Guard Kasey Studdard works on his blocking technique during Tuesday's practice. Coach Kubiak told the media on Tuesday that Studdard may see more time at guard due to Chester Pitts' back injury.
Texans players and coaches spoke to the media after practice on Tuesday, the 11th day of practice since the start of training camp.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - morning practice (on injured Texans guard Chester Pitts) "The news is good. Of course you're concerned of what happened, and you're hoping for the best and waiting. Bottom line is Chester sprained his lower back, and that's probably about the best news we could get. We feel he's going to be fine, he's day to day. Listening to Kevin (Bastin), we're probably talking about a week hopefully, but we're going to get Chester ready to play, and do what's right for him, but it's going to be a day-to-day situation. I'll let you know, he's doing much better. He was up and walking around yesterday and in the meetings last night, he was his normal self. We were fortunate there, very fortunate."
(on injured Texans guard Fred Weary) "Fred rolled his ankle in practice yesterday, and we tried to give him yesterday afternoon off, but he wouldn't take it. He came out and practiced, and it swelled up on him last night, so by holding him this morning it gives him a chance to get the whole day off because he doesn't do special teams, so it's just precautionary."
(on Texans quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan and the impending birth of his first child) "He's going to have a baby, hopefully for real this time. It's been on hold here for a few days, but something tells me his mother is in town, so they're going to have a baby today."
(on mixing emotions of having a baby with football) "We get so consumed with our jobs, and X's and O's, and working our tails off. All of the sudden, here's a kid fixing to have his first child, and you just see his face for the last three days. Something different is on his mind, and that's okay, that's the real world. I told him 'It's going to be the greatest day in your life when you have that baby today.' We're just all happy for him, and hopefully everything goes well today."
(on the game plan for Saturday as far as how long players will play for) "I haven't made that decision yet. We'll talk about that as coaches probably as late as Thursday. One of the things we talked about as a team this year is our focus is going to be on ourselves through preseason, and not get too consumed about anybody else, and worrying about ourselves. We're just going to keep going, keep practicing, and trying to get some of these guys fresh. We'll make that decision how we plan probably Thursday."
(on the unique relationship he has with Texans guard Kasey Studdard) "It really is, to think that literally the kid used to run around my house when I was a player, and my wife babysat him many times. All of the sudden, the kid grows up, wins a national championship, and now he's here fighting for a job in this league, in his home state. A lot of special things have happened for that young man, and hopefully he can keep going."
(on Studdard saying that his father told him he would get no special treatment from coach Kubiak just because Kubiak babysat him as a kid) "His dad is a smart man. His dad is a good man."
(on who will get more reps at the guard position now that Pitts is injured) "Today we moved Steve (McKinney) over to left guard. When things like this happen to us in camp, what we try to do as coaches is make decisions in camp like we would make them if we were playing Kansas City this week, so that's our mindset. Now, do we approach things differently after we make those decisions for various reasons, yea we will. Our approach today was if this happened to us, 'hey if this happened to us, Steve you're going to left guard, let's go to work.' So Steve practiced there today, but we're not going to change his routine or Mike Flanagan's routine, they'll still both be one-a-day guys. It's just more reps for (Mike) Brisiel and Drew (Hodgdon) and (Kasey) Studdard, and we can also move Scott Jackson in there a little bit if that happens."
(on who he has to fill Pitts' position) "(Scott) Jackson will move inside, he'll just play guard. As far as the left guard spot, Drew (Hodgdon), (Kasey) Studdard, and (Mike) Brisiel have all gotten reps here during camp, but Jackson's just a guy that when we still chose to rest Steve (McKinney) or Mike (Flanagan), he's going to have to come in and play guard at practice, so we're two deep."
(on other injuries on the Texans roster) "Shantee (Orr) was out (in practice) today. I can't really tell you how much he did, I have to go back and look at the film. We basically put it on him, 'hey, you do what you think you can do.' So I have to go back and look. DeMeco (Ryans) was back out here today. We took the pads off really in a lot of ways to allow some of these guys that were nicked up to still be a part of practice, and still get our reps in, so I thought it was good."
(on what Texans quarterback Sage Rosenfels means to the Texans) "He means a great deal. First off, for a starting quarterback, that guy that's behind him- that has to be a heck of a relationship. It has to be one of respect 'hey, you push me, you make me better,' but it also has to be one of: they've got to get along and be teammates that can get things done as a group. Studying, working with their coach; there's so much that goes on there, but yet there has to be the respect of the competition factor. That's what Sage is, he's a pro, he's a good football player and Matt (Schaub) knows that. Sage keeps us ready to play."
(on whether the relationship between starting quarterback and backup quarterback is easier said than done) "I've been around guys before, a couple of guys that maybe weren't the best of friends, but they had a lot of respect for each other on the field and when it was time to go to work, they knew how to work together, so sometimes you'll have different guys from that standpoint. The key is, I think, the mutual respect of the push."
(on what exactly he likes about Rosenfels) "He comes in here last year. He goes in in a very difficult situation in Tennessee, and almost won that football game. And really what you think about what he did at Tennessee from a quarterback standpoint, it was special, because the first ball he throws is a perfect rope; it hits Andre (Johnson) right between the 8 and the 0, and bounces off his chest and goes to Pacman (Jones), if I remember. To overcome that and to go out there and do what he did for the rest of that football game and give us a chance to win was really something. Sage was probably looking at definitely getting some more opportunities somewhere throughout the season, but he hurts his hand making a tackle on special teams, so that will tell you what he's all about."
(on how much better Rosenfels is this year with the new offense that he had to learn last year) "Sage is so smart, so that's easy for him. I think he's just becoming a better player each day. He gets a ton of reps here. We really rep two guys, our third guy isn't going to get a lot of reps, and that's because our quarterback is new, so we think he needs more, but he's getting better everyday."
(on Texans guard Steve McKinney's practice today) "He practiced extremely well. We approached today as if we've got to play a game, and had to make the decision at guard today. Steve was the guy to go to left guard today and he went in there and performed extremely well. He's a pro, and he's been very, very sharp this camp. He's had a great offseason and I think his body is much better conditioned than it was last year, but he's going to play well for us this year whether it's at center or its at guard."
(on Texans quarterback Jared Zabransky) "He's done some good things. He hasn't had a ton of reps. Us having Matt (Schaub) being new, our third guy is not getting a ton of reps. When he's had opportunities to move the ball, during drills he's shown you why he can play, but we'll make a decision with him and Brad (Van Pelt), probably one of them will play this week and the other will play next week."
(on whether the poise Texans quarterback Jared Zabransky showed during 2007 Fiesta Bowl impressed him) "He's a tough minded kid. One thing you notice is when something happens; he can take off and go make a play. Him and Brad (Van Pelt) are a lot a like from that standpoint, so I can see him and Brad running around a little bit this preseason, let's see what happens."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - afternoon practice (on Texans wide receiver Harry Williams) "He's really stood out. I really look forward to getting him in the ball game in the second half. When we went through those days when we had all those receivers out, he stepped up and made some plays. He's a big kid. We'll see how he does on special teams. That'll definitely be important, but he'll definitely get some time."
(on whether Williams has good hands) "Yea he does, and he's got a big body that when it's a jump-ball type situation, he usually makes the play."
(on how the Texans punters did during practice) "They kicked twenty balls. They're different type of guys. It's just really hard for us as a coaching staff. One's got the big bomb leg, he all of the sudden can hit the 65-70 yard punt. Chad (Stanley) is the consistent punter, that's why he's lasted in this league so long. They are different. They kicked 15 balls with the wind; they kicked 5 balls against the wind. That's good information for us to have, but let's face it, it's going to come down to how they kick in the preseason, and we'll alternate them and see how they do."
(on whether the punters will have a competition like the one today every day this week) "No, this week, I think we've done it every third day at this point."
(on what the team will do with the punters in the preseason) "They're actually just going to rotate punts. Just rotate punts and just make sure that they're equal punts from the standpoint of if one kicks one inside the 50 so to speak, then the next guy gets to come back and get one out in the field, so that it doesn't come out uneven as far as where they're kicking the ball."
(on Texans defensive tackle Anthony Maddox) "He's having an excellent camp. He's a better player. I go back to the physical situation he had when he came in. Kevin could explain it to you better, but we've got him on some medication to control some things that were going on in his body. I think he's a better player. He's got a little more stamina in what he's doing, and he's showing up every day; he's making some plays."
(on how Maddox been playing since he was signed) "For a guy that you picked up off the streets, he's played very well. He's probably our most consistent inside player. He's a big play player. He's got speed. He can be very disruptive. He picked up that fumble against Cleveland last game. He's got a lot of ability and he's going to get a chance to become a big time player, and we'll see what happens."
(on whether the two Texans punters will be called on in different situations during the preseason games) "No, we won't do it that way. We will try to make sure their punts are competitive from the standpoint of where they're punting from, what's going on in the game, so that it doesn't come out uneven from the standpoint of one guy is getting all of the balls that are going to the coffin corner so-to-speak, and the other guy's punting the big ball out of one end. So, we're going to try and make sure that's consistent."
(on whether Maddox is a starter) "Yes."
(on what Maddox has to do to become the "big time player") "I think it's going to kind of come down to how he develops his pass-rush skills. He's an up-field quicker player. He shows the ability to be able to do that. I think if he could become a 7-8 sack guy somehow some way for this football team he's going to get a lot of recognition around this league. I think his body quickness has the ability to do that."
Texans guard Mike Brisiel (on competing for his roster spot after playing in NFL Europe) "Yeah, if you're allocated over there, that doesn't guarantee you anything. I saw allocated guys go on practice squads. I saw allocated guys not make teams. So, you're not guaranteed to even make the team. There's free agents that came in and beat out the allocated guys over there. So it's really a good deal, I'm just trying to, because we played an 11 game season over there, and right now my joints are a little worn out, I'm just trying to stay healthy. I'm just trying to keep my body right."
(on the level of coaching in NFL Europe) "You know what, I was lucky enough to have a guy coach me who had played offensive line in the NFL for a couple of years, and he (Mike Milano) was a zone scheme guy and he really understood what we were doing here with the Texans. He really helped me with my steps, everything, all the fundamentals. He was big on technique and doing it right, so I think that was a big advantage to me over there."
(on who his coach was in NFL Europe) "Mike Milano. I think he played a couple years for the Minnesota Vikings. I think he had some injury problems. You know, it was good, because he knew how to, I guess, there are sometimes guys who play in the NFL and have so much knowledge and don't know how to translate it over to the players, but he was good with that. He really knew it."
(on his hopes for making the team) "I'm basically fighting for my life. Every play matters to me. You know, nothing is guaranteed. I was fighting to keep a practice squad position last year and whatever it takes, I'm going to be fighting this year. You know, as long as I'm still around I'm gonna compete, giving it my all."
Texans center Steve McKinney (on working with the first team at guard) "Yeah, that's the way it goes when you're versatile. When a guy like Chester (Pitts) goes down and they ask me to step over and play left guard, that's no problem. I mean, I've played left guard in the past and, you know, whatever I have to do to get on the field basically."
(on him wanting to be on the field) "Oh absolutely. I'm a competitor. I love playing the game. I don't come out here and practice for my health. I'm out here because I want to play on Sundays and that's what makes all this practicing and beating yourself up worthwhile, is getting a chance to go out there in front of 80 thousand people and running around and make plays. I'm excited, you know, I think it's fun. I've played left guard lots in the past. My first four years and in college, so I've got a lot of experience there. I'm probably a little bit rusty, hadn't done it quite as much in the past five years but it's just like riding a bike; you get back on and go to work."
(on the heat being his worst opponent until the first preseason game against Chicago) "Yeah, I think we'll practice in this heat and it will be 95-100 degrees, heat index, all during training camp. And then we'll roll in Saturday night and it will be 72 (degrees). But it's nice, you know, its nice being on the grass. That turf can sometimes beat up your knees a little bit, so I do appreciate being out here on the grass even though it is pretty hot."
(on the first preseason game Saturday) "When you're in training camp that first 10 days is the toughest because you know you're just practicing to be practicing. You don't have an opponent, your not building up to any game. Now you kind of start to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the preseason game coming up, so it gets us a little bit more excited."
(on what it's like to be back at left guard) "It's fine. I like playing left guard. I told them before the season that I thought my two best positions were center and left guard. If they are going to let me compete, that's where I want to compete."
(on situation with Chester Pitts) "I think I can step in and play left guard and do a great job for them. I have got a lot of experience. I played for four years there at Indianapolis; I played there in college, so I've played left guard quite a bit. I've just got to knock off some of the rust. I haven't played there in five or six years almost. But other than that, I think I will be ready to go."
(on competing for the center position and how he has been able to stand out) "Well, I just come out and just try to practice hard, finish my blocks, do my responsibilities, not miss assignments, and just play hard. Be a team guy and try to help lead the younger guys. I think that sometimes as a veteran you can be too vocal and not vocal enough, so you try to work a fine line there and encourage guys, but at the same time lead by example, because I think that's what the guys are looking at anyways."
(on which position he would most like to fill) "I like center. Center is my favorite position, but like I said before I just want to play. I'll play tight end if they let me; I just want to be out on the field."
Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson (on how excited he is to get out and start playing again) "I'm excited. We ended the season last year with two straight wins, so let's see if we can pick up where we left off. We know the starters won't be playing much but for the quarter, quarter and a half that we are in. We got to go out there and do our job and make sure we come up with no regrets. So it's going to be fun to hit another opponent for the first time this year."
(on if the message being sent to the defense from the coaches is we have to be physical) "Oh yeah, that is definitely the message, you know we have to fly around and hit people. We have the physical guys on defense that can do that. From the secondary to the linebackers to the front, we have got guys that can fly around and punish guys. That's what we are looking forward to. Being physical is our main goal this year. You can take a lot of teams out of there game just by being physical alone. Just by hitting guys. They will drop a lot of balls, and when it comes time to catch a ball they will think they are about to be hit. So that's the kind of thing we need to be doing. And that's the thing we have been doing in training camp to our offense. It puts fear in your opponents' heart. You know like I said, when your running a cross route and you've been hit a time or two, you are going to be worried about the next time you come across the field. Those are the kind of things we need to happen late in the game and in those crucial third downs. We need to be physical with guys and I think we have all the tools to do that."
(on who the most physical guy out here is) "Oh me, without a doubt! How many 180 pound guys do you see bring the wood like I do?"
Texans punter Matt Turk (on the competition between punters during training camp) "Well, you know, I really don't even look at it as a battle. My battle every year is with myself just to get better and work on the things that I need to work on."
(on why he signed with the Texans so late) "It was really not planned. It was a situation where the Rams made me an offer; I wanted a multi-year deal, after the year that I gave them I didn't feel that the offer was fair, and they moved on. I had some conversations with other teams, and I decided to wait until things fell into place. This is the way things worked out. It's not where I thought I would be but, you know, I honestly having probably the best year of my career for them (Rams) and one punt from netting 40 (yards per punt) and all the game balls I got. That's my goal every year. If you're doing that then you are helping your team win games and you're winning the field position battle."
(on how he ended up signing with the Texans) "It really came down to the wife and I talking about it and praying about it. This is really what ended up being our main option. Early on we had some options and this is the way things worked out."
(on what made this option so attractive) "Well, it wasn't like it made it so attractive, but it was time to sign. You know, we had gotten down to the wire and I needed to get into camp just to get the work in so I would be in mid-season form by the time the season starts. This was my only option at this point. Early on, I had options and those kind of went away."
(on him having a good report with Chad Stanley) "Chad and I get along great. We have both been in the league a long time and realized that we can just make each other better. I think at this point in our careers, people pretty much know what we are all about. It's not like we are in a competition with each other. I've got 12 years of film they can look at; he's got nine. It's just a matter of coming into camp and getting ready for the football season."
(on their different styles of punting) "There are teams that a finesse style punter. Guys like Jeff Feagles (New York Giants), who has been doing it along time. Then there are just power punters like myself, guys like (Shane) Lechler (Oakland Raiders) that just swing for the fences, and that's what I do."
(on how often he tries to knock a hole in the Methodist Training Center bubble) "You know, I'm not really trying to knock a hole in the bubble, but I know when I hit it right it should hit the ceiling."
(on St. Louis' bubble) "That one is not as high as this one. Anything over 4.5 (seconds) and your hitting the ceiling. In their bubble you can't punt."
(on the hang time in the Texans bubble) "You can hit a 5.1 (second hang time) and just barely clear it. Just barely scraping it will be a 5.1."
(on it being fun to hit the ceiling while punting) "Oh, it's fun. Every indoor stadium I got to, pregame, I'm swinging for the ceiling, and I've hit a few of them."
(on the team explaining how things are going to play out during the preseason) "No, they really haven't gotten too much of how it's going to play out other than just come to work and get better. I'll let them make the decision. We have a lot of preseason to go, so."
(on how this competition is different from other competition he has been in) "Well, I'm in camp with another veteran, and I've always been "the guy" wherever I have gone. That's been the main difference. Other than that, you know, Chad and I help each other out and we are rooting for each other and we know if we both go out and have a great camp, we'll both be working."
(on if it is harder to be fighting of the incumbent) "No, I really don't even look at it that way. My main focus every camp is to get better and my competition is with myself and getting to the point I need to be once the season starts."