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OTAs practice report: Day 8


The Texans hit the field Monday for their third week of OTAs and many of the rookies are starting find their roles in the team's defensive scheme. Fourth-round draft pick Glover Quin recorded an interception on Monday, the cornerback's fourth this offseason.

Glover's got gloves: Rookie Glover Quin is earning a reputation for having gloves as hands. The cornerback picked off three passes during his first week of OTAs and grabbed another interception on Monday.

"He just seems like he makes a play every day," head coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's got a knack for getting his hands on the ball and when he does, he tends to come up with it. So he's doing a lot of good things. He's getting a great deal of reps because of Dunta's (Robinson) situation, so, good chance for him to help the team quickly."

With Robinson sitting out the offseason because of contract issues and Antwaun Molden still recovering from the foot injury he suffered last season, Quin has seen his playing time increase.

"A lot of guys are getting time, so that's the key when a player's out: Everybody moves up in the line," Kubiak said. "There are just a ton of reps to go around over the course of these 14 days and these guys need it, and the best way to describe it is they're taking advantage of it, so they're doing a good job with the reps."

{QUOTE}Fred Bennett has been starting for Robinson opposite left cornerback Jacques Reeves. Quin has the potential to play safety because of his size (6-0, 203), but he has been staying with his receivers and excelling in coverage as a corner. Robinson has vowed to return for training camp, which should make for a fierce competition at cornerback.

Gibbs likes his secondary: The Texans hired defensive backs coach David Gibbs to overhaul a pass defense that ranked 17th in the league, giving up 213.9 yards per game. When Gibbs accepted the position, he knew he needed to deepen the talent level in the secondary to be successful.

Thanks to the draft, Gibbs acquired new contributors in Quin, safety Troy Nolan and cornerback Brice McCain. Now, Gibbs is all over his players about their technique, especially when it comes to coverage.

"The thing he does, he forces you to learn," Quin said. "I mean, he goes real fast, so you have to learn it or you're going to be out there looking pretty bad.

"He'll tell you he's more worried about technique and fundamentals than the scheme right now. So that's what we're trying to make sure we're getting down, all the technique and fundamentals of playing defensive back."

Gibbs is tough on his players, just like his father, Texans offensive line coach Alex Gibbs. But he has been impressed with the way the rookies and veterans have responded to his coaching style.

"I like my group," Gibbs said. "I think they're a bunch of guys who have been beaten up, who've probably not played as well as they should. It's nobody's fault, whether it's coaching or players. Their job is to play good on Sundays and my job is to make them play good on Sundays, and if they're not playing good, then obviously, it goes back to the coach."

Expectations running high for offense: It's hard to think of the Texans putting up even better numbers on offense than they did last year when they finished third in league, averaging 382.1 yards of offense per game. But that is exactly what Kubiak expects in 2009.

The team has the pieces on in place with the offense returning all its starters, and that consistency should make for even more offensive production.

"This group of guys has been playing together now for going on the third year, pretty much," Kubiak said. "The offensive line will be going on the second year if they can all stay together. With experience should come better execution. We're still going to have to make the plays. I'm sure people are going to catch up to some of the things we've been doing, but it's our job to get them in a position to make plays."

The Texans had little problem airing it out last season, with Andre Johnson consistently burning teams on deep routes. Johnson led the league in receptions (115) and receiving yards (1,575). But the offense has to do a better job of converting on third downs and scoring in the red zone. Kubiak thinks Johnson and a new crop of young leaders will help the unit improve in both areas.

"He (Johnson) is not a rah-rah guy," Kubiak said. "He just does his job, works hard; that's the way he goes about his business. But I think we've developed a lot of leaders, and that's a good thing. I think Matt (Schaub) is more of a leader now than he's been since he's been here."

Health report: The only Texans to sit out of practice on Monday were wide receiver Jacoby Jones and defensive tackle Travis Johnson. Last week, Jones bruised his tailbone at home and is expected back any day. Johnson has been sidelined for all of OTAs with a hamstring injury.

Quotable: "I know he's got a great resume, but he coaches a totally different position than I coach. Coaching offensive line is easy. Come coach the secondary. I'm just kidding."
- Defensive backs coach David Gibbs on his father, offensive line coach Alex Gibbs

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