Running back Chris Brown should get a lot of carries Saturday.
METAIRIE, La. – The Texans finished their final joint practice against the New Orleans Saints Thursday morning. Afterward, several players spoke to the media, including former Texans cornerback Aaron Glenn, whose family still resides in Houston.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on what he is looking for in the game Saturday) "Well, we just have to keep stepping forward. Naturally, we are still going to play a lot of players, but our ones will play more. They will probably play about a quarter and a half. We've had some great work against these guys and our players have handled it extremely well. Now, we just have to take another step as a team."
(on what he saw of the players while practicing agasint the Saints) "I liked the way we competed. That's a very good football. There's a lot of people talking about them being one of the better teams in the NFC this year. You know, it's a challenge from the first day we stepped on the field against them. I liked the way our guys competed. We had some young players that I think we found out a lot more about by working against another team other than ourselves. We feel like we know our team a little better and we'll see how we play Saturday."
(on how he feels the players handled the distractions of traveling) "Our guys have been great. We still have a few days to go but our work has been good, our guys have handled it. Our accommodations have been excellent. It was a well thought out process before we came here, and now we have a chance to get fresh here this afternoon before we play. I like the way it worked out. I think it's something we'll definitely look at doing again."
(on if any of the young players stepped up and made a name for themselves) "It would be hard to say this guy was the best this week or that. But I think what you found out is when you work against each other, the guys know each other so well and you know each other's system so well, sometimes there is a little cheat element there in practice. But when you work against a stranger there are so many new things going on like the things you would see happen in practice. You may have a bad period and we'd come back the next period and have a real good one. The competition as a game was there in practice between two teams. I look at a kid like this (Mark) Simmons kid, this receiver. He's not gotten a lot of reps back home. All of a sudden we come here, I rested Kevin (Walter) this morning, he gets a lot of reps, played very, very well. So he's going to get some reps this Saturday night. There are many guys like that."
(on how much QB Alex Brink will play Saturday) "That's part of that job. That's really how you can find out if they can handle it because they don't get a lot of reps but then you throw them in there and they play. He will play. Matt (Schaub) will go a quarter and a half. Sage (Rosenfels) will probably go until the fourth quarter and then Alex (Brink) will play. So, we'll find out. Shane (Boyd) had a chance last week to do some good things. I think the practice time Alex has gotten this week, he's done some good things. So we'll see how it goes."
(on why practice was so ramped up this morning) "I just think they got tired of each other. It was the third time and they were banging heads against each other for a couple of days so tempers flare a little bit. We got it under control, and that's usually something you worry about when you practice against another team if you do it too much. It's kind of like playing a game, if you stayed out there for about five or six hours, sooner or later someone is going to get real mad. We just started to wear a little thin there in the third practice."
(on if anything is new in the running back rotation for Saturday) "Chris (Brown) will start and my expectations are for him to play as long as the first group plays. If anything, he will play a little less because he hasn't played. Then we'll go to Chris Taylor and then (Steve) Slaton and then (Darius) Walker. So, all four of them will play."
*CB Jamar Fletcher *
(on the skirmish between the Texans' defense and Saints' offense) "It was just a little fight. That's all."
(on how it started) "I'm not sure. Like I said, guys were just battling down there in the trenches. One thing leads to another and guys get a little antsy. That's all."
(on whether practice was too peaceful prior to the scrum) "We didn't come down here to start fights. We came down here to work hard and play ball. Things happen. We're just going to put it behind us and go play Saturday."
*RB Steve Slaton *
(on if there's an opportunity for him to make up ground in the running back competition with Ahman Green sidelined) "Yeah, it's definitely something like that. When one guy goes down, more guys have to take reps. That means you have to fight through during practice and perform when you get your extra reps."
(on how much better he is now compared to the start of training camp) "I think I'm 100 percent better just with reads and picking up the blocking scheme."
(on if he's discovering ways to use his speed) "I've been using my speed since day one. I think that's the biggest advantage I have. Now I'm just trying to use it on this level."
RB Chris Brown
(on if he experienced any injury setbacks in practice this week) "I wasn't nervous at all. We were going to have to go out there and test it sooner or later, and I felt good about it, didn't have any setbacks. It wasn't stiff at all, so I felt really good."
(on if he is excited about getting playing time for the first time with Houston) "Oh, definitely. I was really looking forward to last week, but coach (Gary Kubiak) held me out, and hopefully we can get it going this week."
(on his back not being an issue anymore) "No, I feel good. I'm not really worried about that at all."
(on the amount of repetitions he needs before he is comfortable with the line and timing) "It all depends. It all depends on how this first game goes, how many (repetitions) I get, and see how I go out there and perform. Only time will tell how much more (playing time) I will need."
(on how many repetitions he normally needs to be ready for the regular season) "The first (preseason) game, usually a little bit, and the third game is usually the most (I play). You usually get about 15 (carries). So hopefully we can see how many we get this week and then build on that next week."
(on if it's odd playing a game against the Saints after practicing against them all week) "It will be the first time I'm doing that, but I don't think it will be any different. Once you put the pads on and the lights come on, it's game time."
*RB Fred Bennett
(on what caused things to get a little overheated at practice today) "Adrenaline flowing and just out there competing, there's a bunch of competitors on the field and sometimes those things happen, but we all have to be professionals out here."
(on if it was too peaceful during yesterday's practice) "Yeah, I think that's what it was, it was too peaceful the first day (laughs). Things kind of picked up today, but it was all in good fun."
(on the goals he has set for year two in the NFL and on his confidence level) "I feel good. I am just coming out here every day and getting better. I've got guys behind me pushing me, some guys back there doing a great job helping me. I'm young, so I'm still learning the game. But at the same time, I'm trying to take on a leadership role."
(on how receptive the veterans are with him coaching and leading on the field) "There's nothing to it. I think I'm a born leader. The guys kind of respect me, as well as I respect them. As long as I've got their respect and they've got my respect, everything should work out."
(on the depth the Texans have at defensive back) "Oh, I love it. We've got a lot of great young talent back there as well as veteran players. There's a lot of competition back there."
(on how he feels about playing the Saints after practicing against them all week) "I feel good, but I don't think right now they are showing all that they're going to do. I think that's smart. They should save some stuff for the game. I'm pretty sure we'll be ready."
LB Morlon Greenwood
(on defensive end Earl Cochran getting in a small scuffle in practice today) "Earl Cochran is a very good player. He works hard every day. Things just got a little bit heated, that's all."
(on if the small scuffle that happened at practice today was bound to happen) "I don't think it was bound to happen. I just think everyone was just working out trying to compete, trying to get better. That's basically it."
(on how you control the chaos on the field) "Basically, in this game, you have to know it is a very competitive game, but at the same time, it's like a family game. Everybody is watching and you want to lead by example. It is a violent sport. It's really hard to say that, but that's why everyone can't play this sport, because it's so hard to play at such a high level with such high intensity and yet still control all of your emotions. It's real tough."
(on how you wind down after a game) "Personally, it takes me a couple of days to actually wind back down because after the game I'm thinking about the game, I'm thinking about the plays that happened. I'm thinking about the play that I did wrong or the play that I could have played better and stuff like that. It really doesn't get completely out of my system until I watch the tape on Monday. After I watch the tape on Monday, I get a lift, I get a day off on Tuesday, then I'm ready to go again."
(on the chemistry between the three starting linebackers) "I think the chemistry is good between me, Zac (Diles) and DeMeco (Ryans) as well as (Kevin) Bentley, Chaun Thompson, Kevis Coley, Ben Moffit; all the linebackers that we have. I think it's stemmed from (linebackers coach) Johnny Holland. Jonny Holland, our coach, he teaches us to always work together, workout together, hang out together. I think the more time we do that, the closer we become as a unit."
(on New Orleans being a challenging opponent) "I think every week and every team that you play, your coverage and everything is going to be challenged. Obviously, they have a really talented running back in Reggie Bush, who is really like a wide receiver playing running back. In situations where the linebackers have to cover him, you have to be alert of his quickness and his speed. Those are the situations that you have to be aware of."
Saint CB Aaron Glenn
(on if he acknowledges his impact on the Texans from 2002-04) "No question. For the guys that were there – the original eight guys that (Texans owner) Mr. McNair picked – we have a common bond. We were the guys that came here as the guys that really helped start this franchise going. So that's something I'll never forget. I still have all of the memorabilia from that day. It was a day that I didn't think was going to be that big of a deal. Still to this day, when I talk to Mr. McNair, I thank him for allowing me to be a member of the Texans then. It was a good deal. I'm appreciative for all of the years that I've been in the league. But just being one of the original guys on the Texans, it's always been a fond memory to me."
(on going on 15 NFL seasons) "There's no question that God has truly blessed me to play this long at a skill position. There's no doubt in that…From all of the guys that I've learned from – Bill Parcells, Ronnie Lott and those guys – they tell me, 'Don't let the wheels fall off.' That's one thing I've never done. After a season, one thing I don't do is I don't take two months off to start back training. I take maybe a week off and then I get back into doing – not as hard of training as I do in the later months, but I start doing something to keep my body acclimated to football. It's helped me, I guess, since year 10 going into now."
(on why he decided to continue his career in New Orleans) "The first thing is because I know the coaching staff. They were with me in Dallas. Secondly, it's 45 minutes from Houston also. My wife and kids, they don't want me to go far, so it was a perfect fit for me. The defense is a perfect fit for me. I've been knowing Sean (Payton) since I was in Dallas. Plus, when he was with the Giants, I was with the Jets. We had a relationship then, so there's no better fit than coming here to New Orleans."