The Texans practiced Monday morning at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript from their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakT Duane BrownTE Owen DanielsRB Davin MeggettQB Matt Schaub
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on practicing with pads on) "It's our first day in pads, so I would say there were some very good parts of practice and some very poor parts of practice, but we're just getting going here. It's our first day to move around with all of the equipment so we've got to get better."
(on the battle to become the third receiver) "It's going to be interesting because now we're in a situation where Andre (Johnson) is going to miss time, so we bumped them all up. We kind of move them around each day. There's a lot of young ability and I think there's no telling who our five or six will be. I think they all have the ability to make this team, so we're going to have to see how they hold up and who makes the plays and then Kevin (Walter) and them have their responsibilities to continue to get better and play well. Lestar (Jean) is getting a great opportunity. This morning the Jackson kid (Jerrell Jackson) made some nice plays. I think it's going to be a very competitive situation."
(on if it's important to have someone develop into that role) "Yeah, I think it's huge. I think our whole team is kind of watching it too, because they know our identity is going to change at that position for the first time in a while around here. Players sense that, they really watch those battles closely. We'll let them prove to their teammates that they're the guy."
(on WR Lestar Jean's upside) "I love his size. I like big guys in the league. I think it is an advantage. He's very smart. He can play a lot of places. He did do some go things on special teams for (coordinator) Joe (Marciano). It's a unique situation because he hasn't played, but he's still sitting here operating as a starter. He's never even taken a snap. That kind of tells you where we're at. He's going to have to play big for us to be successful and keep moving forward so we're counting on him."
(on WR Kevin Walter) "Kevin is a rock. You know what you're going to get every day as a player. I think this is year 10 or 11. Kevin has been playing awhile. Kevin does a lot of dirty work for our offense in the run game and those types of things. We know we can count on Kevin. Like always, he's having a good camp and he's just a consistent player."
(on CB Kareem Jackson) "He's doing fine. I think Kareem is probably a day or two away. I think he's strictly day-to-day, but it gave some other guys a chance. Sherrick (McManis) had a great morning and made some great plays out there. Brice (McCain) moves up, Roc (Carmichael) and those guys, we can take a good look at them."
(on ILB Darryl Sharpton's update) "The news is not good, but it's not totally disappointing. He's going to miss some time. He has a hip issue that he kind of developed in his rehab process. He had a problem yesterday. We did a MRI on it and he's got a problem that will take a few weeks to heal. That's not good news from that standpoint. Does it mean that could he still be ready for the start of the season? Yes, he could, so we're going to keep our fingers crossed and put him back to work. It's not a situation where you can go fix. I'm not a doctor to sit here and tell you all of that, but I know it's not something that's operable. It can heal on its own and we're going to let it do that, just keep rehabbing."
(on his plan if ILB Darryl Sharpton is not ready to play) "It concerns me a little bit because Mister (Alexander) is holding up right now, that's a good thing; you need to give Bradie (James) and (Brian) Cushing breaks here along the way. That's always a battle in training camp; how do you find a way to keep groups healthy and sometimes you get hit harder in one spot than the other. Him missing some significant time now has got to make us alter some things a little bit."
(on if ILB Darryl Sharpton will need surgery) "No. It's time to heal. It's my understanding it'll take a few weeks. There's still a chance he's ready to go for this season and we're going to do everything we can to get him ready to go."
(on RB Justin Forsett making plays in practice) "It was impressive. I told the team. You guys see it. What a pro. He comes out here, he can go all day. Very impressive in his work habits, knows what we're doing. Those are the kind of guys you're looking for to make you better. He let everybody on this team know today he plans on being here. That was an impressive practice."
(on the first practice with padded shells on) "We were really good at times and really bad at times. You put the pads on for the first time, you get people all over the ground. You get a little sloppy. We had some center-exchange issues that we haven't had but the game is played with pads. A lot of guys running around in shorts and stuff but you when you put that pads on you find out who's going to be on your team. We've got to be a hell of a lot better than we were today."
(on any other health issues with the team) "We had a couple things today. (Greg) Williams, our young linebacker got a hamstring issue we've got to go evaluate. We had a heat issue with (another) linebacker (Rennie Moore)."
(on the feeling that the offense can get better) "No doubt. We're going to get younger offensively. Our offense has kind of been etched in stone for awhile. So were going to have changes on the right side of our offensive line, receiver; could have a new back or two on our team, a new fullback. We're fixing to have change in our identity and with that Matt (Schaub) and them have to raise their level of play and those guys come in and we've got to get better. Always got to get better."
(on if any other players have stood out to him) "I was just impressed, you know, Sherrick (McManis) stood out to me this morning. The young receiver (Jerrell) Jackson continues to make some plays. We're going to continue to give him more than what he's doing. Other than that, like I said, there was some good, some bad. Typical practice."
T Duane Brown
(on why he played so well last year) "A number of factors played into last season for me. Number one, just an experience thing. The more plays I have, the more I face elite competition, the more I rise to the occasion. Also, preparation, just more film study. Just trying to perfect my craft as much as possible every day. And just maturity, just growing up more, knowing not just what it means to be a pro, but to be in the top tier at the tackle position in this League. Just a lot of things that played into it."
(on how he feels about people saying he's the best left tackle in the NFL) "It's a huge honor. Definitely, that's my plan, to come out here and be the best that I can be and try to be one of the best in the League and one of the best ever to play the position. I strive to be that. At the same time, I recognize the talent that's around this League and our conference in particular. In the AFC, there's a lot of talent out here. It's definitely an honor, but I feel like I have another level to reach."
(on if he agrees he's the best left tackle in the NFL) "I'm not going to argue with it. I have to be confident enough in my ability to think that I'm one of the best. I feel like there are some guys out there that are a little bit better than me at this point, but I feel I have the talent and the drive to reach that level."
(on wanting to have his best season since this is the last year of his contract) "It's a good year to do it just because number one, I had the best season of my career last year. Number two, it's just that time. It's my fifth year. There's a lot of expectations put on me by the team, by myself, to be the best player in this League to help this team go where we want to go. That's all I'm worried about."
(on weighing whether to sign before or after the season) "It's not something I really worry about, to be honest with you. I let my agent handle that and see where they are when the season starts. I'm just out here trying to have a great camp, trying to put myself in a position to have a big season. If it happens before then, it happens then. If not, then I'm just going out there getting ready to have what I feel will be the best season of my career."
(on how he is as a run blocker) "I think I'm pretty good. You look at the numbers that our running backs have put up, I'm not the only piece of the puzzle, but I think that it's something that I really hang my hat on. The pass protection at left tackle is the priority, but you also have to be a pretty good run blocker in this scheme, mainly on the backside trying to get those defensive tackles and those linebackers cut off. I think I've really progressed in that area."
TE Owen Daniels
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak's offense) "Ever since they were in Denver, they've incorporated their offense. We run the West Coast offense and fortunately for me and the other tight ends we have, it's a fun position to play in Kubiak's offense. We got a lot of opportunities to make plays. A lot is expected of us too. We're not just in one spot. They're moving us around. We're around the line of scrimmage, in the slot, in the backfield, we're out wide. It's a lot to handle but we got guys who can handle it. And it's just more opportunities to help the team out."
(on the importance of having QB Matt Schaub back) "T.J. (Yates) did a great job stepping in last year. He turned a lot of heads and surprised lots of people, but Matt's our guy. We missed him definitely down the stretch a little bit. It's great to have him back in a leadership role and back healthy. We need him if we're going to do some big things this year."
(on QB Matt Schaub saying that T Duane Brown is the best left tackle in the NFL) "I'm not going to disagree with that. Duane has certainly got better over the years. He's got to deal with (Robert) Mathis and (Dwight) Freeney twice a year and obviously there are other great defensive ends he has to deal with. He's gotten better and better. I got to believe he's one of the most physical, meanest in the League. I think he's prided himself on being one of the best and earning that respect. It's slowly coming. The respect for him is behind where his talent level is at and how much he means to our team."
RB Davin Meggett
(on not making a lot of mistakes to earn a spot on the team) "That's with anything. You gotta do your best to play perfect football, execute to the best of your ability and handle what you can handle. Make plays when you can make plays."
(on what he needs to do to get the coaches' attention) "I just need to focus and play the best football I can play. Coming out, you gotta do the best you can and let the dominos fall."
(on his abilities) "I play hard. I do a lot with the ball, I do a lot without the ball. I love the game of football. I'm pretty athletic so there's a lot of things I can do, not a lot I can't do. As camp progresses, hopefully I'll be able to show all those things."
(on growing up in a football household) "It helps a lot. You're able to adjust to being a pro a lot easier when you see a pro come home every day, when you see a pro develop. You actually develop as they did. And now it's a lot easier for me to adjust. It's a lot easier for me to be focused. It's a lot easier for me to push things aside and focus of football."
QB Matt Schaub
(on how camp has gone so far for him) "Physically, I feel great. Everything is going really well. We're just into camp mode. In between practices, its normal, you're just trying to recover and be ready for the next one. Physically, I feel great."
(on some of the small tweaks to improve the offense) "We can always get better. There are little things that we can do, little minor things that we can just tweak and adjust, things that we try to disguise. But we have so many young guys that are going to have to step in and help us out that we're trying to bring them up to speed on our core schemes, our core passes, our core concepts to where those are night and day with them. When it really hits the fan, that's what we go to and rely on, our core stuff. We're on day three here now, so we're trying to, each day, install more and more and progressively get to the point where we can start to tweak and add things and figure out which direction we're going."
(on if sitting out minicamp helped him in other ways) "There is part of that that is beneficial, but at the same time I wanted to be out there. As a competitor, when you feel like you can go do something, you want to go do it. In the long term, in hindsight, looking back, it was a good thing for me to just continue my rehab and focus on those things, getting all my footwork and everything down. Doing all the football drills on my feet, the different angles that you work on with your feet as a quarterback and just work on those things to get as strong as possible so I could peak at training camp, rather than having that time period just doing football and I lost track of rehab. Now, I feel great."
(on if he's found himself on the same page as the receivers) "Absolutely, we've got a talented group of guys and mentally, they're trying to do the best they can with everything that's thrown at them. Each day, it's a lot of information and they're really handling it really well. Obviously, there are going to be growing pains as we go through practices here mentally, just working through everything. We ask our receivers to do a lot of adjustments with their routes and we do a lot of motioning and a lot of formation adjustments. It's a lot for them, but they're doing a great job handling it."
(on if any of the young receivers have stood out to him) "They're all doing such a good job. There are so many things that each one of them bring. Lestar (Jean) is doing really well; he's still a young guy. He's really progressing nicely into a good veteran receiver for us. Keshawn Martin is doing a great job for us. He is really going to be able to help us. DeVier (Posey) is doing a great job learning everything. We're asking him to do a lot from the outside perspective and from the inside and everything that he's doing."
(on how long it takes for the receivers to get everything down) "I've said this before. On the offensive side of the ball, other than the quarterback position, I think receiver in our offense is one of the harder positions to learn in our offense because of how much we ask them to do formationally, motioning, knowing every position on the field because they could line up in any different position depending on the formation. There's a lot that we ask of them and so it's a lot on their plate, especially as we get—we're in day three, once we get to day four, five, six installation, that's the bulk of our plan and that can be a lot for those guys. They're handling it really well."
The Texans held a walk-through inside the Methodist Training Center in the afternoon and head coach Gary Kubiak, along with some players, talked with the media about it. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakILB Brian Cushing
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on QB Case Keenum) "I thought he finished the OTAs very good. I think he kind of started over a little bit again coming into camp. Once you get in training camp, there are few reps to go around when you're in that situation, so what you got to do is take advantage of them. He's working very hard. He understands what we're doing. I'm going to make sure he gets some good time in our preseason games. But it's frustrating because you come out here and you get ten reps and four or five of them aren't very good, you feel like you had a bad day. Where most guys get 40-50 reps a day, and they can get away with a few bad plays. But I like what he's doing. I like how he's working and we'll make sure he gets an opportunity."
(on what QB Case Keenum needs to focus on most) "I think really just learning what we do and what we expect from him. As I said before, I think when Case learns all the spots of where everybody's at in our offense–for his size and stuff, sometimes with these big linemen it's hard to see–but if you know where all the spots are, you still get the ball there. He's got the arm to do it. We've just got to keep bringing him along."
(on T Derek Newton and T Rashad Butler competing for a spot) "I think they're neck and neck. They're a little bit kind of two different players in a lot of ways. (T Derek) Newton is a big powerful guy, (T Rashad) Butler's more of an athletic, wiry type of guy. It's going to be a good battle, and the only way it's going to get settled is when we play. Here in practice it kind of goes back and forth. But we'll get it worked out."
(on any health updates) "(Greg) Williams, our young linebacker, it's a hamstring pull. He's going to miss some time. I'm not sure how much right now. Other than that, no."
(on what he likes about DE Mitch King) "We liked him coming out of college. Obviously, we don't know much about him right now, here. He's only been here a day, but we liked his effort. He's a try-hard player. He reminded us a little bit of Tim Bulman, who we had here for a few years. The tough thing right now is the new PA rule where when you sign a guy, you've got to put him through a grace period. So it will be another day before we can actually have him out there banging with the players. But we're glad to get him."
ILB Brian Cushing
(on this being his defense) "I think any time you play middle linebacker, a lot of eyes are on you, especially when you get old and you start making more plays. People look to you for those kinds of things. And that's something I totally embrace. I feel good about it and ever since I've been playing at a young age – in high school, college and now – it always kind of has been my role."
(on his leadership role) "I'm okay with it. It comes with the position. It comes with the kind of attitude I play with. I like when people look at me for a big play."
(on leading by getting on someone if needed) "Yeah, if it's necessary. This is a team though that's really focused. Everyone has a level head and knows what they expect of each other. This is a hungry group and it's always real fun when you got a bunch of guys on the same page.
(on the difference between this year and last year) "Now being in day three, and if you compared day three of last year's camp and this year, we're leaps and bounds ahead of where we were. So we're going to have a great rolling start going into our preseason games and try to catch our season really well."
(on expectations for himself) "There's always room for improvement. I believe you can never stop improving physically and mentally. So I'm going to try to take it as far as I can and try to help this team win as best that I can."
(on how the defense has improved greatly in the past two years) "It is but if you look at Coach (Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips) coming in here and the personnel changes we've had, there's a lot of things that have helped that. It's amazing how much we've accomplished but at the same time, with the help we've had, it's understandable."
(on how much the defense can improve from last season) "We can obviously get better. We feel that. We're very excited. We're just looking forward to it. And any time you have an opportunity like this to go into a season and improve upon what you did the year before, it's going to be fun."
(on difference between playing MO linebacker instead of MIKE this season) "Not much, not much. It might be a little bit more active. I might blitz a little bit more. But that's really going to be a first and second down defense, and I'll still be the MIKE on third down."
(on the national attention from the media) "Every time I turn on SportsCenter, it's the Jets, so I'm not sure how much national attention we're getting. It's something we ignore. We know how good we are, and that stays inside this bubble and stays inside these practice facilities. We're going to be as good as we want to be. At the end of the day, we'll be the judge of that."
(on the value of ILB Tim Dobbins to the linebacker core) "Very much so. He's a guy that's very talented. He plays linebacker great and on top of it, he's an all-special teams player."