Members of the Texans spoke to the media Tuesday after morning and evening practice.
Texans general manager Rick Smith (on which safeties are being worked out to fill the spots left by Glenn Earl and Jason Horton) "We've only got a few guys working out here this afternoon. In fact, we had four guys scheduled to come in and one of them didn't. Derrick Gibson was the kid that we had scheduled to come in and I don't think he showed up. We've got this work out here in a couple of minutes and we'll see what they look like. It doesn't necessarily mean that we absolutely are going to sign anybody. We'll work them out and see where we go from there."
(on whether Shaun Williams was brought in to work out) "Yes."
(on what he likes from Shaun Williams) "Experience, he's an athlete, and a smart guy. We want to see what his physical conditioning looks like and where he is athletically, but his history is a good one."
(on whether he is still looking for big plays from the secondary) "We want to make plays on the ball. I think Von Hutchins did a nice job the other night. That's been a point of reference, and if you've been out here watching camp, you've seen that our DBs have gotten hands on footballs and made plays. That's part of the emphasis and we've gotten better at it and I think we're going to continue to get better at it."
(on whether the depth in the secondary is better than last year) "It is. Obviously, if you lose a starter and you feel good about it, having a guy go in there, then that proves that you've got a decent amount of depth. The problem with depth is that the more you dig into it, the less it is, so we'll keep working."
(on Dexter McCleon and Dexter Wynn) "Dexter Wynn tweaked his knee a little bit yesterday, so he was limited this morning, but both of them have done a nice job."
(on Jason Simmons getting the starting role at free safety as a reward for his hard work) "He's earned it. I think that's what Gary (Kubiak) is trying to say. He's earned his right to line up with the ones. When he's had his opportunities, he's done a nice job."
(on what caused linebacker Zac Diles to drop so low in the draft) "I don't know what caused him to be drafted so late. If you look at him physically, he's not a 6-2, 245-pound gifted athlete that runs a 4.5 (40-yard dash). For linebackers in this league, that's what you look for, so he's a little small that way, height-wise, but he's an excellent football player. He's got good instincts, and he's just a good fit for us, so I'm pleased that he was there in the seventh round. He doesn't have the prototypical size and speed, but he's got instincts, and he's got good enough athleticism and speed."
(on whether the ability to bring in and work out players is an underappreciated ability of a general manager) "I don't know if it's undervalued or not appreciated. It's the bloodline of pro football. Injuries are a part of the National Football League to the degree that you can go out and find players that you can plug into your system that can come in and succeed. That's how good you're going to be. You're going to have to deal with that."
(on the ability to keep a great eye on the unsigned talent not playing in the NFL) "It's a diligent exercise. We've got an excellent pro staff headed up by Brian Gardner and Bobby Grier and those guys work extremely hard. We meet on a regular basis to talk about who are the available players. We're always prepared."
* Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - morning practice
(on the players brought in to work out this morning)* "I'll be honest with you, I've been so consumed with practice and everything that I know a couple of the guys but I can't really talk about them. They're going to work them out this morning. Rick (Smith) has got them coming in and at some point during this morning, we'll work them out. I think there's three or four guys."
(on today's practice) "We've got one more day of two-a-days. Tomorrow we've got the morning and the night. We're having to push. We're really short on the back end defensively in practice because the numbers were short at offensive line right now in practice. We've got some guys working hard. We've just got a lot of mistakes we've got to get corrected."
(on Texans safety Brandon Mitchell) "He's getting better. He did a few good things in the game the other night, he and (Brandon) Harrison. They both did a couple of things on special teams. They have a long, long way to go. Their reps are definitely going to pick up, so we'll see."
(on fullback Patrick Pass) "Basically, what happened is he wasn't getting any reps when he first got in here. He went out and played special teams in a way that basically said, 'Hey coach, give me a chance, I can help ya'll.' I'm going to give him a chance this weekend. He's going to play the fullback position for us with the second group, so we'll see how it goes."
(on linebacker Zac Diles) "He's been exceptional. Zac's been here every day. He's a very steady player and the things he did on the practice field, he went and did in the stadium on Saturday night, so I think we know we can count on this kid. There's still a long way to go, but he sure looks like he can be able to help us."
(on Diles' role during the season) "I think he's pushing hard to get on the field awful quick, so we'll see. That's a big step to take, but if the kid keeps doing what he's doing, we're going to have to find a way to get him out there."
(on whether he decided to keep C.C. Brown at the free safety position) "That's what we did. We left him there, and we just moved Jason (Simmons) up and we're going to give Jason the opportunity. Jason played well the other night, so that's the way we're going to work, but we are also going to move around a little bit. (There has been) a little experimentation, but I think Jason deserves the opportunity to start, so we'll see."
(on defensive end Earl Cochran) "He's a defensive lineman that can play special teams, and those guys are hard to find, so he's going to help us. He showed some pass-rushing ability the other night, and went in and played well for Joe (Marciano), except for the big mistake at the end of the game. When you have a big player like that who adds to special teams, you know he's going to be up every week."
(on the safety position) "We left C.C. (Brown) alone, and then Jason (Simmons) just stepped up and is starting. That's the way we're operating right now. You may see us do some different things on the practice field, but when we start this game this week, Jason is replacing Glenn Earl."
(on the fact that he seemed to work the team hard today) "We're still in training camp. We've got a long, long way to go before we play Kansas City. We need to keep our hard hat on and keep working. I don't think it's so much of sending a message. We had a great practice yesterday. We knew it was going to be hot this morning. We had some fun last night bowling. We had to get that out of our system and get back to work."
(on why defensive end Jason Babin sat out of practice today) "His calf was bothering him a little bit yesterday. They checked him this morning and said it was probably best that he hung off. Andre (Johnson) a little bit too, so it's just precautionary."
(on whether defensive end Jason Babin will get more playing time in the future) "I think he'll definitely get that when the rotation gets going. During the preseason, you're trying to concentrate on the number of snaps, but he's definitely going to do that because we're going to play eight guys up front."
(on wide receiver Bethel Johnson) "He actually did some really good things. He just had one bone-headed mistake that ya'll probably saw me getting on him, but he had a great day yesterday. He knows he's in a battle to make this team and he's going to have to make some special plays and not mistakes. That's why we're out here, to get them corrected."
(on whether punter Matt Turk is a reliable placekick holder) "I think he does a fine job. We rotated those guys the other night and they're both very good, so whoever wins the job I feel comfortable holding."
(on whether Jason Simmons will start as a reward for his hard work) "I think so. He's a kid that does so much, he gives coach (Jon) Hoke or Richard (Smith) a comfortable player from the standpoint of he can do so many things. Then the other night, basically what happened is when Glenn (Earl) went down, (Simmons) went in and played extremely well. We just think he deserves the opportunity. Jason has played well, we're giving him the chance, we'll see how it goes, but we think we should give him that opportunity to step up on this team and he sure plans on doing that, just watching him work."
(on defensive back Von Hutchins) "He will continue to get his same reps. We may rotate them guys a little bit just to make sure everything gets evened out, but the bottom line is everything has moved up rep-wise, so Von (Hutchins) is going to get more. Dexter (McCleon) is getting a lot more reps. Dexter (McCleon) got reps at corner today, because Dexter Wynn was out. To sit here and set this guy here or there right now, we're not going to do that. We're just going to up all their reps, and see how it ends up."
(on whether Von Hutchins will play free safety instead of Jason Simmons) "I don't know right now. They are what they are. Jason (Simmons) is not very big either, but you've got to go in there and play. We'll just keep going. Whoever we think are our best two when it's time to go against Kansas City will get the start."
(on who is impressing coach Kubiak and moving up his depth chart) "Danny Clark is going to play with the ones this week. He is pushing Charlie (Anderson) really hard for his job and he deserves a chance to get in there with the ones. He was really special the other night. He did some really good stuff."
(on wide receiver Jacoby Jones) "He's done a heck of a job. He's still got some rookie in him, but he continues to make plays. He can go all day. I think he's as well conditioned as any player we have on the team. Is he pushing Kevin (Walter) hard as far as being our number two? Yeah, I think they all are, but Kevin is doing his job also."
(on the injuries to the safety position being different this year than they would have been last year due to the amount of depth at the safety position) "We have options actually. We have some things we can do now, and in the past I don't know that we had that. We've got to continue to look out there. We can't get in a comfort zone. We've got to look out there and see what's available. As Rick (Smith) said yesterday, if there are some players out there that we think can compete and make our team better, then we're going to bring them in. To just bring in a body, we don't need to do that. We've got enough players right now fighting for that job."
(on linebacker Zac Diles) "He's the same guy every day. He does something good out here every day. He's physical, he can go all day. Him and Jacoby (Jones) are probably as well conditioned rookies as I've ever been around."
(on whether Zac Diles plays well on special teams) "He has been."
(on whether Zac Diles will replace Troy Evans) "I think he's going to be a fine player. Who he replaces in that role, I don't know, but he's going to be a fine player. I think we're faster on special teams than we were last year."
(on linebacker Danny Clark) "With the reps he's getting at linebacker, he's doing some good things. Then he went on the field special teams-wise, and 11 out of the 12 plays on special teams were super. He would have been our special teams player of the game, him or kicker Kris (Brown). He's basically telling you as a coach, 'Hey, get me on the field some more.' So we're going to give him that chance to do that."
*(on how important it is to have a veteran like Danny Clark) "That's very important. He's made Charlie (Anderson) better. It's not like Charlie has done something wrong. Charlie has had a good camp and done some good things, but this kid is just pushing really hard to get on the field, and that's good for our team."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - evening practice (on who worked out for the team) "Right now, we're talking to Tyrone Poole. We're trying to get him signed. We're very impressed with his workouts. I know Ty. I've been with him before in Denver. We just feel like he could compete on this football team so hopefully we'll get that done here this afternoon, and he'll be a part of this football team."
(on what position Tyrone Poole plays) "He's a corner. He's played a little bit everywhere, Nickel and those types of things. He's been on some good football teams. He takes care of his body. He's a big health nut guy. I think he's played 12 or 13 years in the league. As I said yesterday, if we're going to bring somebody in, we want to make sure he's legit, and he's got a chance to help us. This guy definitely fits that mold."
(on what position Poole will play) "We're concerned about our nickel right now and having a guy that can play inside and play outside. That's what he gives us right away - versatility. One thing that you're always concerned about is that a guy can work out and look good, but it still takes a while to get in football shape. Hopefully we can get him going here real quick."
(on the signing process with Poole) "We want to sign him, and they're up there working on it right now. It may be done by the time I get up there."
(on who the 'Turk' is for the football team) "That's part of football. These kids come here and they bust their tail for you for an offseason and all through camp, and then after that third preseason game, you've got to cut down. A week later, you've got to make the big cut down. That's a hard part for coaches because these guys are all paying the same price. It's part of the game and they all know it. You can see the sense of urgency right now, because some guys start to run out of time to impress their coaches and make this football team. It's a pivotal time in the National Football League for guys that are trying to make it."
(on whether cutting players is his least favorite part of the job) "I would definitely agree with that. You call a guy in your office that's giving you everything he has and tell him you've got to let him go. That's very difficult, but you also get some great friendships with kids and players through that, because as long as you're honest with them, they respect you. You tell them why and what direction you have to go, and you may be getting that player back some day. When it does have to end, you want it to end the right way."
(on how player it was when he was playing) "Back in my day, they did it in the cafeteria. Somebody sat at the check-in table and when you went to breakfast, somebody said 'have your breakfast and bring your playbook up to '2.B.' That was coach (Dan) Reeves' door. That's a good thing, it makes them tougher. It makes them all want to be a part of it more, and sometimes it takes guys more than one try, but some guys go two or three times and they play a long time. It's part of the process."
(on whether he favored Poole because he has known him personally before) "It's one of the reasons Rick (Smith) was able to get him in here so quick, because we did have him. I actually did not see the workouts, I went up and watched it on film, but Rick felt very good about it and I know Tye from his time in Denver personally. We feel like he can get in here real quick and compete real fast."
(on Texans defensive end N.D. Kalu) "First off, he's a high-energy effort guy, so when we can keep him fresh, he's going to do some good things on the field. The other thing N.D. has is a lot of experience. He'll take a few more chances. N.D. probably gets hollered at more than some guys taking a chance, going inside, taking the wrong gap, but he's just trying to make plays. You're coaching up young players to play the defense, but every now and then a guy has got to play outside the box a little to make a play and that's something N.D. has become very good at."
(on whether Texans linebacker Charlie Anderson will play with the second team more consistently now) "Charlie has done nothing wrong. That's Charlie's spot right now and Danny (Clark) is pushing him extremely hard for that spot, and Shantee (Orr) is making his way back. We just feel like watching Danny in the game last week defensively and special teams that he deserves an opportunity to go out there and see if he's continuing to take those big steps, so we want him to work with some of our ones."
(on whether Texans linebacker Shantee Orr will work with the second string defense) "They're all going to play. How that pans out this week more the ones than the twos anyway, so we'll see how that happens."
(on whether Texans linebacker Danny Clark will start) "It's heading that way. We'll make that decision on exactly how we do that probably in the next day."
(on the development of Texans defensive end Mario Williams) "He's matured a lot as a person. There's no doubt about that. As a player, things are easier for him now. He doesn't have to work so hard just at the base schemes and what we're doing. Now he's just got to grow basically as a pro; coming up with more packages to rush the passer, coming up with more moves. That's where he's got to get better, to become more effective."
(on whether Williams was put in a difficult position when he was drafted) "That's part of it. If you're going to be drafted that high, and you have those type of expectations, that's something you're going to have to live with your whole career. I'll tell you like I told Mario. We had a long talk about a week ago and I said 'you know, Mario, it's hard to believe the time when nobody really cares how your day is going or how your playing will come a lot faster than you think, so you enjoy what you're doing right now, and have fun playing ball and handle the pressure. There are going to be good days and bad days, but you just keep battling and keep playing because those careers go awful fast and it's hard to believe that right now while you're playing, but it does, it will happen real fast."
Texans linebacker Danny Clark
(on what has been the key to his success over his career)"Staying hungry. At the end of the day, I can't get comfortable. I understand that I started off second on the depth chart when I got into camp. Once I get it, I'm not going to let it go. At the end of the day, I've got to fight for what I want. It's all about team, though. I can't sit and talk to you guys about myself longer than five seconds. I'm a big fan of a team guy. I want to help us win."
*(on the most frustrating part of his career)"The toughest part was getting released out of Oakland when I'm the team captain, lead the team in tackles two years in a row, huge in the community, huge in the organization, and to actually put my heart on the line for that organization and it didn't work out. That was the toughest situation, to get released at the end of camp and go to New Orleans. Everything happens for a reason. I went to the playoffs for the first time, and went to the NFC championship, so everything is a blessing and I'm very optimistic about it."
(on his experience in New Orleans) "That was a great experience. The people in that city are very resilient in the fact that they had no homes and nowhere to sleep, but they showed up to the football games. Opening that dome up last year meant a lot to those people, and it meant a lot to our football team."
(on his relationship with fellow linebacker Charlie Anderson)"We're good friends. He's a family guy, I love him. We're competing. He's a competitor as well as myself. At the end of the day, may the best man win."
* Texans linebacker Zac Diles (on how he feels about impressing the coaches) "I feel real good. I just have to come out here every day and work hard and put something on tape and show them that I know what I am doing out here and I can play. I'm just trying to come in here and work hard every day when I get in."
(on if it is a surprise that the coaches are saying he is surprising them)"I'm working hard, so I'm glad they are noticing it. I'm coming out here and really going hard every day. That they are noticing that, I'm excited."
(on staying humble while trying to get on the field) "You have to stay humble. You hear what they say, but you can't let that get to your head. You have to let that go through one ear and out the other and then come out here the next day and work hard. This is a business and I'm fighting for the job right now. So I'm just coming out and working hard every day."
(on what the hardest transition into the NFL has been)"Just camp. It's just long. It's a grind. The heat out here is getting to me too. The humidity. But like I said, I'm fortunate enough to get a lot of reps in and go out there and show what I can do. I can't be mad at that."
(on what he learned at the game on Saturday)"Just the speed of the game and how everything functions. The sidelines, what you do on the sidelines. Everything was a learning process on Saturday, so it was good to get that under my belt and I know what to look forward to at the next game."
(on if he has changed expectations for low-round draft picks) *"I mean, seventh round or first round, we are all getting the chance. It's about coming out here and seizing your opportunity. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to come out here and seize my opportunity. They thought well enough of me to draft me, even though I was in the seventh round. You just have to come out here. I'm blessed and fortunate so I'm just going to come out here and play hard."
**(on what veterans have been helping him out)"Oh, yeah. Danny Clark, DeMeco (Ryans), the whole linebacker crew. They have been nothing but great to me. I go out with them. I go out with Danny and DeMeco, we go out and we kick it. We eat. If I have a question on the field, they are the first ones next to me. DeMeco is telling me if I go out there and I line up wrong, he's like, 'Hey man, you have to scoot over to the left a little.' So, you know, they are real helpful to me."
(on coach Gary Kubiak being open-minded about him being a rookie and saying that he is playing himself into more playing time)"Like I said, I'm real fortunate to be able to come out here and get a lot of reps. The more reps I get, the more comfortable I'm getting in there with the teammates. They are seeing that I can come out here and handle myself and handle my job. So I'm trying to gain their respect as well. I'm real fortunate right now."
(on if he would play an outside linebacker spot) "Anywhere they put me. I played SAM (strongside linebacker) a couple weeks ago. They had me at SAM. I'm learning all of the positions right now. Like I said, you have to learn every position here. Right now, I'm getting more and more comfortable at MIKE (middle linebacker) and they will probably throw me in at SAM or WILL (weakside linebacker). So, you know, you have to know every position because you never know what can happen."
* Texans safety Von Hutchins (on if he is going to buy the new Madden video game)* "Oh definitely, got to get the new Madden. In fact, I got somebody going out right now to get it for me."
(on how playing with Peyton Manning during his stint in Indianapolis prepared him for the Texans camp) "It definitely quickened my learning process, as far as the NFL. Manning is a great quarterback and (it also helped) playing by two great wide receivers, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. The offensive system they have up there is great so he helped me along and that system helped me along."
(on the mental transition he is taking now that he has the potential to be a starter) "It is basically about going out and competing, getting ready for my job. No one has told me anything about starting, but it's just me going out and competing in practice and getting better every day."
(on developing a chemistry with C.C. Brown) "We are both from Mississippi, so we are both guys that grew up along the same type paths and same types of neighborhoods or whatever. It is about talking, communicating, and doing the job basically."
(on what he plans on giving this defense and what fans should expect from him) "Just a lot of enthusiasm and play-making ability. Everybody brings their own type of attitude and their own abilities to the game, and I just hope to bring mine out, too."
Texans safety Jason Simmons
(on coach Jon Hoke talking about Simmons deserving this chance to contribute) "You know it is just one of those things where you just keep working hard, you just hope somebody gives you an opportunity and when your time comes you just want to make the most of it. It is not about having to look at the position and hope, and I know a couple people may say, 'Who is this guy or what is he going to do?' But I think the people in this organization have the confidence in me.
**(on if he has ramped up his preparation a little bit more these past couple of days) "No, not at all, I just want to keep doing what got me here. Just keep doing the things that they feel is necessary, that I've shown them, so that they can see that this guy is ready to play. So I don't want to change anything really."