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Houston Texans

Holyfield visits Thursday's OTA

Real Deal gets things rolling: Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield visited practice Thursday. Holyfield spoke to the Texans for 15 minutes prior to practice. He had most of the players entranced with stories from his childhood championship battles in the ring.

"I was invited. I was honored to be invited," Holyfield said. "They showed appreciation for what I've accomplished and it's good for coaches to try to find someone to exemplify what winning is all about."

Head coach Gary Kubiak doesn't think that Holyfield's message was lost on his players.

"I thought it was great for him to take the time to stop by here and talk to our guys," Kubiak said. "It's amazing looking in the faces of those young players and the intrigue and what he's accomplished.

"The thing that I got out of it is he talked about passion, he talked about commitment and he talked about being a good guy. Those are things we talk about all the time, but when somebody like that stops by here and echoes those remarks that is as powerful as it gets. I'm just very appreciative that he came by."

Even a 10 year NFL veteran took something from the champ's remarks.

"A guy like him, a four-time world champion, obviously somebody that has accomplished that much you have a lot of respect for," Steve McKinney said. "We appreciate him coming out to talk to us and I think he had a good message about believing in yourself and not quitting and working and never giving up."

Bennett coming on: Fourth round draft pick Fred Bennett has vastly improved since the first week of OTA's.

Just a few weeks back, Bennett looked a little lost out on the practice field, but it hasn't taken him long to feel right at home. Bennett is a long, athletic corner that can also play safety if need be which only adds to his value.

Kubiak likes what he's seen from Bennett recently.

"He's long and he's tall and its hard to find corners over six foot in this league that still have the feet and stuff to play out there," Kubiak said. "In our division, playing against a bunch of three wides, we need a player like that. He's been impressive."

There is one area where Bennett does need some work however.

"Fred's key, to me, to becoming a great player is going to be his ball skills and we kind of knew that coming out," Kubiak said. "He can improve his ball skills and if he does that I think he has a chance to take a big step."

Mind games: Thursday was the last day of OTA's this week. Players practiced in just jerseys and left the helmets in the locker room. According to Kubiak, Thursday's workout was more mental than physical.

"What we tried to do today, we put them through a lot of stuff, a lot of two-minute and two-plays, a lot of thinking," Kubiak said. "I know they're tired. But we're over halfway now and we have a week and a half left to go and we've got some guys beat up, so we came out in hats today and I wanted to make them think while they're tired."

The defense got the better of the offense during the two-minute drill simulation, but the highlight offensively came with two outstanding throws from quarterback Matt Schaub.

Schaub is already showing a knack for making plays in bad situations and also has a penchant for hitting receivers in stride. When you have Andre Johnson on your team, that's never a bad thing.

Schaub threw several passes Thursday that were just out of the reach of a defender and just in the reach of his receiver, something everyone would like to see on Sunday's this fall.

Competition heats up defense: Kubiak has said since OTA's started that the competition at many positions is far more than it was a year ago. That includes the defense and DeMarcus Faggins thinks it's only going to be make the unit stronger when the season rolls around.

"Everybody is good out there," Faggins said Thursday. "There are a lot of people in different positions competing for the job. It gets the competition up high and it's intense out there. Guys trying to make the team and trying to be the guy.

"It's good for me because I like being in that kind of situation because it makes me work harder."

The Texans return to the Methodist Training Center Monday for their last week of OTA's.

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