The Texans practiced Monday morning at the Methodist Training Center. Afterwards, head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakWR Andre JohnsonOLB Whitney MercilusQB Matt Schaub
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on if it's fun to be back out on the field) "Yeah, it's just nice to get back. We've had three weeks since we've been back where we had some field work, but we finally had a chance to come out here and put our helmets on and throw the ball around, that type of stuff. It's good to get to work."
(on if he had any big first impressions for the first day back at practice) "I don't have any big first impressions. Defensively, I think we're ahead because we have most of our guys returning from that standpoint. Offensively, we've got some guys not going with our leader, Matt (Schaub), and Andre (Johnson) not going. So we're trying to get some young guys going, but that's what we're out here for. We've just got to continue to work."
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus) "Briefly, from what I saw, I haven't watched him work the last few weeks, but he's got great skill and now it's time for him to try and put all that together and for him to get comfortable in what he's doing, but obviously he's a hell of an athlete."
(on QB Matt Schaub) "Matt (Schaub) is fine. Matt, to be honest with you, could probably do individuals, could do 7-on-7, but we're just being smart with him. When you haven't passed a physical, you're not going to step on the field. That's where we're at right now. As far as Andre (Johnson), same thing, coming off the scope and just trying to be smart with him and give him plenty of rest. He doesn't need those reps. We're just so young at wide receiver. Those guys need a lot of practice."
(on WR Lestar Jean looking healthy) "Yeah, he does. He dropped a couple balls today. He has an excellent opportunity. He's working as a starter, right now, in OTAs. What an opportunity for him as a player and it will be interesting to see how far he comes."
(on WR Andre Johnson's scope) "He had his offseason scope, back I don't even know when it was, but we've continued to bring him along slowly and get him ready to go."
(on if it was a knee scope) "Whatever it was, it was a combination of things from last year."
(on NT Hebron Fangupo going down and what happened to his knee) "Don't know. It got rolled up in a pile. That's the biggest thing when you come out here for the first day, having competitive-type practices, guys are a little exciting so you've got to calm them down but hopefully he'll be okay."
(on what kind of injury NT Hebron Fangupo had) "I don't know. I really don't know. I know they took him in but he did walk off the field."
(on the team's conditioning) "We're in very good condition. The football team is in great condition and (strength and training coach) Cedric (Smith) has done a good job with them. Now comes the thought process, that's the hard part. They're physically ready to go, but when you start throwing all the mental part in, it slows everybody down a little bit, so we've got to catch them up."
(on if WR Lestar Jean is running with the first team with Andre Johnson out) "Yeah, he's running with the first group."
(on WR DeVier Posey) "(DeVier) Posey is working with the threes right now. He'll stay with the young group. I could tell of his progress last week, my initial reaction was very good. I think the more information we gave him toward the end of the week, obviously they bog down a little bit. He's got a lot of ability. He just needs the reps, so we'll take it a day at a time."
(on G Brandon Brooks) "Obviously size and strength jumps at you right now. I have to see how it starts to fit together, but he's a hell of an athlete for 350 (pounds). That's a great thing."
(on if G Brandon Brooks needs to lose weight) "I don't think so. His body fat said, I can't remember what it was, but it was very good for a big man and he moves very well. Obviously you don't want to get too big but he sure looks like he's in good shape and moving well and he's 345 (pounds), I think."
(on if G Brandon Brooks could push G Antoine Caldwell for the starting right guard spot) "No doubt, I think it's going to be very competitive. I think he even has some possibility to play outside but we'll leave him inside for right now."
WR Andre Johnson
(on his first impressions of the Texans' young receivers) "I think they all have a lot of talent. They've been given a great opportunity, and if you look at the group that we had out there today, there's only one guy in the group (WR Kevin Walter) that's played in a game on Sunday. We have a lot of young guys and they all have a lot of talent, so I think they all will be given a great chance and the coaches will decide who the best guys are, and I think they'll all be able to come in and help the team."
(on not participating in practice during OTAs) "I'm recovering from a knee scope. I had my knee scoped two weeks ago, so (I'm) just doing rehab, making sure everything is okay. The past two years have been pretty rough for me, battling with the injuries and stuff, so right now everything is just focusing on making sure everything is right before I get back out here. I've been doing rehab pretty much ever since the season's been over. I went back home to Miami and was still doing rehab down there, so my biggest thing is to make sure everything is well and fine from the injuries I've battled with over the past two seasons."
(on what type of procedure he had done on his knee) "I just had my knee scoped. That was it – my left knee – but other than that, just continue to do the rehab from when I had the hamstring injuries, and that's pretty much it. That's pretty much what I've been doing every day, just working and making sure I'm ready when I get back out on the field."
(on what the issue was with his knee) "When I came back for the Jacksonville game, I hyper extended it, and for some reason I just kind of kept having fluid on it and we thought it had kind of calmed down. I was back out doing offseason workouts, just kind of running around and stuff, and it just kind of swelled back up, so it felt like that was the best thing to do, getting the knee scoped and fixed. Right now I'm feeling fine, the swelling's gone down a whole lot, so like I said, I'm just rehabbing. I'm two weeks from having the knee scoped, so I'm fine. Everything's going to be fine. There's no need to panic."
(on if he's confident that he'll be 100 percent healthy for training camp) "Oh yeah. There's no doubt in my mind about that. I feel like maybe in three or four more weeks, I'll probably be ready to go, so it's just a process, and I'm not having any other issues from the other injuries I had with my hamstrings and stuff like that. I've just been staying on top of things so I don't have to experience those things again."
(on working with the younger receivers on the team) "I've worked with all of them. I don't treat one any different than any others. It's anything, I tell them what I feel I should tell them and whatever that I feel will help them out on the field. I don't treat one any different from the others. If they have a question, they can feel free to come ask me, or if I see something, I'll tell them about it."
(on whether he begins to worry about his physical health after a series of leg injuries) "No, I'm not really worried about it. Like I said before, the hamstrings are fine. That was just my big thing, just to continue doing rehab and stuff. That's just something that I wanted to do to make sure I don't have to experience that again. Like I said before, the past two seasons have been pretty rough for me, battling through different injuries, so I just don't want to be back in that situation again where I have to miss seven, eight, nine games. I want to get back to that 1,500-yard Andre, so hopefully that can happen this year."
(on whether he has done anything differently this offseason than in years past) "I haven't. Normally, I don't really do much rehab during the offseason, so that's just something different I did this year. Other than that, really nothing much (different)."
(on whether the procedure on his knee was something that he planned to have done) "No, when I came back and played, I hyper extended my knee on a play against Jacksonville in that game. I had some swelling (but) it didn't bother me. We got the swelling calmed down and to go away, and during offseason workouts I was out here running around and stuff, my knee kind of swole back up on me again, so it felt like the best thing to do is just to get it fixed."
(on if he's old) "Am I old? I'm not getting no younger, but I'm not old!"
(on the team's young receivers) "There's just a lot of talent. You can tell that today was their first day. You could tell they were thinking while they were playing, and when you're thinking while you're playing, you really can't go out and do things full-speed like you want to. After practice was over and we were huddled up, that's what I told them: try not to think while you're playing. If you're going to make a mistake, go out there and do it going full-speed. I told them it's just day one; don't get discouraged about what happened today. You get a new day tomorrow, and it's just OTAs. You have a lot of time. I think the biggest thing for them right now is just learning our playbook."
(on his knee scope) "I had it two weeks ago. It's from a play that happened against Jacksonville, I hyper extended my knee, it swole up, got the swelling to calm down, came back during offseason workouts, it swole up again, we felt like the best thing to do was get it scoped, get it fixed. I'm two weeks out, two weeks from having the knee scoped – my left knee. I'm not in any pain. I wasn't in any pain or anything before I had it; it just kept holding fluid on it, so we felt like the best thing to do was get it scoped, and I'm not in any pain now. My knee feels better, the swelling's pretty much gone down, so just keep doing rehab and be ready for training camp. Nothing to panic about. This is my tenth season; I've been through OTAs several times, so I don't really feel like I'm missing anything right now."
OLB Whitney Mercilus
(on his first day) "The first day wasn't too bad. We were running through it with the vets and learning the ropes. We were adjusting to the heat. It's a little hot out here. The trainers told us to hydrate and everything so we did that. The first day is definitely an adjustment to the tempo and how we practice and everything. It is weird practicing without pads."
(on the coaches barking away on day one) "Yeah, definitely. There were a few missed assignments, things like that, but all things that can be corrected."
(on transition from defensive end to outside linebacker) "I see the transition as just a matter of working each day, taking it slow one day at a time and learning the system. Eventually, we'll get into the system and see where I land."
(on joining a team with such high expectations) "It's awesome because they have high expectations, so there are high expectations on my part also. I have to come in here and show them that making me their first pick was the best decision and contributing to what was great last year. This year is about building upon that and moving forward."
(on if he is comfortable with the expectations right away) "Yeah, I'm definitely comfortable with that. I feel like I work well under pressure. It's just taking my job seriously every day and taking it one day at a time to learn the system as best as I can. I'll go through the season and see where I land."
(on it has sunk in that he is now in the NFL ) "Yeah, it has sunk in. Now, it's just a matter of getting over that and getting to work because it's a job."
(on his thoughts on Houston) "It's awesome. I love the city. It's definitely a change of pace from up north. I love the weather everyday with it hot, bright and sunny. It's pretty humid, but I like it."
(on what he knows about Wade Phillip's defense and his role in it) "I knew it was a 3-4 and that I would be playing outside linebacker. It's definitely an adjustment standing up because I've never done it, but it's basically the same thing as I've been doing as a defensive lineman. I have to read and pay attention to the personnel and formations and stuff like that."
(on wearing number 59) "I know, everybody has been telling me. I know who wore the number before me so I know there are a lot of high expectations. We'll see."
QB Matt Schaub
(on being back on the field) "It feels great. I'm running now and doing quarterback drills and everything. So it feels really good. We just want to be smart with things here during OTAs, let the younger guys get some reps and just make sure we get to full strength as soon as we can."
(on his first impressions of OTAs) "I thought it was good. There are so many new guys, about 30 rookies and a bunch of free agents on the team this year. But the tempo was great, the enthusiasm, everyone flying around, excited to be out here. So it was a good first day. Something to build on, something to improve upon."
(on if he is more anxious to get back on the field with so many new receivers on the roster) "Well, yeah. It's fun to come out here and see what they can do. You hear a lot about certain guys, drafted guys, undrafted guys coming in, some new faces, Lestar (Jean) coming back from his injury, see what he can do. So we're excited about that, see what they can do to help us, add to our skill position. We like what we have so far and we're just going to keep improving and getting better."
(on if he can learn anything about a receiver by just watching him) "Yeah, you can, actually. You really can, just see how they move, watch them catch the ball, watch where they catch it best, where their strengths are and then when you get in there, you feel like you know them that much more."
(on if he's missing on his timing with the receivers by not being on the field) "We'll be fine. Timing is timing. Obviously, (with) some of the young guys, I'll have to catch up a little bit, but that's why we have four more months until we have to play on Sunday. We'll be fine. We'll just make it work."
(on if him being held out of part of OTAs is all precautionary) "I feel great. I'm chomping at the bit to back in the huddle, but it's May right now. I think it's more the trainers and the coaches that want to be smart with things. I'd love to be out there. I feel like I could do everything. We just want to take it one day at a time."
(on his initial thoughts on rookie QB Case Keenum) "He's obviously very talented. You don't do what he was able to do at U of H without having a lot of talent. It's just a matter of him learning what we do, our scheme, how we play the position here, our timing and our footwork. It's all different from place to place. So he's got to get used to it, but he can throw it around and make plays."
(on how exciting it is to be back out on the field and resuming football activities) "It's great. The first day is always fun. Everyone is always enthusiastic, ready to go. Everyone gets out 20 minutes early for practice. It's fun. It's fun to see all the guys out here playing football. We've been working out and everything, but to get back out on the field and actually play, it's a fun part of the year to start building on what we did last year and moving onto 2012 and building our team."
(on how frustrating it is to sit and watch OTAs) "Oh, it's always frustrating when you're not out there but it's also something we've got to be smart with. I feel great. I'm moving around great and I'm about as good as I was before my injury so we've just got to be smart and not do something here in May when we're still 3-4 months away from playing games, that could have any setbacks. Everything feels great. I want to be out there but the powers that be want us to be smart."