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Houston Texans

Mini-camp quotes: Day 1


The Texans kicked of their mini-camp on Monday and there were several new players joining them, namely quarterback Rex Grossman, defensive end Connor Barwin and running back Jeremiah Johnson. All three spoke to the media.

General manager Rick Smith

(on if the team's mini-camp is mandatory) "The veterans do have responsibilities in the morning. The guys who don't have as much experience will be working out here."

(on if TE Owen Daniels did not show up) "No, he did not (show up for mini-camp)."

(on if he will fine Daniels) "This is a mandatory mini-camp, so there are ramifications for him not being here today."

(on if Daniels gave a reason for not coming to mini-camp) "No."

(on the generalities of the offer to Daniels) "I believe, and I have said this before, that there really is nothing positive to gain by negotiating publically. I don't think that anything positive comes from it. You open yourself up to misinterpretations. You open yourself up to all sorts of things that are not necessary and you make things definitely more difficult to get deals done. I don't do that. So I am sorry, but I won't give you any details."

(on if he is not willing to discuss the generalities) "I will say this. We think that Owen Daniels is one of the top tight ends in football. We think he is a very, very important piece to our football team and our organization and we are going to try to put a deal together that is reflective of that."

(on if the players who are unhappy with their contracts could be distractions next season) "I think that's a part of pro sports. I think we have to be a mature football team and mature organization and deal with the things that could be 'distractions.' We have to be able to stay disciplined, stay focused and still achieve our goals."

(on if negotiations are complicated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement) "I think we are all rooting for the CBA extension to be done. I think that's something that is pretty consistent all across the board."

(on if he talked to Daniels about the mini-camp being mandatory) "I think everyone understands the rules. And, again, I'm not going to talk about our conversations, but I think everyone understands that it's a mandatory mini-camp and that everyone is supposed to be here."

(on why Daniels did not show up) "I'm not going to guess about anything. The fact of the matter is that he wasn't here today.

(on if he will continue to negotiate a long-term deal with Daniels) "Yes, our situation is that Owen is a big part of what we want to do. I want to get a long-term deal done. I am very motivated to get that done. That has not changed."

(on how concerned he is that Daniels is not at mini-camp) "I said this last week, every day that you are with your teammates, you get better, and that's what you are focused on. We want to continue to get better. We have a lot of goals for the football team this season. And every time you are with your teammates, you are better. From that standpoint, I think he would have been better served being here today lifting and meeting with his teammates."
Head coach Gary Kubiak

(on what he saw in QB Rex Grossman) "Well, he just got off the bus, literally. He's swimming as far as what we are doing. He can make some plays throwing the ball. That's always what he has been able to do. We have a lot of work to do with him, mentally catch him up to what we are doing. It's normal for him to step in the huddle and play football; that's obvious."

(on what means to get a back quarterback with that much experience) "We'll see. I think we have come a long way as a football team that a player like that wants to become a part of us. It basically boiled down to one phone call between me and him, and I told him that I could give him a great opportunity to come in here and compete. I told him where we were as a football team right now. I asked him what he was looking for and he said, 'Coach, I just want to get back to work and compete.' So here we are. I feel very fortunate."

{QUOTE}(on carrying four quarterbacks right now) "Right now, I have three guys that have taken a lot of snaps in this league. As a coach, that makes you very comfortable. We just need to get him to a point where he is legitimately competitive with those guys mentally as well as physically, and we'll do that."

(on where this leaves QB Alex Brink) "Alex has a lot of work to do; he has to get better. He's got to continue to improve. I talked to him about that on Friday. He's done some good things; it's about consistency with him. He's very athletic and he needs to improve his consistency."

(on TE Owen Danies signing a one-year tender) "I am glad he signed and I am counting on Owen to be a big part of this football team."

(on DE Connor Barwin) "He's obviously faster than everyone today. He and JJ (Jeremiah Johnson) were the two fastest players on the field because all of these other ones have been at it pretty hard. The thing I was impressed with today was watching his strength for a tall, wiry guy like he is. Watching him hit the sled and those type of things, he carries a lot of punch for a 263-pound guy."

(on if Barwin has been working hard) "Oh yeah. I got a lot of calls on him and know what type of worker he is. There was no doubt that he would be ready to go."

(on if he will carry three quarterbacks on the roster) "I don't know. I have no idea."

(on if it's more likely that he will carry three quarterbacks this year) "I wouldn't say that. It's like I told Rex. I have carried two; I've been a product of a two-quarterback system. After what I have been through the last two years, that might be the way that I would lean today. But we have a long way to go and a lot of players to evaluate. I am going to keep them because they can all play. I am not going to keep them just to have three quarterbacks."

(on on what he saw scouting Grossman) "I studied him really hard maybe three or four years ago; Mike (Shanahan) and I studied him really hard when we did the (Jake) Plummer deal when we were back in Denver. I see a guy who is a playmaker; he does a lot of things off schedule. I think if we can get him within our system and calmed down with the ball, as far as consistency and those types of things. I think he fits well with what we do. It's hard to explain. He went through individual drills, and to just step up there and call signals and go – it's not that big of a deal for him."

(on what kind of factor the offensive players surrounding a quarterback has when evaluating talent) "I don't know about that. I look at what a quarterback does and how he fits in our system and what we do. And I think he (Grossman) does that. I think he's a pocket guy. I think he has the ability to move around. He can make plays off schedule. I see him being a productive guy in our system. The key is: He's got to make up months of work here in about four weeks to get in there and legitimately compete with these guys. We have our work cut out, Kyle and I, to get him ready to go."

(on if players upset with their contracts will be distractions for the team) "No, I won't let that happen. This team is working hard. If they are here, we are going to coach the hell out of them. We are going to be a good football team and no one will distract us."

(on the mistakes Grossman made in practice) "The mistakes he made were actually just not even knowing what was going on with the route. He's been here literally an hour and a meeting."

(on if Grossman still has flashes of starting material) "There's no doubt. This happens a lot in football. He and I had a great conversation on Friday. A lot of times in this game, you are drafted as a high draft choice, you get your opportunity somewhere – and some things went great for him. This kid started a Super Bowl. And then all of a sudden, you don't have a good year or the team starts going a different direction. It's a struggle. I think that guys who keep their head up and fall in the right place have an excellent chance to revive their careers. We are going to do our part with him. We are going to work our tails off, and I'm sure he's going to do the same thing, too."

(on if Daniels was at mini-camp) "No, Owen was not here, but they are not working today."

(on if Barwin strictly will work with the defensive line) "He'll do a lot of things pass-rush wise; he can stand up and move around, but he will be working exclusively with Bill (Kollar)."

(on if confidence is an issue with Grossman) "I think sometimes when guys like this relax and go back to work. I think they gain their confidence back pretty fast. It's like today when he comes out here and really doesn't know what's happening, he does his best work at the end of practice after he had been out here for a while. So that tells you he's just get comfortable with what he's doing."

DE Connor Barwin

(on how it felt to practice with the team) "It was fun to be out working with guys, have a helmet on and actually be playing football because I've just been running around, jumping, lifting weights for the last four or five months. It's good to finally be out here on the field with other guys."

(on not pacing himself and going full speed) "Hey, that's what they ask me to do; that's what I'm supposed to do. I know that my role when I got here was to play as fast as possible all the time, so that's what I'm going to do."

(on if it's been hard not participating until now) "It's been hard, but I've been in contact with (defensive line) coach (Bill) Kollar; he's kept me up to speed on what's going on. It was good because I was able to jump in today - not be ready for the heat, but know what I was doing so I could play fast and not be thinking and hesitating."

(on if waiting is hard) "Yeah, it's hard but honestly I think I turned it into an opportunity. I really worked when I was at Cincinnati to work on my defensive line skill, my craft, so it was good for me only being a second-year player at this position."

(on how often he was in contact with coaches) "I was only in contact with (defensive line) Coach Kollar. I would talk on the phone once or twice a week."

(on if he feels behind) "No not really. I feel a little bit out of shape, as far as getting used to the heat goes. There's nothing I can do about that, but everything else I feel pretty prepared for."

(on what he's discovered in one day of practice) "That I'm good enough to play at this level. I know that I'm good enough. I always thought I was, but I came out here on day one a really proved it to myself."

(on if he feels more comfortable playing with his hand down as a D-lineman than standing up) "Yeah, that's a great observation by you on day one. I do, I think I rush the passer a lot better when I put my hand down. In Cincinnati, we tried a little bit going from a stand-up guy moving around. I'm really better when I can just get my hand down and just go right at the snap of the ball and get a good get-off.

(on if he is glad head coach Gary Kubiak has said he'll play at defensive end) "Yeah, I was happy to hear that because everybody knows during the draft process I could have been playing all kinds of positions. I'm playing the position that I played last year. It's the one that got me here in the second round, so I'm happy to be playing that position."

(on if he prefers strong side or weak side) "You know, I like the open end side, which is away from the tight end. Any defensive end is going to tell you that, though. You'd rather play without a tight end there, but I'll play on both. I've played on both in college, so I'm ready to do both."

QB Rex Grossman

(on what kind of opportunity the Texans are giving him) "It's another opportunity for me to be in this league and get to where I want to be. I'm going to work as hard as I can and let the chips fall where they may."

(on his first day of practice) "It was good, you know. I had fun getting out here. I haven't done this in a while; it's been about six months. Actually, the last time I even was on a team was in Reliant Stadium there. But it was fun to get out here. Everything was moving real fast for me, so hopefully it'll slow down in training camp."

(on how he views his opportunity with the Texans) "To be honest, it's exactly that. It's an opportunity. They brought me in and obviously they've got some quarterbacks here, but I'm just here to work as hard as I can and see what happens."

(on what he likes about the opportunity to be with the Texans) "The head coach (Gary Kubiak) is an offensive-minded guy, played quarterback in this league and has a great system. (Offensive coordinator) Kyle Shanahan seems like a great coach, a real smart guy. Watching tape, they get guys open and that's what quarterbacks want to see. But from my standpoint, a reason to come here was a job. It wasn't a whole lot of teams to choose from, to be honest. So I'm excited to be here and I'm going to work as hard as I can to get back on top. "

(on if he's got a lot of football left in him) "Yeah, I mean I'm 28 years old; I got a lot left. I'm hungry to get back up, to start at some point in my career and get back to the Super Bowl. So I'm extremely motivated."

(on what he brings to the Texans) "Well, hopefully, I'd like to bring exactly what the coach wants me to bring. When the play calls for a deep ball, if the read calls for a deep ball, be able to deliver and be a playmaker, as well as run the offense and check it down and do all the things you need to do to move the football."

(on if it'll be difficult to settle for possibly a third spot) You know I'm going to start where I stand. It is what it is and I'm going to make the best of it.

(on if he things this will end up being a three-quarterback team) "I'm just here to play football, so that's going to be determined by the coaches and the front office. I'm excited about the opportunity, but that's all I know."

(on if both backup quarterbacks play well if he thinks the team will consider having three) "I would think so, I don't know."

(on if not being the clear starter makes him approach things differently) "Well, my plan is to not change my plan or my preparation or anything like that. You're going to have to do a little more mental reps than you probably would as a starter, but I think in training camp and these practices you're going to get a lot of reps to show what you can do."

RB Jeremiah Johnson

(on how it feels to practice with the Texans for the first time) "It feels really good. I wasn't anticipating the sun. The sun kind of beat my butt a little bit. I just have to come back tomorrow. I pretty much know how the practice is, so I know how to pace myself through the whole practice (now)."

(on where he learned his stiff arm) "That's something I didn't really learn. It's just a little something I picked up and found out it works and kept on perfecting it and kept on using it throughout college."

(on what he's been doing since signing with the Texans) "I've been in Eugene (Oregon) working and doing what I have to do (to get ready)."

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