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Camp quotes: Day 2


On the second day of training camp, 3,354 fans crowded bleachers and the sidelines as the Texans held their first of six training camp practices open to the public. Players wore shoulder pads for the first time, and several felt the effects of the heat and an intense practice. Always-affable offensive linemen Chester Pitts and Ephraim Salaam recounted the tale of their 2008 Super Bowl commercial to the local media as well.

Head coach Gary Kubiak

(on a few nicks at practice today) "Let's see, what did we have today? You know, Fred (Weary) wore down pretty good. Of course, Fred hasn't been doing everything with the team, so that's expected. We've got to catch him up. Other than that, I know Duane (Brown) got a little gassed, but he's got to catch up with the football team. (He's) a little overweight. He had a lot going on with the contract and all that, so he's got to catch up. But God, we worked good. Guys worked good. Just got to keep pushing through it."

(on T Duane Brown) "Just got gassed, you know. Taking a lot of reps, which he's going to do, and he's a little bit overweight right now. So we've got to push him, and he's got to catch up with the rest of his teammates. In this business, you've got to be able to go all day and he's figuring that out, and we've got to catch him up with everybody else."

(on RB Chris Brown being at practice today) "Chris is here, yep. I knew he'd be back last night, and he's back to work full-time today."

(on LB Rosevelt Colvin not practicing) "Rosevelt, well, I'm going to alternate him and (DE) N.D. (Kalu). I'm going to rotate them at practices, so I gave Rosevelt this morning. He'll work in the afternoon; N.D. will take the afternoon off. I've got a big group of players I'll be doing that (with) starting right now."

(on if RB Chris Taylor was cramping) "Yes, just cramping up. You know, he had a little bit of that problem last year; he cramped up on us some. It's hot and we had some shells on this morning for the first time and had a good long practice, so that's part of it. You've got to keep pushing."

(on any other injuries) "I think that's it, until I go get my list."

(on G Mike Brisiel) "Brisiel did fracture his nose yesterday, but you guys can see what he's all about. He's out here today, and he's going to be kind of tough to get off the field."

(on if it's a necessity to have a 1,000-yard rusher this season) "I think to put that on one player, I don't know if that's the right thing to do. But is it a necessity that we run the ball extremely well to become a better football team? You bet that's a necessity, so I would imagine that means we need to have one. Somebody's probably got to be that guy and step up and do that. But regardless if we do it as a group or with one guy, it doesn't matter to me. I just know we've got to run the ball well."

(on offensive coordinator/quarterbacks Kyle Shanahan growing up) "Yes, and it's a process. First off, football comes very easy to Kyle. He's very smart, understands what's going on. Becoming a coordinator is understanding the problems everybody else has – the o-line coach, the receiver coach, the running back coach, the head coach. So those are things he's going into every day. I'm right there with him along the way. He's an excellent teacher in the classroom and works hard for his players, and that's players want to see. They don't care if you're 28 or 58. As long as you work hard for them to make them successful, that's what's important and that's what he's doing."

(on WR Kevin Walter) "Just a fine football player, you know. I can't say enough about him. Y'all know how much I think of him. His teammates can count on him. He can go all day. Just a fine, fine football player. Man, you wish you had 52 more like that. But that's what he's all about, and he proves it every day."

(on his expectations for DE Mario Williams this season) "We're expecting a lot, but I think the most important thing is Mario's expecting a great deal out of himself. As good a worker as I've ever been around in football at a very young age right now and taking his game to a new level every day. Very well-conditioned. Having a lot of fun. That's important; that's when players get better, and that's what you see right now."

(on DE Mario Williams receiving positive attention from the media) "Well, he's earned that opportunity. It's been a rough road. Usually, to be successful, you're going to have some bumps in the road. And he's had his bumps, but I think he's always handled himself with class. He's always worked. He's never complained. And that's the people that usually make it in this business, so no doubt in my mind he's going to be very successful. And how he ends up as far as ranking players in this league – you know, my biggest concern is that he's as good as he can be, and I think the sky's the limit. So as long as he's pushing himself, he'll be fine."

(on the importance of the defensive line to the team's success) "I mean, it's as important as any other place. We've got to do a better job of stopping the run. We've got to find some more sacks along the way, some more pressure on the quarterback. So it's got to get better, and it should with (DT) Amobi (Okoye) being a second-year player, with (DE) Mario (Williams) getting better, Travis (Johnson) being healthy. And then hopefully, we've found them some help with some of these young players. Long way to go. We've just got to keep pushing. But it's important that we all improve as well as them."

(on if LB Rosevelt Colvin and DE N.D. Kalu are competing with one another for a roster spot) "I wouldn't – I mean, everybody's competing for a job. What I would say is they're a lot alike as players, you know. They're undersized ends that rush the passer. So from that standpoint, they're very much alike and they've both been playing a long time, so I think it's natural for us to stagger them in practice and let them get to the point where they can be as good as they can be and then let it work itself out."

(on protecting RB Ahman Green's snap count in camp) "You know, I really think Ahman's a guy that plays his best when he works, and he'll tell you that. Are we going to make him a one-a-day player? Yeah, we are, so he won't practice this afternoon. But I think Ahman's a guy that needs to work to be at his optimum level, and I think he would tell you the same thing. So it won't be a lack of work, but it'll be smart work."

(on resting him because of his knee or because he is a veteran) "No, just really (that he's a) veteran and the fact that he's done it forever. And plus, you know, if I've got five healthy backs on the field at one practice, then I'm probably not seeing two of them practice very much. So when I do rest him, then that helps Chris's work. It makes me look at the younger guys more."

(on if he watched T Ephraim Salaam and G Chester Pitts' Super Bowl commercial) "How many times?"

(on if he knew it was coming) "(Texans vice president of communications) Tony (Wyllie) had told me a little bit about it."

(on what he thought about the commercial) "Well, that's them two. It was cool. It was good publicity for the football team and for those two guys."

(on if he was worried about either player getting a big head) "Let's put it this way: They haven't changed, OK? They're the same two guys."

{QUOTE}(on if it is good to have personalities like that on a team) "You bet it helps. We're out here dragging at the end this morning – it was a hard, hard practice, which they're going to be here throughout this first week – and you've got those two guys at the end laughing and telling me no way I can break them. That's what the game's about. You've got to have guys like that with that type of mentality to make it through (practices) like this."

(on DT Amobi Okoye and DE Mario Williams) "Well, Amobi's taking a big step forward as a second-year pro, and then the big guy (Williams) has been exceptional. But that's what they have to do. That's what they're here to do. They're going to play together for a long, long time, so the better they make our football team, the better their careers are going to be."

(afternoon practice)
(on T Duane Brown's introduction to the league) "He's been getting it. We're asking a lot of this kid. He's been taking a lot of reps this morning. As I said he came into camp a little heavy, you know the last eight to 10 days going through contracts stuff when a lot of that was on his mind, which is fairly so. But he found out today what he's in for physically. It tells you what the kids made of when he came back out here afternoon and had a good practice. He's got to become a pro a little fast."

(on RB Chris Brown and RB Ahman Green's compatibility as running backs) "I think they're different. Chris (Brown) is a big banger type of guy, Ahman's (Green) got big playmaker capability, not that Chris (Brown) doesn't, but they're a little different from that standpoint. The one thing they both have is veteran savvy; been in this league, been successful, smart. So I can give them breaks as far as practice goes. Time will tell, but I think they're a good fit together."

(on how this training camp has been different) "I think training camp starts in the NFL now in May. OTAs in a lot of ways are training camp. You've got your players six hours a day during that time, a lot of football from back when I played and it's not even close. You could have a mini-camp between the month of May and the middle of June. We take a break and come back and do it again. There's a premium on keeping these guys up, keeping them healthy - and lower these rosters, getting them there is an adjustment that we have as coaches, so it is an adjustment for everyone this year."

(on what's different this preseason) "That's the interesting thing. Although the number has changed, absolutely nothing has really changed as far the games we're going to play, the days we're going to work, the workload for football teams and football players. That's why we as coaches adjust some of the things we do and how we go about that day dealing with our numbers. And I think it can change each day, I really do. (We are) very fortunate here the first two days for us to get all our work. No doubt, come a time in this camp you have to adjust the schedule from day-to-day. So I think it's just going to be part of the process."

(on assessing the team after two days) "I can't put a finger on that right now. I like the way we work, very professional group. I think we're a close knit group, which is important for us to get better. The new faces have fit in well. This is a day-to-day, week-to-week thing from here on out. I'm sure we're getting better and staying focused on work. I don't think you can sit here and say we're ahead. I think we adapt to things quicker now than we did a year or two ago from that standpoint. There's a lot of football to be played here, so we'll just keep our nose to the grindstone and keep going."
RB Chris Brown

(on his thoughts about a running back-by-committee approach) "You can't have selfish guys. You can't have one person who wants all the limelight. You have to be able to rotate and keep everybody fresh and it will work."

(on joining the running back group in Houston) "We seemed to gel together pretty good when I first got here. Everybody welcomed me, and we have fun. We know how to push each other and make each other work hard and make each other better. We help each other out when we're out on the field."

(on how he describes the combination of he and RB Ahman Green) "Ahman Green is the breakaway, big-play guy. I have the same ability; I just do it a little bit differently."

(on the particular skill set brings) "Mine is basically one cut and get north and south. That's how I did it when I was at the University of Colorado and with the Tennessee Titans. It's just one cut, and you have to go get it."

(on if he sees joining the Texans as a fresh start) "Definitely a fresh start. No one has an opinion of me and they know I can go out and play. I can go out and start all over and go out there and have a good time."

(on being in an offense that wants to run first) "It's great coming in here to this offense because you know they want to run first. You have (assistant head coach/offense) coach (Alex) Gibbs here teaching the offensive line and doing a great job. Everybody is understanding what everyone is doing, so it makes it a lot easier."

(on what he sees with RB Steve Slaton) "He's a young guy with a lot of talent. He's going to have to work into it and get some reps in the game. When he gets a feel for the NFL game, he's going to be alright."

(on if he has seen the speed of RB Steve Slaton that everyone is talking about) "He definitely has the speed. I've even seen him turn that corner a little bit."

(on how much longer he will play) "I have a few more years left. I'm still ticking."

(on if he is frustrated with all the injuries he has had in his career) "It's definitely frustrating. When you're having a good season or you're trying to turn your season around and someone falls on you wrong and slows you down, it's very frustrating, but you just have to keep going and move on."

(on if he has done anything in the offseason to prepare for any potential setbacks) "Everything I've had happen to me was someone falling on my foot. There aren't any foot exercises I can do to strengthen that. If someone falls on my heel, I can't do anything about it."

(on if he has warned his teammates to not fall on his foot) "Especially not in practice. They can't be diving on their own teammates."

T Duane Brown

(on his visit to the Hall of Fame) "The whole thing was a great experience for me, being able to learn some of the history of the game. We went with Kenny Houston, who was a great player here, and being able to see guys who paved the way for players like me, that meant a lot to me. I think it was definitely a good move to have the rookies go there, because it gives you a better insight of professional football and makes you appreciate it more."

(on what stuck out to him on the visit) "Listening to Jim Brown talk to us. He was a hero of mine growing up and watching him play, so being able to meet him and listening to some of his words of wisdom really stuck with me."

(on the Houston heat in practice) "It was terrible; it didn't get this hot in Virginia. Also, it was our first day with shoulder pads on, so that added a little more heat, but I'll get used to it. You've just got to hydrate and make sure you get your rest and just take care of your body. Me being young, I thought I could just come out here and do my thing, but there's a lot more to it."

(on his weight) "I'm trying to lose about 10 pounds and I think that being out here in this weather and eating right will help me out. That will put me at about 315."

FB Vonta Leach

(on the progression of the running game) "We're just taking it day by day. We're coming out here, we're getting better. We're getting a whole lot better. The running game's looking like everybody's starting to pick it up, and it's going pretty good."

(on what he is trying to teach RB Chris Taylor about the fullback position) "Well, you know, the fullback is a whole lot different position. Things happen a whole lot faster at fullback, so I'm just trying to teach him the steps and what to look for and how to read it. I'm trying to teach him to see what I see, at a quicker pace. We see the same thing, but it happens so much faster."

(on how to teach liking to hit people) "Well, you know, that, you really can't teach. You've just got to tell him just to go in there and just hit somebody. You can't really teach that. You've just got to go in there and you've just got to have that 'I don't care' attitude."

(on the ups and downs of his career) "I came in the back door. I wasn't drafted and stuff, and I was glad the Texans gave me the opportunity when I got cut from Green Bay and New Orleans to come down here and now, I'm just trying to help the team get to the playoffs. That's what I'm here for."

(on how he persevered through those cuts earlier in his career) "Well, you know, it's easy because there are a lot of kids, there are a lot of guys out there without jobs. So you're always fighting for your job and stuff, so you just can't get complacent."

WR Andre Johnson

(on how he is feeling) "Yesterday, I didn't feel too good, to be honest. You know, I was kind of winded. But today, I feel real good. I don't really know what it was – maybe the heat got to me. But today, I came out and played a lot better, maybe through the whole practice, but I'm feeling good right now."

(on his knee) "My knee is feeling fine. I haven't really had any problems with it. When I am out running routes, when I break down, I have no problems, no pain and no nothing. I still go in and do some things just for precaution. But other than that, it is feeling fine. I'm just trying to get ready for the season."

(on picking his own spots) "Everyone has a script, you know, a script of plays for certain guys to run. You go in and get your plays and then you come out. Other guys have to get reps. Right now, I am just getting my reps in and taking them when I have to take them."

(on the different feel of camp this year) "I think there is. Guys are just comfortable. I think last year, we had a lot of injuries, but we had some guys step up for us. I think this year is going to keep getting better for us if we just keep working."

(on being a contender for the playoffs) "I think we have a lot of talent. I just think we don't have a bunch of guys with big names. We have a bunch of guys that can go out and make plays, and I think that's the big thing. Just because you have big names, I don't really think that matters. If you have guys that make plays for you, that is all that matters."

(on the team surprising people this year) "I think we will, as long as we keep working. But you know it is not going to be easy. We have a really tough division. We play three division games in our first five games, so it will be real tough for us. But we'll keep working real hard out here and doing what we've got to do to get where we want to be."

(on any different routines he may have this year) "I'm not really doing anything different. I'm always being myself. But everyone always asks me if I set any personal goals, but I only have one goal - that's this team getting to the playoffs."

(on if this is the season to get to the playoffs) "I always say, 'It better happen now.' Wins are going to happen. This is going on my sixth season, and it's time for things to change. To me, it has to happen right now, so hopefully it will happen this year."

(on QB Matt Schaub this year) "I think just him have a year of being a starter under his belt, just experience, when he is out there, he's more confident. We're all excited about it and we have a lot of guys that can go out and make plays for us, so we can go spread the ball around. So I think it will be a lot of fun."

(on what QB Matt Schaub has proven to him) "I think at the time when he got here, he was a guy who was finally getting an opportunity. He was ready to go out and just show people what he can do. We started off real well but we had the injuries happen, and just from talking to him in the offseason, he's still ready to go out and show people that he can be a star quarterback of the league."

(on QB Matt Schaub's confidence) "Yeah, you can see it just from being with him in the huddle and just from talking to him when we talk about plays when we are out at practice. He's getting better and he's going to make this team better."

(on his perspective from the sidelines after his surgery) "We've found what we had during the season last year by having different guys play every week from guys being injured. I think that just gave this team a lot of confidence. When you have that confidence, it shows out on the field. But we know what we have, and the guys are excited about it. We're ready to get it going, but we just have to keep working."

DT Amobi Okoye

(on how it is going this year) "It is going good. I have been out here for a little bit, so I am little bit more comfortable. But it's going good."

(on the relieved stress of having the first year out of the way) "Of course, man; once you have that year under your belt, you kind of know what to expect. So now I just go out there and play and make plays."

(on how good the defense can be this year) "Only you can determine that. I know we have what it takes, but we have to come out and practice and get better day by day. And day by day, we have gotten better. It seems like there have been four days because there have been four practices. But we can at least be top five in the league."

(on what it is like practicing with DE Mario Williams) "It's like practicing with Mario, you know. He is a DE for the Houston Texans. It's like practicing with N.D. Kalu, a defensive end for the Houston Texans. It's the same thing."

(on Williams' influence on his style of play) "We all feel each other and that is what we plan on doing. That is definitely a motivation factor when one person is playing better than the other. That picks you up and gets you all together."

(on Williams' improvement last year) "Of course. Him, me and the whole defensive line, we are going to get better every day, game by game."

(on possible double teaming of Williams and the effect on him) "Well, you know, teams have their game plan. I really can't tell which play it is going to be but I am sure whatever it is going to be, we will be ready and prepared for it."

(on the biggest adjustment to the NFL) "It's probably just going to practice and having to practice in jerseys and Houston Texans gear and shoulder pads."

(on the pressure of being the No. 1 draft pick) "Oh, definitely, that pressure is there, and especially such a high draft pick, too. It is a lot of responsibility to have over your head. You have got to show up, so it is a lot of pressure. Have to survive in that pressure cooker."

(on learning from Williams on dealing with pressure) "I have learned from a lot of people, from everybody. There are a lot of restrictions on you, so you've got to do your best to show up."

G Chester Pitts and T Ephraim Salaam
(on reaction to their Super Bowl commercial) Salaam: "People loved it because it's a true story and people can relate to it. Two friends from way before this football thing started and somehow find their way to play on the same team and have a good time. Who is not going to like that?"

(on whether they would be worried about the commercial) Pitts: "They spent a lot of money on (it). It was the same guy that did, 'Off the backboard, around the corner, nothing but net' commercials. Yeah, it was that guy. We weren't worried one bit. He's talented."

(on whether or not there were some exaggerations in the commercial) Salaam: "No. He (Pitts) was so athletic bagging groceries. I mean, he did behind the back, eyes closed, everything."

Pitts: "Paper, plastic, double plastic, double paper."

Salaam: "I said, 'Hey, with hands like that, you should play football.'"

(on doors opening because of exposure from the commercial) Salaam: "Man, we got our new best friend Ellen Degeneres. We hang."

Pitts: "I got her cell phone number; you want to talk to her?"

Salaam: "I mean, it's just opened so many doors. It really lets people see that offensive lineman have personalities."

Pitts: "That we can put two words together, make complete sentences."

Salaam: "Well-spoken, not too hard on the eyes. Well, at least myself included, anyway. So it definitely let people see that offensive linemen are definitely more marketable now and not just the quarterbacks and running backs."

(on their phones starting to ring immediately after the commercial aired during the Super Bowl) Pitts: "Oh, yeah. I told everyone I had in my Verizon Wireless Blackberry."

Salaam: "I told my wife. We were at her father-in-law's house in Seattle and he had a huge party, and it came on and the whole house went crazy. You know, I like to surprise people; I'm a big surpriser."

(on pinching themselves because of their success) Salaam: "No. I've been in the league 11 years. If I was going to pinch myself, it would have been after that rookie year."

(on both going to the ESPYs) Salaam: "Oh, yeah, we went. I've been to the ESPYs for like six years."

Pitts: "I had to get in a Super Bowl commercial to get invited but, you know, hey."

Salaam: "All he had to do was get the right women to put him out there, which he did - Denise White, Entertainers and Athletes Group."

(on what teammates have said about their commercial) Pitts: "They give us crap but they love it. They're jealous right now because we're famous and they're not."

Salaam: "It's just some recognition. What it does is shine a light on us."

Pitts: "It also showcases that we're out here working hard and together representing our team."

Salaam: "We're single-handedly trying to put us (Houston Texans) on the map, not only through the media, but also (with) on-the-field play."

(on hanging out together outside of practice) Both: "All the time."

CB Dunta Robinson

(on the approaching season) "I know that football season is coming around, and every year since I was seven years old I've been out on the football field. So to be sitting on the sideline watching, it's tough. But I know what I've got to get done to get back on the field, and that's what I let drive me."

(on going into what would be his best camp last year and now being on the sidelines) "I mean, it's tough, you know, but if I wasn't doing so good (in his recovery), I'd be down. But I've come out here and I've worked hard every day since I got hurt in November, so I really can't worry about it because I know there will be a day when I'm back out on the field. So with that being said, I let my work ethic drive me. Not being able to get out on the field, that drives me to get back on the field; it makes me work a little bit harder. So I really don't think about it too much because, like I said, I know one day I will be back on the field. I mean, if it was a career-ending injury or something like that, then I'd be down. But I know it's not and I know that the plan is for me to get back out there, so I really don't take it that hard."

(on what his body is telling him now) "My body's telling me, 'You can play,' but other mouths are telling me – you know, doctors, etc. – they're telling me that, 'You're not ready yet.' So like I said, I've just got to keep working on this thing. I've come a long ways from where I was. At one point, the timetable was maybe miss the entire 2008 season and to be where I am in July headed into August, it's truly a blessing, man, so I'm just going to keep working. I haven't had a setback yet, and that's amazing when you injure yourself the way I did. Guys usually have setbacks, and I haven't had one. I think that's part of the way I've been working. I work to not have a setback. And things are going good for me, so I've just got to keep coming out here working every day while these guys are on the field working, and hopefully I get back out with them sooner than later."

(on if he thinks he could be productive if he returns midseason) "Oh, definitely. Most of it would be just adrenaline rush, doing what I love again. Once you get back out on the field, it's like riding a bike: Everything comes back together. So I'm looking forward to it. I'm not really worried about the pain that's going to be in my knee at that point in time. All I'm thinking about is coming out here working and doing everything I can to possibly get back out on the field."
Texans RB Steve Slaton
(on what's on his iPod) "Everything, a little bit of everything. I really just keep it on shuffle, but I'm a Jay-Z fan. I think that's mostly what runs though my iPod: Jay-Z."

(on the jumping into the Bullpen) "Hopefully. Hopefully, I'll do it every game."

(on visiting the Hall of Fame with the rookies) "It's very important to me. It's one of the proudest moments of my life. You get to see the people that laid down the foundation to play football and see how it keeps revolving."

(on what inspired him most on the trip) "The Jim Brown, the Walter Payton, the Emmitt Smith and the breaking of the rushing record. That's one of the things I wanted to see and take some pictures of."

(on following in their footsteps) "Just the longevity in my career, that's all."

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