Following are excerpts from coach Gary Kubiak and players following the sixth day of the Texans 2006 training camp.
**Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on the number of injuries)** "Hey, that's life right now. We have a lot of guys beat up. We can sit here and feel sorry for ourselves, or keep battling, and we're going to keep battling. We have a lot of guys out here who want to make plays and make this team. I thought this was our best practice of the year this morning with the tempo, and the guys who were out. We got after it."
(on giving wide receivers Eric Moulds and Andre Johnson the morning off) "I want those guys to work once a day. I like them working on grass, if at all possible. I see us working in here a lot, probably the first few weeks of the season. When I give them a break during two-a-days, I'd rather it be in here on the turf."
(on not having key guys playing at the same time) "That concerns you. You'd like to have everybody out there. If you go through NFL camp, that's kind of part of it. That's part of the thing. It happens. The key is that when it's happening, you have to stay focused and keep going. You can't just stop your mentality and the mentality of your team and the way these young guys are working, and the way they're getting better. (Defensive end) Mario (Williams) could have gone this morning. I just said I don't want him on the turf this morning. I want him on the grass this evening. That was strictly on me. With (running back) Domanick (Davis), here's our plan with him. We've been through all the examinations, so we're going to spend this weekend getting the swelling down on his knee, and getting him feeling good about what we're doing. Our plan is to have him back on Monday. It's not day-to-day. We're going to wait until Monday. He knows that. We're on the same page, and we'll go from there."
(on cornerback Chris McKenzie's injury) "It's not looking good. He has a fracture in his socket in his shoulder. It looks like he's done for the year. We're going to fix it here in the next few days, so that's another blow. We're going to keep plugging and keep looking for some veteran corners out there, and go from there. It does not look good for Chris at this point. Right now, that is the plan to get it fixed. But it looks like he will miss the rest of the season."
(on finding new veteran cornerbacks) "I don't know if you guys noticed at practice today how many plays (cornerback Dexter) McCleon made. He's a veteran player, and he's going to help this team. (Cornerback Kevin) Garrett started making some plays today. He's getting comfortable with what we're doing. We're out there looking, and those corners just don't walk around. That's tough, but I think if we keep battling, (defensive coordinator) Rick Smith keeps battling, and we as coaches just keep looking around, I think we'll find some guys that will help us."
(on the team practicing in front of a large crowd) "I think it's important to these players. These players know they're going to get great support in Houston. That's really good support when it's 100 degrees out there and people are still sitting in the stands watching you practice. I think it helps guys get through practice and gets them motivated. Hopefully, it's good for the fans, too."
(on the development of rookie tackles Eric Winston and Charles Spencer) "What's happening is during some situations that we're going through in camp, you're seeing two guys getting a chance. They're getting excellent chances to play very quickly. Spencer's battling Seth (Wand) every day, neck-and-neck, and rep-and-rep. There's no doubt he has the ability to be a starter in this league. How quick he plays like one of those, acts like one of those, prepares like one of those, that's going to be the tell-tale, but he's having a fine camp. This morning Eric Winston wakes up and he's the starting right tackle for the Houston Texans. Zach Wiegert couldn't practice. Ephraim (Salaam) has a swollen knee. All I have to do is turn the film on, and Eric Winston is our starting right tackle. We practiced well today. I liked the way we practiced. This game is about opportunity. I don't care how you got here, draft-wise, free agent, trade, it doesn't matter. When you get a chance to play, if you step on the field and do it, you're going to play. That's the way we're going to operate."
**Tackle Eric Winston
(on coaches wanting the offensive linemen to play light) **"It's just a thing, (the coaches) want you mobile. They definitely don't want you overweight. I am a quick guy, and I was one of the fastest guys coming out of the combine as a rookie. Three-hundred and ten pounds suits me just fine. Some of those guys just are not built for it. It does not mean they cannot get the job done. It just means they are not built for the extra weight. I think it is just a matter of being able to do the jobs and being able to do the blocks they ask you to. You definitely have to be mobile, and you definitely have to be quick."
(on moving up to the starting spot) "It's always nice to learn from the ones and playing next to Steve McKinney. It certainly makes you look like a better player, playing with guys like that. It's a lot of fun. That is where you want to eventually get to and that's where you are working to get to. Anyway you can get there, you will definitely take it."
(on his progress) "So far, I feel like every day I have gotten a little bit better, and that's really the key. You have so many practices, so many preseason games, and every day you have to keep getting better and better. Hopefully, at the end you will be where you want to be. I am just going to keep working and keep fighting and hopefully we will get there."
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on practicing in the evening)** "This is new to me. I've always been a part of the routine of two-a-days of morning and afternoon. It was very nice out here this evening. It was great to see all those people come out, and I think the guys practiced well. I mentioned to you guys today that I thought this was our best practice day for our defensive football team. There are some good things going on. David Carr was exceptional in the two-minute drill, and that's what he has to be. That's his job."
(on letting David Carr know he's the leader of the team) "It is. He's going to be the guy under center, and I want him to know how much confidence we have in him. We can teach him all we can teach him in that classroom, but he has to go out there and take over on Sunday. I really like what he's doing. I really liked how he finished today. It's exciting."
(on anybody standing out thus far)"I want to mention a kid that's having a great camp. Lewis Sanders is having just a wonderful camp. With all the issues we have at corner, sometimes you get so tied up with who's getting beaten up that you don't mention the guys who are really making a statement. I think he's really making the statement that he wants to play and play quick this year. I tell you I've been real impressed with him today."
(on defensive tackle Anthony Weaver) "He's been everything we thought he was, and he's a leader on this football team even though he's been here just shortly. So we're very excited about what he's doing."
** Quarterback David Carr
(on how he takes coach Kubiak's praise and criticism)** "I think that, in one aspect, yeah, I do run the thing out there. But there are 10 other guys out there that have to help me out. Tonight, they did a great job. He's calling out individual performances, and that's good. But he also calls you out when you do badly. I like being one of the 11. So it's a good feeling."
(on whether it feels different when voach Kubiak tells him to run the offense) "Yeah, because at the same time he's saying that, he's beating you down a little bit. So you know that it's not just lip service. A lot of time people say it's the quarterback's team, but is it really? I think it takes a lot of work. It takes guys seeing you make plays before they just give their lives over to you, give their families' livelihoods and everything over to you. It's a serious deal, but at the same time if you have some fun with it and make some plays, guys buy in."
(on coach Kubiak saying that today was the team's best practice at training camp) "The defense was tough today. For the most part, we kind of had some good carryover from the spring and ran some good plays on the first couple days. (Today) they were tough. There were not a lot of wide-open guys like we have had in the past. There is definitely a sense of competition out here between the sides, and it's only going to make us better."
(on having a large crowd at practice tonight) "You're in Houston. You're in Texas, and you're playing football. If it was a high school team, I'm sure they would fill it up, too."
**Wide receiver Andre Johnson
(on players stepping up after injuries)** "All the guys out here are working. When guys went down, they just went to work. That's helped us out a lot, and those guys out here are working hard and trying to make the team."
(on fan support) "When I first got here and I played my first game and came into the stadium, I knew the fans here loved football. You can definitely tell the fans here love football, and despite the season we had last year, they are going to support us no matter what. We have a new start this year, and I'm pretty sure they are just as excited about it as we are."
**Cornerback Dexter McCleon
(on the Texans' training camp compared to all others)** "You have a lot of guys out here, and it seems like everyone on this practice field is trying to fight to make the team. It seems like every one out here wants to make this team better and turn this organization into a winner."
(on originally being a fill-in guy) "I'm trying to compete. I'm trying to get out there on the field and actually help this team win. I want to help this team turn it around, and I feel like I can do that because I have enough experience and ability. And I feel I can step right in and help this team wherever they need me to."
(on helping the other cornerbacks) "I try to. It's taking me a little longer than I thought because I have to get
the scheme down first. I have to get comfortable with what's going on here, and
once I get that down, I feel like I can help put these young guys along and try
to coach them in certain situations…We are all in this together."