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Kubiak, Smith discuss picks


The Texans made good on their commitment to improve their front seven in the first two rounds of the 2009 NFL Draft, selecting linebacker Brian Cushing at No. 15 and defensive end Connor Barwin at No. 46. After both selections were made, general manager Rick Smith and head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media.

General manager Rick Smith
(opening statement) "We are very pleased with the way that the draft is unfolding so far. I know defensive coordinator Frank Bush came up and spoke with you earlier about our selection in the first round. Without repeating what he has said to you, we think LB Brian Cushing adds a lot to our football team. He is an intense competitor. He is a versatile linebacker who can play all three positions. He adds a dimension for us there. We're excited about him. He's a good man; he's a hard working, blue collar guy. I think he's going to fit well in our locker room and in that group. Then with our latest selection with DE Connor Barwin, we're very excited about his opportunities here. He is a guy who when you talk about, the theme is versatility. It is pretty well documented that he is a one year player at the defensive end position as a former tight end. But, when you look at this guy athletically, he is an impressive athlete. It's not that he's just a height, weight, speed, test guy. This guy is a good football player. He made a lot of plays and was very productive in any role there at Cincinnati. We like that and are very pleased so far with how things are going."

Head coach Gary Kubiak(opening statement) "I'll just add to that. We feel good. Obviously, we knew we had to improve our defensive football team. What's happened with these two young men is that we've gotten more athletic and more physical. It's very exciting from that standpoint with these two young men. We look forward to getting to work with them and we look forward to everyone getting a chance to meet them tomorrow."

{QUOTE}(on what position Barwin will play) "We will play him with his hand down. He's playing defensive end."

(on which side of the defensive line Barwin will play) "I think he can play both sides. Probably, if we started tomorrow, he would line up behind DE Mario Williams as we get going, but he's going to have the ability to play both sides. On third down, he can rush the passer. He can go outside and rush the passer at either spot, and it gives us the flexibility of moving DE Antonio Smith inside to rush the passer on third downs, which is something that he does really well."

General manager Rick Smith

(on improvement of defense's intensity) "Anytime you can do that, I think it's important. When you see Connor Barwin and the way that he works and the way that his athleticism shows, I think you will see that he is an intense competitor as well. We like both of them. If you can get athletes that are intense and add that to your group, I think it really enhances your ability to play good defense."

Head coach Gary Kubiak

(on Smith's comments about improving defense's intensity) "Just to add to that, starting with Brian Cushing – funny, we interviewed him in Indianapolis. I asked him if he ever relaxed. He said, 'Not very often, coach.' So when I talked to him after the draft, I told him to go ahead and relax tonight and we'll get back to work tomorrow. He said, 'I promise you I will.' We just love what the kid stands for, how he loves the game. He is all business, and that's what we need. We need someone that will come in and help us right away."

(on coach Bruce Matthews and son LB Clay Matthews) "Did Bruce quit? No, Bruce is a very proud uncle right now. We gave him a very big hand when it happened in the room. We wish Clay Matthews very well."

General manager Rick Smith

(on if the Texans will stick to defensive players in the third and fourth round) "Well, we've got a pick in the third round as well, and several picks tomorrow. We are going to get together tonight and tomorrow morning before it starts again and look at the available athletes and rank those guys to get a game plan for tomorrow. We will hopefully continue down this road of adding good quality football players to our team."

(on how the amount of defensive players drafted affects the Texans draft): "Honestly, it helped and anytime those situations occur and the trades are happening you go get offensive players, it pushes people down and that's what we saw today and we were pleased with that."

(on the possibility of Barwin on offense) "It's funny, I look at this release, defensive end, strong side linebacker, tight end, H-back. I think we'll put him at defensive end and let him go sic' other quarterbacks on offense."

Head coach Gary Kubiak

(on Barwin's impact on the Texans' linebackers) "Obviously, we're much more athletic now than we have been. We've had some injuries, with LB Zac (Diles) last year. We had some issues; we had to move some people around. But it just gives us a lot more opportunities as a group. We're going to keep our best six around here; we need to get better on special teams. That group needs to lend a bigger hand to special teams, as far as productivity than it did last year. The bottom line is you're always trying to get better, get deeper as a football team. We are much deeper in that position now."

General manager Rick Smith

(on offers from clubs and the possibility of the Texans trading down) "No, you know we talked a lot with several clubs and there was some potential opportunity there that never materialized. To be quite honest with you, when Brian Cushing was there and the board fell the way it did and we had an opportunity to go get this guy, we felt really really good about that. We were just happy the way it happened."

(on Cushing's steroid charges) "We've entered the process really thoroughly. We feel really good about who he is as a man and who he is as an athlete and a player and we are really excited about adding him to our football team."

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