Members of the team spoke to the media on Tuesday following the Texans' morning practice. Following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
Texans offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan
Texans running backs coach Chick Harris
Texans TE Owen Daniels
Texans QB Matt Schaub
Texans T Duane Brown
Texans LB Brian Cushing
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (morning practice)
(on C Chris Myers) "He got rolled up. We were pretty sloppy this morning as a team, and we were on the play and the back got pushed into him and he got rolled up. So we'll sit here and hope for the best, go get a look at it."
(on that being a part of camp but still hating it) "Oh, absolutely. You come out here every day and you want every guy healthy. The key to staying healthy is keeping people off the ground and practicing fast, and we didn't do that today. We were sloppy as a football team."
(on what in particular was sloppy in practice) "Everything was. We weren't very good today, not very good. We didn't get better today."
(on CB Jacques Reeves' injury) "I don't know, either, with him. He got tied up there in a pass route. We'll send him in and do an X-ray. We'll see. I'll have an answer for you guys this afternoon."
(on Cs Chris White and Antoine Caldwell taking the reps for C Chris Myers) "Obviously, and (G Mike) Brisiel can move over and play some center, too, but it's going to create a bunch of reps for those guys, so they'll have to step to the plate and do a good job, assuming that Chris may miss some time."
(on how G Chester Pitts' injury situation affects the overall picture at offensive line) "It makes you move guys around more is what it does, so it creates opportunities for people to show whether or not they can play in this league. We've got a lot of work to do. We've got some juggling to do as a coaching staff, so we'll keep working."
(on if there was anything he liked from today's practice) "Nope. Didn't like much at all. Wasn't very good."
(on whether this was the sloppiest practice of camp) "Yeah. Very poor. We're at a crossroads as a team. We're five days deep in this. We've got to decide how good to be, and we weren't very good today."
(on the keys to bouncing back after this practice) "Well, the key is that you find people with leadership to step up and stop practices like that, and we've got to find it."
(on C Antoine Caldwell playing guard and center in practice) "Yeah, he's doing both."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (afternoon practice)
(on today's injuries to CB Jacques Reeves and C Chris Myers) "Jacques has a fractured fibula. He'll be 6-8 weeks is what I'm told. It does not have to be fixed, but it's 6-8 weeks. Chris has a high ankle sprain, so we're checking the severity of that, but he's obviously going to miss some time. So, they'll both be ready to go."
(on how tough the injury losses are on the team) "Any of them are tough. You don't want to lose anybody. Unfortunately, it's part of this game, but you don't want to lose players."
(on the quality of afternoon's practice compared to the morning) "Yeah, it's hard to compare. We don't do much, we're just out here teaching."
(on CB Glover Quin's injury status) "He's got a bad leg bruise. Went out this morning and tried to do a little bit. He was pretty sore, so they took him over and did some jogging with him. Obviously, he's still day-to-day."
(on TE Anthony Hill's injury) "Well, he practiced, he was fine, he went through practice fine. His foot is bothering him, real sore, so they kept him on crutches and let him watch the rest. He's going to get an x-ray right now, so I'll give ya'll that one when I get it."
Texans offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan
(on why head coach Gary Kubiak would give up the play-calling) "Honestly, he's the head coach and he's got a lot more to do than just be an offensive coordinator and I get to look at a lot more things. He's got other stuff on his plate that he gets taken away from. He's got to look at the defense, both sides of the ball, and he's got to deal with special teams and everything. I'm in my little hole, studying the defense, all day, every day. I'm with our offense all day, every day. I'm doing more with it. So if he can have the trust in me to do it, I can help him out a lot more. Now he doesn't have to spend his time trying to do everything and he can really focus on what will help the team the most."
(on how much fun he has) "It's so much fun. It's why I coach and I want to call plays and I hope I get to. It makes me really enjoy my job."
(on if there is a swagger that comes with just calling a touchdown) "It's hard for me to say that since I've really only called the plays for one full game. So I'd like to get that swagger. I'd like to have a swagger like (University of South Carolina head coach Steve) Spurrier, but I think it takes some time to get it."
(on if he feels more pressure now that he'll be calling plays full-time) "No, I actually feel less pressure. It might be more pressure outside our little world we live in, but it's less pressure for me personally. I used to have pressure when I'm trying to run an offense and do things and I didn't feel like I could call them. That's when I would get uptight and I'd know that it's out of my control and I can't do it. When I feel like I can call the plays and stuff, I feel much more comfortable."
(on what head coach Gary Kubiak said to him when they were down 10-0 against the Bears in the season finale) "Nothing. He just was asking what we thought and we thought our guys were ready to play, because you know there were some bad things that happened, and we didn't feel that way. We had a couple things go wrong. A halfback fumbled a ball and then we missed a protection that got us out on a 3rd down. So it was really just two plays that got us down 10-0 quick. It wasn't time to lose our composure yet, just stay with it. We thought our team was ready to play and be patient, and give them another chance. They went out there and they rose to the occasion. After that, I don't think we punted."
(on when down 10-0, what his communication was like with QB Matt Schaub) "I try to stay calm. You know, because everyone else was losing it. With the quarterback, it's a fine line. You don't want him to be aloof at all, or bad things are going to happen. You've just got to keep him calm. If he's rattled in the pocket, if he's seeing ghosts out there and second guessing himself, then bad things are going to happen. You've got to play fast and you know when things aren't going right, you still have to be confident and expect the best."
(on why they had so much trouble in the red zone in 2008) "There was a lot of things. There's a bunch of little things. We though the most glaring thing was not running the ball as well as we wanted to. We have a philosophy that we all truly believe, that if you want to be good down there, you can't just go down there and throw it. You have to run the ball. I think we led the NFL in attempts, but were I think like 25th in yards per carry inside the twenty. So we're committed to the run but we weren't getting out of it what we expect. We were getting a lot of it outside the twenties, but once we got in that red zone, then we weren't getting the gains that we needed. So you get in long yardage situations and you can't move the chains down there. Everyone plays back. They make you check a down and you're not going to get a first down. So we feel we really need to get better at running the ball. We can't have no-yard gains, we can't be 2nd and 10. 2nd and 8 is so much better than 2nd and 10. If you get a two-yard gain, now its 3rd and 6. You have a chance with a 3rd and 6 on the 15, but you don't with it 3rd and 10 on the 15. They'll play soft. They'll check a down and then eleven guys will tackle our guy short of a first down and we'll have to kick a field goal."
(on if he looks forward to head coach Gary Kubiak turning off his microphone sometimes) "Sometimes. If I'm messing up, definitely, because I'm going to be hearing it, but that's his job to keep us all in check and make sure we're doing the best to get our players right."
(on if head coach Gary Kubiak offered direction during the season finale in 2008) "No, he really left me completely alone. He let me go with it and it was great. I admire him for doing that. I know that I would have an extremely hard time doing that if I was a head coach and an offensive guy. It's hard to do that. For Coach to let me do that, it was a pretty good deal."
(on his excitement for the offense this season) "Yeah. We feel we've got weapons at every position. If we can stay healthy, eliminate our turnovers, and find a way to still win games when we're not playing our best. We feel we've been all hit or miss. We come out and we tear it up or we come out and struggle and then it gets worse. We have to find a way to not just be a top offense statistically; we have to find how to be a winning offense. That's what we're trying to preach to our guys. There's going to be games where we don't play good, but we still have got to win those games. If we can do that, we'll be a playoff team."
(on if his dad, former head coach Mike Shanahan, did the same thing allowing then offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak to call plays) "Yeah, I think it was real similar. Dad did it for awhile, on his own. Then he turned it over to Gary. Gary ran with it and my dad tried his hardest to stay out of it, but it ends up being a communication thing and when Gary is calling the plays, he's communicating with me. We're both still talking about it, trying to see things. Even when I am calling the plays, I know if he doesn't like it, he's going to have a final say."
(on if the game plan is a collaborative effort from all the coaches) "Yeah, we split it up among all the coaches. We assign a couple guys to goal line. We assign a couple guys to short yardage. We've got guys focused on 3rd down. We have our guy to focus on the red zone. They study that during the week. When it comes time to study that part of their section, we really call it each coach's expertise section. When their expertise section comes up, like we'll do red zone Thursday night—(tight ends) Coach (Brian) Pariani does. They'll tell us everything he's been studying all week in the red zone. He'll tell us what he likes, what they're playing down there. Then Kub (head coach Gary Kubiak) and I will go back and just decide what we want to carry into the game; take about 5 plays we want to run inside each areas of the field."
(on if it gets heated at times) "Yeah, there's some debate. Especially, starting off, there is a lot more at the beginning than at the end. The first time, between him and me, really having those conversations, you start to really know what each other is thinking. One guy might see one personnel grouping or something else to run the ball. One guy might see that personnel grouping to pass the ball and you've got to fight through those things. I learn from him, and he can learn right now stuff from me. Not literally. That would be bad news for me. We work through it and feel we're much more comfortable working with each other now and understanding how each other see the game. I'm excited going into the second year with him."
(on the communication between him and head coach Gary Kubiak during a game) "Kub and I are talking the whole game, every play. Kub gets fired up on game day and he makes sure to keep us all accountable. He's aggressive out there and he's going. But he and I are usually talking every play. Everyone is listening. We've got the offensive line coaches on their own deal; they talk together. Kub can go back between skill coaches and o-line coaches so he can hear both. For the most part, it's Kub and I talking and other coaches are suggesting stuff and we're just trying to come to a conclusion that'll help us win the game."
(on using TE James Casey around the goal line) "Today was our first day on the goal line so we threw everyone in there. We haven't had anything specific. We're going to look at the film now. It's the first time we can have some goal line reps with full pads so we can actually evaluate some guys and see if some guys are behind some guys, playing better than some guys up front and start making some moves if that's the case."
(on if he thinks TE James Casey get some carries near the goal line during the preseason) "In the exhibition season, definitely. We've got to see what they can do and the only way to see that is throwing them in games. So we're going to give everybody a shot in the preseason and whoever our best guys are in every situation, those will be the guys once week 1 starts."
(on if head coach Gary Kubiak can get on coaches on the sidelines during games) "Oh, no doubt. It's going to be one or the other. He's going to get on us, to get on the players. But if he wants me to go get on the quarterback, he doesn't expect me to be someone I'm not. I'm going to go get on (QB) Matt (Schaub) the way I do it. I'm not going to go 'M.F.' him about how bad he is. I'm going to go talk to him and tell him what we've got to do to get better. If he doesn't think I'm doing the job, and that didn't work, he's not going to wait for me to do it again. He'll go handle it and expect me to do a better job next time."
(on his confidence level with both his head coach and quarterback having high confidence in him) "I'm confident as a play caller because I'm confident in our players. We have good players. We have a good offense. Really, you can act like it's the play calling and stuff but you call plays to give players the best chance, the best opportunity to make the play. You're just trying not to make it harder for them. You're not making it for them, you're just trying not to make it impossible. If we can give (WR) Andre (Johnson) a chance, give (RB) Steve (Slaton) a chance, and O.D. (TE Owen Daniels) a chance, that's all my job is to do, give them a chance and hope they make the play."
(on having all his offensive starters back) "It's great. It's rare that you can have the same eleven guys two years in a row. We've got the same eleven guys. We've got the exact same coaches and it's the first time in my career that I've had the same job two years in a row. I'm excited to go through that and to have everybody in the same place and we know what to expect. We don't have to put in anything new. It's just about getting ourselves better and seeing if we can take it to the next level."
(on the core of running backs this year) "(RB) Steve (Slaton) exceeded expectations last year. He did a hell of a job making it through the whole year and carrying the load. We still have to be a lot better in the running game. Like I was saying earlier, we were horrible in the red zone and Steve knows that. Steve has to get much better in that area and we've got some guys that can push him. If some guys do it better, then they'll get the carries down there. We need to get better at getting 4 yards every time. Not just big play or no play."
(on RBs Chris Brown and Arian Foster) "He (Foster) is what you want in this system. He's very similar to Chris Brown. He doesn't mess around. We can have a play blocked for no yards and all we want them to do is make us not lose yards. Instead of 2nd and 10, we want them to make it 2nd and 8. That's the type of runner Foster is. He gets downhill. He gets north and doesn't mess around."
(on if he'll be in the press box or sidelines during games) "Sidelines."
Texans running backs coach Chick Harris
(on RB Steve Slaton) "If he takes it one day at a time and knows that he has a lot to work on and I don't let up on him, he will get better ok. That's the challenge of each player that comes out here and that's the challenge for Steve. He has to force himself into a situation where he is getting better and working on technique so that he can be technically sound."
(on Chris Brown) "I think Chris has made a big step from the standpoint of rehabilitation. He looks pretty good right now, but now the rigorous two-a-days in training camp is going to be an indicator of what he can do.
(on his hope that RB Chris Brown can stay healthy) "I'm real hopeful. I get down on my knees every night and hope that can happen. And this is what's happening right now, being in training camp, we'll find out from being able to stay on the field, being able to go through the reps that he has to go through. I think that we'll find out. And Chris has done a great job in the offseason. He had more times in our weight room than anybody else. So he's a veteran, he's smart, and I'm hoping for the best."
(on RB Arian Foster's potential) "Arian is talented. He had good stats in his junior year, and he fell off because the team didn't do as well, but he is a talented individual. Now you have to just knuckle down and be productive on a consistent basis. He was a little up and down in college. Now my job is to make him consistent. He has talent, he can catch the football, he's a big back. He runs a little high, but we're going to work on that and make sure that he gets himself down when he's going into heavy traffic. But we're really happy to see his progress right now."
(on RB Arian Foster's potential to make the roster) "We'll see. He's doing a good job right now."
Texans TE Owen Daniels
(on if he's getting settled into a routine after the events of the first day of camp) "Yeah, I came out here practiced well the first day and I knew I was going to have to talk to you guys and I was fine. I was ready to get some things off my chest but that's behind us. It was behind me before I had to talk to you guys but that's part of it. Just working, this is the time here to work. I'm not worried too much about it. I don't think about it 'til you guys ask me about it. So, everything's fine, I guess."
(on the importance of tight ends in the Texans offense) "Absolutely, (head) Coach Kub (Gary Kubiak) brought this offense from Denver. Tight ends were a big part of it with Shannon Sharp, he played really well there. I've been fortunate enough to be in this offense, be a part of an offense that really incorporates a tight end. It fits me well, I think. It still means you've got to go out and work and get better at everything, be a good blocker, be a good route runner, catch the ball, but I love playing it."
(on how many NFL teams don't incorporate tight ends as much) "I think that's part of what makes our offense pretty dangerous. When you have good receivers, when you don't have tight ends to stretch the field and draw some attention, it's going to be easier for those guys to worry about (WRs) Andre (Johnson) and Kevin (Walter) and David (Anderson) and Andre' Davis. So I do my best to take some attention away from them and I think it works both ways."
(on head coach Gary Kubiak calling this morning's practice the worst yet this camp) "Yeah, we started out slow. I don't know if it was about putting the pants on the first day or what it was or if it's just day four, five. It's that time of camp where guys start, I don't know if feeling sorry for themselves is the right thing to say, but dragging a little bit, it takes a little longer to get going. We just got to have guys step up to say something instead of the coaches. I think you'll see that from now on."
(on head coach Gary Kubiak being the type of coach that doesn't want even one bad workout) "Absolutely not. You always strive for perfection, you know. It's almost an unattainable goal but to reach towards it, that's the only way you're going to get better. We're at a point where we can go up or we can go down. The only way to go where we want to go is to be good everyday. Even if it's not a great practice, even if we're not catching every ball, we've got to be moving fast, and have a sense of urgency and we were lacking a little bit of that today."
Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on head coach Gary Kubiak describing today's practice as horrible) "We came out and it was one of those days where it's the beginning of day five, guys' legs are getting tired and minds are exhausted. It's just a matter of pushing through it as a group. We were able to fight through it and we had some good practice periods but we started a little slower. We have to get on things, start faster and correct those things going into the next practice but it's not always going to be green pastures and easy street. It's going to be hard and we have to fight through the adversity."
(on being concerned about C Chris Myers going down in practice) "He's a good friend of mine and I'm definitely concerned but hopefully it's not too serious and we'll be able to get him back out here soon. It's unfortunate that it happened the way it did but he's a tough guy and we're going to get him back out here."
(on his hairstyle) "I don't know, it's some of that Manny Ramirez craze when he went to Los Angeles although I don't have the dreadlocks or anything. I've got the power alleys, is what I like to call them. It's becoming a fashion statement. To anyone out there in Houston that wants to get on the train, you're more than welcome."
(on his wife's pregnancy) "My wife Laurie and I found out that she's six weeks pregnant. It was an out of body experience to go to the doctor and to see and hear that heart beat was something else. It's one of the greatest gifts in this world."
(on importance of RB Steve Slaton to the passing game) "It's very important. The running game sets up a lot of what we do in the play action. If we can run the ball effectively and consistently, it will set up our play action game and give (WRs) Andre (Johnson), Kevin (Walter) and (TE) Owen (Daniels) room down field."
(on poor practice) "It's obviously not the way we want to practice from start to finish. We want to have a crisp, perfect practice from the beginning, from warm ups, to the end. It's the fifth day of camp, one of those days where you come on in full pads and guys' legs are tired and their minds are tired but you have to push through it. As individuals, we have to come out and take it upon ourselves to work through that, focus and power through because it's going to be like that. Every team is going through that right now. It's about those teams that handle that adversity so that's what we're going to focus on doing."
(on leadership in practice) "It's a work in progress. You have to pick and choose your spots when you absolutely just hammer a guy or when you have to motivate them. You just have to feel the heartbeat of the team and how certain players react to certain things."
(on his relationship with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan) "Kyle and I have a close relationship. We work really well together and understand each other's mindsets and attitudes. We relate well to one another. I can expect certain things to be caught and he knows my mindset and what I'm comfortable with in certain situations."
Texans T Duane Brown
(on going into second season) "I feel a lot more comfortable and confident in my ability. Last year, the beginning of the season was very tough for me. I had to get adjusted quickly. After the first four games, I started to come into my own a little bit. I'm just trying to keep that going from last year. I worked really hard in the off season to try to make progression. I've been having good OTAs and a pretty good training camp so far. I'm just trying to carry this throughout the preseason. I have high expectations for myself this year."
(on having a rough start) "It was very hard. You go through the training camp then you get to regular season and the speed just really picks up. We were going up against the best defenses in the league with Pittsburgh and Tennessee after that. It was pretty tough for me but I just had to dig deep. I knew the team needed me and I didn't want to let them down. I started to play better and started to get more confidence. That helped me out a lot. The guys around me rallied around me and I ended the year pretty strong."
(on having the offensive line respected) "It means a lot to me. I haven't been here long but I heard a lot about the past years that they've had here. To be a part of a very young, pretty good group, it means a lot. We know that teams are looking for us this year. They're worried about some of the things that we're going to do and that makes us feel good. We want to be a very physical group and we want to intimidate people. We all have that mentality and we just want to make it a joint effort."
(on expectations this year for the team) "Like (WR) Andre Johnson said, people have been talking about playoffs here for a long time but you have to take it one day at a time. Of course we believe that we are a playoff caliber team and we can reach that level but you can't just talk about it. You have to let your actions speak louder than your words. We're going to take it one game at a time and see where that goes."
(on the difference from last year) "It's definitely a different feeling from last year. I was trying to get acclimated to the system last year, it was my second year playing a position. Now that I have one season in the NFL under my belt, I feel a lot better."
(on being happy about being put to the test last year) "Looking back on it now, I am. As the season was going on, it was a whirlwind for me and I kind of got down for a while but that's the best way to learn. You can sit back and watch all you want but as soon as you're in there, that's when you start to pick up that experience. That's really going to help me out this season."
(on being considered a threat) "Definitely, we want to be respected by the league. We want to intimidate defenses when they see us and see us coming. That's the mentality that we have going into the season. I'm just going to keep going like that."
(on what he learned since being in the league) "Technique is everything. Last year was my second year playing left tackle and I was a raw player. I've had some time to polish up some things like my footwork and I feel like that will make me a lot better player."
(on identifying with one's draft class) "Definitely, when you come in with a class, you really don't know too many people and you have to stick together. We support each other to the fullest and everyone is coming along pretty well."
(on how he felt seeing C Chris Myers hurt at practice earlier in the day) "It hurt me, when you see a guy like that on the ground. He is a very, very important part of this team, especially the o-line. He's the guy who gets us in position to make our blocks. It's guys being tired and not moving as fast as before, not moving their feet and you get people piled up. I think after that happened, it really opened people's eyes up and we started to pick it up a little more and try to take care of each other a little better."
(on if sloppy is the right word to describe what caused the injury) "You could say that, yeah. It's these guys being tired and not using proper technique and not running your feet as much as you would if you were more polished."
(on if it's fair he did not get hazed as a rookie like LB Brian Cushing did) "I wouldn't call that hazing at all. It was all fun."
(on if he has improved due the weight he lost) "Definitely. I feel a lot faster than I did before. It's helping me get through this heat. It's helping me use my biggest asset, which is my athleticism."
Texans LB Brian Cushing
(on if the last few days have been a long process) "A little bit so far. It definitely feels a little later than the third day but I just have to keep my head on straight, know what I'm doing and stay focused on the goal which is to get better right now and get this defense down."
(on if he is encouraged that so much is expected of him) "I definitely think so. It's what I want and it's what I'm looking forward to. I'll take on that responsibility. That's the kind of player I want to be. I want to have those pressures and I feel like I can thrive under it."