Members of the team spoke to the media following their two practices on Monday. Here is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak Texans TE Owen Daniels Texans WR André Davis Texans CB Antwaun Molden Texans G Chester Pitts Texans WR Kevin Walter Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (morning practice)(on concern about the offensive line's injuries) "Obviously, I feel very lucky with (C) Chris (Myers). That's the first thing. The kind of a time frame we're setting for him, we're hoping Minnesota he's back on the field, so we'll see. I feel fortunate there. With (G) Chester (Pitts), yeah, I am concerned, because Chester has missed the entire offseason, OTAs. He hasn't done any football. So that concerns me, because I really think he made a big jump as a player last year, got a lot of respect around the league, got a lot of Pro Bowl votes and (is) heading in that direction. So I hate to see time missed, but we've got to do what we've got to do. Now, things like this can make you better, too. Hey, we're going. (C) Chris White has been doing a good job, (G Kasey) Studdard is becoming a pro just like I told you guys, so these things can make you better if we handle them the right way."
(on the status of G Chester Pitts's knee) "I don't know. I have to go check. I'll see."
(on the progress of DT Amobi Okoye) "Well, he's practicing better. The first few days, I didn't think he was himself, but then he settled down and practiced pretty darn good. Usually, with most players, that relates to how they play the game, so we'll see, but he's definitely going to get his time on Saturday night. But I like the camp he's having and I think he's been brought along the right way and he's having a good camp."
(on the other alternative for interior linemen who can play passing downs) "Well, I think we'll find out. I think we're going to experiment with Bull (DE Tim Bulman) on the inside. He's nursing a little groin, but I just think we've got to experiment with all of them, from (DEs) Jesse (Nading) to Bulman, Connor (Barwin) moving around in some things we're doing in packages we're running, Antonio (Smith) playing all over the place. Mario (Williams) can go inside and rush. I just think we have more combinations than we've had, and we just have to keep playing with them until we find the best."
(on the start of week two of camp) "I'll tell you what. I saw a little maturity out here this morning, because it's really hard once they get through that first 10 days, probably the toughest time of the year. It's almost like relief once they get to Saturday, but you turn around and it's Monday and you're right back out here in doubles, so how do you come back? Pretty mature this morning. Took them a little to get going, but they practiced well."
(on dealing with the pressure of entering a season with high expectations) "That's what I do for a living. That's why I'm out here. I don't have any problem with that. We're out here to try to win games. We've got a good young group, just got to keep working but I'm looking forward to it."
(on having a top equipment manager in Jay Brunetti) "Jay-Bird knows more about this team than I do. He knows the offense, he knows the defense, he knows what we're supposed to be doing, when we're supposed to be doing it, and that's good for the team because our guys go to him a lot in situations as far as what's happening that day in practice. Jay is my buddy back there."
(on how equipment manager Jay Brunetti became his right-hand man) "I don't know. I just think you have to have a right-hand man out here with what's going on, nd the tempo of practice and what you're trying to get done. I don't know if Jay knew it, but he was my right-hand man before we even got going, so he's done a great job."
(on if practices are going well) "We're practicing well. We'll see. We created some chaos out here this morning with some noise, got everybody off the field and a little panic showed up in a few guys. We've got to get rid of that. But I don't think you know until you play, but our football team is practicing well."
(on how he plans to divide playing time on Saturday) "You guys can probably check my history, it'll probably be close to what I always do, but we'll sit down as coaches and talk about that. But we'll probably pretty much keep it about the same as I always have."
(on G Chester Pitts and K Kris Brown staying with organization) "They're both good players. It doesn't matter what's going on with an organization, good players have a tendency to play a long time and hopefully you can keep them in one place. They have been good players and good people for this place and we're all trying to get them to where they want to go."
(on impression of CB Deltha O'Neal after a few practices) "I've been pleasantly surprised. I was worried about his conditioning, and he's not even close yet to where he should be. The good news is he's able to practice with us and develop his conditioning at the same time. Whether he plays this weekend or not, I think we'll answer that at the end of the week. I like where he's at. We just have to keep in perspective what we're trying to get done with him."
(on his thoughts about going into his fourth year in Houston) "It's a lot more fun some days than others, I think y'all know that, but I'm enjoying watching this team grow up with all these young guys trying to come together toward a common goal. I've been there a few times and I know how great of a feeling it is, so I just want to see these guys get their chance. We're keeping it in perspective, trying to become a team that works. We're not wishing for something, we're trying to work toward it."
(on TE Owen Daniels returning after offseason turmoil) "That tells you what he's made of. I know it's been disappointing for him that we weren't able to get something done, but he's a pro, and we all know that. You don't even know that OD is out here. He never says a word, he just does his job and makes 10 or 15 plays a day. That's why he's going to last a long time and play great football. I think he's going to be fine in the other situation, too. He's what you look for."
(on how the "chip" on TE Owen Daniels' shoulder can affect his performance) "He plays that way all the time. You're going to get what he's got regardless."
(on what senior defensive assistant Ray Rhodes offers the defense) "He brings a wealth of experience. Ray has called Super Bowls and many playoff games. He's a calming force. The young guys all know who he is. (Defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) is a guy that's going to use Ray as much as he can to help him, and it's just good for us to have guys like him and (assistant head coach/offense) Alex (Gibbs) around us. There's nothing they have not been through."
(on coaches that want to be in the background) "Usually, those are the guys that last as long as (defensive assistant) Ray (Rhodes) does. That's very unselfish, and he knows it's about what we can get the players to do, not what we can do. Ray has always understood that, and he's a great people person. He still understands the young guys as well as he ever has, and that's a benefit for our staff."
(on any new developments about health) "No, we're fine. We were a little worried about (DE) Mario (Williams) coming in this morning and getting a full practice, but he did go the whole time."
(on what concerned him about DE Mario Williams) "He's had some numbness in his thigh from some treatment that he got. I don't know if you noticed Saturday, but he didn't practice the whole time, but he came out and got going. He's fine."
(on the progress of S Troy Nolan) "He's showing signs that he can play in this league. He's making too many mistakes at times, and if we can get that corrected, he's got the ability to play."
(on how Nolan is competing against S John Busing) "Well, those two are going to play together, so we'll see. They'll get a lot of time in the preseason, and Busing has played before, so expect him to play well. He can help Troy out."
(on the specifics of the treatment that led to Williams' discomfort) "It had something to do with a massage or something they did. I don't know. Y'all know I'm not a doctor. He can feel it again. He's alright."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (afternoon)(on G Chester Pitts' participation in the afternoon practice) "Yeah, we'll get him involved in these walkthroughs. Chester is not ready for contact; these are just some walkthroughs where we're teaching. We'll keep him sharp, and hopefully we're not far away from when he gets back out here."
(on WR André Davis' role in the offense) "Well, first off, we think of him as a starting receiver. Obviously, we have two guys who start ahead of him, but that's how valuable we think he is to this football team. He goes for (WRs) Kevin (Walter) or Andre (Johnson) at any time, doesn't change anything we do. He had a little issue with the finger last year, which set him back a little bit, but he's having a great camp. He has starter ability, and I'm just glad to have him."
(on WR André Davis' capabilities) "He's speed. He's the speed. When you're doing things with high-lows and levels on the field throwing the football, he's one guy who you know can clear a level in a heartbeat. To me, he's catching the ball as well as he's ever caught it. I think the thing we're looking for from him this year—could he return punts and kicks? I think he knows if he wants to be a Pro Bowl-type returner in this league, they usually do both, so we're going to give him a chance here in the preseason to do that."
(on the challenge of returning and playing receiver) "It won't be a problem for him from a mental standpoint and a work standpoint. It's just really getting comfortable. Punts are so much different because everybody is standing there when you're catching as compared to a kickoff, so it's just a matter of him getting repetitions in the preseason and we'll see how he does."
(on the challenge of not having a wedge formation on returns) "Well, you can have a two-man wedge. That's all you can have, so that particular screen he's used to having in front of him is going to change. But everybody is under that circumstance in the league, so he'll get used to it during the preseason. We have to do it in practice, so I think he'll adjust."
(on the luxury of having WR André Davis along with WRs Kevin Walter and Andre Johnson) "Not many teams are able to stockpile a group like that. But they've all made themselves, when you think about it. You've got one of the great players in the league (Johnson), guys who have just overachieved and worked their tails off to become those starters, Kevin Walter. And you think about how we got André (Davis), (WR) David (Anderson) making this team as a sixth-, seventh-round pick, wherever David was. So you think about how our group has developed, as strong as it's become, it's been because of work and nothing else. It's not like they're all first-round picks or something."
(on when G Chester Pitts might return) "Well, we're going to do this with him, as I said a while ago, keep him away from any punching or banging. And hopefully, we're not far away. We'll see."
(on the progression of QB Rex Grossman) "He's making some plays. He seems to be making more every day. The thing you notice about Rex is the game's not too big for him. He just jumps in and goes. I've got to get some of his mistakes limited down, and I think we can do that, but he's taken to what we want to do. I think he's enjoying himself, and I think that's important at this time in his career."
(on how many reps to expect for QB Rex Grossman against the Chiefs) "We'll see. He's obviously going to play. He and (QB) Dan (Orlovsky) are going to play a great deal, but yeah, I expect him hopefully to get some reps in every game."
(on any injury news from the afternoon) "No, we're good. A couple of the young guys came out and practiced today that hadn't been practicing. (RB Arian) Foster practiced this afternoon, and (WR Mike) Jones, but that doesn't mean that they'll be out there in the morning. We were able to get them in this environment, and we'll wait and see."
Texans TE Owen Daniels (morning)
(on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan) "Yeah, for how young he is and how much he knows, it's pretty unbelievable. He does a really good job of just communicating with us. With him being younger, he has that ability to get to us and have us understand what he wants out of us. His knowledge and that type of communication is key."
(on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's relationship with QB Matt Schaub and the offense) "You know what, yeah. I think it's the way he coaches. He's more about teaching and isn't much of a screamer. Obviously, if you make the same mistake over and over again, he's going to get after you. But he's all about teaching and making sure everyone knows what they're doing and their role on each play. He has a good relationship with everybody."
(on how having more TEs makes this preseason different than others) "I guess (TE) Joel (Dreessen) and I have a little bit of a different role than we had in the past. We had (TE Mark) Bruener around here to be our leader at this position, and now he's gone and it's up to me and Joel to lead these young guys that we have here. So, we have a little more responsibility on our hands to make sure that they're ready to go week to week. In terms of what Joel and I are doing, the same thing, just getting better."
(on if TEs will be a bigger part of the offense this season) "A bigger part? I think we've used some two-tight end stuff in the past, but I think what we want to do is get into situations where we can have three tight ends out there and really mess with the defense that way. Hopefully, we can bring these guys along and go and do that."
(on if that's where TE James Casey will fit in) "Casey, (TE Anthony) Hill. Yeah, I think we can work them both in there somehow. Obviously, Casey's versatile, we can move him around and that's what the three-tight end set is used for a lot of times."
(on his situation leading into camp) "Well, I wouldn't have come here to work if I was upset about things. I was able to get some things off my chest. I was able to talk to (head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak and (general manager) Rick Smith about some things, be on the same page, let them know how I felt. Obviously, I got to talk to you guys. After all that was behind me, I was full steam ahead on football."
(on if the situation will have any effect on the season) "Nope. I'm working hard, man. Like I said, I've got some things to prove, so you're going to see a lot of good things out of me."
(on if it will make him a better player) "That's a good question. I don't really know. I don't know if it puts a chip on my shoulder or what it does, or if people want to put a chip on my shoulder, but I'm out here to work, to work hard every year. I don't need any extra little motivation and things like that, but since it's there, I guess I'll take it."
(on if there is any significance of his number 81) "No, it was just the number that was in my locker when I walked in the first day of my rookie year."
Texans WR André Davis (afternoon)
(on what he's accomplished since his first couple of years here) "I mean, right now, I'm just getting in there and getting a chance to replace (WRs) Andre (Johnson) and Kevin (Walter) when needed; also, doing more punt return work and some more kickoff return stuff, just getting involved in special teams a little more. I'm just making myself more available in any way the team might need me."
(on special teams) "Yeah, it's a great time out there. Being able to play for (special teams coordinator) Joe Marciano, he's a great coach and he's really teaching us a lot of new things that we're going to have to learn; especially with kickoff return with not being able to have the wedge anymore. We have some things we're going to have to flip around a little bit. I'm just excited to be able to go out there and learn these new things, and hopefully we'll see if they work for us this weekend."
(on the challenge of the new wedge rule) "I think it's just a matter of getting everyone on the right page, just the difference between having three guys in a line compared to two and making sure that we aren't lined up in a position to get penalties. We just have to make sure that we're aware of the rules and that when we go out there we can be successful doing it."
Texans CB Antwaun Molden (morning)
(on how he is feeling as he rehabs his foot injury) "Right now, I'm feeling pretty good. I'm just waiting for the trainers to give me the OK. I just thank God for being able just to come back out here and compete with the injury that I had. So I'm really blessed, and I'm just working hard to get back."
(on how hard it has been to watch from the sidelines) "It's real hard. As a football player, you definitely want to come out here and compete, and that's my nature. I want to compete. It's hard, because I want to get back out there."
(on how important it is for him to get back on the field) "Well, first, it's important for me to get healthy. And then I have to get some reps, because I've been out nine months and so I'm a little bit rusty. Once I get back in shape, my football shape, I'll be good."
(on if the trainers given him a timetable for his return) "No. Again, when I'm healthy, I'll be out there."
(on how he has helped rookie CBs Glover Quin and Brice McCain) "I help them out? They help me out. Those guys work hard. From day one when I first came in, I saw those guys out here 15 minutes early, in the cold tub every day, taking care of their bodies. So they truly helped me out. They brought me back down to not forgetting what it takes to be one of the best."
(on what advice he has tried to offer Quin and McCain) "It's just basically the same mental mistakes that I went through last year, they're also going through it. So me giving them helpful advice, I want to be a strongpoint for them to try not to make the same mistakes I made."
Texans G Chester Pitts (afternoon)(on being with the team in the afternoon) "It's fun. You get out here and you get to run around and the best thing about it is, it's a thinking practice. You're running around and moving. You get a little sweat and lather going, but it's an assignment practice, so there's no banging. It takes the physicality out of it, but it's good for you."
(on having a better season last year) "Absolutely. I love to tell the story of the last meeting before the last game of the season last year when (assistant head coach/offense) Alex (Gibbs) actually gave us a compliment. It doesn't happen very often. In fact, that was the only time it had ever happened. He said that he had never, in all of his years coaching, been a part of a line where all five guys were there all 16 games. It was a credit to the group for pushing through whatever was going on and giving our best."
(on being more cohesive with this group than in the past) "Absolutely, everyone is acclimated to the system. We have gotten to the point where we don't have to make every call out there. We can just grunt, make noise or little things like that and we all end up being on the same page."
(on the organization being better than ever) "Absolutely. No question."
(on his shoulder being healthy enough that he can be in pads the next practice) "No, it's not ready for that yet, but we will see."
(on if there is more pressure or higher expectations than ever before for the Texans) "The pressure is fine, but it is pressure. When you have high expectations, that equates to pressure. But absolutely, it's that time. Anything short of reaching our goals this year would be considered a failure."
(on the team failing short before) "Yes and no. It's probably bad to say this but, of course everybody every year says I want to be the champion, but there are times when you know going in that no matter how hard you play or how well you do on the field, sometimes there are better teams than you. This year, there shouldn't be many teams better than us, so the expectation is that we should make it to the playoffs, and it's truly believable."
(on if he watched the Titans vs. Bills Hall of Fame Game) "No, we were in meetings, so I missed it, but Tennessee is good. It's a very good football team that's well coached with disciplined guys and a great defense."
(on if he will miss DT Albert Haynesworth) "Kind of. I have to be honest with you, I enjoyed playing with him. I equate him to being the best, and that's the best way to measure how good you are, is to play the best."
(on this year being a Pro Bowl year for him) "Let's focus on it being a playoff year, and if the Pro Bowl happens, then I'll take it."
(on if he thinks he's getting the recognition he deserves) "The way I see it, what I have gotten is what I deserve, so in my opinion, whatever happens, happens. I don't play into the 'I should have gotten this or I should have gotten that.' If it happens, it happens; if it doesn't, then it doesn't."
Texans WR Kevin Walter (morning)
(on if the young defensive backs are stepping up) "That's what they're doing. They're getting better each day. I tell you what, you've got to work against those guys because they are here to compete, here to make plays, and I'm impressed. I'm excited to see what they can do when they go against other guys besides us. It'll be fun to watch"
(on the Kansas City game) "You know what? We're not really scouting them yet. I think we're going to wait a few more days. Right now, we're just scouting ourselves and competing against ourselves, so we don't know too much about them. I know they have a new head coach in Todd Haley. They're going to be out there flying around—playing at Arrowhead Stadium obviously is a hostile environment. Even in the preseason, I'm sure it's going to be loud. We need to go up there and make plays."
(on being the quiet guy) "I'm the quiet guy. I like it that way. I come to work, and to work hard. That's all I do. I don't say much. I come to work, check-in and check-out when practice is over, and that's what I'm all about. I show up for the games and try to get the job done as best as I possibly can. The coaches and players, they know what they're going to get out of me. They know I have my assignments and know I'm going to play at 100 percent. They're not surprised if I'm out making plays and doing things, but I've got to continue to work hard, same as everyone else."
(on if he's excited about the offensive group for this year) "Oh yeah, definitely. We set the bar for ourselves last year and we told ourselves, 'Why can't we be number one?' We should be number one. We've got the offense, the tools, the players and everyone to do that. We've just got to compete against ourselves and not beat ourselves up out there and just go out and make plays. We're going to do that. We're going to be explosive. We're going to run the ball well and it's going to be fun."
(on starting the second week of training camp) "That's what we're talking about. It's a grind, those first 10 days we're out here beating each other up, but you look forward to going up against somebody else. I was telling the guys yesterday in the meeting, I'm really excited about going against Kansas City, because I don't have to go against (CBs) Fred Bennett or Jacques (Reeves) or any of those guys—when Jacques was healthy. You get to go against someone else. We've got to go out there and make plays, and we're going to do that and it's going to be a lot of fun."
(on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan) "I'll tell you what, Kyle knows his stuff. He knows how to throw the ball, run the ball. He impresses me each year, and he's getting better. He's real creative with his plays, and it's a pleasure playing in his offense. It's a lot of fun. Obviously, we're going to run the ball well. We're going to pass the ball downfield. We're going to complete the ball a lot. So his offense is fun."
(on his former teammate Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco and the lack of a "diva" wide receiver in Houston) "No, me and 'Dre (WR Andre Johnson) are pretty similar. We come in, check-in and lead by example. That's what we try to do, and Chad is a heck of a player. He works hard. He's an extremely great receiver, but you know, he likes to do things off the field but he's proved that he can back it up. It was fun to play with him."
(on if he will be coming up with a new end zone dance) "I might. You never know. You never know. As long as I get in that end zone, I might keep on dancing. I did it once last year. I know (WR) David Anderson and those guys, they've got a lot of things planned. So I'm sure I've got some things up my sleeve too."