he helped me out with some of the things I didn't know."
Texans TE Owen Daniels
(on if he ever considered not coming to camp) "Um, not seriously. First of all, that's a lot of money per day, and second of all, I want to work. I'm the type of player who wants to come out and do what I'm supposed to do. What happened before, early in the offseason, OTAs and minicamp, I felt like I was being treated unfairly, so I had to do some certain things, but I'm here now, ready to work. I kind of feel like a rookie again. I've got my blinders on. I worked my butt off my rookie year to earn my spot, and I'm taking that mentality again, because I guess I haven't proven enough thus far these first three years. I'm just going to bust my ass every day during camp and throughout the season, so hopefully they'll see some more out of me in the future."
(on the current status of talks) "I'm just out here working. There are no talks right now. We'd like to talk, but there's no discussion. I'm playing out my tender and going to work, that's about it."
(on how that makes him feel) "It doesn't make me feel great. I feel great being out here with my teammates. I love Houston, I love this team, I love playing for (head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak. This is the place I want to be for the rest of my career. I guess I always thought that was going to happen with what's happened in the past three years. I feel good about being here. I don't have all of those positive thoughts any more, but I love my teammates and I'm here to work for them."
(on whether or not he thinks being in on time will help the contract situation) "We'll see. I don't know if that's really why I came out here. As far as I know, as far as I've heard, we're not talking any time soon, so I just have to put that behind me."
(on how unhappy he is) "Well, I think I said the very first day we arrived back in April that I'd be pretty disappointed if a deal wasn't done before camp. One isn't done, so I'm sticking by my word, what I said before."
(on the philosophy behind the negotiations) "Their philosophy, I guess, you'd have to ask them about it. I guess there are certain ways to go through negotiations, and this is my first time through it. I don't know the ins and outs of it and how they really do things, so you'd have to ask them about it."
(on whether he's hurt by this process) "I'll repeat that over and over again. I love playing for Kube [head coach Gary Kubiak]. I love playing for my teammates. We've got a great team that can do a lot of great things in the future, and I want to be a part of it. There are a lot of signs pointing that that might not happen. I don't want to be put in a situation where I have to make a decision not to be here in the future, so I'd like them to make that decision for me."
(on whether or not he's concerned with how he'll be portrayed) "People can look at me however they want to. I've been a great guy on the field and off the field in this city. I don't know what else I can say. I know people probably don't understand the business side of things, and that's alright. People are going to say whatever they want and have their own opinions, and that's not for me. The people that really know me know that I want to be here, that I'm a good guy and that I'm not an unfair person. I'm a reasonable guy, and that's all I'm really looking for in return."
(on whether or not he can focus on football amidst contract talk) "When I'm out here playing, it's all about football. If I go home at night I might think about it a little bit, and when I talk to you guys I might think about it a little bit, but I'm all business when I'm on the field and in the meeting room. There's no way I can get better and become the player I need to be if I have to think about it every day. Training camp is the time you actually get work done and get better, and you can't do that if you're focusing on other things."
Texans WR Andre Johnson
(on getting to the playoffs) "Everyone wants to get to the playoffs, but I'd rather not talk about it. You can't get there by talking. We're going to have to go out and win games. That's our plan to go out and win games, and hopefully we can get there."
(on any improvements the offense needs to make from last season) "I think the biggest thing we need to improve is the red zone and the turnovers. I think if we do that, we should be fine."
(on being called one of the top receivers in the NFL) "It's great to have that compliment, but it doesn't matter if you can't do it every year. I was fortunate to go out and make a lot of plays last year, but you can't live off that, so I have to come back and be a better player this year."
(on head coach Gary Kubiak and his growth since joining the Texans) "I think he's a great coach. I think he was the right guy for this organization. I think he's going to be here for a long time. Things have gotten better every year since he's been here. He's brought a totally different attitude to this team, to this organization. I think it's only going to get better as long as he's here."
(on what it means to have TE Owen Daniels back out on the field) "It's great. I was teasing him a little bit, telling him I miss him and stuff like that. It's great. He was gone for a little while. He was here for a little while, then gone for a little while, but it was great to have him back out here."
(on Daniels seeming to think he still has something to prove) "Well, when you go out and have a good season, he made it to his first Pro Bowl, I think the thing that people look at is 'Can you go out and do it again?' I'm pretty sure he could that way. I think that he can. I feel that Owen is a great tight end, one of the best tight ends in the league. He just has to go out and keep proving himself."
(on what he's seen from QB Dan Orlovsky) "Just a sense of determination. He struggled his first two days here, picking up the offense and things like that. So you look at him now and he looks like a totally different player from the first days he got here. He's going to continue to get better."
(on the value of a backup quarterback and getting them ready for the season) "Yeah, it's big to have a backup quarterback when we come in that plays just as good as the first-string quarterback. That's something that Sage (Rosenfels) did for us real well, and hopefully Dan (Orlovsky) can come in and do the same things for us."
(on practicing with QB Matt Schaub again) "Matt was out here actually two days ago running routes and stuff together. I was out of town for a little bit and came back and we got back to into it. We just didn't wait until today to come out and get things going. We were out here two days ago, running routes, probably out here for 30, 40 minutes. It's just something that when we're both healthy and we get that work during the offseason, that shows. Right now, it's showing."
(on the importance of chemistry with Schaub) "I think it's very important. Not just for me, I think it's important for all of us. As long as we all can stay healthy, hopefully we can go out and put up some big numbers."
(on Schaub's comments comparing the first day of training camp to the first day of school with players arriving early) "Yeah, it does. I was laughing about that. That always happens the first day. Everybody's anxious, everybody wants to get out and go practice, but once that body gets a little tired, everyone will slow down a little bit."
(on whether or not he had to calm down any rookies) "No, not really. Everybody seemed to be pretty normal today, just excited about the first day of camp. Everything went pretty smoothly."
(on the key to getting into the endzone more this season) "My receiver coach (Larry Kirksey) watched all my catches from last season the other day. I think the biggest thing is just going to be coming out of those tackles and being able to take the ball the distance and score touchdowns. That was the biggest thing we talked about. So, that's something I'm going to work on and try to add it to my game this season."
(on talk that this is the season for the Texans to close the gap on the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans) "We can say that everyday if we wanted to, but if we don't go out and beat them, it really doesn't matter. We have to go out and win those games, that's the only way we're going to show that we've closed the gap."
(on how motivating it is to hear talk that this may be the Texans' breakthrough year) "They said that last year, and we didn't make it. So, we can't worry about what people say. Like I said, we have to go out and prove it on the field."
(on his attitude toward talk about a breakthrough year) "We can talk about it all we want to, but if we don't go out and win the games, then we'll be in the same position we were in before. So there's no reason to talk about it."
(on the importance of how the season begins) "I think that's real big. We can't start the season like we started last year. We have to start off on a good pace."
(on whether or not the end of last season carries over at all to the new season) "It's a bit too long, I think. That's my opinion. The year before we said the same thing, we finished 8-8 and everybody was like 'Wow, we could use this as motivation for the next season.' We come back this season and we finished 8-8 again. So, I really don't think it carries over. I think that it's a new season, and you just have to get yourself ready."
(on whether or not all the changes made are enough for the team to take the next step) "I think that this is the most talented team we've had since I've been here. I think the team is even more talented than we had last year. We've added some new pieces. I think Connor Barwin and Brian Cushing are going to help us out a whole lot on defense. Even James Casey, I really like the way he plays. He catches just about everything that's thrown to him. We have a few young running backs that look real good, too. We are going to have some young guys step in, and hopefully it can help us out a whole lot."
(on whether or not the Texans have any excuses now that they have new players) "I have no excuse. We just have to put it together. We have to go out and just win the football games."
Texans QB Dan Orlovsky(on maintaining after a winless previous season) "My main focus was to keep an eye on the picture. I have a firm belief that you go out and do everything you can, no matter what the situation is. I have been fortunate enough to be brought up that way. My first year at UConn, we were 2-9. It was not as if I had been undefeated every year up until that. I have gone through tough seasons previously to Detroit. My mind set's the same in every single week, no matter what the situation. If we were 15-0, my preparation would have been the same. I learned at a young age that you prepare the same way every single time and you treat every single play differently. It's an ongoing process, but there is no psychological wall that I have to climb over. That season is over and done with, I am extremely happy and excited to be down here, thankful for the opportunity and I'm just enjoying the ride."
(on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's opinion of his improvements) "Like I said, that's one of those things where you go out and prepare. (When you're) 0-12, 0-13, in a city like Detroit where the weather is awful in November and December and you're not winning, it's easy to pack it in. But I knew it was going to be hard to get up every single morning to watch film, make sure I got better, practiced hard and prepared hard. I knew that was going to be the hard way, but I knew it would pay off. I'm lucky that they saw that and I am appreciative of it. I knew I was not going to be as good as I could be in OTAs and I'm not as good as I could have been today, but I am going to continue to work and listen to Coach Shanahan and (head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak and watch (QB) Matt (Schaub), emulate him and be as ready as I can for this team so when I am called upon, if I am called upon, we don't blink. All those guys on the team know about me is that I was the quarterback of an 0-16 team. I have to do everything I can in practice and in games to prove to them that I can be the guy that when turned to, I don't blink."
Texans LB Demeco Ryans
(on if he has heard from CB Dunta Robinson) "No, I haven't talked to Dunta. Dunta is going to be ready to roll whenever he comes in, so it's not a big rush to have him out here. It's an opportunity for the younger guys to step in and get some experience. But when he steps back out there, he's a vet. He knows how to handle himself, he knows how to prepare, so he'll be ready."
(on if it bothers him that he has to be at this point in a contract situation) "It happens. These are things that happen. Playing in the NFL, those things happen. They take place. So it doesn't bother me."
(on if the team is talking to his agent)"They've talked over the summer, but nothing has come up yet."
(on if things will get done before the season starts)."I have no idea when it will be done or when it will happen."
(on whether or not his contract not being settled before the season starts will bother him)
"No, it won't bother me. I'm going to have fun playing regardless."
(on separating business and practice) "No, it's not hard to separate it, because that's not on my mind. It's not in the back of my mind. It's nothing that I can control. All I can do is control how I come out here and play, how I prepare myself to step out on the field, and that's what I'm going to do."
(on how he doesn't take it personally) "It's not personal. It's business. It's not personal."
(on not feeling rewarded) "Like I said, I feel like if they want to reward me, they'll reward me. If not, I think there are many other teams out there that would like to. So I don't know. I don't worry about that. I can't control it. I can't make them give me a deal. I've done what I had to do and I'm going to continue to do what I've been doing in the past."
(on the message being sent to the team with leaders on the team having contract issues) "I think when you look at, it's a bad message when you look at it because you have top guys on the team that are not getting deals. But once again, it's the GM, it's Mr. (Bob) McNair's decision to make it happen."
(on being anxious about LB Brian Cushing joining the team) "He looked pretty good. He's an athletic guy, and I think he's going to be a big time playmaker for us. And that's what we need, to add more playmakers to our defense, and I'm eager to get him back out here and see him get back out here working with us."
(on the influence of Frank Bush to the team as defensive coordinator) "He brings a different intensity level to our defense, and all the guys love him. He's a great coach. There's no reason why our defense shouldn't be a top-five defense this year. We have the talent in place and a great D-coordinator, great coaches around him, so there's no excuses for us not to be a great defense."
(on the linebackers having a nasty attitude this year) "Oh yeah, you have to have a nasty attitude playing linebacker, and we have a lot of good guys that are pushing each other. That's what's going to makes us good this year. We have a lot of great talent, and with that talent and competition, the cream rises to the top. So it's going to be a group of great guys, whoever the guys that make the team. I know we're going to be pushed, and it's going to be a great group."
(on if today felt like the first day of school)"It was rough, but it wasn't too bad because we went through the same things this summer. So it was just kind of like a review. It wasn't too bad."
(on QB Matt Schaub comparing the beginning of training camp like the first day of school) "Yeah, I kept looking at the time thinking that I woke up too early. I could've given myself about 30 more minutes of sleep. You're always eager to get out here the first day and just get the blood flowing, get out here on the field. It will get better every day that we come out here."
(on being out at camp during a contract situation) "The contract thing, it'll take care of itself. We're here to play to ball. That's what we signed up for and that's what we're here to do. That's what I'm focused on is trying to get out here and lead the guys so that we can be the best that we can be this year."
(on how his leadership plays on his decision to be here) "That's just me, that's what I do. The guys look up to me and they're expecting me to be here. They're expecting me to be the guy they're looking up to. It's no added pressure on me, that's what I expect of myself."
(on whether or not the defense will run more creative packages) "I think that will come later down the road. We're just working on our base stuff, installing all that. I think our creative stuff will come once we start gaining ground."
(on if this year will be different since there are play-makers now) "Yeah, I think that's the key to it. Knowing guys strengths, and (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) knows every player's strengths. When he puts everyone in the right position, there's going to be no excuses for not making plays."
(on his leadership role now that new guys are coming in) "It's a different feeling coming into training camp. I feel like the old guy now. It's a big difference going into my fourth year and knowing that I am the only linebacker that's been here for four years out of my group. So the guys are definitely looking up to me and the whole defense is looking up to me to bring that leadership to them. It's not a role that I shy away from. I like the role and it's what I like to do."