Earlier this week, Texans owner Bob McNair made some eyebrow-raising comments about linebacker Brian Cushing, defensive end Mario Williams and defensive tackle Amobi Okoye in an interview for a story in the Houston Chronicle.
I spoke to McNair at length this morning to record a podcast called the "Bull Pen Blitz," a new feature on HoustonTexans.com that I will shameless encourage you to check out by clicking the link in the previous line. In the podcast, McNair discusses his thoughts on the upcoming season, some of the changes the Texans made this offseason and a whole lot more.
He also clarified what he meant by the comments on Williams and Okoye. And here's what he said:
"Number one, I think if a person read the whole article, they would understand that really, I was being complimentary. Mario is a superb athlete, and Mario plays hard. I'm not suggesting that he doesn't play hard. He does play hard. But I think that one of the things that young players have to learn is that there's another level that they can attain, and that they might think that they're giving it everything they've got and that they can't do anything more, and then finally they discover that there is another level and that they can step it up another notch. And in the case of Mario, what I was saying is he's absolutely one of the best defensive ends in the league now, but if he could develop the intensity level that Brian Cushing and (Bernard) Pollard and DeMeco (Ryans) have, he would be in a class by himself. No one would be able to touch him, he would be so good. That was my message there, and that's what I tell Mario, and that's what the coaches are telling him. So there's nothing new about that.
"And in the case of Amobi, he is a terrific athlete and he's smart and he's a wonderful guy. But he's a young guy, and he's just learning that at this level, just going out and playing the way that he's been playing is not enough. He needs to turn it up a notch. He's capable of doing that, and he will be a better player. So that's what I'm looking forward to, and I think he has the opportunity to do that and be an outstanding player instead of an average player."