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GM Smith wraps up offseason: Part 1

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Texans general manager Rick Smith sat down with Texans TV's Brooke Bentley to evaluate how this year's draft picks and free agents performed during organized team activities and mini-camp. He also discussed his biggest concerns as the Texans head into training camp

Below is the transcript from the first part of a two-part interview.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): The team has wrapped up OTAs and mini-camp. You were out on the field at practice, watching the talent you helped draft. What do you think of this rookie class?

General manager Rick Smith: I like what I see so far. It's obviously very early and you have limited exposure so far, but I like the athleticism; I like the competitiveness of the group. I think the guys have come in and done a nice job of fitting in.

Brooke Bentley: Of course, they don't have pads on, but Brian Cushing, a first-round draft pick was in there with the starters. There is a lot expected of him at the strongside. What did you think of him as a starter?

Rick Smith: The first thing is, he belongs. He does not stand out in a negative way. He made some plays and his size and athleticism showed up very quickly. He was able to get his hands on some balls and made some very nice plays as the OTAs progressed, so he looks like he's going to be a productive player for us.

Brooke Bentley: Everyone knew he has a high motor, but he also looked very fluid. He dropped into coverage well. I think he surprised some people with that.

Rick Smith: He is an athletic guy. We did not put him out there with the first Nickel group just because you don't want to overwhelm a rookie. Like you said, he was in the huddle with the ones in our regular base defense. But he is certainly a guy capable of being able to play on third downs and play in coverage and cover man as well.

Brooke Bentley: A big surprise was cornerback Glover Quin. He made some picks and had around three interceptions in the first three weeks. Did he exceed your expectations?

Rick Smith: It's interesting because as we came out of the draft, a lot of people said he didn't have skills to play on the edge and play corner. A lot of people had projected him at safety. We felt comfortable with his skill set and thought he could play on the edge, and sure enough he came in and did a nice job. We put him inside at the Nickel position. He did a nice job of learning. That's a very complicated position to play because you have to learn run fits as well as pass, underneath zone coverage – he did a nice job with that. You're right, though, he made plays on the football more than anybody I have seen in a long time coming in as a rookie.

{QUOTE}Brooke Bentley: What did you think of the free agents that you signed, like Antonio Smith and Dan Orlovsky?

Rick Smith: I though Antonio did a nice job. Again, it's hard, especially with the defensive line group, to really get a sense of what is going on because we don't have pads on, but I like his work ethic. I think Dan is going to be a much better quarterback because he is working with a guy that I have seen quarterback in coach (Gary) Kubiak. He coaches them in a way that he gets the best out of them. What I saw over the course of the OTAs was a guy who started to understand the offense a little bit better; he started to make better decisions and better reads and his athleticism started to show up.

Brooke Bentley: The Texans made a late addition by signing quarterback Rex Grossman who led the Bears to a Super Bowl. Have you ever been with a team that kept three quarterbacks on the active roster?

Rick Smith: Yes, I have. We kept three when I first got to Denver. And what we did, Brooke, is we took a look after about two or three years when I was in Denver and did a study to find out how much the third quarterback actually played. We were trying to steal an extra roster spot, and sure enough when you went back and looked, the third quarterback rarely played. So we took a chance and said, "We'll steal an extra roster spot with another player and not worry about the third quarterback." Obviously, our history here over the last couple of years has not been that. So we are seriously contemplating keeping three. To have an opportunity to have a guy like Rex who started in the Super Bowl a few years ago, that's a very valuable commodity to have as a third quarterback. If in fact we do that, he's got a chance to be a good third for us.

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