Wide receiver Jacoby Jones hauls in a reception during a passing drill Thursday morning.
Texans players and coaches spoke to the media after practice on Thursday, the 13th day of practice since the start of training camp.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - morning practice (on whether there was anything new at practice today) "No, we're just working, trying to isolate a little bit of what we're going to do against Chicago on Saturday. We'll come back this afternoon at one o'clock. We're going to go a little early, and move up the meetings today. Just basically a practice for the Bears today."
(on whether he has a game plan for Saturday's game) "We haven't totally set it. We're going to talk about it today at lunch. I'll put it this way: our ones are going to play for close to a quarter depending on how many snaps they get. Our two's are going to play basically in the second, halfway through the third. Then our three's will come and our fours will finish. Bottom line is our one's are going to play anywhere from fifteen snaps to a quarter just depending on how it goes."
(on whether Texans quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels will see a lot of time in Saturdays game) "Matt will work with the ones. Sage will see at least the second quarter, probably a little bit of the third. Ill probably just play one of the other two. I probably won't try to play both of them. If I play one of them, it will be Bradlee (Van Pelt) and then if I don't play one, then I'll play him next week."
(on the fact that Texans QB Bradlee Van Pelt is not eligible for the practice squad) "When you look at my history, when I set the roster, and what I've been doing in this league for a long time, and who I work for, I believe you can go with two quarterbacks if you've got the two right guys. If I'm going to keep a third on the roster, it's going to be because I think he has starter ability. You can make a decision on a guy going on the practice squad if you think he still needs to grow. Brad's past that point in his career, so he knows he's going to have to step up and do some good stuff, and he'll be given a chance to."
(on whether Texans QB Bradlee Van Pelt has to beat out Sage Rosenfels for the number two quarterback spot on the team) "It's hard to look at it that way. He's got to go out and play his tail off and convince me that I need to keep a third one (quarterback) around here on the active roster. He knows that; if he was right here, he'd tell you the same thing. I think he needs to worry about just playing good football, and let's go from there, but he's always trying to be a number two."
(on why the Texans practiced with no pads) "Actually, it was because of all the guys we had nicked up. We had a lot of little things, that if we were in pads, a lot of guys would miss some time. If we were out of them, I could get them out on the field and get the reps. We had pretty much 100 percent participation today except for Bethel Johnson. (We're) just trying to get everybody back out here, want to get them on the field Saturday night, so that's why we did that."
(on whether execution or health is the most important thing during a preseason game is) "It's a combination of both. You hold your breath. You don't want to lose any players, but you've got to go out there and compete. I just want to see our team do two things growth wise: I want to see them play with more poise than they did last year, and I want to see them play more physical than they did last year. Those are two things I want to see our team improve on. If we do that, we're going to be a much better football team."
(on whether the team has improved in playing physical and playing poised) "Yea, we have, but we're stepping on the field this week; it's real bullets, so let's see how it goes. Next week we get to go down there and deal with crowd noise, so we have to find a lot more composure as a football team to compete week in and week out."
(on the injury to Texans wide receiver Bethel Johnson) "He's got a little quad strain. He probably could have practiced. We want to see him Saturday night so we held him."
(on Texans linebacker Charlie Anderson) "Charlie's back and he's fine. All the tests were fine; Charlie's okay. The only one that's a big 'if' right now would be (Tim) Bulman. It's a question of whether or not he'll play. He says he'll play; that's Bulman. (Texans head trainer) Kevin (Bastin) questions it, so we'll see. I'll let you know tomorrow."
(on the fact that Texans center Steve McKinney and tackle Ephraim Salaam are appreciative of the fact that they are not practicing every practice because of the fact that they are veterans) "I know what I'm going to get from those guys, and I know how much this football team is counting on them. For me to run them into the ground for the first two or three weeks is not going to benefit us, our football team, or them. I'll tell you the truth, as a coach you can do that with people that you trust know how to take care of their business and get ready. It just tells you that I believe in the guys we've got. That's a complement to them."
(on whether there were fewer mistakes today than yesterday) "No, we're still making some mistakes. We're in training camp and we're going to have to continue to correct them, but we're going to play a lot of people so we're concerned with organization right now and all these young kids knowing what they're doing when it comes their time to play this week."
(on the Texans defensive line) "There's a lot of guys we've got to look at there. I think they've got a chance to be an excellent group. There's going to be some tough decisions to make at that eight, ninth, tenth spot possibly if you hold that many, so we'll let them play it out here in the preseason and we'll see what happens."
(on whether Texans defensive end Mario Williams is a different player than he was last year) "I think he is. We haven't stepped on the field yet, but he's a more confident kid. He's out of the limelight so to speak. I see him having fun playing, his personality coming out a little more, we've just got to get the football better, and that's what he's working on. As of now, he's definitely much better."
(on Texans defensive tackle Amobi Okoye) "He's done some really good things in practice, and he's had some rough days too. He's the focal point this year, so everybody's watching him every day, so let's see what happens. He's going to go against a big mammoth group up front. He's going to find out what the NFL is all about here real quick."
(on what he's looking to get out of the first game on Saturday) "As I said a while ago, I want to see our team play with more composure, and play more physical this year. Those are two big points of emphasis, but I just really want to look at a lot of people. I'm interested to see. I tell these guys stories all the time about how guys become players in this league, and you can tell them all you want, but bottom line is Saturday night is the time for them to go out there ant get a chance to do something special. Hopefully we've got a couple of young kids that we haven't been talking about that we'll start talking about next week."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - afternoon practice (on what the playing time will be for the players)"We are going too basically play the starters somewhere between 15-20 plays (or a quarter) is what we are going to do. Our second will play the second quarter and a portion of the third, our thirds, then we will go from there. Quarter back wise Matt Schaub will go the first quarter, Sage Rosenfel will play probably second, a little bit of the third quarter, and then Bradlee Van Pelt will be next. Jared Zabransky probably will not play in this game, probably will play next week."
(on Chester Pitts' injury)"Yeah, he was a little nervous. Actually he is doing really well. He was out here this afternoon and he could probably be out there Saturday, if he really pushed himself, but he will probably wait until Monday."* *
Texans safety Brnadon Harrison (on the difference between professional and college football) "Everybody's just great athletes, it's amazing. You play against some good competition in college; you play against the Notre Dames you play against the USCs, but when you step out on this field for the first practice, you realize all those guys from all those best teams are all on the field at the same time. Everywhere you look you've got great athletes, you've got speed, size, strength, all across the board, so it's just an enjoyment out here playing with these guys, being a part of the team, trying to win some games."
Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (on what the strengths of the offense will be this year) "I think we have a lot of talent. I think we have a lot of people that can make plays all over the field. I don't think it's really about just one person. I know we want to run the ball and be physical, but I know at times we are also going to throw the ball down the field. Can I just pinpoint one position? No. But I think as an offense we will be better than we were last year."
Texans defensive tackle Travis Johnson (on his mindset going into this season) "Well, I mean, a lot of us got stuff to prove, along with Mario and Amobi. So, Really you just want to go out there with a chip on your shoulder and prove everybody wrong and prove you are the right person for the job and you belong here, you know what I mean?"
(on his thoughts when they drafted Amobi Okoye) "Competition. It helps us all out, you know what I mean. It makes us all better. I mean, if you were the only T.V. person in the world, you'd be sorry because there wouldn't be anybody to push you, wouldn't be anybody to motivate you and to learn from. So, that's just how it is out here."
(on there being a winning attitude compared to last year) "Of course. It's a whole different feeling. It's a whole different swagger. Everybody has a different walk to 'em, a different talk to 'em. So, I mean, it's encouraging.
(on how DeMeco Ryans will do this year) "Oh, I think he's gonna get better. I always said, well I'm a Florida State guy so I have to compare to other Florida State guys, but DeMeco reminds me of Sam Cowart when Sam Cowart missed five games and still led the league in tackles. You know what I mean, that's big. That's real big when you really think about it. I think DeMeco is one of those guys that changes the defense and he makes the offense have to worry about him. I think he's going to be a great player."
Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans (on Amobi Okoye) "He is doing good; he is picking up on the defense, learning well. It is tough playing D-line in the league. It is learning what to do, growing, but he'll be fine, he is a great player, great athlete.
(On if Okoye seems like he is 20) "No he doesn't. He is a very mature guy for his age. You wouldn't know he was that young unless he actually told you his age."
(on how this camp is different to him than last year) "I'm a lot more comfortable this year. Last year I was going back to the room late at night cramming the playbook, trying to dissect picture for picture, every play there was, trying to learn everything. But now being in the system for a year I'm a lot more comfortable with it. Now I can come out here and not worry about where I have to go. I know where to go; it's just a matter of being a better communicator, better leader, and just trying to perfect my technique.
(on the first preseason game) "We are definitely excited. We've been banging on each other now for a couple of weeks, so we get tired of hitting the same people, hitting your teammates, so its time to go out and hit an opposite color jersey."
(on how much playing time he will receive at Saturdays game) "I will be playing the first quarter."
(on if he will be more relaxed going into this years preseason game compared to last year) "Yeah, I was a little nervous last year, didn't really know what to expect, now I know what to expect. I'm in a very comfortable position right now."
(on how he thinks the defense is coming together this year) "Our defense is definitely a lot more together this year. Everyone is a lot more familiar with the system. We are playing like a unit, playing together. Everyone knows what they expect out of each other and everyone is being very dependable and very accountable. We have a great bunch out here."
(on if the defensive group is more physical this year) "Definitely, we have had a lot of physical practices."
(on the difference between the beginning of last year and the beginning of this year) "Not as nervous as I was last year, the first NFL game. Now I'm a lot more comfortable, I know what to expect, so it's just a matter of going out and doing what I do; playing football."
Texans tackle Ephraim Salaam and guard Steve McKinney (on if Coach Kubiak cuts some slack on the veterans during training camp) (McKinney) "Yeah, he's been pretty good on us since the beginning really. We did the first day of two-a-days and then ever since then one-a-days, so that's looking out for the older guys.
(Salaam) "It has been fantastic! I cannot complain. If I had to go to two-a-days I would be miserable right now, this schedule is very conducive to us being healthy and ready to play during season. We love it."
(on some things Coach Kubiak does to make it a little better on the veterans) (McKinney) "For one, he takes the pads off a lot. He doesn't beat us up with the grinding off full pads and beating each other up everyday. We have done that some but he has kept a pretty good pulse one when its time to back off."
(Salaam) "Don't get us wrong. It is still a tough camp. It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. But the fact that he lets guys 10 years and above get one-a-day's, that's huge. We've got a lot of training camp miles on our back. A lot of two-a-days under our belt. So at this point in our career, if we need two-a-days to help us get better, we probably won't be here much longer."
(on the Bears) (McKinney) "It's a chance for us to go out and see where we are as a team. We've been practicing, got a lot of new faces and we haven't really had a test yet. So it will be our first test and against a good opponent, so we are excited."
(Salaam) "It's something to break the monotony. I'm so tired of going against Mario Williams and all the other defensive guys on out team. I want somebody else. A change of pace is always welcome during two-a-days. It's just a grind, monotonous, slow. Wake up, same thing every morning, same nights. We literally forget the days of the week because everyday is the same."
Texans guard Chester Pitts (on his injury) "I had thoughts in the back of my head of 'well, at least I got five seasons in,' and I was going to have to throw a party for my retirement. I got a little bit of medicine in me, and I calmed down, and it just feels a lot better now."
(on whether he will play next week) "We'll see. If it's ready to go, if it's not ready to go, it will probably take another week; we'll see."
(on whether there are any other tests to be done on him for his injury) "No. None of that stuff. It's all just rehabbing and waiting until the joint calms down. When I can hit people again, I'll be out there hitting them."