CBs Quin, McCain looking to step up in 2010

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Texans cornerback Glover Quin was a rookie last season, and he and fellow 2009 draftee Brice McCain look forward to taking more prominent roles in 2010.

As rookies in 2009, cornerbacks Glover Quin and Brice McCain went from second-day draft picks to primary contributors in the Texans' secondary.

Quin started 12 of the final 13 games of the season. The fourth-round draft pick out of New Mexico led the Texans with 11 pass break-ups and racked up 64 tackles in hard-hitting fashion. McCain, a sixth-round pick from Utah, played in all 16 games with one start and had one interception.

Now that cornerback Dunta Robinson has departed for the Atlanta Falcons, Quin and McCain are primed for even bigger roles in 2010.

"It's a big void, and somebody has to step up and fill that void," Quin said. "It's a great opportunity. We have a bunch of young corners that are hungry and want to play, so that'll lead to a lot of competition in OTAs, a lot of competition in just working out with each other. But I think it'll make us better."

Quin and McCain returned to Reliant Stadium this week to begin working out with new strength and conditioning coach Cedric Smith. The Texans' offseason program begins on March 29, and the two young corners can't wait to get started after taking a few months to rest this offseason.

"My goal is to come in and compete for the starting spot on defense," McCain said. "If I want to be in a starting spot, everybody else around me has got to trust me. I can't wait to come in and show everybody that they can (trust me). I'm going to go out there and work my butt off every day. I'm not taking a day off, and I'm just hoping to go out there and show everybody that I can be the man."

Quin earned praise from Texans coach Gary Kubiak after the season. Kubiak said then that if Brian Cushing hadn't been in Houston last year, Quin might have been in league-wide discussions for rookie of the year honors.

{QUOTE}"It feels good to know that the coach feels that way about you, but the NFL is season-to-season," Quin said. "The things I did last year don't really mean anything if I can't get better and continue to play at a high level this year. They're not going to just look at, 'Alright, he had a good rookie year so he's going to automatically have a great career.' You've got to continue to work."

Quin's workout emphasis this offseason was on cardiovascular-heavy exercises including kickboxing training and P90X. Prior to this week, he had been working out a few times a week in Sugar Land, where he lives with his wife and their four-month-old child.

"I've strengthened up hip flexors and balance and a lot of little things like that, that I really don't work on a lot when I'm in the weight room doing football when it's more squats and power cleans," he said. "When you do football training, you don't really work on the little details of balance or strengthening the hip flexors or yoga."

Those improvements should bode well for Quin, who said his primary area of concern this offseason is improving his cover skills and ball skills.

Another area in which Quin might be called upon to step up this year is leadership. Robinson was one of the team's most vocal players on the field and in the locker room and had been one of the team's biggest personalities for years.

"There are different types of leaders," Quin said. "I'm one of those guys that doesn't really talk a lot, per se. I'm the type of guy that I just come in and do what's right, do what I'm supposed to do and work hard on the field, and sometimes that carries over into being a leader. But I don't come in feeling like I have to change what I do to be more of a leader. I just want to come in and try to take my game to the next level, and the leadership will just come along with it."

As for McCain, he said he gained a world of confidence in his coverage skills from facing quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees last season. But McCain said he knows he can work on his tackling, hoping to learn from the example of his good friend Quin.

"He's a great tackler," McCain said. "I can try to imitate his same mentality as a tackler, just go in with reckless abandon, just go in and try to hit everything that I can."

McCain and Quin have been close since living together in the team hotel during OTAs and training camp as rookies. They would go over the playbook together after practices and in their hotel room. They'd trade pointers on the sidelines and on the field, throughout both training camp and the season. McCain said they even ate the same meals during the season as a way of keeping each other accountable to stay in shape.

Now, they head into their second NFL season looking to help take the Texans' defense to new heights.

"Me and Glover, we wouldn't want it any other way," McCain said. "We knew if we worked our butts off, we could play in this league. We don't want regrets. We're afraid of regrets. We did everything we could (last year) to put ourselves in the best situation we could instead of slacking on something and wondering, 'What if – What if we would've studied more, what if we would've done this?'

"We talked about, 'Man, we can do this. Don't let anything stop us – no speed bumps, just keep on going, just keep on going. Don't let anybody outwork us.' We really talked about this every day. Now it's here, and we're both ready for the opportunity."

Follow Nick Scurfield on Twitter at *twitter.com/NickScurfield or find him on the "I'm A Texan Club" at imatexan.com/profiles/Nick_Scurf/.*

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