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Houston Texans

OTA's begin Wednesday

Like a child waiting for Christmas morning, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak will finally get to play with some of his new toys Wednesday when the Texans begin Organized Team Activities (OTA's).

Despite being strapped by salary cap considerations heading into the offseason, Houston has still managed to make major improvements to a roster that now has to rank as the best in franchise history.

It is for that reason that the Texans second-year coach is looking forward to what otherwise would be a mundane ritual of an NFL offseason.

"I'm excited," Kubiak said. "It's hard to believe that it's been a year or so now (since I started). Ever since we walked off the field against Cleveland last year I told the guys I couldn't wait to get going again.

"We've gotten better in the offseason through free agency and the draft, but that doesn't matter until you get on the field so it's time to start to put that together."

When the Texans take the field on Wednesday there will be dozens of new faces out at the Methodist Training Center, but none more important than the team's starting quarterback and running back.

It's for that reason, among others, that Kubiak believes the next few weeks of on the field offseason training will be pivotal to his team's success this fall.

"They're very important," Kubiak said of OTA's. "We've got some guys starting from scratch and of course we have some core guys that have been in our system a year now.

"We have to catch up or new guys, we have to catch up Ahman (Green), we have to catch up Matt (Schaub). How quick we do that is going to be very important."

Schaub will probably be the closest watched player Wednesday as he commands a huddle for the first time in a Texans uniform.

Schaub has asserted his leadership off the field since being dealt to Houston in late March, but Wednesday will be his first opportunity to take the reigns of his new team and he knows that the next few weeks will help determine how his new teammates view him.

"It's very important," Schaub said. "So far it's been in the weight room and on the training fields. Now it's a matter of going in the huddle on the field and assuming that leadership. I'm looking forward to that opportunity."

{QUOTE}Schaub has spent much of the last six weeks buried in a Texans playbook. Certainly their will be a learning curve for Schaub, but his coach said that the transition to a new signal caller has been a smooth one so far.
"He's been fine," Kubiak said. "We've actually expanded, moved on to some of the things we want to do as coaches so we're asking a lot of him mentally now.

"I want Matt to feel like when we are done with OTA's to feel like he can go play and is ready for training camp and the opening preseason game. I don't want to say it's been easy, but it's been pretty simple because the way we do things and the way we talk, Matt's done all of that before."

For Schaub, his first season in Houston is also his first as a full-time starter. For Green, Houston's other big-name offseason acquisition, it's just another season to attempt to add to a career resume that already include four Pro Bowl berths.

How much Green is able to contribute this season will go a long way in determining how far the Texans climb in the standings. For his part, Green has dedicated himself to his new team and new city.

"I feel very comfortable," Green said of his new surroundings. "I'm the type of guy that I live where I play so I'm here getting the house settled, decorating and commuting in."

Green joked on Monday that his old commute in Green Bay took just 12 minutes. He said he's quickly adapted to Houston traffic.

"Along with that I'm hanging out with my teammates a lot," Green said. "We're going bowling a lot and that's a step to getting this team where we want it to be."

Green reunites with Texans assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Mike Sherman this season. That familiarity should lead to a smooth transition.

"When you work with someone for a long time like I did with coach Sherman in Green Bay, there's some familiarity there," Green said. "He's installed some of that here and then watching what coach Kubiak did in Denver, I just have a ton of enthusiasm. It's a good feeling."

The good feelings of two players who are expected to drive the Houston offense are just one reason why expectations for the Texans have never been higher.

Whether those expectations will come to fruition depends on how all the Texans new pieces fit together. That puzzle starts to be put together Wednesday.

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