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Mini-camp report: Day 2


Rookie Connor Barwin has been catching up quickly in his two days of mini-camp. The high-motor defensive end has had trouble holding back in drills, but he also is taking the time to work on his technique.

Quin is first man in: Rookie cornerback Glover Quin got off to a fast start during OTAs, picking off three passes in his first week of practice. Quin is still trying to improve his technique and understanding of the Texans' packages, but he hasn't slowed down much in his month with team.

During mini-camp, Quin is getting a ton of reps as a starter because veterans Fred Bennett and Jacques Reeves have been excused from practice. He has been taking advantage of that by showing the coverage skills and speed that could earn him a spot in nickel and dime packages next season.

"You don't have to look any further than Glover Quin and the reps he's gotten in this camp and the way he's played for this football team," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "It looks like he will be a contributor to this team very early in his career.

"Sometimes, the difference in a guy being a great player and a starter in this league is just getting an opportunity. When you get one, you take advantage of it and you don't let something go. That's how some of those guys have gotten to that spot."

Barwin getting after it: It's been hard for rookie Connor Barwin to tone down his play during mini-camp. The defensive end has fresh legs, and he's excited about his role as a pass rusher on the team.

"For me, it's about playing hard every snap, getting myself into shape and getting used to this heat and just being an energy-type guy," Barwin said. "I think that's what they need me to do and I need to practice like that all of the time.

"I want to wear guys down. I try to be a high-energy guy. The technique stuff is stuff I need to work at, but I just keep going. It's like a battle and a competition between me and (the offensive lineman) every single play. So I just try to battle him every single play and have more energy than him."

Barwin prefers to rush the passer with his hand in the ground, and the Texans have begun working with him on his technique. Defensive line coach Bill Kollar has encouraged Barwin to watch film of Tennessee's Kyle Vanden Bosch and Minnesota's Jared Allen.

{QUOTE}"To sit here and say that he has all the knowledge he needs to move forward, I think that he's got a long way to go from that standpoint, but he's got a hell of a teacher," Kubiak said. "So with Bill, I think that he can make up a lot of ground."

Kubiak has talked about Barwin playing as a situational rusher in third-down situations, but he also is looking forward to seeing how the rookie can hold up against the run.

"I think right now, we are just trying to evaluate him as a player," Kubiak said. "We know he can rush the passer. Obviously, that's probably where he can help the team the fastest.

"When we put the pads on at 265 and he's holding it up in the run like he's doing in these two days, then he's on the field a lot quicker. So, we'll see. I think we know what his strength is right now, and it's athleticism and going to get the quarterback."

Texans partner with state lottery: The Texans announced Tuesday that they have formed a deal with the Texas Lottery to launch a new $5 scratch-off game available throughout the state.

It will begin around the start of the NFL season, and fans can win up to $100,000 and enter to win exclusive Texans prizes. The second-chance drawing prizes include authentic jerseys autographed by Texans star players and a "Texans VIP Suite" package.

"This is a chance for us to engage our fans, a chance for us to reward our fans for these types of prizes they can't get anywhere else, a chance for us to do something great for education in the state of Texas," Texans president Jamey Rootes said.

Representatives from the Texas Lottery estimate that the state's Foundation School Fund will receive about $4 million from the sales of the Texans' scratch-off game.

"The expectation is that this is really a homerun idea for the Houston Texans, for our fans and, most importantly for the Lottery and for the folks in Texas, from an education perspective," Rootes said. "We would expect to continue to do this going forward, but we'll wait and see what the results are."

This is the first year the NFL has allowed teams to have licensing agreements with their state-sponsored lotteries. The New England Patriots and Washington Redskins have already announced they will have similar partnerships.

"The NBA, Major League Baseball (and) now the National Football League have jumped in to support lotteries," Rootes said. "It's nothing to do with the outcome of the game on the field. That's really at the core of the issue is protecting the integrity of the game, and the Lottery is something that's very far away from that. It's a chance for us to engage our fans and support education.

"Everything that happens in the National Football League is debated, and the NFL is typically not the first mover. We do things right as opposed to doing things right away. This was just like any other issue, discussed at length, and a good decision was reached."

To learn more, click here.

Quotable: "He's very fast, taking advantage of a great deal of reps. He needs to get more physical, but we'll find out about that when we put the pads on. But he has a lot of speed to work with."
- Head coach Gary Kubiak on cornerback Brice McCain

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