After both their joint practices with the New Orleans Saints on Wednesday, the Texans spoke to the media. Following is a transcript of their respective interviews, divided by the two practice sessions.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak Texans DE Connor Barwin Texans T Duane Brown Texans DT Shaun Cody Texans WR Andre Johnson Texans DT Frank Okam Texans LB DeMeco Ryans Texans QB Matt Schaub
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on how the team looked today) "I thought we were a bit sluggish, to be honest with you. We need to pick up the tempo, but it's good to work against somebody else. We've been seeing each other now for two weeks, so we'll go back and evaluate it but we can practice a lot faster than we practiced this morning."
(on how QB Alex Brink looked this morning) "Yeah, he's going to get an opportunity. Good chance that he can be on the field this weekend, and he's going to get an opportunity to play. Did some good stuff this morning, so we'll see what happens."
(on how good it is to read and react against another team) "You saw mistakes, I'm speaking from my behalf, mistakes by us today in a lot of areas just from seeing new fronts, seeing new things going on. So, our players can learn a great deal from it. The key is that one of the things, I want to keep our tempo at practice and how we're going about what we're doing, continue to move forward as a team."
(on S John Busing) "He's doing good things. A very smart player, tell him once and it's done. Showed up on special teams, the whole team saw it, and so he's making a good push to be on this team."
(on S John Bushing's size at safety) "Not only the size, it's one thing to have the size, but when you hit somebody, he'll definitely do it. He's really taken to what (defensive backs coach) David (Gibbs) is doing, so he's got himself in good position now. He's going to pay a bunch of football over the course of the next few weeks, so we'll see."
(on the chance of CB Matteral Richardson to make the squad) "Oh, he's got a great chance just because of our situation at corner, and all these young guys getting to play. Those two players (Richardson and Busing), I think, played somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 plays the other night, so not only from our perspective as the Texans but around this league, they get on film a lot, so it's an excellent opportunity for both of them."
(on how TE Owen Daniels can be a bigger factor this season in the red zone) "Well, he should be a big factor for us everywhere. He's a fine player, and we get a lot of roll coverage because of (WR) Andre (Johnson) and what he stands for and the type of player he is, so obviously that helps your tight end work the middle of the field a little bit. But he's a fine, fine player, and the more we get him involved, the better we are."
(on what stood out today in practice) "I don't know, I'll have to go watch. I'm over on the offensive field all day, I wasn't over here on the other side, but I thought our tempo could be better, and it will be better."
(on a lot of the Texans receivers being knocked down by the Saints defense) "Well, we've got two teams competing. I'm sure they were getting knocked down over here maybe, too. I think that's just part of it. We've all got our ways we practice. They have their way, we have our way. We've got to come together and make it work for two days."
(on DE Connor Barwin's experience dropping into zone coverages on pass plays) "Does he have experience doing it? He did a little bit in college, but that's something you have to learn, all those zone dogs, middle hooks, going outside, that type of thing, curl player. But he's a smart player, so he's picking it up pretty quick."
(on DE Connor Barwin overcoming the learning curve to pick that up) "No, you're right. It's about reps with him, being a defensive player for one year, recognizing being in a zone dog, I'm dropping; now it's run, I don't drop. Stuff like that. He just needs a ton of reps as a ballplayer, and he's getting them."
(on getting more out of practice when you go up against another team) "Well, yeah, and I think when you go back and watch the film, just so many more things. You've been teaching off of yourself, off of your defense and your offense. Now you're going in and you say, 'Hey guys, we haven't seen this defense. We haven't seen this blitz. We haven't seen this play defensively, so how are we going to react?' So yeah, it's very beneficial to us from that standpoint."
(on the team's depth at WR) "We've got a good group, and we've got a great player in the group and then after that we've got a lot of hard working players that made their way in this league through effort. But as a group they're very unselfish, play very hard. We've got a good group of guys."
(on ways to get four or five guys involved beyond WR Andre Johnson) "I don't worry about that. If we're moving the ball and we're successful and we're doing the right things, then we'll get involved. Naturally, you always have certain things players do best, but we ask our receivers to do everything: block, run routes, make plays. So we're just counting on them doing their job."
(on what stood out today at practice) "I can't pick anything out. I've got to go back and watch it because I'm just seeing one field, so let me go watch it."
(on how important it is to go against another team in practice) "Oh, I think it's great. As long as you keep it in perspective and you're under control out here and we've got everybody standing here after the next couple of days, that's what's important. But just seeing other teams and working against other players, that's beneficial."
Texans DE Connor Barwin(on his performance during his first game) "I was playing fast. I might have been hesitant a little bit, it was my first game, but one thing my coach said was the one thing I did do well was run around the field a little bit. That's something that I'm going to keep doing."
(on the difference between college and the NFL) "I think the linemen are just better. It's harder to get a jump on the cadence because they do it so many different ways. But I just think the linemen are quicker and more athletic than they are in college."
(on practicing against another NFL team) "It was just fun. It changes the practice a little bit. Actually, practice was a little bit shorter, which was nice. Practice was a little bit faster, but it was good to go against other people. We've been going against our line for two, three weeks now, so to switch it up was a lot of fun."
(on the intensity of these practices) "I was surprised, there weren't any fights or anything from what I saw. But yeah, it's a lot more fun to go against somebody else and compete against guys you haven't been competing against."
(on fights in practice) "You practice hard, and in games you can't fight, but you've got cheap shots and things like that and you've got to protect your teammates, so if you see something that shouldn't be going on, that's how it kind of starts."
(on how important it was to get the experience during the first game on Saturday) "It felt good for me. It helps your confidence a little because, as I said before, I was playing a little hesitant. It kind of showed me that I could do this, that I was (doing it against) a starting left tackle, so it made me feel good about what I'm here to do."
(on players calling his spin move ugly) "No, that's exactly what it was, but wait a couple weeks, it does look a little bit better. That wasn't the best one, but it works, though."
(on learning about the New Orleans Saints in practice but not revealing too much) "Yeah, we did our one-on-one pass rush, so you don't want to show all your moves. But I just tried to show my speed and do some speed rushes and things like that. We play them on Saturday, so you don't want to show them everything."
Texans T Duane Brown
(on feeling good about playing another team in practice) "Definitely, (DE) Mario (Williams) has everything down that I wanted to do with them. He counters pretty much everything. Going against (Saints DE) Will Smith, he's not used to what I'm bringing to the table. I'm a different player than I was last year, so I feel like I can compete better against him this year."
(on no fighting at the scrimmage) "No, we're all here trying to be professional. Everybody is here trying to work, get better and take care of each other at the same time. Hopefully, we can keep that going on throughout the next day."
(on DE Mario Williams) "When I got here, I already knew what kind of player he could be and the potential that he had, and I think he's really reaching his peak. He has really improved a lot from last year. Just from watching him in the offseason, I knew he was going to be a problem this year. There is nobody in the league with his size, speed and strength. He is realizing exactly what he can do to people. I'm excited to see him in the regular season."
(on his goals for the season) "To be a consistent player. I don't want to be known as a finesse player or somebody who can pass block but not run block and vice versa. I want to be able to be an every-down player and do anything they ask me to. That's my main goal."
(on what it's like to go against another team in the trenches in practice) "It was very different, because guys out here, you don't get to see them a lot, so you don't really know what their tendencies are and they don't know much about me either. Last year, when I went against these guys, I was still trying to get used to our system, so I was just out there going through it. Now, I'm starting to pick up things on what their whole defense is doing and then work individually against (Saints DE) Will Smith. So we were competing pretty well."
(on whether things will end up getting chippy later on) "Yeah, we'll see. Everybody is trying to feel each other out right now. When we come back out here this afternoon, it'll be a bit hotter, that always changes things up a little bit. Everybody is out here competing. But at the same time, we want to be professionals about it, and try not to do anything cheap."
(on whether they are talking a bit of trash after plays) "Yeah, a little bit. Everybody's a competitor. If somebody says something, nobody is going to back down. That's how it is, but we try to keep it there."
(on how long it takes to adjust to their practice speed) "We want to keep our tempo that we've got. We've had a pretty good tempo to this point in training camp. We're not really trying to adjust to anything that they're doing, we're just want to come out and work the way we've been working."
Texans DT Shaun Cody
(on if the University of Texas or USC is going to win the NCAA national championship) "This year? I think we (USC) got you guys, man. If our quarterback gets right, I think we got you. Vince Young's (former Texas QB) gone, that's when you guys got it, with Vince Young."
(on Texas QB Colt McCoy) "Oh, yeah, he's a stud. But we'll see, I've got to go with my Trojans."
(on if he wants to hit former teammate and New Orleans RB Reggie Bush) "Not Reggie. Reggie's a good guy. I'll thud him up a little bit, but I'm not taking Reggie to the ground."
(on if he will in practice) "In the game? Yeah, different story. During the game, Reggie's going down. I already told him, 'Hey man, we're practicing right now, but when it gets game time, we're going.'"
(on the differences in relationships between college and the NFL) "It's a unique bond in college, when you're living together and you see each other every day. In the NFL, it's a little bit different story. You have the team, you go home to be with your family, so it's a little bit different bond. But you never lose that college bond, so we'll forever be Trojans brothers, but now we're on different teams. That's just the way it goes, it's just business now."
(on what he thinks he needs to do to be kept by the Texans) "Just work. That's what I know how to do, that's what they brought me here for. I'm a hard worker. They've got great guys up front, I think they just brought me in to show them some good work ethic and how to push."
(on if he's the one that can put pressure on the offense) "Yeah, I think I can help. We've got some good young talent and when (DT) Amobi (Okoye) is healthy and (DT) Travis (Johnson) is going, I think this is a good group that can definitely, if we stay fresh and stay healthy and keep a good rotation, definitely get up to the passer."
Texans WR Andre Johnson(on if he enjoyed going against someone other than his teammates) "Yeah, it's always good in training camp. You don't have to go against the same guys, you get to go against another football team and just work on your game."
(on how the offense looked) "I think we looked pretty good. It's always a work in progress. At the same time, when you're practicing against a team for a few days, you don't want to show the players what you're going to run in a game. So you just kind of do some things over and over, but I think we went out and practiced well."
(on the Saints' Marques Colston) "I think he's a great player. I know he's been fighting some injuries the past few years but all in all, I think he's a great player. I think he catches the ball very well and I think a lot of people underestimate his speed, they don't really think he's a fast guy. Once he gets around them, though, he's a pretty fast guy."
(on them both not being loquacious receivers) "That's one thing I like about him. He's not a flashy guy. He just goes out and plays. I have a lot of respect for guys like that."
(on what he talks about with teammates from 2001 Miami team when he sees them) "Every time we get together, it seems like we talk more about what we did in college rather than what we're doing now on the football field. Those are the moments that you really cherish. We won a national championship together so that's something you'll never ever forget. That's a bond you will always have. That's pretty much what we do. We really don't talk much about football at all."
(on how he sees Miami doing this year) "Hopefully they get it turned around. We've been struggling the last few years but we've got a lot of talent and hopefully we can get it going in the right direction."
(on if he spends much time talking with WR Jacoby Jones) "Man, I'm always talking to Jacoby. You try to tell them the little things. I try to just stay in his ear. Whenever I see him do something, whether it's on the field or off the field, I put a little bug in his ear and tell him what I think about it; or maybe if he should've done it a different way. His talent is not in question. You can look at him, the way he does things on the field, you can tell that he's very talented. I just think that he has to focus a little bit more and be focused when he comes out here and have his mind on football, and just on his job. Once he leaves the field then focus on everything else."
Texans DT Frank Okam
(on going into his second year) "Yeah, I think a whole year in the NFL, you get more confident, more confidence in your abilities. The second year with the same team and coaches and stuff, they know who you are, you know who they are so it's easy to go about your business."
(on the weight he lost this offseason) "About 25-30 pounds. I just focused on the diet, doing extra running and making a commitment to help this team any way possible."
(on if it affected his health) "No, actually I got a little stronger. It was part of a program they set out for me, and I just went to it by the T and it all took care of itself."
(on if he's the strongest guy on the team) "I say it's pretty close between me and (DE) Mario (Williams). Mario's a freak of nature. There are some things I can do more than him and there's probably a lot he can do more than me. But I'm up there, I'm definitely top three."
Texans LB DeMeco Ryans
(on practicing with the Saints making the Texans better) "Yes it can make you better. For our offense and defense, like I said we get a chance to see different looks. We line up against each other every day of the week, we pretty much know what plays their running, and they know what defense we're lined up in. So now we get to go out there and not know what's going on and see how our rules carry over against another offense."
(on the difficulty playing against New Orleans' passing system) "It's not difficult because I think our rules just take over. (Defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) has coached us well and everything just translates over well."
(on whether it's fair to say that their season is a failure if they don't make the playoffs) "I think that's our goal, that's why we come out here everyday. Our goal is to go out and win the Super Bowl. That's our goal and that's why we come out here to work. Anything short of that would be considered failing to me."
Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on the offense) "I thought we were sharp, I thought we were crisp in what we were doing. Guys were going into it mentally. We were going into it full go, so we just have to come out here this afternoon and get better."
(on trying different things on the Saints) "We're getting different defenses, fronts and different with plenty of different guys so it's pretty realistic."
(on the comparison between the feeling at the beginning of last years' season and this years' season.) "I feel good, I feel much like I did last year. I felt good after the first game. After two weeks of camp, I see the same thing in our team. We're a much more confident team, I feel. Guys feel a lot more comfortable in their role and what they're being asked and what coaches want from them. They understand what their role is whether it be on offense, defense, or special teams. I think we're just much further a long."
(on not performing their normal morning routine of scrimmaging each other) "Well, we went against these guys last year in practice. It might happen; we still have time, we've got this afternoon and tomorrow. This afternoon, we won't be in shoulder pads, but tomorrow we're in pads, so who knows. There are always a few little tiffs, but we know these guys pretty well and they know us, so it's good work."
(on the team's confidence in its offense nearing swagger-type confidence) "I think, in a way, it is a little. You have to have the confidence and a little swagger to you to go out and say, 'You know what, whatever they do on their side of the ball doesn't matter. We're just going to go out there and execute our game.' I think you have to have that to be in this game."
(on being close to having that swagger) "Yeah, I think we're close to having that. I think we've got the guys and the personalities and the talent on our side of the football, on both sides, for that matter, to go out there and do that."
Afternoon practice Texans head coach Gary Kubiak Texans G Chester Pitts Texans QB Matt Schaub Texans RB Steve Slaton Texans DE Mario Williams Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on the afternoon's practice) "It was faster, and actually, we come in here (the Methodist Training Center practice bubble) and it's a lot cooler in here, the speed of the game picked up. We did some two-minute work, some red zone work. We struggled offensively in the two-minute drill. We were pretty good defensively. But just got some good work done. We'll get back out there in the morning."
(on whether the pace of their practice was slower or not) "This morning? No, I think things just slow down when people have to adjust to each other. You've got so many people out there just trying to get it coordinated, where are we going, how many reps are we going, how many groups do we have going, so I think that naturally makes it tougher. I think we'll be a lot smoother in the morning. We were smooth. We got what we could get done in this bubble with that many players in here."
(on the two-minute drills building camaraderie) "Well, it's the difference between winning and losing. They pick us off on the first one, so they win the game, and then we come back and Fred (Bennett) picks them off and we win the game. This league comes down to so many games right there. It was very competitive, fun to watch. It just worries you. There are just so many people flying around in here and so many people on the sidelines, I'm just glad we got out of here good and healthy today."
(on a competitive drill being a rallying point for a team) "Well, it's such an isolated moment because you're the only guy out there. As a quarterback, you're going to win the game for your team or as a DB, you make a pick or something, you win the game for your team, so you're so isolated. How do you perform in pressure situations? But that's what our game is about."
(on how much time QB Alex Brink will see on Saturday) "I don't know. I would like to play him a little bit, but I need to play Dan (Orlovsky) a bunch, so I'm going to go into the game saying he may play a little bit in the fourth quarter, but I'm not going to promise anything right now. I need to get Dan a bunch of work."
(on whether he knows how large DE Mario Williams' upside is) "Oh, yeah. It's incredible. He's learned so much. He studies the game, and this morning in one-on-ones, if y'all could have seen it, it was just excellent over there. He's a worker, and he hasn't even tapped it really to what he can eventually be, in my opinion. He's still so young, so (it's) just exciting to see. He's come a long way."
(on the team's health situation) "We're good. We came out this afternoon OK, but the minute we came in here, we sat a bunch of guys down. Andre (Johnson) didn't practice, Chris Brown didn't practice. Amobi (Okoye) did practice a little bit, but we've got a lot—Zac Diles didn't practice. That changes the minute we come in here. There's guys who go down."
Texans G Chester Pitts
(on what would keep him from playing in the season opener) "I'd need something to absolutely not function. I would have to be injured to not be able to play. Injured means you can't move, you can't jog."
(on his status now) "It's OK, got a little wear and tear. I'm not a young whippersnapper anymore. I'm, I dare say, the 'O' word. I'm 30, don't tell anybody. You know, 29 in the NFL, you're in your prime. Thirty? You're over the hill."
Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on getting ready for the season) "We've just got to look to keep getting better every day and in every preseason game."
(on wearing the red quarterback jersey) "I don't know where this came from, honestly. I don't like wearing the red when everyone else is in white, but (head) Coach (Gary Kubiak), since we're playing another team, wants them to know, 'Hey: Stop.'"
(on the appearance of the jersey) "It looks like the Canadian league or something. Without pads on, it's so loose. It's kind of like seven-on-seven tag team camp."
Texans RB Steve Slaton
(on the weight he gained in the offseason) "I tried to. I tried to put it on the best way that I could and just help me in the red zone and short yardage."
(on former Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith) "That's the reason I became a running back, watching him. He's someone I always looked up to."
(on if he emulated former Cowboys RB Emmitt Smith) "Yeah, that was my guy. I wore number 22 almost my whole life."
(on if he feels stronger after adding 10 pounds in the offseason) "I do feel stronger. Definitely, this training camp, it's a lot more comfortable and I'm working well with the weights so I'm happy with it."
(on practicing with the Saints) "I think it's good. You've been working with guys for two weeks and you've seen the same faces and the same defenses and you just want to change it up a little bit, change the pace."
(on the sidelines getting into it in practice) "Yeah, you always want to see your guys compete and do well and you've got to cheer them and give them support."
Texans DE Mario Williams
(on the competition being good from both sides) "Yeah, it's one of those things where you're iffy about the tempo at first, then everybody picks up pretty quickly as to how it's supposed to be done."
(on negative remarks from the media on his relationship with Saints RB Reggie Bush and Bush's positive remarks toward him) "I feel the same way. There was never any hostility between either one of us. I guess the media tries to make it that way, so I guess it's your fault. But we don't really pay attention to that stuff."
(on how Saints RB Reggie Bush could care less about what the media has to say about their relationship) "That's what the media is about, man, rough stories. I will say this, I'm getting tired of seeing (Minnesota Vikings QB) Brett Favre and (Philadelphia Eagles QB) Michael Vick on TV, and I'm sure they are, too."
(on what would be something fun for the media to run) "You don't want to know."
(what's it like working with DE Connor Barwin) "It's great, man, both of the defensive ends are, and so is everyone else on the defensive line. It's a very good thing for us to come out here and play with each other and get ourselves to a point where I know what he's doing and he knows what I'm doing. We need to get to a point where we're just being able to feel off one another and play the game."
(on the difference he sees between them this year) "We just have to be more consistent, that's the number one thing we're trying to focus on. Being consistent and going at it and getting it done."
(on attitude) "Definitely, like I said that comes along with being consistent. From day one, we're going to have to go out there and show what we can do and be where we need to be performance-wise."
(on being nastier) "It's all about our attitudes. It's all about us being physical, being in tune to the game, and being consistent with it. We just got to do what we got to do."