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Jerry Hughes on confidence, cheat meals & pools | Drew's Dozen


1) DD: We saw you doing a little extra work with O-lineman Austin Deculus a moment ago after practice. 14 years in the NFL, why is the work never over for you?
JH: As a professional athlete, you always have to perfect your craft. We got such a small window here at training camp where we got the pads on. We can go full speed. We can simulate game-like drills and movements. This is something that Austin and I have been doing ever since his rookie year. We like to just do a little bit extra after practice and it just sharpens us up. 'Iron Sharpens Iron' has been our model this whole offseason and that's all we're trying to do, is just find that little inch so we can get better.

2) DD: And that's nothing new for you. When did when did you start doing that? Was it in college? High school? Was it a few years into the league? When did that all begin?
JH: It started back in college. I was a running back trying to play defensive end, so I was trying to figure out how to gain weight. At the same time, I was going against guys that are 350, 330 pounds. So I needed all the extra reps I could get just to figure out what I'm doing out there.

3) DD: What's the optimism level like right now?
JH: We're sky high. It's a brand new team. We got new leadership, great leadership that's leading us in the right direction. As a young team with a lot of energy and a lot of talent, that's what we need. We can just see all of the young players really gravitating towards that. They're learning the game of football, and it's just amazing to watch them unlock all of their potential at an early age. It's something that's very rare that you're able to see young guys playing faster as the training camp goes on. They're picking up our installs. They're learning it on one day, coming back out and being able to practice it at a full speed. When you have a young team that can do that, it's just going to make the season a lot of fun. We're excited to really pin our ears back and play Texans ball.

4) DD: What's it like when you getting through those dog days of the training camp?
JH: Man, it's tough. I'm not going to lie. The heat's always on your back. It's wearing you down mentally and physically at the same time. You're constantly hitting the same guy. Over and over we've kind of learned ourselves. We know what each other's move is per se. We always talk about pushing through days like this, you know, being able to grind, being able to find one thing that can make yourself better. We got a coaching staff that actually helps us out in that area. We get reminded early on how we can improve before practice. Then it's great because guys are focusing on that one percent and that's all you need in this league is to get better: one percent day in and day out. The results will show.

5) DD: As somebody who's going against the offense, what's got you optimistic about that side of the ball?
JH: We've been a very physical team when it comes down to running the ball. We're still able to do that. That's what you want to see when you're playing in this league. You got to be able to have some kind of run game and we still got that. So that's great. Then also we have such talented receivers who can stretch the field. It's going to be amazing when you can balance it up with run and then hitting guys with play-action. It's just a one-two punch that not a lot of teams have, but it's something that we're going to be able to utilize.

6) DD: Let's rank the Hughes/Hugh's: You, Howard Hughes, Hugh Jackman, the actor, Hugh Grant, the actor, and then 14-year NBA veteran Larry Hughes.
JH: I got to go with myself first.

7) DD: Confidence is important here, right?
JH: You got to have confidence in yourself. You got to believe in yourself.

8) DD: How do the other four rank?
JH: Then you got to go with Howard Hughes. Aviation guy, the movie that Leonardo DiCaprio did about him was fantastic.

9) DD: And you're a fellow Houstonian like him, so you appreciate that?
JH: I'm a Houstonian. I appreciate it. The fact that they were able to highlight his life and career, that was fantastic. Third, Larry Hughes, a great basketball player. It's a toss-up for those last two guys at fourth and fifth.

10) DD: Complete this sentence: The thing I love the most about H-Town is __.
JH: The fans, the energy that they bring into the building. Man, when you're here at a home game and you're coming out of that tunnel, it's just an electric feeling. I tell everybody, especially the young guys who haven't experienced it, just wait. You don't need any extra boost, no pre-workout. They're going to bring all that for you. You just got to show up and play football.

11) DD: A cheat meal for you is what?
JH: Peanut M&Ms. I can probably take one of those little king-sized bags.

12) DD: How do you spend a day off from training camp?
JH: In the pool, relaxing.

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