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Houston Texans

Camp quotes: Day 5


The ever-animated Alex Gibbs continued to draw fans at training camp as he coached the offensive line through individual drills. The assistant head coach did not talk to the media, but his fellow coaches and teammates spoke about him after practice.

Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on assistant head coach/offense Alex Gibbs) "He has been doing it a long time. Alex is very passionate about what he is doing. He got away from football for a little bit, but that fire's is burning again. First of all, I think he's a hell of coach and he's really enjoying himself, and that's good for our football team. He's just a fantastic person to be around on a daily basis."

(on if he is worried about RB Chris Brown) "I wouldn't go that far yet. I'm concerned about the time missed. You've got four backs going, guys really working hard. He needs to get on the field and catch up with football team, but we've got to deal with the issues. That's part of it; just have to keep working."

(on who else missed today) "(G) Fred (Weary) did not practice. Fred's hamstring is bothering him a little bit. Fred's kind of going through, basically, his offseason in a lot of ways because he's behind the team from a physical standpoint. So we just took him out of there this morning. We'll continue to be smart with him when he practices. He practices in the morning."

(on WR Jacoby Jones not practicing) "Yeah, his foot is bothering him. Like I said, he checked out OK. We are going to be day-to-day and we are going to get him right. We have got a bunch of young receivers that I want to look at, anyway. We are just going to make sure that it is feeling OK before he comes back out here."

(on CB DeMarcus Faggins) "I think Petey's getting real close. Scott (Jackson)'s probably a little bit further away."

(on T Scott Jackson) "Scott has got a problem with his foot, plantar fasciitis stuff, so that's what we're working with."

(on CB DeMarcus Faggins out with hamstring pain) "The good thing with all the guys we're talking about is that all the guys should be back on the field at some point, so we're not talking about losing guys for a period of time. I keep charts from year to year for where we're at and even though we came to practice with 80, we are actually practicing more guys this day today than we were the last two years. So we're holding up pretty good."

(on CB Jacques Reeves) "He brought a level of speed to our team that we haven't had; that's number one. I really like his work ethic. The kid is out here working everyday. He is getting more and more comfortable with our system. He's had a chance to make plays because of great speed."

(on pressure on CB Jacques Reeves) "I think that's throughout the football team. The competition is as good as it has been. That's okay; it makes them all better players and makes us a better team."

(on DT Frank Okam) "Well, Frank has kind of been up and down. He shows flashes of doing some really good things. He needs to condition himself even better than he is. He's pretty good, don't get me wrong there, but there's another level for Frank. We've got to keep pushing. We're playing him at both spots, the nose and the three, so that may have something to do with some of the indecision that's been going on. But he's got a chance to help this team."

(on if he wants DT Frank Okam to drop weight) "No, he's a big man. The first few days before camp, I think he sat in the sauna for four days and I asked him, 'What are you doing here?' He said, 'Trying to get down.' And I think we settled on what he should be. He has done pretty good. He's pretty well-conditioned for as big of a person he is."

(on how CB Antwaun Molden and CB Jamar Fletcher are doing) "They're doing a good job. They're both getting a ton of reps because of Dunta (Robinson) being out and (DeMarcus) Petey being out. It is good for them, a very competitive situation, so we will see how it works out."

(on the importance of WR André Davis) "He is extremely important. He is an outright speed in a lot of ways, along with Andre (Johnson). He's a big player for us, not only as a returner but covering kicks, too. You feel like you have three starters there, with him, Kevin (Walter) and Andre (Johnson), so that is a nice problem to have. But he is a big part of this team."

(on ways that backup QB Sage Rosenfels pushes QB Matt Schaub) "When you're out here competing and you've got a guy stepping in after you every day, that's tough. He has been automatic. He's having a great camp. I think he's having a better camp than he had last year. Matt sees that, Matt knows that. But they push each other. They work together, and they get along very well. They're going to end up pushing each other to new heights in their career and that is good for our team."

{QUOTE}(on his position on T Ephraim Salaam) "Well, first off, you have to understand I have got a relationship that goes way back with Ephraim. He has played for me for a long time. I have a tremendous appreciation for what he did for our football team these last two seasons, especially last year playing every game. Ephraim also understands what we're trying to do with this young kid (Duane Brown). And I know it was hard when we went through that, which I would expect it to be hard. But Ephraim's commitment to the team and helping us with that kid and everything that we are doing is a key to this organization. He has been awesome. He's helping Duane and is having a great camp himself, and Duane is going to have played extremely well."

(on it being hard for T Ephraim Salaam to make changes) "I think it's part of it. I think we understand that. We are both grown men and we understand this business. We've been doing it a long time. There's a long way to go. There's a long time to go before now and Pittsburgh. Who is going to end up lining up and being our starter that day at any position, much less left tackle, is a question still to be answered."

(on DT Jeff Zgonina entering his 16th season) "Well, I'm amazed at how well he takes care of his body and the condition level that he is in. I have tremendous respect for him as a person; the way he lives his life, the way he goes about being a football player. He loves football. It's important to him. He wants one more or two more; that's just the way he is. It has helped our football team and is a great example for our young kids."

(on DT Jeff Zgonina worried about making the roster) "Usually, guys that last a long time in this league are probably somewhat insecure about their job, worrying about it every day, and that's what makes them go. That's what makes good players go."

(on Texans Ambassador Kenny Burris out watching practice) "I remember him from past training, hooking up many times. In 2000 I remember that, but it's good to see him out here."

(afternoon practice)
(on practice this afternoon) "Oh, running a little low this afternoon. We have got some guys tired but we needed some work. Worked on some shifts and stuff and that slows practice down quite a bit. But it was a good day, a good productive day. Trying to get these young quarterbacks some work this afternoon. Sage's (Rosenfels) back is bothering him a little bit, or shoulder so we just gave him the afternoon off."

(on if it is QB Sage Rosenfels' throwing shoulder) "It's really not his shoulder, it's somewhere in his neck. Getting old, I guess. So we give those other two guys some reps."

(on the team's health situation today) "We are starting to get those nicks at five and six days deep. But really we've got nothing that should keep anyone out a significant period of time that we're hoping. We did send Chris (Brown) to get his back looked at today at lunch. I have not heard back from (head athletic trainer) Kevin (Bastin) and them yet. So we keep pushing."

(on expectations for RB Chris Brown's return) "I was hoping he would be back today but obviously not. And I think he has made some progress, but they went ahead wanted to take a look at some things this afternoon. So I will have more for you in the morning."

(on any guys standing out on either side of the ball) "It would be really hard to say one guy. It is a good thing the nucleus of our football team is working extremely well and getting better. You look at our first group so those guys have been on the field and there aren't guys missing time. That's the only way you get better so it would be hard for me to put a finger on one or two guys."

(on if he likes the practice intensity in the afternoon) "I think everybody is trying their way of doing this with the 80 guys. It is an experiment for me everyday to be honest with you. I take a look at what we start each day with, numbers wise, and as long as we can come out here in the afternoon and still get some speed and get our reps, I think it's going to make our team better. We're also able to rest guys. Our young guys are getting a lot of practice. So far so good but I'm sure there will be some adjustments along the way."
Texans DT Frank Okam(on if he'll be cooking any dinners for his teammates this year) "Maybe when we have those D-line dinners, I may have to cook up something. But we're good right now."

(on if that will save money) "Definitely, definitely. Saves a lot of money. Especially on the rookies. They usually make the rookies pay."

(on if it's odd that they make the rookies pay) "A little bit, but, you have to do it. You have to pay your dues and show respect for the game."

(on how he fits in being a Texan) "It's definitely great. I have a lot of friends here in Houston, so the transition wasn't that hard. I had a good base of support group behind me. Still being in the state of Texas, close to family where everyone can watch and know what I'm doing, is definitely great."

(on how he feels he fits in position-wise) "I'm fitting in pretty good. I'm playing both tackle positions. At the nose, you have to try to stop the run. At three-technique, you have to make plays. I'm used to trying to make plays and being on the field. So, just being out there and making sure I know what I'm doing and not messing up. That's the most important thing as a rookie is knowing your playbook and executing it."

(on who on the D-line is helping him the most) "I usually learn by watching other people's mistakes. Our coaching staff has really been helpful to me. Really, watching Amobi (Okoye) and Mario (Williams), Travis (Johnson) has really been helping me a lot off the field and Jeff Zgonina, who's been in the league forever, has been giving me a lot of tips."

(on being pushed by G Kasey Studdard) "That's just back to old practice days at (the University of) Texas. Me and him have been going at it since I was a freshman. So, having another guy you went to college with and you're competing against still, just lets when you see some guy you went against and can compete against at this level, you can do it."

(on if the practices are everything he thought they would be) "It's definitely hot and more humid here than Austin, no doubt, what I'm used to. But, just being able to be on the field and see how you can do as a player is the most important thing. As a young player, getting confidence is the most important thing."

(on how good he thinks the defensive line can be) "It can be really good. I think a lot of guys, if we just hone down our techniques. We've got a nice niche of guys that can do different things. With that little mix and change ups, it can be pretty hard for teams."

(on assistant head coach/offense Alex Gibbs) "Yeah, he reminds me of my O-line coach at Texas, which was always yelling and in the mix. So, he keeps those O-line guys motivated which makes us have to stay motivated because we don't want to look bad either. So that's definitely a good thing."

(on if its weird to see offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan with a clipboard) "Yeah, he's a pretty young guy. But, he's very talented at what he does, so you just have to go with it."

(on if he played with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan at Texas) "He actually was there before I was there. I just missed him."

(on if the game is that much faster than college) "It's the mental part of the game that's different and the little tidbits of techniques that the wily veterans use to make themselves more successful than the younger guys. You can see the little subtle things they do that I'm trying to pick up on so I can put in my game and make myself better."

(on if he sees himself in a back-up role or maybe even a starter eventually) "Definitely. If you don't want that, if you don't think you have that, then you're in the wrong business because they'll run you out of here. The game is too hard. That's definitely my goal and definitely my mindset and I think I have the ability to do it."

G Chester Pitts
(on how many games he has played in the NFL) "Great infuses to make sure I stay healthy for the first four games this season, so I can hit that century mark, but honestly I take the next one with next one. I just let it role. I try not to think about it, just go out there and play as hard as I can and that's it."

(on how many plays he has missed) "Exactly six plays total now. Two of them closed up my neck a little bit, that hurt, that hurt bad too. I didn't think I was going to make it."

(on Alex Gibbs) "He just, I don't know how he does it, but its crazy, his energy is innate, he doesn't drink a whole bunch of coffee and he's not Red Bulling it, drinking all kinds of things to get him going. He just wakes up and he is like a firecracker, but its fun to me. I enjoy his energy. He's out there always having fun and all he wants is for us to get better. All he wants is for us to be successful and do well. What more can you ask for? I love the guy now. Sometimes, 'Chill out Alex, I'm tired. I'm breathing here. Leave me alone.' But he tries to shorten the breaks at the water cooler. Do you realize how big I am? That's not a good combination. I need my water, you better leave me alone."

(on how the team has changed from the beginning) "You tell me, you were there then. Just look at the attitudes, look at the energy, and look at just the excitement, the buzz that's going on. Guys are buying in, you can really believe that now, but these expectations, I mean, I'm just one of those guys that's cream rises to the top. When its time to go, put up or shut up, that's the situation I love to be in, so I'm extremely excited right now."

(on being a veteran) "You, know I don't worry about all of that, after every season, I just say I want to double what I have done. After my first year let me do one more, after two I wanted to do four, after four I want to eight, so honestly I'll go as long as they want to keep me around, I'm not doing any unrepeatable damage or beating myself into the ground to keep playing. As long as I look good and I'm playing well, why not?"

T Ephraim Salaam
(on being a backup) "It's hard because I'm a professional and I'm a competitor and I'm good at what I do and I take pride in that; and it's hard. It's hard, but whatever it takes for the Texans to reach that next level I'm willing to do. Whatever that may be, and I don't make that call. I'm the go-to-guy. Whenever they need me, I'm there and it's always been like that. So I don't mind."

(on being paid swing man) "In my eyes, I am a starter in this league, and in a lot of other people's eyes I'm a starter in this league because I can play. I enjoy playing and I play well. But it's just the situation I'm in right now and it just comes along with everything I made. Through the last two years I've been starting I made ya know backup money. So its just part of the business, man. This business is bigger than Ephraim Salaam. It's bigger than me its bigger than Duane Brown, Chester Pitts, bigger than all of us - Andre Johnson. Once we're gone, the NFL still gone be here the Texans will still be here. So you got to look at the big picture. Although we don't like the big picture, we'd like to change it. But what can you do?"

(on out playing his contract) "I've always out played my contract, my whole career. Well, you use this as springing board, I can't play this forever so I use the notoriety and the fact that I'm in a position to be an entertainer in one of the best athletic leagues in the world. And I use that to my benefit in all the ways that I can, as you well know that. But you know, of course, I would love to have the huge contract and be paid like left tackles get paid or right tackles or linemen period. But I do my thing man, I don't complain. It affects me, but I never let it show. I just go out and work."

(on John Benton) "I love John man. John is a great, great player's coach man. And he's behind the scenes for the most part because we had (Mike) Sherman and now we got Alex Gibbs in here. But John he's the constant man, last year when he had the rains by himself we gave up 22 sacks. And people don't talk abut that, but John is a terrific and wonderful coach and he'll be a coach in this league for a long time. And Frank Pollack our assistant o-line coach, they do a phenomenal job they don't get a lot of press and stuff like that but they definitely have this offensive line moving in the right direction."

(on Alex Gibbs) "I love Alex. I've always said Alex will make you good or he'll make you gone. That's his favorite thing to say is getting good or get gone. And he definitely knows what he's doing; he's been doing this for a long time. He's had some of the best offensive linemen, the best running backs the best offense in the league hands down year round, every year and you got to love it. I love it; I love it. Me being an older player, I can relate to him. I love him. We have a great relationship, because he knows I'm over there hump of making mental mistakes being a young guy and all of that. He knows if I make a mistake or do something wrong, he knows. He'll get me, he'll nudge me or say something all crazy to me and I'll go back at him. But we need that type now."

Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on being able to stay healthy through the entire season) "Oh easily, I'm well beyond that. I'm very confident in my ability to go out there and play 16 weeks. I feel like I'm in great shape right now, strong and able to go out there and play."

(on direction and ability of team) "Without a doubt, across the board we've got a lot talent, a lot of weapons, on both offense and defense. Guys are working it and they're on the game to get better every day and every practice and that's all we can do right now at this point."

(on learning anything on sitting out last year and watching) "Yeah, that I didn't want to be on the sideline watching. I wanted to be out there. That's the main thing that I wanted to take away from that - to get myself healthy as soon as possible, to be out there."

(on sitting helping his game) "Well, I spent three years in Atlanta seeing the game from the sidelines, so I don't want to ever have to go through that again. Nobody does."

(on how tough the division is) "Well, it's very tough, look at the other three teams and they all made the playoffs last year. It's definitely a tough division, up and down the lines. So you have to be ready each week to go out and play at a high level and execute your game plan. It's definitely tough, but that's what makes it fun."

(on importance of RB Ahman Green, WR Andre Johnson and himself all being healthy) "Well not just for us, but for the whole team it's important to stay healthy. It's a grind of a season. It's a long one, but the more we can stay healthy and be on the field all together, offense and defense and then special teams even, it's going to make us a better team."

(on the offense being better around this year than last year) "I definitely think so. With all of us being healthy and for most guys it's our third year in the system, but for some of us it's our second altogether so everyone is much more confident in what we're trying to get done and the changes that we've made, and the coaching staff, and what the coaches are asking of us - we all understand those things."

WR Kevin Walter
(on setting personal goals for himself this season) "Personal goals? Yeah, basically my personal goals are to make the playoffs. If we don't make the playoffs this year, it's a disappointment in my mind. But it should be on everyone else's mind."

(on getting better this year) "Oh yeah, I'm already trying to be better. Last year is last year. I'm looking for bigger and better things this year. I'm competing my butt off and I'm working hard each day and I'm looking for better things than last year."

(on being excited for team being healthier) "Oh yeah, definitely. We got me, Matt (Schaub) healthy, Andre (Johnson) healthy; we've got a lot of weapons. We're going to be running the ball well. We're going to be throwing the ball deep. We're going to make a lot of plays and score a lot of points."

(on having QB Matt Schaub having more experience playing with the team) "This is the second year with Matt (Schaub) and obviously our chemistry is good on the field. He's working his tail off. He gotten back and he's really gotten stronger and he's 100 percent and (WR Andre Johnson) is 100 percent. We got an awful lot weapons out there and we'll be on the same page and everyone's looking good in camp so we'll be even better."

(on difference between this team and last year's team) "Confidence. I feel like we got a lot of playmakers. This year we're executing better and we're playing faster. This is our third year in the system under Coach Kubiak and I think everyone feels more comfortable and if you're more comfortable you can go out there play like you're hair is on fire."

(on season being a bust if the playoffs aren't reached) "I agree. If we don't make the playoffs it's a disappointment. You've got to play your best football from the beginning of the season and then especially at the end of the season. If we don't make the playoffs, that's a disappointment. That's one thing the organization needs, for us to take the extra step and make the playoffs."

(on becoming a good team from a mediocre team) "Being mediocre to good, being 8-8 going to 11-5 - it's the small things that we're concentrating on right now. We were a few plays from being 11-5, playing in six. We can definitely do that. Obviously, stop turning the ball over like we did last year and creating more turnovers and that can definitely be 11 wins. We're out here working hard. I've been in the playoffs before, I know what it's like and I see the same thing going on with this team."

(on reaching the playoffs in a tough division) "Yeah, this division looks tough. This division I think, top to bottom, is the toughest in the league. What we need to do better at is…we need to beat our division opponents. If we can play our game, and execute like we know we have to, we'll be fine. It'll be a lot of fun, but we need to win our division."

(on QB Matt Schaub's role as team leader) "(Matt) Schaub, he's the quarterback, he's the face of the franchise. Matt, when's he's healthy, and he's looking good. There doesn't look like nothing is wrong with his shoulder. He's out here competing, getting better each day. That's what we need to do. We need him to step up as well as a lot of other players. If he's playing well, we're all going to play well. The quarterback's the main position on offense and Matt (Schaub) is doing a great job."

(on seeing any differences in QB Matt Schaub's game) "Confidence. He's more comfortable with the system. He's throwing the ball well. He's throwing the deep ball well. He did a lot of great things last year but he's looking good this year too."

(on chemistry with QB Matt Schaub) "Matt's great. Off the field we're good buddies, hanging out. And our timing and everything is getting better. I think we're leaps and bounds from last year. We're going to score a lot of points and gain a lot of yards this year."

T Eric Winston
(on assistant head coach Alex Gibbs' personality) "He has a great time. I mean, that is what he does. Football is fun and it should be fun. It is not all pressure and you don't have to be serious all the time. You can have fun while you're working out here. I think that is what he is really bringing too. With everything else he is bringing, I think he is bringing a sense of 'Hey lets have some fun while we're working. Let's work hard but let's have fun. Let's not kill ourselves out here stressing out about things we can't control. Let's go out there, work hard, and get better, but at the same time let's have some fun."

(on the differences of assistant head coach Alex Gibbs' technique) "Honestly, we are not doing a ton of stuff different. We are doing things slightly here and slightly there. We are just making tweaks. He is coming in and taking the system that we have had, that he kind of started in Denver, that we brought here and changed a little bit here and there with our other coordinators in the past, and he is just making his tweaks to it. He is adding in his little flavors of what he likes to do. He is mixing everything together and he is slowly getting there. But it takes time. It takes these practices to get where he wants to be and we are just working."

(on assistant head coach Alex Gibbs' blocking scheme being generic) "It is but we do things a certain way. Everything, every scheme whether it is a power scheme, a man scheme, or a zone scheme. They all have their little flavors of what other people like to do and here is no different. He is putting in what he likes to put in, little changes, little tweaks here; who gets who and what signs and on what plays."

(on assistant head coach Alex Gibbs yelling) "It is a psychology process. With the guys, they are all different and I think he studies kind of how guys learn, how guys interact with people, and who can take what. And after a while the screaming doesn't really bother us. That is just coach talk. That is just the volume they speak in. It's not that they are yelling, it is just how high they speak. We don't look at it as yelling; he is just trying to communicate. We get used to it and we like it. We like this change up, we like a mix. We can give him stuff and he can give us stuff. It is all in good fun and we are having a lot fun while we are doing it."

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