After the Texans practiced Monday at the Methodist Training Center, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
OLB Connor Barwin
RB Arian Foster
WR Andre Johnson
CB Johnathan Joseph
OLB Brooks Reed
QB Matt Schaub
DE J.J. Watt
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on if there is any new health news) "No, pretty much the same today, Johnathan Joseph back to work. We were real light today just getting moving. We're going to start our week tomorrow. Joseph was back on the field today. Paul Williams was back on the field today, so a few bodies came back, but other than that we're still working the same way."
(on if RB Derrick Ward is closer to getting cleared to play) "Derrick did practice today and should be cleared here any time. We expect him to be available this weekend."
(on if he's worried about ILB DeMeco Ryans) "No, I think it's just taking some time. It (his elbow) got really swollen on him and just getting the flexibility back and going through the rehab process. We were being smart last week. Today, you all can see we didn't do much at all. It'll be day-to-day with him, but I don't have any doubt that he will be back sometime soon."
(on his assessment of training camp) "I think it's been good. Obviously the heat's been very, very difficult, but I think our football team is in excellent shape. I like the way we're holding up as far as our wind and stuff watching us play. We're basically done today and get on our routine this week the way we do things in a normal season, so trying to get guys ready for the season."
(on how long the first team will play against the 49ers on Saturday) "My first answer would be three quarters. We'll see. Obviously we try to play a little bit more and get close to full game. We turn around and play Minnesota on Thursday, so I'll play them as much as a possibly can this weekend."
(on if there's any update on WR Lestar Jean) "He's got a pretty banged up shoulder. They're in an evaluation process right now. You're not going to see him out here in the next couple days, but should know more here toward the end of this week."
(on WR Devard Darling) "He's got some ability. He's played in this League. He's way behind knowing what we do, so that's tough for him, but we're trying to settle him down to see if he can help us. He'll play some this weekend. He'll play a lot of football next week."
(on how important Saturday's game will be for CB Johnathan Joseph) "Yeah, he needs to get back out there. He looked great during camp and obviously the groin has held him up a little bit. He was back out today. We'll pick it up each day with him and hopefully he's ready to carry his load on Saturday night, but he needs to play."
(on how important it is to see CB Johnathan Joseph through a number of reps to see where he's at) "Yeah, it's very important. At the same time at the end of the week, you got to decide okay how many is it? How many reps do you want to see from him? I don't think you throw him out there and play him three quarters. We'll see how he practices throughout the week."
(on the update on ILB DeMeco Ryans) "Just like I told them, it's day-to-day. We're trying to get the swelling out of it, trying to get the flexibility back and trying to be smart at the same time. We've got time. We're not going to do anything crazy with him."
(on the update on NT Earl Mitchell) "He missed today. He'll be day-to-day. He's got a banged up knee and we'll see, but he'll be day-to-day."
(on how much opportunity he sees for the Texans this year) "There's opportunity every year. We all get to play 16. The most important thing right now is that we get this team as good as it can be for opening day. We can't look past anything but opening day and can't be concerned with what's going on with other teams. We got to worry about ourselves."
(on how nice it is to have the troops out watching practice) "Very nice, good to see them. The trip I made this summer was special to me. Anytime I see those guys around town, I invite them out to practice all the time, so good to see them out."
OLB Connor Barwin
(on changing positions every year for the past few years) "Yeah, it's been interesting, but I think this is the one right here. It took a while for me to find it, but I think outside linebacker is the position I'm going to play for the rest of my career probably."
(on what seems right about playing outside linebacker) "It's just the ability to do different things. I think I can rush the quarterback but I think I can play first and second down, beat up on tight ends a little bit. I can drop in coverage and cover tight ends and running backs."
(on his thoughts after the game against New Orleans) "The good thing about this defense is like I said from the beginning, it puts people in positions to make plays. You saw we bent a little bit here and there, but at the end of the day people stepped up and made plays. That's the good thing about this defense."
(on if the Saints would've scored on the first drive of the game if it was against last year's Texans defense) "I hope not. I was still playing last year on that first drive. No, I think there's a different mindset. The culture's starting to change a little bit. People need to step up and make plays and that's how you get a good defense."
(on how much he's expecting to play on Saturday) "I've heard I think we're going to go most of the game or three quarters, something like that. We know we'll play more than we did. We'll play into the second half."
RB Arian Foster
(on having the troops out to watch practice) "It's a great thing. They do so much for us and we provide them with the entertainment to take their minds off what they're doing. It's a give-and-take relationship. We give some, they give some and vice versa."
(on putting a smile on the troops' faces) "Absolutely, I'm happy to put a smile on anybody's face. That's what he live for."
(on how much the navy means to his home town of San Diego) "We're always grateful for what they do for us and in return we give them a little bit of entertainment to take their minds off of what's going on in their lives. I'm happy to be a part of that and put a smile on people's faces for a short while."
(on getting a routine down for the game on Saturday) "It's real important. This is the biggest preseason game. This is where the starters play the majority of the game. We're treating it just like a game week. We got a lot of respect for the 49ers and the organization and we're looking to prove the next week that we can play in this League because that's what it's all about."
WR Andre Johnson
(on his assessment of training camp) "I think it went good. I wish I could have been out there more, barring an injury or whatever. I think it went good. I think this team is very focused at a being a great football team this year. We're expecting a lot out of each other and we're just going to keep working."
(on if the team was getting into a groove in the last game) "I think the biggest thing is that we want to improve every week that we touch the field. That's something that we stress to each other before the game and once this season started. Even in training camp, every time we touched the field, we needed to improve as a football team. That's the mindset every time we come out here and touch the field."
(on if this year is the best opportunity the Texans have ever had) "We said that last night. We said that the year before that. All that doesn't matter unless you go out and win games. That's the biggest thing right now is just going out winning. We just have to take it one game at a time and our main focus right now is getting ready for September 11. That's what we're trying to do. We have 16 games to play and we'll see what happens during those 16 games."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on if he's healing okay) "Absolutely. Things are moving fine, right on schedule where we wanted to be. I'm looking forward to practicing and playing Saturday."
(on how much the injury has set him back) "It really hasn't set me back because just being a veteran you understand your position and understand what's asked of you to do. Getting mental reps is a big part of the game as well because most of the game is mental itself."
(on how important the game on Saturday is for him) "I think it's a big game because I haven't played yet in my first preseason game. You always want to shake off the rust a little bit."
OLB Brooks Reed
(on if Clay Matthews is a role model for him) "I've been watching him ever since he started. I watch film on him and he's a great player."
(on what player he wants to emulate) "Clay Matthews, he's the best in the League, DeMarcus Ware. I watched a lot of Cowboys film during the lockout because that's the defense they ran a year prior."
QB Matt Schaub
(on the third preseason game being the most important) "We view it as a regular season game. We prepare much the same as we would schedule-wise and practice-wise we would our reps and how we go about our business on a weekly basis. We treat it just like a regular season game and go out there with our full game plan and get after it."
(on if the team will throw the ball less because the Texans will be running the ball so much) "If that equates to making a run at a championship; whatever it takes. We're fortunate. It's a good situation to have a multitude of backs back there that can come in and play at a high level and we have a lot of confidence in each one of them. It's exciting to watch them run and protect and catch the ball out of the backfield because they all possess those skills to be a complete back. So it's a lot of fun to have them back there because it takes a lot of pressure off the passing game."
(on if 2011 presents the Texans' best opportunity to win the AFC South) "I think it's as good as any. With each year, we get more confident at what we're doing and better at what we're doing and keeping everyone together and the continuity on our team, as far as offense goes, with all the personnel that we have, I think it will only mean good things for us as long as we play consistently good week-in, week-out."
(on if the Texans offense progressed during training camp despite nagging injuries) "Yeah, I think we've progressed really nicely. Obviously, just starting out without the offseason together and meeting with coaches; I think with every team you'll find it just wasn't pick up where you left off the first day. We grew into things and guys really progressed well. The young guys came on really quickly and picked things up. So far, it's been a nice progression but we just need to keep taking those steps to get better and improve on what we did the week before."
(on if the team is now getting into a normal pattern after playing two games in five days) "I sure hope so. Last week was a quick turnaround from one week to the next, so it will be nice to get into a normal game week because we'll treat this week just like the regular season."
(on getting more players on the field, healthy) "The goal for every training camp is you want to get to the regular season with as many guys healthy and ready to go as possible and to avoid any serious injuries. I feel like we've been able to do that for the most part so far but we just need to keep working and keep getting better and keep playing hard."
DE J.J. Watt
(on how soon he got a scholarship at Wisconsin after joining the team as a walk-on) "I had to sit on the scout team for a year because of the transfer rule because you can't play for a year. So I was on the scout team. As soon as that year was over, they gave me a scholarship before my first year as a starter."
(on if there was ever a point where he told himself, "I know I'm good enough now.") "No. I'll never say that. You're never going to be good enough. There's always going to be someone better. For me right now, it's Antonio Smith. He's a great player. As you move up the ladder, you just want to keep having higher and higher goals. At some point, you want to be the best ever to play your position. That's all we're working for every single day we're out here."
(on what Draft Day was like for him) "Unbelievable. It was a very emotional day for my family because when I left Central Michigan (University), my parents had to be willing to pay my tuition at Wisconsin. That's $20,000 out of their pocket that they weren't expecting to have to pay. So that day was very emotional because everything worked out. It easily could have gone the other way where my gamble (leaving a scholarship at Central Michigan to walk on at Wisconsin) didn't pay off, but it paid off in a big way. That was a very, very proud moment for me because my parents raised me to always work hard and that paid off big-time."
(on the months leading up to the Draft, being tested by NFL teams) "Yeah, it's fun. It was a lot of fun. It's a chance for you to show what you have and that's the thing; whether you're a highly-recruited guy, not highly-recruited guy, that was a time for every team to get their look at you and you could show them if you're a good player or not. So it was fun."
(on what the Texans said to him when he was drafted) "They said, 'How would you like to be a Texan?' I said, 'I would love it.' (I talked to) Mr. (Rick) Smith. I talked to Coach (Gary) Kubiak. I talked to Coach (Wade) Phillips, Coach (Bill) Kollar, everybody. It was a very, very, very good phone call."
(on where his love of the game come from) "I think I just try and keep perspective on it. Playing in fifth grade, that was the first time I ever played football and you watched Monday Night Football and now I'm out here playing on Monday Night Football and you just always have to remember all the people who wish they could do what we do. That's one thing I do; whenever I'm having a down day or a day when I'm not feeling my best I think, I mean, I look at these guys (USO troops who were at practice) right here, these guys in the Army and the Navy. How badly to they wish they could play in the NFL. I have it good. I have it easy. I'm very fortunate and I get to play a game that I love and that's something I very, very much enjoy doing."
(on how much the Texans defensive rookies have bonded) "I think we're definitely bonding. If Brooks (Reed) gets a sack and comes off the field, I want to be the first one to congratulate him. Especially this year with the lockout, we're going through something that nobody's gone through before. It's good to be with those guys and especially guys you like. Those are the guys that work hard and it's fun to play with them."
(on how well he knows OLB Brooks Reed) "Well, I trained with Brooks (Reed) for the Draft, so I've been him since about January. We've had a lot of fun together, a lot of good memories and we're going to create a lot more here."
(on the common ground between him and OLB Brooks Reed) "He's a hard worker and I try to be a hard worker myself. It's a very good quality we share. And obviously we try and stay cool in this heat."