Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and players spoke to the media on Saturday after the first outdoor practices of training camp.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - morning practice (on the difference in depth this year in training camp versus last year) "As far as numbers-wise, you have the same number of people. Competition is what it's about. Our football team is very competitive from the first guy to the last guy. There's a lot of very, very difficult decisions that are going to have to be made on this football team. The players know it, and that's why our practices are so competitive. You may see the defense get the best of the offense and the offense come back and get the best of them for a while. It's just very, very competitive and that's because guys are fighting for their job."
(on the depth at running back and wide receiver positions)"We're deep at running back right now. Chris Taylor's got a little knick in his knee that we're trying to take a look at this afternoon. It only takes losing one or two and all of the sudden you're not (as deep). And Ahman, I'd like to work him once a day, so hopefully we can stay healthy there. At wide receiver, we have as thick of a group as we've ever had, as competitive a group as we've ever had, so we'll se how that plays out."
(on wide receiver Andre' Davis' ability to stretch the field and run vertical routes) "I think we got some guys. You look at Andre' Davis, you look at Bethel Johnson, you look at Jerome (Mathis), who's been on the field these first three practices. We've got some guys that can stretch the field and I think that's important to our offense."
(on the players' trust in Matt Schaub) "I think you earn that over a period of time. He started earning that back in March when he got here. He comes out here every day and does his job and works with his teammates. One thing I really like about him is that he's a very human kid. He makes mistakes; he'll sit there and take a mistake right in the chops, say 'Hey, that's me guys, let's get this fixed.' I just like the way he operates in there, and I think his teammates are learning to trust him and they definitely believe in him. Just watch them operate around him."
(on linebacker DeMeco Ryans)"He loves football. He's a gym rat. He comes out here and goes all day and he loves being around this complex. You can't substitute that. He doesn't want to go away. This is what he enjoys, and it shows. Every day he's out here playing."
(on running back Ahman Green) "He's a worker. He's one of those guys, he's out here five minutes and he's drenched, but he can go all day. He just goes and goes and goes. We're going to be smart with him and how we practice him. The way he's taking care of his body, that's why he's been around so long and can still be effective."
(on the ability for Green to be a difference maker)"He can be a huge difference maker. All of the sudden, when you're right and you call the perfect play or you block the perfect scheme, all of the sudden it can be a home run and not a ten or twelve yard gain. It makes those guys up front there; they know if they can hold on to it just a second, there's a guy that can make them look really, really good back there and I think we've got some guys that can complement him very well so he doesn't have to go out there and carry it 35 times. It's a big boost to this football team. Everybody's standing back there watching; you guys are watching practice, and y'all can see the dimension he can add to our team. "
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak - afternoon practice (on injured Texans running back Chris Taylor) "He has a meniscus tear. It's very unfortunate, it's one of those deals, where we're going in there, and hopefully we get some good news at about noon, but we kind of, in all honesty right now, don't think it looks very good. He's really becoming a player. If it does sideline him for the year, it's extremely difficult. It's not an injury he's not going to come back from. It's just funny how things work. All of the sudden you feel like you have all these backs; you're loaded at a position as far as camp. You get out here, and you want to put Ahman (Green) on one-a-days, and he gets nicked, and Wali's (Lundy) back locked up today, and all of the sudden you don't have any backs. So we have some issues, and we're going to have to go find some guys to come in here and compete. We have to make sure that we take care of these guys that are here working."
Texans tackle Kevin Barry (on what it's like to sign with the Texans)"I'm glad to be here. I have a lot of guys down here that I've played with before in the last couple of years. So, it's a comfortable feeling coming down to play here with them."
(on what he's been doing this offseason)"I've been training, getting my rehab in for my knee and just getting ready to go."
(on his injury last year)"I tore my quad tendon, the same thing as Ahman (Green). I was out for a whole year and all I've been doing is rehabbing and getting ready to go."
(on making an impression on the team)"That's what I'm here for. Trying to do the best I can to make the team."
(on playing with Mike Sherman again)"It's good. He's the guy that recruited me my senior year coming out of college. He brought me to Green Bay. I played with him for five years and it's good to come down here and get back with him again."
(on keeping in contact with Sherman) "I really didn't talk to him that much after he left. As soon as Green Bay released me, then I heard from him."
(on what it's like to block for Ahman Green)"He's a great running back. I'm happy I get to come back and play with him. I was mad that he got released from Green Bay, but now I get a chance to come down here and block for him. It's a great thing. He's a great running back and good guy."
Texans tight end Mark Bruener (on his degree) "PHD in Economics from University of Washington."
(on how tough it was getting the degree since he's a little older) "I'm actually the fourth-oldest guy on the team now. I'm pretty happy about these old guys they are bringing in. The older you get and the more removed you are from the college setting the more difficult it is. And with my family and the commitments I have with my children and wife it's extremely difficult, but well worth it when I finally got that last test completed."
(on what kind of example that sets for his teammates) "Well the first thing I would tell them is don't procrastinate like I did. And secondly, I wanted to set an example for my children. My wife has her undergrad and masters degree. And I wanted them to know that I started something and I'm going to finish it. How can I tell them to get a college degree and finish what they started if Dad doesn't do it? So I thought that was important."
(on Owen Daniels) "I'll tell ya, he's is a special guy. Owen had a great rookie campaign and one of the things you worry about with a player who had a great first year is how are they going to be when they come back? Are they going to work as hard, or are they going to have that same burning desire they had early on? He has really shown that he's a hard worker and a great player and just the first few days of training camp he has stepped right in where he left off last year and I'm really excited I get the chance to work with him again."
Texans tight end Owen Daniels (on picking up at camp where he left off last season) "I guess I feel pretty good for the most part. I had some time off during OTA's rehabbing the shoulder so I'm kind of surprised that I'm feeling the way I do. Things have been going well, so hopefully I can just keep things going that way."
(on him and Mark having a connection) "We've been working since beginning of April together, couple times a week during the off season program and obviously everyday now. Tight ends are a big part of this offense and I think he realizes that and I'm lucky that that's the way it is."
(on thinking about his second season) "I've got to keep it going. I have no choice but to improve on last year. You know everyone talks about a guy having a great first year, or however you wan to put it, and you know falling off and having a stumped second season, and I don't wan to be that guy. I wan to be more consistent than I was last year and that's my goal."
(on him being excited about being a tight end) "It was exciting last year to get out there and play opening day and I had a chance to contribute last year. Me, Jeb (Putzier) and Mark (Bruener) all have a big role on this offense and we're all contributing a lot this year."
(on his rookie season and getting a little tired) "It is a long season. I thought I would be all right and most rookies think naaah I'll be fine, 16 games, whatever. But those four preseason games and three weeks of camp, it catches up to you after a while, it does. I'm ready this season, I know what to expect. I'll take a little better care of my body and know when to take it easy throughout the year."
(on being into weather forecasting) "Yeah, I'm still interested in it. No, I didn't get a chance to do any this year but it's still something I'm interested in and something I think about down the road maybe."
Texans running back Ahman Green (on showing up to camp in shape) "It's very important. It's something we take pride in because we work out hard in the offseason. This is the first offseason where I didn't have to do a run test. We didn't have to, because we worked out four days out of the week, sometimes five on Fridays. Running in this humidity and heat gets you ready. No matter what, you'll be ready."
(on what quarterback Matt Schaub is doing to cultivate respect for his leadership) "When he makes a mistake, he keeps rolling. He is asking us what he needs to do or what we need to do to get better on a certain play, either making a better fake, or getting our head around and turned faster on a check-down, or saying things to the wide receivers so they can be cohesive together."
Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (on the group of receivers around him) "All those guys can go out and make plays. There's a lot of competition at this spot. This is the best group of receivers that we've had, you know, since I have been here. There's a lot of speed out there so you know guys are going out there and trying to make plays out there everyday."
(on having a good supporting cast with experience around him) "It's great. Like I said earlier, a lot of moves that were made are great for this team. Coach Kubiak said it was going to be hard to make the team this year so guys are out here working, competing for jobs. We are just trying to do everything we can to get better for the season."
Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones (on the things he does to standout to the coaches) "I try to be consistent first of all. Then run through my plays and make every play I can make."
(on the competition and experience around him) "I'm excited. I learn from Keenan (McCardell) and Andre (Johnson) everyday. I'm learning from them."
(on what the older guys are telling him) "They said just stay humble and that it will come to me after a while, just keep playing."
(on how he thinks he's playing so far) "Alright. I don't think I'm playing to my expectations. I know I'm better than what I am."
(on if he feels he needs to be just as good on special teams as receiver) "Oh yeah, I can always get better. No matter what."
(on if there has been anyone who has given him advice and helped him out) "Everyone on this team. The team is very helpful. Everybody."
(on if it is intimidating seeing all the veterans around the team) "No. I take it as a plus, someone to learn from. I take it as a plus, even the older guys on defense; they teach you some things, too."
(on Keenan McCardell giving him advice) "From day one, when he walked in, he came and sat next to me and said 'I'm sitting next to you.' He's just teaching me some good things like, you know, you don't have to play so hard and that it's mental. It's mind over matter."
(on what it means for the older guys to give him advice) "It feels good. It lets me know that I'm wanted. They are taking me in like a little brother or something."
Texans linebacker DeMeco Ryans (on what the coaches want out of him this season) "I think for myself pretty much just to become a better leader, go out there and be a better communicator to my defense, just lead the bunch, that's it."
(on if leadership is that something you think about or does it just come naturally) "It just comes naturally. It's not something you really have to think about as much as just go out and you know, get the guys up and going, get down and just have them roll."
(on having to work on being a pass rusher) "Oh yeah, definitely. It is something I have to get a lot better at. There were a few sacks last year because of that I think. We've been working and working on that with Coach Johnny we are just going to get better and better."
(on if he thinks about tackles he's missed) "No, I don't think about it. I just keep going. Go on to the next play. I can't harp on the ones I missed. I have to keep rolling."
(on how it feels to be entering his second season)"I'm feeling a lot more comfortable in year two. In year one, my head was spinning coming in, trying to learn a lot. A lot was on my plate, and it was a lot tougher last year. But now that I know the defense and I'm familiar with it, it's a lot easier."
(on his experience arriving as a rookie last year) "I was like, 'There is no way I'm going to get all of this stuff, so I'm just going to learn what I can learn and just go with that.' But now, I have a great understanding of the defense and I know pretty much all of the calls, so it's easy for me now."
(on challenges for him entering year two) "Knowing the defense is one thing, but just going out and performing and trying to perfect things when I'm out here, that's the challenge this year."
(on whether he will scale back his film room time this season) "You can't study your opponent too much. You know what they're doing, know their ins and outs, that just gives you the edge when it comes Sunday and its time to play. I never stop doing it."
Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (on his relationship with other players) "We got a lot of new guys this year, this offseason, for this team, so we're all getting a feel for one another. We've had a good offseason to get that camaraderie, so once we get to the season you don't have to worry about that. That's all second nature."
(on the reaction from teammates when he started calling them when he got to Houston) "Some of them were surprised and some of them appreciated it. It seemed like it was kind of unexpected, but they welcomed me with open arms."
(on whether it's important to talk to and foster a good relationship with other teammates in order to become a leader) "I think so. I think that's one of the big things that quarterbacks have to do. Because the offseason goes by really quick, and you have to be right in the mix and right there with the guys fighting and working hard to get better, so when that training camp comes and the season starts, you're ready to play."
Texans wide receiver Kevin Walter (on his mindset with all the competition around him) "No question – competition makes everyone better and the way I look at it is we are all going to get better and my mindset is to come in here each day and be the best player I can possibly be. I don't worry too much about other players. I definitely root them on and they are plugging away and working hard too, but I'm also plugging away too."
(on what he has to do to stand out) "Just got to be consistent. That's the name of the game. As a receiver, you have to stay consistent and you have to make plays, and when the opportunity comes you have to take advantage of it."