Cornerback Fred Bennett is ready for action in Week 2 against the Panthers.
Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media on Thursday as they continue to prepare for their first road game of 2007, against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C. on Sunday.
Texans owner Bob McNair
(on how special it was when he heard DE Mario Williams was NFL Defensive Player of the Week) "It was wonderful. We were just elated for Mario because he's put up with so much and he's never complained about it. He's never been critical of anybody else. He never used the injured foot he had last year as a crutch. He just went out and played. He could have said, 'Coach, I can't go,' and sat on the bench. You see some of the players doing that this year who have the same injury, not on our team. He didn't do that. He went out and he took the criticism but coach said he can help the team so, he said ok and went out there and did it. I'm really pleased for Mario. He's worked very hard. He's improved his play. He came in here and he was a little bit lighter. He took a little weight off and he thought he could be faster and quicker and I think he is. I'm real pleased for Mario."
(on if he ever wants to tell people 'I told you so' about DE Mario Williams) "I haven't had that feeling, but when things are slower developing, when you're slower reaching the goals you want to reach, then sometimes you start wondering when are you going to get there and are we doing the right thing. We thought all along we were doing the right thing, but to see the kind of results and progress that we made is reaffirming the belief that we had the right strategy all along."
(on the video scandal surrounding the New England Patriots) "I'm disappointed if what's alleged to have occurred did occur because that's not playing by the rules. We all have to play by the rules. If that's the case, I suspect the commissioner is going to come down pretty hard on them."
(on if that's the case, does that take anything away from what the Patriots have done) "I don't know. It clouds the issue. I don't think there's any doubt about that. What is the impact of it, that's hard to say. I guess if a person was doing it, they're doing it because they think it helps them. If they didn't think it helped, I guess they wouldn't do it, would they?"
(on the idea of watching other team's signals) "Everyone looks at signals and everyone tries to pick up signals and you do that in all kinds of sports. We have clear rules that say you can't use video tape equipment, you can't use electronic devices, you can't use any of those things in order to secure information."
(on if this incident hurts the league) "It's not good. It's not good. We play by the rules. You always have cases where people violate the rules. There's nothing unusual about that. I think the good news is we have a commissioner that's going to see if somebody does violate the rules there is a punishment for it and he's going to make sure they are going to abide by the rules."
(on if he thinks it's important for the commissioner to send a strong message) "It depends on how serious it is and was it a one-time occasion? Was it something that happened frequently? Was it flagrant? All of that enters into the severity of it. That's what the commissioner will take into consideration, I'm sure."
(on if they looked at drafting DE Julius Peppers in 2002) "No we didn't. We didn't look seriously at him because what we were trying to do, we knew we needed a franchise quarterback. The question was, were there any out there and there weren't any out there available other then through the draft. There were several guys there. Of course there was Joey Harrington. We looked at him and we looked at other quarterbacks and our people thought David (Carr) was the best quarterback out there. We really didn't consider Julius Peppers. I'll say this, Carolina got a lot of criticism for drafting Julius that high because he had been a basketball player who only played two years of football. There were some real questions about Peppers whether he would be tough enough."
(on if they made a mistake by playing QB David Carr right away) "That's assuming that we could have found a veteran quarterback to step in and play adequately. I think that David would have performed better if he hadn't been thrown into the fire that way. How much better, who's to say? Who's to say how much his psyche was impacted by all the sacks? I don't know. I would think that it would affect most people in some way."
(on seeing QB David Carr this Sunday) "I'll be happy to see him and I'll wish him well. I hope that he has a good career, but it's like Steve McKinney said, it doesn't need to start on Sunday."
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on if he's impressed with DT Amobi Okoye's play) "Yeah, he played like a young kid last week. He played in spurts. And the thing about this league is consistency, which we talk about all the time, doing it down in and down out. But he showed a flash, so we just want him to be more consistent in his play. And he's learning to play the run better, so that's important."
(on if having both RB Ahman Green and RB Ron Dayne helps to control the clock) "Well, you would hope so, but you've still got to run the ball well. The guys up front got to work, the receivers got to work, but it's nice when you feel like you don't have to wear one guy out. So we're very comfortable, if Ahman raises his hand and comes out of the game, that we don't change a thing we do and Ronnie goes in there."
(on how important it is that the running backs block well against Carolina) "It's very important. The thing about this team, they're so balanced up front it's hard to sit there and say we've got to double this guy or double that guy, because they're too balanced. So we're just going to have to play good up front. Our backs are going to have to be aware of helping in protection and probably the best weapon against that is just to get the dang ball going, so that's going to be up to number eight."
(on DT Travis Johnson's ankle injury) "He repped a little bit. We'll go back and see how he did and if he's full speed, he'll go. I don't think he was full speed today, but he did practice."
(on if anything new was out of the ordinary today at practice) "No, no. Everything's fine. We just got good work outside. It's a good day to work. It's our work day, Thursday, and we got good work out of our guys today."
Texans CB Fred Bennett(on the Panthers and WR Steve Smith) "They're all around a great team, got a lot of great talent. But he's the type of guy that brings the excitement and electricity that team needs."
(on how they prepare for someone like WR Steve Smith) "We just take it day by day. I think our coaches are going to put us in the best situations and defense. We've just got to go out there and perform."
(on how the secondary is jelling with the new players) "I think the new guys are coming along real good. They're learning the defense day to day, our coach is doing a great job, our other vets are helping them out as well, so coming along pretty good."
(on how he feels going into this week after the one game under his belt) "I feel good. I'm as confident as ever. I think that confidence level came over from the preseason to now. I'm confident. Whatever my team needs me to do, I'm willing to do it."
(on the help from CB Dunta Robinson) "He's helped me tremendously. A lot. Just telling me the wrong, the right, helping me with my game, what I did wrong. He praises me when I do something right, but at the same time he critiques my game and lets me know what I need to do to get better."
Texans S Will Demps
(on how yesterday went) "It was good to get a full day of practice. I was able to get my head filled with terminology and plays. I'm excited to be here in Houston and definitely with this team. I'm very excited about moving forward."
(on if he is expecting to play and contribute this weekend) "As much as they need me to. I just need to get my body and mind ready for it. I'm part of the team. I'm definitely excited to move forward and help make this team 2-0."
(on if he is getting a crash course on the defense right now) "Definitely, it's exciting. Football is football at the end of the day. You definitely don't want to make mistakes. I don't want to be a burden to the guys. I have to make sure we don't take a step back. I have to help us step forward."
(on why he chose Houston over other teams) "At the end of the day, it's all about how much you want to play football and how happy you are. The situation I was in last year was definitely not that situation. I'm happy to be here. Talking to the general manager and the coach made me want to come here. In times past, people didn't want to come here and play. Now, it's changing, and I definitely want to be part of this new, up-and-coming team and I'm very excited to be here."
Texans CB Demarcus Faggins
(on what kind of issues WR Steve Smith causes) "He's all over the field. He's a great receiver. That's their go-to guy, so you've got to be prepared for whatever he brings."
(on what separates WR Steve Smith from the pack) "He's what, 5-9, like 185, and he plays like he's 6-5, 215. He's fast, quick, catches the ball, he blocks hard. He's a good player."
(on if WR Steve Smith does a good job of creating separation) "Oh, yeah, he does a great job of that just because of his speed and his quickness."
(on the prospect of facing WR Steve Smith on Sunday) "You're going to get him some, no matter what side (of the defense) you're on. You've just got to be prepared for him. You've got to practice through the week and just get ready for him and whatever he brings."
(on the secondary getting on the same page with its new players) "I'd say right now just this week, everybody's just got to learn it. Right now, just trying to get everybody involved and just knowing all the small things and the big things and anything that could happen in the game."
Texans LB Shantee Orr
(on switching to more of a pass rushing role) "It's been a big change for me. Just having to re-learn the mechanics and stuff of playing with your head down, you can't see as much of what's going on. Now everything is just reactions as opposed to just reading."
(on if he thinks it's helped him to have that versatility) "Well, it's been that way since day one. When they brought me in here, they knew I could rush the passer and that's what I did in the 3-4 defense was rush the passer and I played defensive end or down end on third down nickel situations."
(on if he has to bulk up more now because he's playing down low) "No, I'm pretty much right around the same weight I was when I came here. Just around 247, 248 (pounds). The key is just lifting a little bit heavier weights, just keeping the strength there as opposed to being on the leaner or lighter side to where I can just do a lot more reps and just be leaner so I can run more as opposed to just being powerful in spurts."
(on how he expects to be used this Sunday) "Pretty much as last Sunday. Whatever way we feel the need or our coordinator feels the need for me to fit into our defense."
(on what pops out to him when he studies Carolina on film) "The same things that pop out to everyone else. Their receiver Steve Smith, their quarterback and their running back. It's a zone running scheme type of team. Our defense has seen it in the past and has played it before. At one point in time, we were a zone team, so a lot of players who've played here are able to play against that scheme."
(on the benefit of having had that scheme before) "It's a heck of a benefit, just knowing how to fit. The first thing off the top of my head as a linebacker, it's not like if you're playing a power team like Dallas where you come downhill. Now it's more so a shuffle type of thing to be able to fall back and make plays as opposed to just go downhill and make tackles."