Skip to main content

'Dre, Dunta excited for camp


The day before training camp practices begin is like the first day of school for many Texans. They catch up with teammates they haven't seen for several weeks, go through physicals and pick up their books – playbooks, that is.

On Thursday, the players filed through Reliant Stadium doing just that, but there was something new about their pre-camp routine. After coming off the best record in franchise history, the Texans walked with a new swagger and a contagious excitement buzzed through the locker room.

"You can tell coming in this year (there is) a higher level of energy about getting kicked off because the taste of victory we had last season," quarterback Matt Schaub said. "With going 8-8 and the possibilities of getting even better this season, the guys are anxious to get back to work and you can definitely see it."

{QUOTE}Schaub, who returned from offseason shoulder surgery this year, has a lot to prove in his second season as a starter. The fifth-year pro missed five games in 2007 due to injuries and finished with 2,241 passing yards and nine touchdown passes. With a year under his belt, Schaub's numbers are bound to increase if he can remain healthy.

"Last year, everything was just new for me with moving and everything else that goes on when you're in transition from one team to another," Schaub said. "Now I'm comfortable with my surroundings and everyone that's around me, my teammates and the coaches and what they ask of me.

"I know what I am capable of doing and I know what I can do at this position, so I had no doubts that I could play quarterback in this league and play well. It's just a matter of staying on the field and staying consistently good for 16 weeks."

Wide receiver Andre Johnson knows the importance of staying injury-free for the duration of the season. The sixth-year pro missed seven games in 2007 with a sprained knee and underwent arthroscopic surgery in June to repair lingering problems.

Johnson caught passes from Schaub over the last two weeks and will play in the first camp practice on Friday.

"I actually feel pretty good," Johnson said. "I was out running routes yesterday and I haven't had any swelling since I have been out running.

"I only have one mindset, and that's to get to the playoffs. Anything else, you know, really doesn't matter."

Guard Fred Weary accomplished his first goal of passing his physical. Weary's 2007 season was cut short by a leg injury, and he was forced to sit out during mini-camp and OTAs. Weary will have to compete against Mike Brisiel to regain starting duties at right guard.

Eric Winston has the right tackle position locked down, but that doesn't mean the third-year pro will have an easy time of it in camp with assistant head coach Alex Gibbs, the NFL's zone-blocking guru. Gibbs was brought in to improve the team's running game and install a Denver-like blocking scheme. The coach is fiery on the field and hard on his players, which makes them better on Sundays.

"He is a guy you can tell really loves football and really loves to be a coach," Winston said of Gibbs. "It is hard to believe that he was out of it for a year, because he is that kind of guy. I think he loves coaching, he loves being around the guys and he loves helping guys improve. I think that is all you can really ask for from a coach. He is just a guy that can help you improve and can help you open your eyes to different aspects of the game.

"A lot of coaches teach the same things over and over, and not to say that he is not doing that, but he is always adding things. He is always trying new things and always mixing things together. I think that is why he has been so successful.

"I think a lot of coaches study each other – you know, study their counterparts – and they are probably going to do that in this situation. I think if you are really good, there is no way to get a beat on you. You never can understand what he is going to do, because one day he says we are going to block a play one way and the next day with the same play, we are going to block it totally different. You are not going to get a beat on us."

On the other side on the ball, the biggest story centered around cornerback Dunta Robinson, who will be sidelined during camp and is expected to start the season on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from the knee and hamstring injuries he suffered last season.

Robinson hasn't encountered any setbacks since his rehab began and plans to return to the field in November. In the meantime, he will continue working with the team's trainers and watching film with the new members of the secondary, including rookie corner Antwaun Molden.

"The coaches have given me all the time that I need," Robinson said. "So I'm going to take that time and make sure that I'm 100 percent and make sure that I'm ready to go out there on the field and give my teammates the best of me and not just get out on the field because I want to be out there because I can be out there.

"I've got to get out there and line up against Andre Johnson, and that's going to tell me if I'm ready or not. Right now, it's not the time, so I've got to keep working. And that's going to be my test, once I get out there in practice and line up against the receivers and do all the cutting and planting and all the things I was doing in the past. That's going to be the big key."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content