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Mini-camp quotes: Day 3


The Texans wrapped up their last day of mini-camps on Wednesday and will be on break until July 31 when training camp kicks off. Several rookies spoke to the media about their expectations going into camp.

Head coach Gary Kubiak

(on the running back unit) "Starting with (RB) Steve (Slaton), to me he's the guy who's got to make a big, big jump for us because he had such a great year and he's a big important part of this team. But I think (RB) Ryan's (Moats) had a good camp. Of course, (RB) Chris (Brown) has been healthy. And when you look at the young guys, you know I think it's really going to be important who kind of stands out. Because it's going to be so competitive, (RB) Jeremiah (Johnson) has to get going right now. But we'll have to see. Obviously, we entered the draft and we did not draft a back, but I think we've got some good guys in there with (RB Arian) Foster and Johnson and (RB Clifton) Dawson, so we'll see how it pans out."

(on what the RBs have shown so far) "Well, we're not in pads. It's hard to tell, but they all have the ability to run the ball and have the foot quickness. But you find out a lot about backs when you put pads on and start picking up blisters and taking that pounding every day. So come July 31st, we'll find out more."

(on if he's seen a big difference in T Duane Brown) "Yeah, he's more confident. You know, he came in slighter; that's the way he wants to play. Duane played against great players. He's seen DE (Dwight) Freeney twice, (Kyle) Van den Bosch twice, and guys like that; there's LB (James) Harrison from Pittsburgh opening day. He's seen them all, so now he knows what it takes and he said he wants to play the game lighter this year. That tells you just how he's thinking and, yeah, he's a better player."

{QUOTE}(on how important his longevity will be) "Anytime a team has a - like a quarterback offensively - when you set a left tackle for ten, twelve, fourteen years, if that happens in your organization, that's a very positive thing."

(on the defensive changes) "Well, the biggest thing—we're running the same defense. Obviously, we're doing a lot of things different technique-wise and (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) is teaching, as opposed to last year, what (defensive line coach) Bill (Kollar) expects, what (defensive backs coach) David (Gibbs) expects. I think scheme-wise, we're able to go in there and it all still makes sense to them the way they we're talking, but how we're asking them to do it and how we're asking them to go about their technique has changed. I think players will catch up pretty quickly on that."

(on if he senses that they have caught on) "I think so. I think we made some progress there. I wish (DE) Connor (Barwin) would have been here the whole time so we could work on some certain pass rush packages that we'll have once the season starts, but we knew that when we drafted him so we'll have to make that up in the summer."

(on where they are after minicamp) "We're a better team. We're more competitive than we were last year and that's important because when you're competitive your team gets better. I told the guys this morning, I talked to them for twenty minutes and I said, 'You know we can talk about playoffs; we can talk about this, we can talk about that. The bottom line, we've got to talk about improvement. Because if we improve, we improve on what we've been doing, then we should be in line to reach our goals.' So the focus needs to stay on us."

(on RB Jeremiah Johnson) "He's got good foot quickness. He's a little overweight; I'd like to see him play about ten pounds lighter. I like the sharpness, just watching him in (special teams coach) Joe's (Marciano) meetings and in the offensive meetings, so we'll see. When you average seven yards a carry in that conference, you're a pretty good football player. So hopefully his shoulder holds up and we go to work and see how he does."

(on Dave Campbell saying one of his most memorable issues of Texas Football Magazine is the one with him on the cover in 1982) "That's awful nice of him. All I know is growing up in this town if you were a part of football and you ever had your name in that magazine, that was like a highlight of the year. So that was a special thing. I really appreciate that. It sits at home right there with some of the most important things to me. Great man and I appreciate him thinking that."

LB Brian Cushing

(on if he's discovered anything about himself) "I think I've done just as good as I thought I would. I mean, I had a lot of expectations for myself. The effort's got to be there. But on top of it, I'm coming to a league with a bunch of guys that have played football for a while. They've played in and out, and I just have to come out here and play catch up right now. I thought I did alright and, like I said, the 31st (I need to) come back and just be full speed."

(on if he feels good about any particular aspect of his play) "I think overall just getting a grasp on everything. The coaching style, playbook, the players around me and where I can fit on the field - things I can do. I have a much better idea of what to expect now come camp."

(on his confidence on being able to make an impact right away)"You know, it's pretty good. I know my role. They understand me; I understand they brought me to come in and play right away. That's something I'm expecting to do. I've been playing this game for a while now. I've done a pretty good job and I just hope to keep it up."

DE Connor Barwin

(on his favorite part of mini-camp) "I've been kind of training by myself the last month back at school, so to finally be out here competing against guys has been the best part of it."

(on how he evaluates his play) "I think I started out pretty good. I think I got a little fatigued toward the end. But I think it well for me. I kind of set my expectations high, but I'm pretty proud of what I did so far."

(on his plans before mini-camp) "I'll be here for offseason workouts. We're here for three more weeks. Then I'll probably go back to Cincinnati for that 10-day break. Then I'll be back."

RB Arian Foster

(on how OTAs and mini-camp went for him) "It went well. It's a process every day. You have to come out here and prove yourself every day. I think it did that."

(on what he improved on most) "I saw the mentality of the NFL; it's a step up. Everybody knows what they are doing out there and there are not a lot of mental mistakes. It's a business and everyone carries themselves very professionally."

(on how he fits into the Texans' scheme) "I feel like it suits my attributes very well. They are a one-cut system; I'm a one-cut back. I'm big. I've got hands out of the backfield and they utilize their running backs out of the backfield. I'm just looking to fit in somewhere."

(on his experience in the zone blocking scheme at the University of Tennessee) "We did some. We did a lot of power running, I-formation, slants and stuff like that."

(on what he learned from RB Steve Slaton) "He shared his views with me on being a rookie. He told me to come out here and grind every day, work hard every single day and not take any days off and not to let a rep go to waste."

(on his motivation right now) "I am hungry. Coming out as an undrafted rookie free agent – I had a second-round grade in college as a junior – and I am just hungry. I feel like I deserve to be in this league. I am going to work every day to prove myself."

(on what he wants to show the coaches during training camp) "That I can play mistake-free football, I don't make a lot of mistakes. I am hungry and I have heart. I can come out there and play with anybody; I don't who it is."

(on his skill set) "I can carry the ball well. I can catch the ball well in the backfield, especially for my size. Every player in this league and in this work has something to work on; you can't be a perfect player. So every day, you come out here and try to improve as a player. As far as my mentality, I think if I come out here every day and think I need to earn this and I want to earn this, it will happen."

RB Jeremiah Johnson

(on how mini-camp went for him) "Pretty well. I just came out here and got used to the sun and ran around a little bit."

(on if he felt far behind because he missed OTAs) "Yeah, I felt very far behind because these guys had been playing with the playbook for quite some time. So I came in here and tried to learn things quickly and apply them on the field. If I did something wrong, I would tell a guy, 'Let me know, so I can correct it.'"

(on if he felt like the playbook came easier as the week went on) "Yes, of course. I came out here today was flying around because I knew what I was doing. I feel like I had two good practices. The first practice I was kind of blowing up because of the heat."

(on how he sees himself fitting into the Texans' scheme) "I am a good downhill runner. My college (Oregon) ran a zone offense, so that helps me fit in here."

(on what he will do to get ready for training camp) "I'll be a student of the game. I'll go in the film room and look at a lot of film and correct myself and study the playbook."

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