Notes and quotes from Friday at Reliant Stadium, where Texans veteran players reported for work on the day before training camp:
Super Bowl or bust?: Smith, quarterback Matt Schaub, tight end Owen Daniels and center Chris Myers were among the Texans players who did not shy away from sharing Super Bowl aspirations on Friday. "It's not just try to win a division and get to the playoffs, it's Super Bowl or bust, and I think that's what every organization tries to get to in the NFL," Myers said. Schaub agreed but stressed the importance of not putting the cart before the horse. "We took the next step as a team (last season), and the only next step after that is to get to the Super Bowl and win it, so anything short of that will be a disappointment in our eyes," he said. "But we can't win it here in July and August. We've got to go out there and get our team in a position when the regular season starts to start stacking up wins."
Contract talk: Left tackle Duane Brown and Barwin, two of the Texans' top young players, are entering their final seasons of their respective rookie contracts. Both players downplayed the issue on Friday. "It's not a big concern of mine," Brown said. "I'll let the business handle itself. I'm just here to play. This is my biggest season coming up thus far, and I'm just looking to perform." Barwin, who led the Texans with 11.5 sacks in 2011, said he has "no problem" going into the season without an extension. "It's something that will work itself out with (executive vice president of football operations and general manager) Rick (Smith) and my agent, and after the year, if it doesn't, then we'll work it out then," he said. "I'm not concerned. I'm ready to go this year. I'm completely focused on football, and I honestly believe that will work itself out."
Best in the league?: Brown didn't make the Pro Bowl last season but was named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press after allowing just 2.5 sacks. Schaub was effusive in his praise Friday of the fifth-year blindside protector. "Duane has molded himself into, in my opinion, the best left tackle in the game," Schaub said. "I'll say it for him. Watching him play and the way he prepares, the way he attacks his job, he's asked on a weekly basis to block the best player on the other team. If you look at who we played last year and who he had to block, there were a lot of those guys that didn't even get near touching the quarterback. I never have to worry about Duane and what he's doing and what he has on his plate, because he's gonna get the job done."
Quotes of the Day
"I think they should be high. I think our front seven is as good as any front seven in the NFL. I think our offense is talented across the board. I think everybody's worried about the right side of the line; I think those guys are gonna be just fine over there. So I think the expectations aren't too high. I think they're right where they should be. "
- OLB Connor Barwin, on the sky-high expectations surrounding the team
"We're not satisfied with where we were last year. Being in the playoffs and making history for this franchise means a lot, but we have a bigger goal in mind. I've never seen so many people so excited to be back and ready to get back to work. We're not thinking we've accomplished much. We know what we can still do."
- LT Duane Brown, on dealing with the success of last season
"We're pretty confident. We've got a Ninja. We've got Shaun Cody, which we don't know what to call him yet. We've got J.J. (Watt), the Milk Man, a.k.a. the Watt Man, whatever you want to call him. There's so many characters on this team, all you can do is have fun and enjoy it. And I think when you have fun with football and enjoy it, you play your best football."
- DE Antonio Smith, on the chemistry in the Texans' front seven