Ahman Green finds some running room during Monday's morning practice.
Texans players and coaches spoke to the media after practice on Monday, the 10th day of practice since the start of training camp.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - morning practice (on the injury to Texans guard Chester Pitts) "I didn't see it. Just talking to Kevin (Bastin), he had some back spasms, so they'll take him in and take a look. That's all I have on him right now. I didn't see what happened, but Kevin told me he had some bad back spasms."
(on what happened to Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones) "Heat. Just wore out. Let me go through them here. (Tim) Bulman had some back spasms himself. Bethel Johnson, heat. Zac Diles a little groin strain, and Fred (Weary) got rolled up. A bunch of nicks right there. Most of them will be out there this afternoon. Fred got rolled up, but he did finish practice."
(on what stood out from the film of last week's practice) "I really liked our practice Saturday. I thought we really had an excellent physical practice with some enthusiasm. I think we found some new guys on this team that are going to answer the bell when it's time to play. I really liked what was going on. I think we had a hard time getting going today. We had a day off, and we were sluggish, but we found a way to fight through it. We've just got to continue to get better."
(on who stuck out during film review of last week's practice) "There were numerous guys, and I'll probably miss some when I start talking, but some of the guys that come to mind are Travis Johnson comes to mind, some of the plays he made on Saturday. Thomas Johnson, our fullback, (Jon) Abbate just continues to play that tempo that we need to win on this football team. I thought Matt Schaub had one of his best practices since he's been here. I could probably go on and on, but there was definitely some new faces showed up in the way of a little extra effort and making some good plays. That's a good thing."
(on who would replace Texans guard Chester Pitts at left guard if Pitts were injured) "We'll see. We either move Drew (Hodgdon) over there, or we go with (Mike) Brisiel or (Kasey) Studdard; one of those three, so we'll see what happens, I don't really know what's up with Chester right now."
(on how valuable Texans center Drew Hodgdon is) "I think the fact that we settled down and played him one spot gives him a chance to be a better pro football player. It's just the way that I and Sherman and John Benton feel, so I think he's been more consistent in camp. If Chester (Pitts) is going to be out a little period of time, then it gives him an excellent opportunity."
(on how it feels to potentially lose a starter like Pitts) "It's very difficult. I've been doing this for a long time, and you're going to have players get nicked up and things happen. That gives other guys an opportunity. You don't want to lose players as a coach, but I know one thing: you've got to work to get better. Usually with the hard work, some things happen that you've got to fight through. We'll fight through this one and let's see what happens; maybe he'll be back this afternoon, who knows? That's part of the game, and you got to keep working."
(on what he likes in Texans guard Kasey Studdard) "I like his tenacity. I like the effort that he plays with. You're going to get the same thing every down. The thing he's got to do is clean up mentally as a player, understanding what he's doing. I think when he does that, he'll play a long, long time in this league at that spot."
(on whether the team will start specific game preparations) "No, we're going to worry about ourselves. We've got enough issues with ourselves. The good thing is we get to measure ourselves at the end of the week and where we're at with a great football team coming in here this weekend, but I told the players from day one, the focus has got to be on us. We've got to worry about ourselves, clean up our football, and if we do that then we'll get better. We won't quite worry about that quite yet. We'll wait till the end of the week, and get ready to play."
(on his admission that he made a mistake not playing Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter) "Absolutely. The guy is out here everyday. He gives his teammates 110 percent, 120 percent. You can count on him down in and down out. He can go all day. When the lights go on, Kevin Walter will do the same thing on the field that he does out here. He's a consistent player, and he stands for all the things that we want a player to stand for around here. He's going to give you everything he's got."
(on what he likes of Walter) "I think he'll make any play on the ball you need him to make. He's going to catch a ball if it's close to him. Kevin may be giving up a little bit from a speed standpoint to some guys in this league, but he makes up for it in how to run routes. He's going to make our run game better because of how hard he works in the run game. Kevin can play a lot of different spots, so when somebody does come in, we can still make Kevin the move guy, and settle guys like Jerome (Mathis) and them down to one spot, so the value of players like that in this league; I don't even know where to tell you. You can count on him, that's what it is."
(on whether he has met with and talked to Walter about Kevin being a go-to guy) "I told him I thought from what I saw on the field I thought he deserved a chance to be a starter at "Z." I told him I wasn't giving him anything, but he was going to start out there and it's his job to keep it. We're still not giving him anything, and I can promise you he doesn't want anything, but he deserves to step on the field Saturday night as our starting "Z" at this point."
(on why he was working with Texans quarterback Matt Schaub today instead of quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan, and how often he does that) "Well, my quarterbacks coach was supposed to be having a baby today, but they called it off. He was a little late coming to practice, so he'll have the baby this evening or tomorrow. I was coaching the quarterbacks early this morning, that's probably what you saw. I enjoyed it, I missed it. I'm always working with those guys, I'm always around them."
(on whether Texans defensive tackle Jeff Zgonina is an option at the long snapper position) "I think he's definitely an option. It will come down to when you start to make your final roster, keeping a snapper, just a snapper, that's a roster spot if some other player is able to do that, then you gain a roster spot somewhere else, so really it just boils down to how (Bryan) Pittman does, how well (Jeff) Zgonina does, how well (Joel) Dreessen does and what we chose to do with that spot."
(on whether Zgonina will still be in the rotation at defensive tackle if he does take the long snapper position) "Oh yeah, he can definitely do that, and Joel (Dreessen) could be in the rotation at tight end and do that, so we'll see how that goes."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - afternoon practice (on injured Texans guard Chester Pitts) "Chester feels a little better. He was having an MRI at 1:15, so I didn't know before I came to practice exactly what they saw. Early indications were that there were some back spasms. We'll just keep our fingers crossed and hope for some good news this afternoon."
(on Texans guard Fred Weary) "Fred was back out here this afternoon; somehow I knew he would be. That's Fred, he's ready to go. Other than that, we've got a bunch of little nicks. I held DeMeco (Ryans) this afternoon; (his) ankle is bothering him a little bit, but we got some good work in."
(on his game plan for practice after the day off Sunday) "Basically, these first two days, we're still working on ourselves, and having some things covered before we get into a game mode. We'll put in some type of game plan on Wednesday, it won't be much- first preseason game, but bottom line is we want to be simple, let our guys play, and take a look at each one of them."
(on whether he is seeing more things he likes) "I still think we have a long, long ways to go from a football standpoint, and some of the things we have to do. The thing that I've seen that's really impressed me, and I told y'all this before, is our football team is mentally and physically tougher, our team is close. That's important, you've got to come close as a football team. We're growing from that standpoint. Another thing that really hits me every day is we're having new faces show up that are saying 'I can help this team win.' If we start pointing fingers, we could pick out 10 or 12 from last year that we know are going to play great football for us and be there, but the key is we've got to get 40 or 50 of those, and we're starting to have some new faces show up, so that's a good thing."
(on whether the plan all along was to have a short afternoon practice) "Yeah, the afternoons will get shorter and shorter. As we get closer to playing, I want to teach in the afternoon. I want to get in here where it's cool. We had some very important things to cover. Looking on paper, it's almost like it would be hard to come practice this afternoon, but the guys did a great job and we got something out of it."
(on whether he has a game plan already made for the first preseason game) "I really haven't gotten into that yet. I'll meet with the coaches probably Wednesday or Thursday. I continue to preach to our players, and I'm going to try to talk the same way to you all, but we've got to worry about ourselves right now. We're not going to get too consumed about who we're playing in the preseason. We're going to worry about getting our football right, and getting ready to go for opening day."
(on what Texans veteran tight end Mark Bruener brings to the football team) "He's a great kid, and he's a leader. There's a bunch of young tight ends in that group, so he's kind of like their dad, so-to-speak. I hate to do that to him, but he is. He's still a dang good football player, if I'm smart with him. I can't bring him out here twice a day. I can't ask of him what I ask of a young football player, so we're practicing him once a day. He's been super and I'm expecting him to do good things."
(on whether he is impressed by Bruener going back to school to complete his degree in the offseason) "Yeah, that's pretty special. When you coach in this league, it's interesting to know how many guys say 'I'm going to go back and finish.' Once you get going with your career, and you're making a good living, and coaches are putting pressure on you in the offseason, a lot of times guys don't make it back. To make that effort, to get that done, I think that tells you what he's all about."
(on Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones) "He's doing some really good stuff. He still drops a few balls. Like today, he comes out here and practiced well and drops a couple balls. He had one that was a little bit behind him this afternoon, and when I got on him, he kind of looked at me like 'that was behind me.' I told him 'if you don't expect to make that play, I've got the wrong guy, Jacoby, and I don't want to hear that I've got the wrong guy.' I'm expecting him to make those plays."
(on Jones reducing his mistakes and utilizing his talent) "He's got so much talent; we're trying to reel it in. I think when he sees those black helmets this Saturday he'll start to reel it in this league. He's got a lot of confidence, and the kid feels like he belongs, he sure looks like he belongs, and let's go play and let's see."
Texans linebacker Charlie Anderson (on how comfortable he is out at practice) "Everything's going pretty well. I feel more comfortable about the defense now that I'm in my second year in it. More relaxed, you know. I just feel good about the defense."
(on who has helped him the most) "I mean, all the LBs. Even Shantee (Orr) even though, you know, we are best friends and fighting for the same position, but he gives me pointers and I give him pointers. He's always got my back, so, Shantee has always been big; Shawn Barber, Danny Clark, even DeMeco (Ryans), (Morlon) Greenwood. I mean everybody. All the linebackers support me. We all are in this together trying to get this defense to where we want it to be."
(on how hard it is to not have Texans linebacker Shantee Orr out there with him) "It's like, if I see him doing something good, then I'm going to want to do something good. It's like, since I'm just out here by myself and he's not practicing, it's kinda like a let down because he's not here with me. But you know, Danny Clark has stepped in playing a little SAM, so I figure it out with Danny."
(on Orr helping him out a lot mentally) "Yeah, I mean, he's going through a tough injury right now, so I tell him that, you know, 'I need you. Even though he's not practicing, I still need you to be mentally here. I know you can't really run right now, but I still need you.' You might think I've been useful on the field, but I still tell him, 'I need you' all the time."
(on if Orr was having more trouble with not being out there at the beginning of his injury or now) "It's like, you're not out here everyday getting hit and getting banged up. You know, you kinda lose sight of everyone else a little bit because everybody is going through so much. You're trying to rehab your leg a little bit. I can understand how he feels a little bit because last year I was hurt. I was hurt during the offseason and when I came back I was kind of limited. I didn't get to play as much and I felt kind of distanced from everyone. It's only natural because I didn't play in a couple games, so I felt kind of distanced from everybody because I wasn't getting ready for the game."
(on if he is worried about Orr not making the team) "No. I do not see Shantee not making this team."
Texans tight end Owen Daniels (on his impressions of Coach Pariani) "He knows everything. He knows the playbook like the back of his hand. People ask questions and he is the first guy to answer all the questions about what is going on. He knows exactly what everyone is doing. So that helps us get prepared, so that we always know what we are doing."
(on some of the crazy things he does) "He's not literally crazy but, sometimes he talks to himself a little bit. He is always coaching; he is not just the tight ends coach. He's the receivers coach, the running backs coach. He puts his two cents in whenever he can."
(on joining the Texans last year and how Pariani helped him acclimate) "It was him and Mark Bruener and Jeb Putzier all together. But like I was saying before, Coach Pariani gets us prepared every week, whether it's for a practice or for a game, he lets us know what we're installing that day, what plays we are working on. What we need to be prepared for, whether they are throwing any twists or turns at us out there. He has taught me to watch a lot of film, get in your playbook, know what you're doing, and let the rest take care of itself."
(on one thing Pariani has taught him that has helped him more than anything else) "To be patient, I guess; with the game, with the league, and dealing with everybody on the team and coaches. Everybody can get on edge sometimes, but just take things one play at a time, one day at a time and to just deal with things like that."
Texans tight end Jeb Putzier (on Pariani's style on the field) "He is kind of like a chicken running around with his head cut off. He is an intense guy once game day comes."
(on what the changes have been since coach Pariani came along) "He is real thorough, so he makes sure everybody is right with their assignments. At the tight end position, we have a lot to learn, a lot on our plate, so he has to know a lot. Him keeping us up on each position and how we are doing on each play is a tough duty, so that's pretty much what he does for not only us but all positions."
(on if Pariani has changed much over the years) "He mellows out for a little bit then gets back to his old self."
(on what he personally sees this year) "Well, this team last year I don't think we practiced well enough to be successful. I think now though, we are to the point where we understand how to practice. It's going to carry over into games, and I think that's going to make this team much more successful on the field as well as off. Coming from Denver where we won a lot, you see me out at practice, and here we are to that part, we are there now. So I know we are expecting a lot of good things. We have got the guys in the right spots and we are a lot more efficient this year."
Texans guard Kasey Studdard (on getting increased play time since the injury to Pitts) "Yeah, it's increased, but he'll be alright."
(on if he will be able to contribute more because of the injury) "Oh, yeah. I'm going to do whatever I can to contribute to this team. It doesn't matter if someone gets hurt or if someone is not hurt. I'm going do the same amount every time, so it's not going to be different for me."
(on how it was practicing today after a day off yesterday) "It was good. It was good. You know, as much as you say, you need that break, but it's good to get back into it and start hitting again and everything like that. It was a much-needed rest and today I think we got a lot accomplished and a lot of people got better so that's the biggest thing."
(on what he has done to stand out at practice) "Just, I mean, trying my hardest. You know, going out there and doing what I have to do and try to do something extra. My biggest thing is just learning from the older guys and all that kind of stuff. That's the biggest thing."