After the Texans' third day of organized team activities on Wednesday, members of the team spoke to the media.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on a lot of teams around the NFL switching to a 3-4 defense) "Yeah, I think it kind of runs in cycles. Assistants get jobs that come from those type of systems. A lot of guys are going to that. I don't know how many teams exactly right now; I want to say somewhere between 10 and 15. It's quite a few. But also, rosters are built a certain way. When you do make a total change that way, that is a big-time adjustment from a roster standpoint. So we'll get our share of them this year, I know that."
(on how LB Cato June fits into their plans) "Well, first off, he's a veteran guy that's been on a winner, so he brings that aspect to our group. Our linebacker group is as strong as it's been since I've been here, so the competition's going to be extremely tough to make this football team. You usually keep six, so he's in for a battle from that standpoint, but I like the way he's working and our guys respect him because they know he's gotten it done before."
(on what he said to June when he was signed) "Well, I don't remember what I said to him other than the fact that we could offer him a good opportunity to come here and compete, that this team needs to continue to bring in some guys that are going to be veterans that have been successful and have good reputations as far as how they work, and he fit that mold for us."
(on CB Glover Quin) "Well, he's made some plays out here the first couple of days. He's gotten his hands on the ball a couple of times. We're playing him at nickel, also; (defensive backs coach) David (Gibbs) tells me he's very sharp in the meeting room. He can return some, too. So there's plenty of reps to go around, especially with Dunta (Robinson) not being here. It's moved all those guys up as far as reps go, so he's taking advantage of it."
(on DT Travis Johnson's situation) "Well, it hasn't changed. You know, he was having a good offseason. Like I said yesterday, everything was going fine, and it got time to go back to work and he's got some issues bothering him: a hamstring, I think his pelvic region, his knee was sore. So we'll do everything we can to get Travis healthy before we get him out here."
Defensive coordinator Frank Bush(on what DE Tim Bulman needs to do to make a jump this year) "You know, just continue. Just continue to work hard, get better at all his techniques, make a few more plays – that kind of stuff. But we like where he is and we like where he's going, so we're happy about him."
(on if it helps Bulman to get more reps with DE Antonio Smith injured and DE Connor Barwin not here yet) "Yeah, that's really good for him. It's good for him, and it helps us because you always need guys that are ready to go play. So it's really good for Tim to get those reps right now. When Antonio comes back, of course they'll be his reps, but Tim will be better off for it."
(on if having a deep and talented linebacker corps is a good problem to have) "Yeah, it really is. With DeMeco (Ryans) in that group, he's a really outstanding player, and then bringing in the new kid, (Brian) Cushing. We're still excited about Zac (Diles) and (Kevin) Bentley and all those kids. So right now we have some options, which are good options."
(on if the rookies are starting to adjust to the learning curve after three days) "Yeah, they're starting to get the hang of it. There are a lot of things that we throw at them. Today was an entirely new installation, and of course we had some guys kind of screw some things up. But all in all, these kids have done a real nice job of picking up the system and playing fast."
(on if the rookies' heads are swimming a little bit) "Yeah, because like I said, we've thrown a lot of stuff at them. And so for the most part, they get it, but there are a lot of things that are kind of thrown out there, a lot of little small things and techniques that they're still struggling with. But I'm sure they'll catch up."
(on giving rookies a lot of information now so that they can be ready for training camp) "Right, just develop a foundation, a base, give them some ideas of how we do things. The technique stuff will come. We just want them to run out here and play hard and do those things, and all that technique stuff will come. So that's why they're struggling a little bit."
(on the transition for him to defensive coordinator) "The transition for me, well, you know, it's been a while now. It's been a while. We've been doing this since January. The nicest thing for me is to be able to come out here on the grass. All the office work is a lot of fun, but there's nothing like getting out and watching the guys run around."
(on LB Cato June's chances) "Well, you know, his chances are real good. With Zac (Diles) coming off an injury and (Xavier) Adibi just into his second year, his chances are real good. He's a guy that's a veteran, he's been to a Pro Bowl, he's been to a Super Bowl. He kind of gets it in the sense of being a veteran and having some savvy. So we kind of like where he is and we think he's got a real good chance to help us."
(on what he's seen out of CB Glover Quin) "You know what, he's made two big plays. I've seen him catch the ball. I like the way he moves around and whatnot. It's still early, but he's made a few big plays out there in our passing game."
(on if Quin could play safety) "There's a possibility. We have plans for him on the edge right now. He's going to do some stuff in the slot and nickel, but there's always a possibility at safety. He's built that way, anyway."
(on what physically sticks out about Quin) "Just his physical stature. He's a big, thick, good-looking kid. He moves around well. From the tape, we know he's not afraid to hit. So we're encouraged by him."
Offensive assistant Bruce Matthews(on if he's getting used to being called "Coach") "Yeah, it's pretty wild. I remember Munch (Mike Munchak) —I used to call him Coach and (he'd say), 'Hey, player.' (laughs) I can relate to that a little more now."
(on how he can translate his experience into advice for his players) "Well, I think the biggest thing is some of the tricks that I've learned over the years through a lot of trial and error, mostly error. But hopefully, just enabling them to take some shortcuts, the calculated risks-type short cuts. It's funny because they're so eager to learn and to excel and it's something I can relate to, yet at the same time, they're kind of raw. I mean, there are some very good players out here as well on the offensive line, so it's exciting for me."
(on if the players know who he is and what he's done) "I think they told them who I am. They're like, 'Some old guy.' Like Caldwell, for example, 'Yeah, when I was a kid, I used to play with you on Madden,' and I'm like, 'Oh, my God" (laughs). You know, not Tecmo Bowl, when the games first came out; he doesn't even know what Tecmo Bowl was. But these are second- and third-generation video games, so it's kind of interesting."
(on if players only remember him from video games) "Yeah, and 'Houston Oilers—what's that?' Chester Pitts told me the other day, 'I saw you gimping out when they introduced you for the Super Bowl on some old NFL film,' and I'm thinking, 'Man, I was running well back then.'"
(on if coaching is what he thought it would be) "Coming to work every day was an adjustment. But this is the part that I really looked forward to when I signed up — the relationship with the players and just trying to have fun."
(on if he spoke with former teammate Mike Munchak about coaching before joining the Texans' staff) "Actually, I've picked his brain really since the time he began coaching and I was still playing. He's been an invaluable resource for me and I've called him and… I can't say "commiserated" because everything's great here, so it's neat to talk to him now because I actually understand what it was he was going through. Granted, that was a long time ago for him."
(on what makes him want to coach) "I think, more than anything, I really enjoy the game. And as a coach, and coaching in general, installing a game plan or a plan of attack and seeing it come to fruition and guys buying into it and actually helping them out, that's something that I really enjoy. And over the years, the first couple of years I wasn't a huge Texans fan, but over the years I've become a big fan of the Texans, so it's exciting for me not only as a fan but to get in there and be part of the nuts and bolts and operations."
(on if he's noticed a change in the way guys approach the game from when he was playing) "It's different yet similar. It's a lot more specific as far as coaching and the techniques used. It just seems like everything's so micromanaged, whether it's the offseason program or the workouts or things like that, but it's still football and the O-lineman are still the best – best-looking, best players, best bodies, all that stuff. Even when they're approaching 50."
(on if he reminds the players that he's a Hall of Famer) "No, no. Well… I have."
(on if he has to remind himself how far removed he is from playing) "I stand back (and) the biggest adjustment for me is not asking questions and answering questions in the meeting when the coach talks. And I have to catch myself, because I'm so used to being in player mode. That's the biggest thing. And sometimes in drills, wanting to step in there. I went in there a couple of days ago, didn't hit anybody, but just got in my stance and thought, 'Man, I could still do this.' And then I stood up and my neck hurt and I'm thinking, 'Geez, I didn't hit anybody, didn't have the helmet on and my neck's hurting.' So it wouldn't be good."
(on walking through some of the plays in practice the other day) "Yeah, I was playing mullet squad tight end (laughs)."
(on where he wants coaching to take him) "I don't know. I'm excited for the role that I have right now. You know, I'm the low man on the totem pole and I'm fine with that. I want to learn everything I can about it and see where it takes me and enjoy this opportunity."
(on what his wife thinks of his coaching) "If my wife hadn't been on board with this, I never would have done it. Because obviously, it's a big time commitment, but she's been great with it and she's excited about the season. My kids are excited about the season. I had to purge a little Tennessee gear but, you know, the Texans stuff is nice."
(on what he did with his old Titans gear) "I don't know. Just put it in the back of the drawer, I guess."
(on Mike Munchak) "I had a lot of discussions with Munch as far as why he actually was involved, and like I said all along, since he started coaching and I was still playing, he's given me an insight on what coaching is all about. And I had a lot of insecurities going into this, like 'Is this something that I would like or would take to?', and he's been very encouraging. So it's been a great resource for me."
(on C/G Antoine Caldwell) "He's a talented kid. He's eager and ready to learn, and this is a great system to be in as an offensive lineman. It's something that I think he, as a player, should be really excited about being involved with, and I think he'll do a great job."
CB Glover Quin
(on if he might earn the nickname "Glove" for making plays, even his first name is pronounced "GLOW-ver") "Well, all my life people have called me Glover, and I kind of go with it. I understand it. When I was at New Mexico, a lot of people did call me 'Glove,' so I go with it."
(on if he would be willing to make a pronunciation change for a nickname ) "Sure."
(on what he needs to show in OTAs) "I feel like I've got to come in and show that I'm learning and I'm working, competing and I know what to do. I'm just showing that I can contribute and help the team out where it needs to be helped."
(on if making plays on the ball is his strength) "I think so. I try to pride myself on having good ball skills and hustling and always being around the ball. When you're always around the ball, sometimes good things happen. You get fumbles, you catch interceptions. So that's one thing I try to pride myself on is hustling to the ball and having good ball skills."
(on what critics don't see when they analyze him and point to his size) "They don't see the work that I put in to make up for those things they criticize. With my height, I work on my jumping ability so I can jump. For my size, I work on my running and my change of direction so I can stick with the smaller, quicker guys. That's what they don't see. That's what they aren't able to criticize because they don't know what I do behind the scenes to be ready perform. Because I can't use that as an excuse – I'm not tall enough, so he caught the ball, or I'm not quick enough, so he got by me. I can't use that as an excuse."
(on if he wants to only play corner despite having the size to play safety) "Well, I want to play where I need to play. If they need me to play safety, I won't have a problem learning and trying to play safety. If they need me to play corner, nickel, wherever they want me to play, I'm willing to learn and try to help and contribute."
(on safeties being required to hit) "Oh, I'll hit. That's one thing I will do."
RB Steve Slaton
(on if he still works hard to keep his starting spot) "You've still got to, because there's guys under you. You know, I was at the bottom and I knew I wanted to be at the top, and I know there's a lot of guys behind me that want it."
(on his offseason training) "Just hitting the weights. It's a lot different when I have no school to do, so I can pay more attention to football."
(on if he felt he needed to get bigger to take hits better) "Just to see, to feel it out. You know, I had a little problem with third-and-short, and that'll hopefully help me move a little bit more pile."
(on how much bigger he is) "About nine pounds."
(on if he thinks that will affect his ability to cut) "I don't think it will. I'm out here now working with this and I feel good, and hopefully in training camp I can slim down to the place I need to be."
(on if it will be harder going into his second season with the higher expectations) "I guess you could say that it will be a little harder. It's all eyes on you now and everybody knows what you can do, but you just have to go out there and do a little bit more."
(on if the offense is any different coming into this year) "No, it's pretty much the same. It's pretty much what I learned last year. A few tweaks here and there, but it's still all-in-all the same."
(on how he feels at this point this year compared to this point last year) "I feel 10 times better. I know there's things for starting that I already know and there's little things I can work on to get better, so I can pay more attention to the little things."
(on if pass protection is still a big goal for him) "Yeah, that's always going to be my goal: to get better and protect the quarterback as much as I can, (allow) no sacks."
(on if being bigger will help him in pass protection) "I think so. There's a lot of guys, a lot of linebackers out there that are 10 times bigger than me, so I need to keep on a little bit (of weight) to keep up with them."