The Texans spoke to the media after practice on Tuesday, a day before the first of their three joint practices with the New Orleans Saints.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak Texans QB Alex Brink Texans T Eric Winston
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (morning practice)
(on why he was running with his team after practice) "I was late to the Bowling Derby (on Monday night). A bunch of coaches working, a few minutes late, so we hold ourselves to the same standard."
(on the play of the offensive line, especially guys like G Kasey Studdard) "Well, he's getting opportunities to do a lot of things. (C) Chris (White) and he are basically getting a chance to be starters throughout this camp. They've done a good job. They've really taken advantage of that opportunity."
(on the team working on the Wildcat offense in practice) "We've got to work against it. We're going to see it during the season, so our defense needs to see it. We've got a few guys capable of doing it, but that's not how we make our living. Like I said, we've got to work on our cat, and work on the wildcat later."
(on the type of focus you have to put on defending the wildcat in practice) "Well, it's become part of our routine. When you go to camp, you've got all these things you want to work on that come up during the season. That's never been an issue, but it is now with everybody, so you incorporate it in what you're doing during training camp, how you're going to defend it, what would you do offensively, so we just make it part of our routine."
(on G Chester Pitts returning to practice) "He practiced. Since we weren't banging, he practiced. He's going to do a little extra work right now, but he will work the individual stuff with us, but he won't bang against New Orleans. He won't hit."
(on whether there will be contact practices against New Orleans) "Yeah, we'll be in shells. We won't have our pants on, but we'll be in shells tomorrow morning and Thursday morning and in shorts Wednesday afternoon."
(on how to keep your team healthy through competitive practices against another team) "Well, it's difficult because it's so competitive, but (Saints head coach) Sean (Payton) and I talk, we've got to send messages to our team of what we want. We'll get good work and keep them upright—that's the key."
(on roster moves) "We signed Jonathan Evans, a fullback, I'm sure y'all know that. But other than that, we're right where we were yesterday."
(on LB Brian Cushing's status for Saturday) "No, you're not going to see Brian this week. He's still got a little ways to go, but he's making good progress."
(on the signing of FB Jonathan Evans and how it impacts TE James Casey's status at backup FB) "No, he's still going to play some fullback. He's doing it in practice. We'll keep doing that. As long as he can handle it and we don't set him back at tight end, we'll keep doing it."
(on S John Busing) "Well, he's a very smart player. Tell him one time, he gets it right. Very aggressive on special teams for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) the other night. He's played in this league and shows it, and it's a little crowded back there right now, but now with (S) Troy (Nolan) out you got five guys back there working so the opportunity keeps increasing for his chances of making this team, and if he plays the way he played last week, it's going to be hard to keep him off."
(on DT Jeff Zgonina's play over the weekend) "He's amazing. At his age, with how many years he's played, that he can still play with that type of effort and do his job, just a very well conditioned guy. This team knows they can count on him, and he's making a good push to be back here again, which we knew he would. If we brought him back, we knew he'd do that."
(on CBs Brice McCain and Glover Quin) "Both played pretty darn good the other night, not only for defense but for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) also. They're making progress. They'll see as good a passing game as there is in the NFL (this week), so another big test for them. But they're being asked to play like veterans real fast, so opportunity for them but they've both been pretty good."
(on the importance of having a contact practice with the Saints) "Well, I think it helps pick things up. Training camp gets a bit monotonous at this time of year. They're tired of each other, tired of beating on each other, so you get a new face, go cover a new guy, work against a new guy. I think it's just good for your skill level, and just bringing competes to practice. I think it'll be good, we just got to do it the right way and make sure we're all standing upright for Saturday."
(on whether practicing against a team so much before a game will come into play in Saturday's game) "We're pretty basic in the preseason, anyways. That game is going to be competitive, anyways. But you don't worry about showing too much, or this or that. We're all working on our base stuff right now, just trying to settle our football team in and find out who our best 53 are."
(on what QB Alex Brink said when he arrived back about what he'd been doing away from football) "We really didn't talk about it. He just stopped by my office and shook my hand. I think he got in at about midnight last night. He was in Oregon, I know that. Told me he's been working out."
(on DT Jeff Zgonina taking a leadership role in practice) "You have to remember, Jeff played for (defensive line coach) Bill (Kollar), so Bill's way of coaching, Bill's way of teaching, Jeff is like another coach in the room with Bill, so that's been very positive. Not only him working with those young guys, but he's able to walk over to a guy and say, 'This is what Bill wants, this is what he expects,' so it's been very positive."
(on whether he feels like DT Jeff Zgonina slacks off because of his time in so many training camps) "Jeff? Oh, no. Absolutely not. He wouldn't take a practice off if I let him. He could go all day, he chases the ball all day. He's an amazing specimen as far as the health he's in at this stage in his career. To hold up that long, they just don't make them like that."
(on there being a big fight last year against the Saints and if that could happen again) "We had a little ruckus the last day, but I thought it was pretty good. To practice against somebody three times, I thought the composure was held pretty good by both teams. The little one we had the last day, I didn't think was that big of a deal."
(on Texas A&M SID Alan Cannon being at practice to do a 'Legends of the Game' piece on Kubiak) "I'm a legend? Only in College Station. It's always good to see the Aggies, so I'll go over to visit with Alan. I've known Alan for a long time."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (afternoon)
(on the Minnesota preseason game suddenly becoming bigger with Brett Favre joining the Vikings) "I'm worried about New Orleans. One week at a time. I didn't even know until I came over here and heard some guys talking. For sure, that will add some spice to the story next week when we get together, but we've got a lot of work to do between now and then."
(on if there's something he wants to see from his team 15 days into camp) "Obviously, you want to see yourself progress. You're looking at players, you're going to pick up their reps so to speak, so you want to see guys taking another step forward as a player. There are some guys who maybe weren't able to go as much last week that you want to watch them go this week. Maybe there are some guys who you saw a lot of last week that you want to get some other guys an opportunity, so it's really still about evaluation. The good thing about these guys (the Saints) coming in is that we get to evaluate for a couple of days, not just one day of a game. So we'll get some good work against this group. They're a fine football team."
(on practicing against the Saints in contact drills) "Well, it helps, because it picks up the energy level. Everybody is kind of worn out against each other right now, so the tempo will pick back up in the morning, then those guys will get tired of each other probably by Thursday morning, but I think it adds some spice to what you're doing. It helps these guys' motors get revved up again to finish up camp."
(on what the defense specifically can take from the Saints scrimmages) "Well, they threw the ball better than anybody in football last year, and they have one of the top quarterbacks in the game (Drew Brees). Very athletic. (Jeremy) Shockey, Reggie Bush, just good players all around, so matching up against those guys in practice, those young corners are going to see a new level of play this week than what they saw the last week, so just a good opportunity for us to make some more progress."
(on S John Busing's situation with the injury to S Troy Nolan) "Well, obviously, he's getting more reps. We're working with five instead of six (safeties), but he did some good stuff last week in special teams. He's picked up his reps in practice, working more with the second unit defensively, so you guys will see him a lot this weekend."
(on whether S John Busing has developed a reputation around camp) "No, I just think he's a guy who's played. He's been in this league for a few years, and you can tell that. Mental part of the game is easy for him, and then he stepped up and did some things physically for us on special teams, so I think our players were impressed with him, and hopefully he continues."
Texans QB Alex Brink
(on what he hopes to bring to the team) "I hope I can come in and be able to execute right away. Make the transition as seamlessly as possible. Just step up and be able to execute and if I'm called upon to play, be ready to go in there and help out."
(on what he was doing to workout at home) "I was just staying in shape. I was back home and didn't have a lot to do, so I got in plenty of running and lifting. I have access to gyms there. Throwing. I've got a couple guys that aren't the same quality of the guys out here, but they're pretty good and they helped me stay in shape and keep my arm loose."
(on if he thought all along he'd be picked up by somebody) "You know, it's hard at times. Especially as a young player, you don't really know. It's my second time through, but it's still hard. I was confident that I would get an opportunity, and if I did, I would be ready. At the same time, five or six weeks had gone by, and that's a tough situation. But I'm ready to get back out here and feel good about it."
(on if he is okay making the transition to the weather) "Absolutely. I've been here 18 months before this, so I've been through it before. So I feel good coming down here."
(on if being in the system before makes the transition easier) "A lot, actually. I got out here and got a couple reps, felt real comfortable. It's the same guys that were here 6 weeks ago in OTAs and the same guys that you have to run through 5 weeks of practice with. So I feel very comfortable. My year and a half here obviously has helped me, I'm glad to be out here again."
(on how he can be noticed during training camp) "I'm a competitive guy by nature. So anytime I step out onto the field, I want to go out and be the best. So having this opportunity allows me to get out there and show I've made improvements from my time here during the spring and since last fall. I'm confident that when I get on the practice field and into the games, that I'll be able to execute."
Texans T Eric Winston(on the potential of a lockout after 2010 season) "I'm sure for rookies and second and third year guys, it doesn't seem like a possibility. It's a hard thing to say that could really happen because you can't imagine it happening but it has happened before. It's just something that we'll have to be ready for."
(on how lockouts affect the game) "Absolutely, I worry about the implications of not having another CBA. I don't want this to turn into baseball which is what this is going to turn into. It's going to turn into baseball. It's going to be where the Chiefs have the lowest payroll paying thirty million dollars in salary caps and the Giants are paying two hundred million. It's going to be one of those things where you stack players on certain teams. Teams like the Yankees and the Redsox are going to be good. Yes, you may have some good upstart teams that have some good draft picks here and there but it's going to be hard to keep a hold of anybody. It's just going to ruin the game in sense that every thirty-two teams come out and I can honestly say that anybody has a chance. Who would have picked the Cardinals last year? You get rid of a CBA and get rid of a salary cap now all of a sudden what do you have? I think a lot of people don't understand that."