After the final practice of Texans mini-camp, head coach Gary Kubiak spoke with the media.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on mini-camp and the offseason in general) "Well, it's been a good offseason. I think once again this team's going to have some young players that are going to help it, but as I always say I think the key to our football team and organization is that the core players around here get better. I like the way we're handling more football right now, but what we've got to do as coaches is isolate on what we do good, and get ready to open up against a great football team, the (Indianapolis) Colts. I'm excited about it. Everybody needs a break from each other right now but it won't be long and we'll be after it."
(on if he's seen the growth he wanted to see) "Yeah, I really have. I think we have a couple of things we had to accomplish; we had two new coaches we had to break in on the offensive side of the ball to catch them up on how we do things, and I think we accomplished that. Thought our defense grew a lot from the way it ended last year to walking back on the field this year. I thought they were obviously better. Then we've got some position battles that are starting to heat up already starting with our kicking battle, and that type of thing. I like our progress we've just got to hang on to it here for a month and get ready to go in July."
(on how the symmetry has been between offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp) "Well there were two things; Rick has worked with me before so that was easy, and Greg has worked with (QB) Matt (Schaub) before. So those things were important for matching things up. I feel good about how we're going to go about it. Like I said, it was just as important for those guys to have a good month just as anybody else."
(on what the message was he gave the team before they left for break) "I just told them we had a good month and we need to move away from each other a little bit, but they've got to keep working. We come in here July 30th and we're going to accomplish a goal some of us have been working on around here the last four years. They know that I didn't have to tell them that."
(on if he's concerned the team will get out of sync during the break) "I think you always stay concerned because the one thing you don't want to happen over the course of the next month is all of a sudden you've got key members of your team you don't see until training camp. That pressure comes from within the players. They're the ones that are going to be here working with (strength and conditioning coach) Cedric (Smith), and if we're missing one for a few days or something we'll find a way to get him. But peer pressure is the strongest thing in this business, and we've been pretty good about it."
(on who are the best three interior lineman) "(G Kasey) Studdard and (C Antoine) Caldwell didn't do anything not to line up as a starter when we start, so that won't change. I think (G) Wade Smith is obviously going to push (C) Chris (Myers) and both of them. I thought (G Mike) Brisiel, when he's healthy, he missed a little time in OTA's but when he's healthy, I think he plays as good as anybody so he's going to be a big part of the mix. Of course you've got(C) Chris White and you've got a young (G) Shelley (Smith). We're going to have to do a good job of mix and matching those guys so that it's very fair from a competitive standpoint. And we'll have to probably make a decision about week three of preseason of which way we're going to go so that they can settle down and work together."
(on if he likes where DT Amobi Okoye is at this weight) "He's much quicker. I've spent the last two days watching cutups with the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, and I asked the offense yesterday, 'What do you guys think about Amobi at this weight?' They said he's been tougher to handle and he's much quicker, but at the same time he has to get through a long hot summer and he can't get too small on us. But I think he feels better. He just feels like he's quicker to the ball, and hey it's important how he feels. We'll go with it and see how it works out."
(on if RB Steve Slaton is where he wants him to be at this point) "He and (RB Arian) Foster have had probably been as good in the OTA's as any player we've had. With Steve, he goes and gets checked out in two weeks. Everything from our standpoint we're told should be okay, and just get him back and used to contact again will be the key for Steve."
(on if RB Steve Slaton will go back to wearing the red jersey for training camp) "No, if they cut him loose we'll go to work, because we need to get his confidence back about getting hit and stuff."
(on if he can gauge how physical the players can be out on the field this time of year) "No, I don't think you can. The guys that we've had, you know who are physical players. The new faces you don't know until you actually put the pads on. Any changes when you put all that gear on. We'll probably have to do it more this summer than we have in the past because we have so many key issues to find out; inside players offensively, defensively, running backs. So we'll probably be in pads a little bit more than we have in the past."
(on how much of the kickers, Kris Brown and Neil Rackers, he has seen) "I think they've been pretty equal throughout the OTA's with what we've asked them to do. I've just got to find a way everyday to create competition on the practice field because there is no way to do it in the preseason games. It's a nice problem to have."
(on what's next for him and his staff for the next month and a half) "Well, they need a break too. Obviously we'll be in and out of here type of thing. They're the same, they need a break before we get going because once you start the NFL season there's not much of a break. They've done a good job, and worked hard. We're prepared we could go to camp today. So we'll stay ahead. But just like everybody else take a little break and come back and get ready."
(on if he's worried about depth at safety specifically behind FS Eugene Wilson) We're going to go to camp with six, and that is probably one less than we've had in the past. We like our young players; we like the (S Torri) Williams kid that we got, the free agent kid, and (SS) Troy (Nolan) has come a long way. We're probably a little light there, but yet we feel good about our six. We think they'll all get a chance to play."