Quin is Texans' invisible man


EDITOR'S NOTE: This article first appeared in the Houston Texans Gameday magazine on Aug. 28 2010, for Houston's preseason game at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Starting cornerback Glover Quin often goes unnoticed in the Texans' defensive backfield.

That's not an insult. It's about the biggest compliment Quin can get.

"He's one of those guys that you wouldn't know he's out here," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "He's so consistent and such a pro. He's really becoming a leader-type guy back there (secondary). He just does his job. He's all business."

That sounds like something a coach would say about a seasoned NFL veteran who has worked many years to develop his skills.

Hardly the case with Quin.

He blew in quietly from the University of New Mexico last season as a fourth-round pick and started 12 games as a rookie. Kubiak has said Quin would have received more recognition if not for the splash made by NFL defensive rookie of the year Brian Cushing.

"He's a pro guy, and he's all business when it's time to go to work," Kubiak said. "He plays both spots. He plays nickel and on the outside. Last year he was special. I hope he keeps it going."

Quin likely will be higher-profile this season. Veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson is gone, leaving Quin as the senior starter with rookie first-round pick Kareem Jackson moving straight into the starting lineup as the other cornerback.

"When he came into the league, he was already a pro," defensive backs coach David Gibbs said of Quin. "He knows how to study. He knows every position in the secondary and he could probably play any position and play it well.

"We always knew he was a physical tackler in college, which he continues to do in pro football. His coverage skills, I couldn't see a lot of it on his college tape, but he's done a good job with his cover skills."

Quin got his chance last year when starter Jacques Reeves went down with an injury. Even if Quin's head was spinning, he thinks his trial by fire was for the best.

"Experience is the best teacher," Quin said. "Getting into the games and getting reps week after week helped. I don't know when exactly the light came on. I guess it was kind of like when things stopped going in circles and slowed down a little. It was a whirlwind there for a while."

It was more than Quin anticipated in his first pro season.

{QUOTE}"I had a lot of good moments last year," Quin said. "My first start was great, (as was) playing against some of the best quarterbacks and receivers in the league. I look at my whole rookie year, and I enjoyed the good and the bad."

Defensive coordinator Frank Bush sees a more relaxed player as Quin moves into his second season.

"You can see the experience he got last year has carried over to this year," Bush said. "He's more comfortable and he's in much better shape than when he first came here last year. He looks like a pro athlete right now. The smarts are still there. He's very mature. We look at him as a guy who started a lot of games last year who can help some of the younger guys along. I think he's just a smart kid and he's experienced so many things that he's even smarter."

Quin got his first pro start last Oct. 4 against the Raiders. Slowly, the whirlwind in his head eased. By season's end, Quin had 64 total tackles and 11 passes defensed, including four against Peyton Manning and the Colts on Nov. 8.

"I just feel like I'm more aware in certain situations and kind of know what to expect now," he said. "But I always feel like you've got to play honest. You know what's going to happen and you get yourself planted and then they counter.

"Everything is coming at you like a whirlwind. Your head starts spinning and things start running together. I would say that's probably the toughest thing—trying to catch up to the speed of the game."

After his own experiences last season, Quin thinks he can help Jackson adjust to starting as a rookie.

"I tell him that this is the NFL and he's going against the best quarterback (Matt Schaub) and best wide receiver (Andre Johnson) in the world," Quin said. "So, they will make plays and catches. Don't stop fighting. Get up and make the next play. I just try to tell him some of the things I went through and tell him some of the things I've learned and some of the ways I've tried to figure out how to survive out there on the island."

Despite his experience, Quin doesn't talk to Jackson as a seasoned veteran.

"I try to help guys out in the ways that I can," Quin said. "I don't forget I'm still a second-year guy and I still have a lot to learn. I don't lose sight of that.

"I think as a DB unit, we're a pretty close-knit group. We're not the type of group that withholds information from the next guy because we're trying to beat that guy out. We just go at it. We compete with each other, and if a guy has a question, we just tell him what we know."

Quin appreciates Kubiak's point about being overshadowed by Cushing's outstanding season.

"It makes me feel good, but I also don't forget that was last year," he said. "I've got to improve on the things I did last year and have a better year than last year. I can't be satisfied."

Many coaches would cringe at the thought of starting two cornerbacks in the NFL with one year's experience between them. Gibbs feels great with what he's got.

"It doesn't bother me at all, to be honest," Gibbs said. "We've got to go do it on Sunday afternoons. We'll see what happens. Glover plays like a 10-year veteran, so to me, he's not a one-year guy."

In fact, Gibbs has special instructions for the younger defensive backs to follow Quin's lead.

"I think he's such a good role model for those young guys," Gibbs said. "I tell them all the time: Whatever he does, I would do. Whatever he eats, I would eat. He's done a remarkable job."

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