The 2012 Houston Texans Charity Golf Classic was Monday afternoon, and chairman/CEO Bob McNair, head coach Gary Kubiak and quarterback Matt Schaub met with the media before teeing off. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Texans Owner Bob McNairTexans Head Coach Gary KubiakQB Matt Schaub
Texans Owner Bob McNair
(on the Houston Texans Charity Golf Classic) "It's a great event. What it does, it brings a lot of our players and coaches out and lets them mingle with a lot of the people from the business community, and of course it generates funds for the Foundation. It's just a fun event, and it gets bigger and better every year."
(on if he has ever been more excited about a season now that he has gotten a taste of the playoffs) "No, I haven't been more excited. We've got a very good team, and we just have to keep building and improving and getting better. I think that's what we've done in the offseason, so I'm excited and looking forward to the season."
(on head coach Gary Kubiak and executive vice president/general manager Rick Smith's situations) "We'll start working on that. We've just had a lot of other things on our plate, but yeah, we'll get around to that."
(on if he has a timetable for that) "No. No, but it'll be at an appropriate time."
(on if visits with Kubiak or Smith first) "We typically will visit with Gary first and then with Rick. That's sort of the sequence we go through."
(on how important it is to take care of their contracts) "Well, it's hard to play if you don't have a coach and general manager, so I guess I need to take care of it."
(on if there's a sense of urgency in extending their contracts) "No, there's no sense of urgency, but we want to go ahead and deal with it and put it to bed."
(on if the Texans' ticket sales are on a record pace) "I think they will set a record this year. There's a lot of enthusiasm, and I think it'll be a big year for the team."
(on if he was pleased that the Texans so many primetime games in 2012) "Yeah, I wish we'd have gotten more home games, and they said they tried to do that. We only have one home game out of that group. We have such an exciting event at our stadium. We really put on a good show – there's no doubt about it, and we'd like for that to be on national TV. But we're happy to be on national TV, get our players more exposure. I think that excites them and excites all of us."
(on the Texans' draft) "I liked the draft. We didn't do anything that was splashy, but we got some players that filled some needs that we had and we did it without overreaching. And in fact, we traded down in some cases and still got the players we wanted, so I feel real good about it. I think Wade Phillips hit in on the head. He said we've got some more players that are similar to the players that we got last year. They're really hard-working, never take off on a play, and that's the attitude that we want on this club."
(on being a Super Bowl contender for the first time) "I think that's great. As far as I was concerned, we were a Super Bowl contender last year. But we aren't in this to contend, we're in it to win, so that's our goal and that's what we work towards."
(on how he would feel if the Texans don't make the Super Bowl) "Well, I can't speak to that. You know, injuries play such a large part. The key is how hard we play and how well we play. If we play hard, we play the way we're capable of playing, good things are going to happen. We saw that last year in spite of the injuries. Hopefully, we won't have similar-type injuries this year and we'll be able to take it even further. But you know what our goal is: It's not to be in the Super Bowl, it's to win the Super Bowl."
(on the salary cap taking a chunk out of the team this offseason) "I think that's what we're going to be faced with every year. When you win, everybody views your players as being better than they really are, and so they're willing to pay them more than what the market is and you can't go out and pay over market. You just have to be disciplined and make sure you've got plenty of good young players coming in behind them."
(on how feels Kubiak and Smith have done in their time with the Texans) "I think they've done an outstanding job. I'm pleased with them, and if that wasn't the case, we wouldn't be extending them."
Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on if FB James Casey will make a full-time move to fullback) "He's going to play everywhere. He's our starting fullback today; he's our starting Tiger today if we go to two tights (tight ends), so James is going to play all over the place. It's still about versatility with James, so that really hasn't changed."
(on whether he's worried about overloading FB James Casey) "Oh, no. I don't worry about that with him. He can handle so much, and it makes us tough to handle when we're able to do a lot of things with him. If you go back to the first month of the season last year with all the movement and the things we did with him, I think it makes it very difficult on some people, so hopefully we get back to that."
(on when he expects ILB Darryl Sharpton to be back to 100 percent) "You know, if you watch the offseason workouts, you'd never know that he's not, but he'll be limited throughout OTAs (organized team activities). There are some things that he won't be doing, but he'll be ready to go in (training) camp."
(on what QB Matt Schaub will be able to do during OTAs and minicamp) "If we're not paying attention, he'll do everything, but we're not going to let him do that. We're going to put the reins on him, so to speak. He will do drill work, could throw some 7-on-7, but he will not be put in a team environment where he might get tripped up or something like that happens. He's ready to go. It's us being cautious with him right now."
(on when he expects QB Matt Schaub to be allowed to fully participate in team drills) "Just (training) camp. He doesn't like it, but I think it's the best thing right now. It gives (QB) T.J. (Yates) a ton of reps, and it'll get (QB) Case (Keenum) a ton of reps. We know that Matt knows what he's doing, and this time of year is about getting people knowing what they're doing so they can compete in camp."
(on whether ILB Darryl Sharpton is capable of stepping into the starting lineup) "He's very capable. He played extremely well when he got a chance last year. Obviously, (ILB) Bradie's (James) been brought in here and (ILB Tim) Dobbins has been brought back, so it's going to be very competitive, not only from a playing situation but also a leader standpoint because that guy, we're expecting to make the calls."
(on at which positions he would like to sign additional veterans before training camp) "Well, (general manager) Rick (Smith) and I were talking this morning a little bit and I think quarterback still concerns me. I think I'd like to sign a fourth guy. With (QB) Matt (Schaub) being out, with the 90-player roster, I think there's room for that guy. Even though training camps are pretty much one a day now, but I think we've got room for a guy to get some reps, so we're working on that. Other than that, maybe continue to look at the receiver standpoint. If you look at our receiving group going into camp, we feel good about it, but there's not a lot of experience in the group."
(on whether he would prefer to sign a veteran quarterback) "I think it could be either (a veteran or a young player). There's a couple of veterans out there; there's a lot of free agent guys out there still looking for an opportunity, so we'll see."
(on what he saw in QB Case Keenum that he liked) "I spent some time with him in Indianapolis (at the Scouting Combine), obviously, and then I watched him go from there to his workout with Jerry Rhome, I think it was Jerry that ran that workout. And then when I spent time with him at our workout, I was just so impressed with how far he had come in a month. I know some guys that have coached him; I know Kliff (Kingsbury, former University of Houston offensive coordinator) very well, and I just think he fits what we do. He can move, he's smart. It's a good fresh start for him. I know he's disappointed not getting drafted, but it may work out well for him, so we're looking forward to it."
(on whether he expects to sign another fullback) "You came here for a story today, so I'm going to give you a story, OK? Our young linebacker from Syracuse (Darrell Smith), we're going to move him to fullback. We've been working with him throughout the past couple of weeks. We've also got a young man from Illinois (FB Jason Ford) that we're going to work there that was a running back in college, so that's where we're heading right now. There's a couple of veteran fullbacks out there, but as of right now I feel pretty good about what's going on and what I see out there."
(on the challenges of preparing young fullbacks to play) "Probably mental more than anything. Physically, if you want to go in there and iso a guy, it's hard to play that spot. We know these guys will do that, so it's probably mental more than anything, but we've had some success building those guys, so to speak. I mean, (former Texans FB) Vonta (Leach) came in and did a great job for us; (FB) James (Casey) is doing a great job, (FB Lawrence) Vickers played well for us last year, so we feel good about the direction we're heading."
(on playing in the 10th Annual Houston Texans Foundation Charity Golf Classic) "It's awesome. Obviously it's raised a lot of money and it seems like it gets a little bit bigger each year. I know the dinner that we had the other night that precedes the event was probably the biggest one I'd ever been to, so just appreciate everybody's support and I'm looking forward to having a good time."
Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on how he's doing in his rehabilitation process) "Doing great. Feeling real good, making a lot of progress with rehab, so things are right on schedule."
(on head coach Gary Kubiak's comment that Schaub would do everything in practice if the team didn't stop him) "Absolutely. Yeah, the reins are still there and they pull them back whenever they need to, but we're really making a lot of progress, so it's good."
(on what he told rookie QB Case Keenum when he spoke with him) "I just welcomed him to the quarterback group. I told him congratulations for the opportunity. Obviously it was a tough weekend for him; he's one of the best players college football has seen for many years and I know that was tough for him not to get drafted, but we're excited to have him part of our team and a part of our group, so I just reached out to share a few words with him, and it was a good conversation."
(on the Texans being considered a Super Bowl contender now) "Well, it's great to be in that conversation. We've made a lot of strides, it's been a lot of hard work and blood, sweat and tears put into this over the years. To finally be there is great, but they're just words and we need to go out and prove it year-in and year-out, so we need to turn around and go and be right back there at the end of the season this year."
(on Texans owner Bob McNair's comment that the team doesn't want to contend, they want to win) "Absolutely. That's the next step. We've been to the playoffs, we've had a taste of it, we've won in the playoffs, so now it's about going out and getting to that next game, that next step, and winning a championship."
(on the Texans playing on national television five times this season) "Yeah, when you get to this point as an organization and as a team, you're going to find yourself playing night games, playing in prime time, playing those Thursday games on Thanksgiving and Monday night, so it's exciting. They're good competition and good teams that we're playing, so we're looking forward to that."
(on whether he has any big milestones ahead in his recovery process) "It's just a matter of time. There's no more major milestones, it's just staying with the program, staying true to the plan, and really the next milestone is training camp in my opinion. That's when everything really gets going."
(on how difficult it has been for him to stay patient through his rehab process) "Well, knowing that it is only May. This isn't my first year in the League. Being in my ninth year, I know how the offseason is. I do know the importance of it, but it's also important that I make sure to stay true to what we're trying to do and the important thing is to be ready come camp time."
(on playing in the 10th Annual Houston Texans Foundation Charity Golf Classic) "It's a great time. To be out here, to support our Texans Foundation and the charity, it's just great to be a part of it and come out of Reliant Stadium and be out here with a lot of our supporters."
(on his reaction to the news of Junior Seau's death last week) "Very sad. He's one of the true ambassadors of the NFL. He played for so many years, played the game the way it was supposed to be played; and such a great individual, did a lot in the community, and it was just tragic to see that."
(on whether Junior Seau's death makes players talk more about head injuries) "You know, it's been such a popular topic the past couple of years that we don't really talk about it a whole lot. Obviously, something like that creates some buzz and some conversation, but it's not something that we just dwell and talk about every day. We know it's there, but as football players, you don't want to think about stuff like that. You want to go out and just compete and play."