Left tackle Jordan Black works to keep defensive end Mario Williams away from the pocket during a pass rush drill Wednesday.
Texans players and coaches spoke to the media after practice on Wednesday, the 12th day of practice since the start of training camp.
Texans general manager Rick Smith (on the punting battle between Matt Turk and Chad Stanley) "I suspect that this thing is going to go down to the wire. Both guys are committed to being our punter and both are working extremely hard, so it'll be fun to watch that competition"
(on the progress of Texans quarterback Matt Schaub) "I think he's making tremendous progress. He looks, as I have said before, more comfortable out here, but he is going to make mistakes. He hasn't done it on a consistent basis, so it's important for us to make sure that he understands the standards that he's going to have to operate under to be our quarterback. Gary (Kubiak) is certainly capable of getting that message across."
(on the possibility of picking up someone else cut by another NFL team) "Well, I don't know which particular position that's going to be. I think that we have depth across the board on this team but we will always try to continue to upgrade our football team. Brian Gardiner is our new Director of Pro Personnel, and he's got that group anxious. Talk about being anxious, we're ready to get some film in here so we can start watching other teams, and we'll do that next week."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - morning practice (on today's practice) "We had some good work. We did some real good things. We're trying to put them through a bunch of situations today, and we made some big mistakes in those situations. If we make those mistakes, they're going to cost us football games, so that's why we're out here. We've got to correct them as quarterbacks, as players, as coaches. That's why we're out here, and we've got to get them fixed."
(on Texans quarterback Matt Schaub) "He was having a hell of a practice. He's been practicing extremely well. We put him through a situation that's kind of crazy, and that's why you do it, so then when it happens on Sunday, he's not going to make the same mistake again. He's got to be as accountable as every guy on that field."
(on whether Schaub is comfortable in the offense) "I think he's practiced as well these past few days as he has this whole camp. I think he's calmed down, very comfortable in what he's doing. He's excited to go play, but I think he's been exceptional the past three or four days."
(on how much time the Texans starters will play Saturday) "We haven't talked about it. We'll probably do that tomorrow morning. I was trying to keep the focus on us and not on Chicago. We'll talk about how much we're going to play those guys, but normally that ends up being a quarter at the most."
(on how important it is that the quarterback is not given special treatment) "I know he's not coddled on Sunday. He's the one in the fire. It's my nature to coach those guys hard, and he knows that. I expect a lot out of him; his teammates do, and they have to see him handle that situation correctly, and I promise he'll do it the next time."
(on whether he thinks it is important to be vocal to his team about their mistakes) "That's the team we're trying to build: everybody being accountable. I want some hard-nosed, hard-working guys that are here 16 times this year, not four or five. We're going to be accountable and play hard for each other and be a smart football team. A couple of situations last year, we could have found two more wins out there. We've got to be able to do that, and to do that you've got to do it on the practice field."
(on any injury updates) "No. Other than the guys that have been out, we were fine. Fred (Weary) was back this morning. I actually want them all to go twice today. We'll be inside starting to do a little Chicago work, but if I can keep them all out here twice today, I'm going to try and do that."
(on Texans wide receiver Jerome Mathis) "He's done some good stuff. I think he's tired right now. I want to see him freshen up between now and Saturday, grab that opening kickoff and do something with it. He's had a great camp. He hasn't missed a rep, hasn't complained. When he's hurt, he's still out here when his body's bothering him. That's a big step in general in his career for me. I think it's going to mean a lot to this team."
(on whether Saturday's preseason game is a big game for Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones) "It's very important because there's a spot there. There's an opening for that third, fourth, fifth wide receiver to let everybody know you're going to help this team early, so he's going to get a chance to return punts and play receiver."
(on whether Texans tackle Ephraim Salaam is still the starter at left tackle) "Oh yeah, definitely. Ephraim is the guy; Jordan (Black) is pushing him and Jordan is going to play a lot this weekend. (Brandon) Frye has been back, so he's gotten some reps this week."
(on Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's all-time home run record) "I didn't get to see it. Everybody started hollering that it just happened and I went in and saw that go on. That's an amazing feat. I remember as a kid, I was in the Astrodome when Hank Aaron hit 719, check on me, see if I'm right. It was a few weeks after he had broke the record of 715, but those are tremendous records."
(on whether Texans quarterback coach Kyle Shanahan had his baby yet) "Yes, he did. He had a little girl, and everybody's doing fine. He's back out here, so everybody's good."
(on whether Texans tackle Jordan Black got off to a slow start) "I don't think so, he's a player that battles for consistency. I don't see that he got off to a slow start. I think he's doing well; he's going to play a lot this week. He's played for a damn good team, and done a good job, so we're expecting a lot from him."
(on whether Salaam solidified his position in the offseason) "Ephraim refocused himself on his career this offseason. I think if you asked Ephraim two years ago, he was a player just trying to hang on, maybe play another year. All of the sudden, he comes here and says 'you know what? I can start here and play another couple seasons.' With Charles situation he rededicated himself this offseason, and he was a different guy in OTAs, and it's been very impressive, what he's doing.
(on whether he is somewhat concerned about Salaam's durability over the length of the season) "No doubt. That's why Jordan (Black) is here. That's why Eric (Winston) has got to move around, but it sure would be nice if he held up the whole time."
(on whether there is any new news on Texans tackle Charles Spencer) "No, the plan is a lot like Kailee's (Wong). The majority chance is that he starts the season on PUP, we make the decision on Week 7, and hopefully he does play some this year."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - afternoon practice (on what Texans running back Ahman Green means to the Texans offense) "I would think it's probably the biggest factor out there. What he can bring to the table, what he can do for the quarterback, who's a young quarterback fixing to be a starter for the first time would be tremendous. We're going to have to run the ball to make Matt (Schaub) successful, and for our team to be successful so we'll start right there."
(on Texans linebacker Charlie Anderson) "Charlie has had a really good camp. He didn't practice today; they ran some tests and his heart rate got elevated, but what Charlie has done has kind of become a more of a pro. He struggled last year a little bit with what we were doing. He didn't play with the confidence that we thought he was capable of playing with. Over the summer, throughout the offseason that switch has flipped for him in a lot of ways. He's a confident young man, he knows our defense, he thinks he belongs as a starter, and he's operating like one."
(on what he wants to see from his team on Saturday against the Bears) "There's so many things that we want to see. Of course we want to look a lot of players, but we talk about being a physical football team from the start, whether it's offense, defense, special teams so I think that's extremely important. We're playing probably the most physical football team in the National Football League, so no better place for us to start. We're going to get our whole card checked. These guys are a dang good football team; they were in the Super Bowl last year, so we're looking forward to it."
(on whether it's exciting to see Texans quarterback Matt Schaub play in his first game as a Texan) "Yeah, you kind of try to hold the excitement a little bit. We've got a long way to go before we open up, but I'm excited about the progress he's made as a football player and as a leader on this team. We've got to take some small steps along the way as we work to Kansas City, but I want to keep him in one piece and keep him protected here Saturday."
(on who he may be most looking forward to seeing play Saturday) "There's been a lot of guys, there really has. I think on defense, when I talk about them, I talk as a group, because they're such a young group. If they can continue to get better and come together as a group, and gel together, than they can play together for a long time, this group that we've got right now. Come Saturday, we'll see how far they've gotten. They've shown it out at camp; they talk better, they don't make the mental mistakes and the things we were making last year that held us back, especially early in the season. On the offensive side of the ball, we've got a great battle going on at receiver. I look at Kevin Walter, and the day he had this morning, he's really establishing himself as a fine player. After that, all those guys have done something good, so as coaches we've got to make some calls and really give them a chance, and they're going to have to stand out on special teams, so that position would stand out to me."
(on whether Texans wide receivers Keenan McCardell, André Davis, and Bethel Johnson have pushed Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter to get better) "There's no doubt they have. The one thing about Kevin is he's not going anywhere. He's going to be here every day. All those guys have done something good. André Davis was playing well before he banged up his knee. Keenan- of course there's nothing he can do about his injury; he's missed a lot of time. Jerome Mathis has been impressive because Jerome Mathis is a football player, he's on the field every day now, so lets see how that goes, but I think they're all doing some good things."
(on whether there are things he can do this year in his offense that he couldn't last year) "We're going to run the same offense. We've got to go run it better. If we run the ball better, and we continue to get better running the ball, then we're going to throw the ball better and have a chance for some big plays. We've got to remember that we've got a new quarterback, and it's going to be his first time stepping on the field Saturday night. We've got a new tailback. I told the offense I think probably in the second or third practice that we've got the makings of a heck of a group, but it's going to take a year long effort to get it done because I think we should get better each and every week as these guys start to come together. We've got some guys that can make the big plays, but the bottom line is we've got to run the ball if we want to be successful."
(on whether Schaub shows signs of never being a starting quarterback) "No, there's nothing he does out here, but the bullets haven't started flying yet. I'm sure that he's going to be pretty nervous, and it's important he gets a ton of reps this preseason to get ready. He's starting against the top defense in the national football league, so he's going to get some great work."
(on whether Texans linebacker Charlie Anderson will not play Saturday because of his heart condition) "I expect him to play. His heart rate had gotten elevated, and they wanted to run some tests on him. This has happened before with him. There's a little family history there, so we're just being smart, checking him out today. He's feeling fine, as long as the tests come back this afternoon fine, he'll be back out here tomorrow, so he should be okay."
(on whether Texans tackle Brandon Frye will play Saturday) "He's behind. I expect him to play late in the third-fourth quarter; I expect him to come on the field. He is behind, but the kid shows flashes so we'll see. We'll see how far he comes."
(on whether players will be in the game longer because of roster spot competitions) "I don't think that probably pertains to the starters as much, but after that, yeah there are guys that are going to play an extended period of time. Competition keeps guys on the field. We've got a lot of competition going on on this team right now, so not many guys are missing football practice because they know they're having to fight to make this team, so I think you'll see that from our football team this weekend, but there's some great battles going on."
(on the injury to Texans guard Chester Pitts) "I feel good with the progress he's made in the last two days. We were teasing him this morning, saying 'if you keep looking this good, you're going to play Saturday.' I think he's going to be fine, and I think it was a scary thing for him. He's over that and understands everything's going to be okay, so I would expect him back next week."
(on how many receivers he expects to keep on the roster during the season) "It's always five or six. You keep five, and you keep the sixth guy if he's a special teams player and does other things for your team, so we definitely have the ability with what we've got out here right now to look at keeping six, and we'll see what happens."
Texans wide receiver Jerome Mathis (on how he is different mentally and physically this year) "Physically, it's just taking care of my body before and after practice. Mentally, it's just paying attention in the meetings and taking everything in; making sure you know everything and asking questions when you don't."
(on if those things are what he did not do last year) "Yeah, it was kind of difficult because I knew that I wasn't going to be able to play. So, I would be sitting in the meetings and thinking to myself that I'm there for two hours, but I'm not going to be able to touch the field."
(on if bringing fast guys in like wide receiver Jacoby Jones puts more pressure on him or if he welcomes the competition) "Both, I mean, in this business there is always going to be someone coming in trying to take your job so, you're always going to have pressure no matter who you are. But at the same time, you welcome them in and show them everything that you know and pick up some of the things they know."
(on if that will make him kick it in another year or two) "Yeah, I mean, there's always a competition out here; there's a whole lot of competition going on. We are all competing for our job and competing for a spot on the roster. We just have fun doing it."
Texans guard Steve McKinney (on how he prepares for the first preseason game) "Well, our philosophy is just worry about yourselves. It is not a time to start game planning against other teams in the preseason. We need to just work on what we're doing and not focus much on how to take them on, but just concentrate on us getting better as a team."
(on the Chicago Bears) "I think it is exciting. Everybody is excited about the opportunity to take on such a good opponent. I think its going to be a real good test for us to see where we are at as a team. I don't think there's a better team we could have picked to play in the preseason opener."
(on how he feels about switching to the guard position) "Good, I played left guard for four years in Indianapolis (Colts), so it's been a while since I've played it, but its not something you totally loose. It comes back to you pretty quick. I think I will do alright and I'm looking forward to it. I'm just ready to hit a different colored jersey for once."
(on how much he expects himself and the starters to play in Saturday preseason game) "There is no telling. We've got a new quarterback, a lot of new faces. Some of them could play a little more than you might normally see, maybe the same. Who knows?"
(on how important versatility is as a player) "It is very important. You have to have guys that can play multiple positions in this league. You can only dress seven (offensive linemen) on Sundays so you have to have a guy that can back up both guards and center and switch around. You just got to be able to play more than one position if you want to have any longevity in this league."
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (on how much he expects to play during the preseason game Saturday) "Oh, I'm not sure. We haven't been told yet. We have to get ready to play the whole game. You know, that's our mentality and our mindset, to be ready to go from the start to the finish. And that's what we need to do around here is play consistent and play four quarters of football."
(on where he is as far as his passion and his career) "I feel as far as passion, I'm getting a lot more reps now this year, obviously, and I feel very comfortable, you know, in the huddle with the guys. I'm getting a good feel for them and they are getting a good feel for me and we are starting to get things rolling and clicking on offense and getting our sense of timing down real well."
(on if he realized that no one is immune from Coach Kubiak's yelling today) "Oh no, not at all. You know as a player, everyone is good to get yelled at and be expected to be at a high level every play and be on top of their game. So, I knew that coming in. That's what it's like having a coach, there's no favorites out here. We are just all out here together to work."
(on what went wrong when Coach Kubiak yelled at him) "Oh, that one play, we had a clock play in two-minute (drills) and we were talking about throwing the go route. We made the wrong decision. We should have just clocked the play. We learned that and it won't happen again."
(on priding himself with making the right decisions with the football) "Yeah, you know, no one is perfect but we strive for perfection. So, when a mistake happens, you let it happen once and then you fix it and you move on and correct it. The next time it comes up, you say 'you know what, I learned from that and I got better."
Texans linebacker Charlie Anderson (on his heart rate going up) "Yeah, it was just a little precautionary; we were just taking extra measures to make sure I'm okay.
(on if it had happened before) "No, it was the first time, so just taking precaution to make sure everything is fine."
(on Coach Kubiak saying that the switch finally switched for him) "Yeah, you know, kind of more so towards the end of last year. I felt a little more comfortable in the defense, my second year of being in it. So yeah, I'm feeling good about the defense and everything.
(on if he was reacting instead of thinking) "Yes, more reacting than thinking. Last year it was a whole new defense and I was trying to get a grasp of it and now I think I've got a pretty good look on it."
(on him and Texans linebacker Shantee Orr being friends but having to compete against each other) "It is hard to say man, we are such close friends that I mean something like a starting job, I really can't speak the words of how to say it but both of us are trying to do our best and become a starting linebacker, but we both know how the game is played, so we just look at it like that.
(on if they talk about the competition off the field) "Not really, we just keep motivating each other and give each other a heads up."
(on what the most difficult thing for him to grasp on the field was) "The reads. Last year I didn't really play linebacker and the reads were something I had to really focus on doing. This year, hopefully, I've made that step and I'm getting it down."
(on if dropping into coverage instead of going after a quarterback is tough) "Not really, you just got to know who you are going against, know your match up. Know if you're going against a receiver, a running back, or a tight end. Just knowing your match up. I think that's the biggest part."
(on if moving up to the next level in football makes you loose the comfort you once had) "Yeah, that's the thing I had to really figure out. Like last year, just getting comfortable with everything and having that confidence knowing that you can play this game."
(on how much he thinks he will play on Saturday) "I don't know. I just hope that I play well."
(on if he would like to play longer than they allow players to play in preseason games) "Sometimes, but you know preseason is a grind, its one of the harder times in the football season. You don't really want to play a lot but you want to get the good looks that you want to work on."
Texans tackle Brandon Frye (on how he is feeling physically) "Oh, I'm feeling pretty good. I mean, I had a little ankle problem about a week ago. You know, I came back and started practice again on Monday and so, it gets sore from time to time, but it's holding up pretty well."
(on if he is wearing a brace on his ankle) "No. Just an ankle tape job and spat over the shoes just to make sure it's pretty tight."
(on if he feels behind because of the injury) "Uh, I mean, you're going to get behind if you lose reps. I've been trying to take as many mental reps as possible whenever I was hurt and couldn't actually be in there. But I took as many mental reps as possible and I watched a lot more film because I knew I had to do something to try to stay up with all the other guys. But I might have fell back a little bit, but I did everything I could not to."
(on how he feels about playing on Saturday) "I'm excited. I'm ready to put some pads on and go out and play. I missed a good bit of the action with full pads and stuck practicing in jerseys all the time. I'm ready to put on pads and go out and hit some people."
(on what the hardest thing has been in camp as a rookie) "Probably reading the defenses and knowing what to do and adjust to different defenses. It's a lot more complex than on the college level."
(on who has been mentoring him) "Well Ephraim Salaam. He is the starter at my position, he kinda helps me out. Charles Spencer actually plays my position but he's hurt too. So, when I was hurt he would be on the side talking to me asking me if I knew this play and I knew that play and what to do on certain plays. So, all the older guys kinda helped me out a little bit."
Texans quarterback Jared Zabransky
(on if today was one of his better practices) "I threw the ball well. You've gotta do something when you have the chance. We don't get many reps with the team, so when you get a chance to get with the scout team, you've got to (take advantage). It's a little weird, because it's not exactly what you do. They've got yardage depths drawn up on the cards, and it's different from what you do, so sometimes you have to improvise."
** "I threw the ball well. You've gotta do something when you have the chance. We don't get many reps with the team, so when you get a chance to get with the scout team, you've got to (take advantage). It's a little weird, because it's not exactly what you do. They've got yardage depths drawn up on the cards, and it's different from what you do, so sometimes you have to improvise."
(on using scout team reps as an opportunity to stand out) "Yeah, I can help our team, and that's the goal with practice squad guys, 'What can you do to help the team?' I can give a lot of looks; pretty much any quarterback in the league I can duplicate, and I'll try to give them the best looks possible. You've got to be ready when your number is called."