Following are excerpts from coach Gary Kubiak and players following the seventeenth day of the Texans' 2006 training camp.
**Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on morning practice)** "We, as coaches, kind of screwed them up in a period. We were trying to change up and do something a little different than we have been doing in a normal camp. We lost the tempo of what we were doing, that's our fault. We have to get that fixed. It starts with us (coaches), we have to be ready to practice as well as those guys. We kind of slowed the tempo down."
(on the status of CB Lewis Sanders) "Lewis Sanders is begging to come back out here and I told him to take the day off. He is not practicing today and he will not practice this evening, but he will be fine and ready to go."
(on play calling) "I am going to call the play. Offensive coordinator, Troy Calhoun, is my eyes upstairs and anything that comes from up there goes through me. I feel very confident that he can call the game and I am working the same way I did with Denver Broncos head coach, Mike Shanahan for years, we both prepared to call the game. There may be a segment where I am calling the whole thing or there be a segment where I say Troy (Calhoun) you take it this series or you take it the whole game. We will even get (assistant head coach) Mike Sherman calls. I think as many sets of eyes that you can have and people that have had that experience on doing that the better you are as a group. We will do it that way. The bottom line is that it's coming from me to (QB) David Carr all the time."
(on C Mike Flanagan) "I have to give that credit to (assistant head coach) Mike Sherman, he has been around him. I knew him as a player coming out. I know he has been a fine player in this league and he can play at a high level. I can tell you what I like about him now. He is every thing Coach Sherman told me he was. He is a leader amongst people, not just offensive line. He loves to play, very studios, has a good time with football, but when the doors close and the meeting starts he is all ball. That's what being a pro is all about."
(on TE Patrick Hape) "He is an amazing guy. I know how long he has been with me, and he is so beat up. It's interesting, he doesn't miss a day. He plays tight end, halfback and fullback. He always makes a few plays out here every day. He has played for us on the goal line. Patrick is one of those guys that stays on the team because he would stand the test of time. He is a warrior. At the end of training camp he is going to be standing there saying am I on this team or not. That is just what he is and he is doing a great job for us.
(on injured players) "Let me go through them. (CB) Lewis Sanders has been out here every day. He has a little nick in his ankle but he will be fine. (FS) C.C. Brown has not missed a day just these past two days back to back. Those guys have been out here and they have been warriors. With those two it has been my call, I have just been giving them a good break because that is pretty much it for us as far as doubles."
(on LB Morlon Greenwood's understanding) "He is getting better. Going back from 3-4 to 4-3, I thought he struggled a little bit but I see him getting better every day. He is another player out here every minute of the way and he played well on special teams the other night. That was a positive."
(on LB Morlon Greenwood in this mornings practice) "That was not saying that this guy is a starter, we were going to rotate those guys the whole game. Just like we did (T) Seth Wand and (T) Charles Spencer. We rotated our Sam and our Will linebacker and the other guy will probably start this week. (DT) Robaire (Smith) has been nicked up, and he has not been able to do much so we will wait to see how he comes back tomorrow."
(on the defensive line being the strength of the defense) "I think it has the chance to be. I like our back end. Through adversity our back end is getting better. By picking up (CB) Dexter McCleon and (CB) Kevin Garrett, with the problems we went through I think we are getting stronger back there. Our rotation up front should be dang good and I am expecting a lot out of them."
(on how many defensive linemen to keep) "We will definitely have more than eight."
(on DE Mario Williams pre-season performance) "I thought he played pretty good. He looked like a rookie just like every body else but he held a point and was very physical on the tight end. He was very disturbing in the run game for the Kansas City Chiefs when they ran the ball his way. He got a rude awakening in a lot of ways. He went against Turley who's played for years and years. Then we moved him inside and Will Shields locked him up. That's real ball and he found out real quick. Those are the type of players he has to beat."
(on what he has learned about DE Mario Williams) "I like what he stands for. He is all business. He is out here every day. You don't even really know he is out here, he is not really a loud guy. He just works, busts his tail, 'hey coach what can I do to get better' and we knew that when he came in here. I think he is making all the players around him better."
(on the other high draft picks impact on DE Mario Williams) "I think he is aware of it because we talk about it. We talk about that stuff as a team. We talk about distractions we are going to have during the season. He understands that, our team understands that and we just have to keep moving."
**C Mike Flanagan:
(on the Texans being a fresh start for him)** "It really is. I've been in the same scheme up in Green Bay for ten years, the same calls, the same techniques. Things are similar here, but a little different. It's a new group of guys obviously. It's a great organization, great city. Its fun, I'm enjoying every minute of it."
(on what he brings to help the offensive line) "I think it's just experience. I've been around for a long time. I've been through a lot of good times, and some tough times. Just the ability to come in here and be a pro, and hopefully I'll help these younger guys along. Maybe some of the guys can pick up some of the positive things I do and ignore the negative things I do."
(on seeing signs that QB David Carr is developing) "I think even since the first days at the opportunity sessions to where he is now, he's made leaps inbounds. Conceptually, he understands the offense better. He's taken more control of the huddle. Obviously the plays he can make on the move with his feet, I don't think there are many guys in this league who can do that. I think this offense is kind of built for a guy like that. If we can run first, but it's good to know that if he's got the option to run and throw, so it'll be a positive thing."
(on whether it felt like the team had just gone 2-14 last season) "There are little things you notice. Like the other night when we won, guys seemed pretty excited and I said 'it's the preseason guys, this is not what we get paid for.' I had it last year in Green Bay. When things are rough, you have to find little things to keep you sane because if you let everything beat up on you like that, you're going to be up at a tower somewhere shooting at people soon."
**Post Evening Comments
Head Coach Gary Kubiak:
(on LB DeMeco Ryans' injury)** "He tweaked his knee in the game, and didn't think anything of it. It was sore when he came in Sunday. He came out to practice on Monday and practiced about half the time. It was bothering him a bit so we're giving him a break. Hopefully he'll be fine. Hopefully he'll be back tomorrow. I don't know."
(on being worried about the minor injuries) "Every camp I've ever been apart of, it's been apart of it. I think as a team if you quit progressing and stop working because you get so concerned with that, then you tend not to make up much ground. I think what's happened through some nicks and things that have happened to our team, our team has gotten better because other guys are playing, other guys are getting reps. They'll make it back. Basically this is the last day of our two-a-days, and we'll be out here once a day. We'll be fine, we'll work through that. I think we'll be a better team because of what we go through."
(on RB Vernand Morency playing this weekend) "I'm going to see him a lot. He and (RB) Wali (Lundy) are going to play a bunch, and I want to see (RB Damien) Rhodes. We'll see, we'll decide how to work those guys."
(on RB Damien Rhodes being a free agent) "I tell you what happens. Sometimes as a coach you think you can get a good feel for a player all the time at practice. He got into the game the other night and it looked like it wasn't too big for him. He looked pretty sharp there at the end of the game carrying the ball. He's looked good trying to return kicks for (special teams coach) Joe (Marciano). We want to give him a chance because he showed us some good stuff the other night, so we're going to take a good look at him, and he'll be returning kicks for us this weekend too."
(on when Morency started adapting to his system) "I think there was a point about a week into camp where you definitely knew he was trying to run the football the way we're coaching him to.It's a little different from his style, and that's a hard habit to break. He can make you miss, he's very athletic. He knows this is a big week for him. He and I sat in the steam room today after practice and we had a long talk. He's a second year guy, it's a big game for him. He knows there are some good, young backs out here trying to make this team. I think he'll be ready to play, I think he'll do well."
(on instilling the plays and scheme into the players) "We've put it all in. We tweak things here and there. We come up with new ideas and then we come out here and work on them every day. As far as teaching the system, the book, they've heard the whole book. How much we grasp, and how much we take into opening day, you never know what will happen. You can only teach so much stuff; you could teach a season and still not run 30 or 40 percent of the things you teach. It's a matter really of us knowing the concepts they grasp, and being able to expand a little bit on those."
(on getting the players familiar with the system to cut down on penalties)"That is important, but in all honesty, I'm almost totally different from the standpoint.At this time of year, I really want to see how much a player can handle. I want to throw a lot at players when we play preseason games. I want to see that when a kid gets in there in the third quarter, I want to see how hard he studied during the week; does he know what he's doing. Gameplan-wise in this league, it's tough because if you don't have a guy who's in his book all week, it's going to be hard for your team to win. I really try to challenge players in the preseason with the amount of work we're doing."
(on being satisfied with the result from Saturday night) "Yes, I really was. We had our busts in the second half. We had a couple early in the game, which there is no excuse for, which I talked to him about. For the amount of things we asked him to do early, and to do it clean as you talked about, that was pretty good."
(on the team absorbing more than he anticipated so soon) "We have a long way to go. What we threw at them last week, we did a good job with. We came back with even more this week, and now we go to a tougher environment. Let's see how we play this week. It's going to be loud, we're going to be in a dome. They're going to be beating us off the ball. It's a totally different set of circumstances of playing on the road in the NFL. Let's see if we can handle it the same way."
**DE Mario Williams:
(on what he likes)** "I like Houston a lot. My favorite place would probably have to be Reliant Stadium because I am always here and I am always trying to get work done. This is all I see mostly, I don't go out that much."
(on how he feels for the next pre-season game) "After the first one I am a little more comfortable now. Before I was just kind of out there running, and that's kind of how it is in pre-season because you don't know who you are playing, or who you are going against. You really can't watch film on them because you don't know who you are going against and you can't pick up tendencies. Just calming down and go out here and make things happen."
(on playing more the second time around) "It will help me a lot because I can get in there and play against those players, maybe I can pick up things as the game goes along, as opposed to playing eleven to fifteen plays, where I didn't get a rhythm."
(on interacting with fans) "Its great, we had a great turn out. I think this is the most we have had this being the last one we have out here tonight. Just interacting with all the fans and seeing all the little kids run around, it is a good feeling."
**Quarterback David Carr:
(on RB Damien Rhodes)** "He's trying to make this club, and he's doing everything they're asking him to do in this offense. It's really funny how that works. The coaches, they almost tell you where to cut, where to break, make one move from the line of scrimmage and get down hill. You can get some yards in this offense. I wasn't really a big believer until I got here. You can pretty much plug anyone in. Not to say those guys don't have talent. They have a certain style that they want out of a back, and if you do it right, there are some big running lanes in there. The guys are starting to catch onto it, and it's going to help us a lot."
(on no sacks and few penalties during last Saturday's game) "We're not on overload. I think the guys are really confident about what we're running. It might be confusing to the defense. They're getting a whole bunch of different formations, obviously not now, but later on. We're running the same set of core plays that we've been running for the last seven months. It's pretty simple for us. We just go out and try and play faster than the other guys, and play smart too."
(on the team this year) "It's a different feeling out here. There's obviously a lot of confidence with the guys. At the same time, it's not like it's fake confidence or fake chatter. We actually go out everyday and feel like we're moving the ball. We feel like we're doing some positive things, so it's exciting."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak) "I think more than anything else, more than any other coach that I've been around, high school, college, NFL, whatever, he has a real good understanding for what the players need. As far as the time off, the time on the field, exercise, sleep, what you need to know for a certain play, what you don't need to know for a certain play. I think that comes from him playing the quarterback position in the NFL. He has a really good pulse on this team, and it's exciting."