The Texans practiced Monday at the Methodist Training Center and after, a few players answered questions from the media at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
LT Duane BrownRT Rashad ButlerCB Kareem JacksonWR Lestar Jean
LT Duane Brown
(on what he's looking to get out of the third preseason game) "The third preseason game is the biggest test for us. We play the most as starters. It's always a pretty tough game, and this year we have New Orleans on the road, so we'll really be able to gauge ourselves as a team, as an offense, to see how good we are and how ready we are for the rest of the regular season."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak wanting the team to improve on the running game) "Yeah, it's definitely something we have to work at. We hang our hat on our running game and try to establish the run each week. This past week was not effective. We did make plays in the passing game, but with the kind of offense we have, you have to get the running game going. I think just individually we have to continue to improve on our technique, continue to gel as a unit. We've got a couple new guys in there, but besides that, just having the whole offseason (and) training camp; preseason is a time for all the veterans to gel and I think we'll be fine. The San Francisco 49ers had a very stellar defense, and it won't be any different this week. We're looking to improve on that."
(on how much in-game communication is going on) "Well, we have a pretty good game plan going into it, so we don't have to communicate as much. Breaking the huddle, going up to the line, we'll do most of our talking between series on the sideline if we see a different look that we didn't get during the week or on film. But for the most part, the coaches do a good job of preparing us and showing us exactly what we need to see in practice."
(on how he avoids getting complacent because of the renewal of his contract) "No, I really take my job seriously. This game is everything to me; I play with a ton of passion. I'm very grateful and very fortunate for the opportunity I have with the new deal. However, I've not reached where I want to be as a player. When I'm done with this game, I want to be regarded as one of the best, and my contract does not solidify that, my work on the field does. And that's what I'm aiming for."
(on if the continuity on the line is still developing) "Yeah. Besides that, we're still a pretty young group. We've seen a lot as an offensive, line but the continuity, having new faces, isn't the main problem. We're all still pretty young players and have to get better individually and continue to grow as a unit. This is the time for that; you're going to have your mistakes in the preseason but better now than later."
(on his goal going into Saturday's game at New Orleans) "Just to put good film out there and feel comfortable in the way I play. I was not satisfied by any means with my performance last week. I'm still trying to polish up my technique as much as possible both in the running and pass game. I'll have a good test for me this week with (New Orleans DE) Will Smith and the other guys they have over there in the Superdome; it's always a big test for me, so I'm looking forward to it. It'll gauge where I am and let me know what I have to work on going into the regular season."
(on how long it takes for the line to come together and create good chemistry) "Usually, the preseason. Even when we had the five guys who started four or five years together, it always takes the preseason to rebuild that. You take so much time off away from the game and just coming back to it, the terminology, you have to relearn everything. For the most part, you know what you have to do, but playing next to the guy beside you, it takes usually training camp and preseason games to get that back going again. We've made some strides and the more you play, the more it happens. The first game we didn't play that much, the second game we played the first half and this game we'll have a significant amount of time, and I think that'll help us a lot."
(on the offensive line meeting having a big impact on the team) "It had an immediate impact just talking to some of the younger guys and telling them the standard that we have in our room and the expectations we have of ourselves. It had an immediate impact. The next day in practice, guys were working harder, more effort was put forth during plays and it transferred into the game. They stepped in and did a pretty good job during the second half and got the running game going, and that's all we wanted to do."
(on if he foresees having a meeting with the line often) "I think it was just a one-time thing because people got a little too lax and comfortable, and the older guys had to step in to check them a little bit and let them know what we expect out here. I don't think we'll have to do it again."
(on if it surprised him that with so much competition on the right side of the line that there was a need for the veterans to set things straight) "It was a little bit surprising. I think watching the older guys work, we're all pretty knowledgeable of what to expect every year at training camp because we've been here so much, so the way we go about our business, we work hard but we don't have to stay 30 minutes after practice, we don't have to come in and do two hours of film study before because we have a pretty good idea of our opponent and what we have to do. So I think they just didn't recognize that at first; that that's probably expected of them a little more because they're so new to it. So that's just something we had to express to them."
RT Rashad Butler
(on the competition at right tackle between himself and Derek Newton) "It's great. I love competition. Competition definitely lights a fire under my rear end, so to say, and it's great. I want to be in there with the starters. I love playing beside (RG Antoine) Caldwell; I played beside Caldwell a lot when Caldwell first came here, on scout team and things of that nature, and I think me and him have a real good chemistry going on, so I love it."
(on how the competition at right tackle has made him a better player) "Competition doesn't really affect me, as far as like a psyche. I love competition all around, whether it's battling with someone at your position or whether it's going up against someone on the opposite side of the ball, so I really wouldn't say it made me better. I always go out there, always try to play great, try to give effort."
(on whether he expects to start at right tackle at New Orleans) "I don't know. I would think I would start on Saturday. That's what it seems the rotation has been since I started the first game and played most of the reps against the starters and by the time he (RT Derek Newton) got in against Carolina, a lot of the starters were out; and I think that's why he started this past week – because they wanted to get some film of him against the starters. However they do it, I don't have a problem with it whatsoever."
(on whether the Texans have been watching film of the St. Louis defense under new New Orleans defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) "The only thing I know about Spagnuolo was when he was with the (New York) Giants, especially in '07 when they won the Super Bowl. I know he's a four-down (linemen) guy that likes to get after the quarterback a lot, so I expect a lot of pressure from linebackers and from secondary because this is the third preseason game and this is like the tune-up for the regular season, so I expect Spagnuolo to try to come after (QB) Matt Schaub a little bit this week."
(on whether he worries about how the competition at right tackle will turn out) "You know, whatever is going to happen, happens. I don't ever want to be the type of guy that's going to sell the guy that I'm battling short, so I try to help him (RT Derek Newton) out as much I can, because if he does become the starter, I want him to help this team to try to win. So I don't ever look at it as, 'Let me hold something back that can help make him better,' and things of that nature. He asks me a lot of questions, too, so I'm all for helping him and I'm all for competition."
(on how hungry he is to win the starting job at right tackle) "Oh, I'm definitely hungry because I always say, in this League, once you get your opportunity to start, then you take advantage of it. And I feel like I have done that the times I've been able to start. You definitely don't want to be taken out. I know in 2010 when (LT) Duane (Brown) had the unfortunate incident with the drug test and I got a chance to get in, it felt great; and when he came back, I didn't want to get out but I know I had to get out because that was Duane's job and everything. But like I said, once you get a chance in this League to start and you do a good job of it, your desire to start again just increases, and that's how it's been since 2010 when I did get a chance to start those four games."
(on whether the confidence he picked up as a part-time starter in 2010 carries over to now) "Definitely. It's something that just doesn't go away. Like I said, the minute he came back, I was like, 'Man, I've got to get back in the starting lineup someway, somehow. So now, having a chance to be in the starting lineup, I'm just trying to take full advantage of it."
(on whether he felt like the team releasing RT Eric Winston in the offseason showed confidence in him) "Yeah, definitely, but I understand what they're doing because I missed damn near the whole entire season last year with a severe triceps tendon injury, so I know they wanted to see the things that I could do. I know if I was able to not get injured and if I was there throughout the whole entire season, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be having this battle that I'm having now, but I have no problems with the battle whatsoever; no issues."
(on how his recovery from the triceps tendon injury has come) "The injury is great. I worked my butt off this offseason to get my left arm back to where it was before the injury, and I don't have any issues with it whatsoever."
(on the offense's struggle to run the ball consistently well against San Francisco) "The thing about it, it's always hard playing three-down (linemen) teams because three-down teams – I don't really consider our defense a 'true' three-down team because we have a lot of speed guys up front – but when you face a traditional 3-4 team, you have a lot of big guys up front that are meant to two-gap. And with that type of system, we don't really go up against it every day in practice so it takes a while, maybe a quarter or so, to get the right fits and to get things going. Early on, we struggled to run the ball, but after a while when guys started looking at pictures on the sideline and started communicating with the running back and the tight ends and so forth on the sideline, we were able to get things straightened out and go back out there and put forth a better effort."
(on if he has any issues with the competition at right tackle between himself and Derek Newton) "Not at all. It's great because I know it keeps not only me hungry, but it keeps him hungry as well."
(on if he feels any extra pressure in having to compete for a starting position) "I don't look at it as pressure. I know that during practice, they split the time between me and him (RT Derek Newton) with the ones, so one period he might go with the ones and in that period I go with the twos, and in the next period I'll go with the ones and he'll go with the twos. They do a good job of switching it up and keeping us on edge."
CB Kareem Jackson
(on what he's looking to accomplish with the third preseason game) "Just to keep progressing. The first two games, we looked pretty good. We went back today and corrected some of the errors from the game, but to just keep progressing and getting better in what we do as a team to get us ready for the first game here."
(on if he is playing with more confidence this season) "Yeah, I'm definitely a lot more comfortable compared to that first year. That first year for me was a learning experience, going through some of the things I went through. I look back and now I'm kind of glad that I went through it. It bettered me as a player and definitely as a person. My thing is, every year, just getting better in everything that I do so that on Sundays, I'm able to be accountable to those guys that are in the locker room with me."
(on why he decided to visit and wish Brandon Jacobs well after the game on Saturday) "It was just one of those things where I was running out of the locker room and getting ready to go out on the field and I saw him right there as I was going back on the field. I just stopped, to see what the diagnosis was with him and just to see if he was okay. Just from one player to another, you never want to see anybody get hurt out there. That guy has a family just like I have a family. I was just kind of checking to see if he was okay."
(on going up against talented receivers like they did against the 49ers and this week vs. the Saints) "It's great to get that in the preseason because especially with the schedule that we have with Green Bay and New England, seeing those guys this year. From playing the Niners and going to New Orleans and seeing that receiving corps that they have and even here in practice against the guys that we have, it's definitely a good test for us in the preseason to see where we're at. I think we held our own pretty well on Saturday."
(on playing in New Orleans) "Anytime we're going there, we know it's going to be loud and it's going to be very competitive. Those guys have a great team, so we know what to expect going in there. We just have to go in and keep our composure every play and just do what we practiced doing all of camp."
(on what sticks out the most about New Orleans QB Drew Brees and the Saints offense) "They're very consistent. Being the quarterback that Drew Brees is, he can make every throw on the field. We know going in that we've got to have tight coverage and we have to make the right calls. We have to be in the right places at the right times. I say with a guy like that, everything has to be very efficient on your end because if not, it could go for six or be that big play at any time. For us, we just want to be consistent and be close and help make plays."
(on if the Saints running game deserves more credit than it gets) "Yeah, with (RB) Mark Ingram and (RB Darren) Sproles, those guys are explosive as well. From throwing the ball to running the ball, they can do it all. It will be a good test for us to go in there on Saturday and just kind of see where we're at."
(on if it is impressive that the Saints are able to be so successful without a marquee weapon) "In this league, that's how most of the good teams are. It's not just one guy; it's everybody that can go for that big play and can get huge chunks of yards at any given time. It will be a great test for us. We'll go in and everybody will have to be on their A-game. At the end of the game, we'll see where we're at."
(on if bragging rights are on the line even if it's preseason) "No, I wouldn't say that. Like I said, preseason, everybody is really just getting back into it and getting comfortable with that game environment and being on the road. Like I said, going there always has a playoff atmosphere or whatever you want to call it. I don't think it will be anything for bragging rights."
(on how much he has learned from Johnathan Joseph) "I've learned a lot from Johnathan from technique to recognizing things – from receivers to splits and formations. It's his second year here and I've learned a lot from him last season and a lot of it has helped me."
(on how he was able to maintain a level of confidence when going through growing pains as a young player) "You just have to work. At some point, you're going to get some type of criticism when playing the position. Everything is not going to be perfect. Somebody is going to catch a ball on you and somebody is going to make a play. You have to be able to shake that play off and go on to the next one. You've got to have that short-term memory when playing that position and I think that I've been able to develop that and go on and keep progressing as a player. Like I said, my thing is you just have to get better every year."
(on if he had to learn that short-term memory and how to maintain confidence) "I think I kind of grew up with that mentality. It was something that I kind of adapted from my dad. I've grown up with that mentality. It definitely helped me a lot when playing the DB position."
WR Lestar Jean
(on the how he has performed during training camp this year) "I just feel like I'm getting more opportunities, of course, because I was here last year. I'm just going out there and having fun because I don't have to think as much because I pretty much know the offense and know what I'm doing."
(on how much he learned in the meetings last year) "I learned a lot. I learned the three receiver positions and what I've got to do on every play, so it's just more of me going out there playing football than me thinking about what I got to do on my assignment."
(on if he's studied a lot in meetings in college or if he started that in the NFL) "Yeah, I always did that in college; I'd always stay after practice every day in college; I'd go work out on my off days, always come in and watch film. It's just something that I always did."
(on what he did in the offseason to improve) "I would go throw with (QB) Matt Schaub in the mornings, I'd go lift weights, and I'd go run again in the afternoons. And sometimes at night I'd go just catch the ball. I was here the whole time."
(on what he learned from QB Matt Schaub) "I just asked him about routes, how he wanted me to come out my breaks, what I'd be looking for in coverages, things like that."
(on his reaction when the Texans drafted WR Keshawn Martin and WR DeVier Posey) "I was excited because both of those guys are great players and they're going to do a lot for the city. This is a competitive sport; there will always be competition, but I was happy because they were some good guys. So even if I'm not here and I don't make the team, I know they've got some great guys that are going to help the team win."
(on how excited was he when he scored a touchdown against San Francisco on Saturday night) "I was definitely excited; I just felt like all my hard work paid off, and the most important part is that I did something to help the team win the game. That was the most exciting part for me."
(on if confidence is the biggest difference in him this season) "I just feel like I'm just having fun, just enjoying playing the game."
(on if he came into training camp afraid that he wasn't going to make the team) "It was definitely something that's real; it's a possibility that I can't make the team. I just felt like if I go out, have fun, try my best, if I don't (make the team), then I know that I tried my best and that's all I could do."
(on if it was a big adjustment to come from a smaller college program to the NFL) "It's fun. At my college, we didn't have many fans and a lot of media, it was just the local stuff. But it's fun, it's more exciting."
(on if he's come up with a touchdown dance) "Yeah, I've got something in the works. I've got to do better than I did this week, but I was just excited to get in the end zone."
(on why he feels he plays better in game situations) "I don't know, it's just when the lights come on, that's when you've really got to go. Practice is important, but the game is why we play, why we practice, why we work so hard. That's the reason we do it for."
(on what he's learned from WR Andre Johnson) "I learned a lot from him about routes, about getting off the jam, about everything. I learned a lot from him about everything – about life's questions – everything. He helps me a lot."
(on if he finds himself becoming like WR Andre Johnson by letting his performance on the field speak for him) "That's always been me, though. I've always been a quiet person and just played. I've never been the kind of guy that's going to talk and be all flashy and stuff. I just let my game talk for me."