The Texans practiced Monday morning at the Methodist Training Center and after, some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
FB Tyler CluttsT Ryan HarrisWR Trindon HollidayDE J.J. Watt
FB Tyler Clutts
(on his position changes) "I was a quarterback all the way through growing up junior high, high school. High school playing both sides of the ball like a lot of kids, and then moved to linebacker in college and played inside and outside until my second year. We had some injuries on the line. They moved me there for a game, had a good game, and stuck for the rest of my college career."
(on his journey to the NFL) "I was not drafted as defensive end. I went to Canada, and played in the CFL, played for the Edmonton Eskimos for a year. It didn't work out there. I sat for about eight months and then I went to the Arena League, played there, played linebacker and special teams there. Then from there, went to the UFL, moved to fullback in 2010 for the Sacramento Mountain Lions in the UFL. Then played there and immediately after the season I signed with the Cleveland Browns to their practice squad in 2010. From there, kind of worked my way back up, went to camp with them. They drafted a fullback that year so I was kind of the odd man out, signed me to the practice squad. Chicago picked me up and then started al l 16 last year for Chicago."
(on long snapping) "Yes, I do long snap. It was something being in a position having to do so many things; it was something that I worked on after college to add more value to myself. I keep getting better and better every year. I've still got a ways to go there, but it's something that got us out of a game last year in Chicago when Patrick Manley went down and I snapped in all the preseason."
(on if he ever doubted that he'd make it to the NFL) "Absolutely. There was a, like I said, period where I was out and I was on the street. I would say I was probably a week or two from hanging up my cleats. Luckily my wife encouraged me to keep pushing forward, and it all paid off in the long run."
(on what he did when he wasn't playing) "I actually am a licensed insurance broker so when I got back from Canada, their season only being six months, and then you're home for six months, I was like I might as well get a jump on my career. So it was a job that kind of fell into my lap. I actually was an active insurance broker for two years."
(on what it's like joining the Texans after his journey) "It's a dream come true, just everything that I've put into it. Never stopped training, kept grinding, it's something that's surreal. Sometimes you don't get a clear picture of where you're at, and then you walk into the locker room and you see a lot of guys you've been watching for years and years and it kind of hits you. Especially being here in Houston and the team that's here, the attitude that they have, I'm blown away and so impressed with the character that's around here and the work ethic and the drive. What this team wants to accomplish this year already in just the few days that I've been there is so clear. It's not rare that you find a team like that."
(on if he appreciates a roster spot more) "Absolutely, I'll do anything and everything that a coach asks me to do. Like I said, the more that I can do for a team, the more value I bring, I don't ever want to become a jack of all trades, master of none. But I do want to be able to do multiple things. Special teams is what has gotten me a job in the NFL with Cleveland. I stood out on special teams and it's very important to me to take that seriously. I can jump in anywhere on the punt team. I can jump in most spots on kickoff return, punt return, kickoff. I go down anywhere. Anywhere you ask me to do, I'll do it."
(on being traded to Houston) "Yeah being the starting fullback last year in Chicago and them changing over to a new system, I came into camp knowing that the odds were against me seeing that they just liked to use tight ends now. It's something that it wasn't a surprise but it was a surprise that there was as much interest in me as a player. I didn't get to play much in the first three preseason games. Then I had a lot of reps this last preseason game, played as hard as I could, put as much film out there as I could. But I was really impressed with the way that Chicago and Houston worked together to get me somewhere."
(on the fullback position) "It's kind of a dying breed, but I feel like football makes its cycles. It'll come back around. There's things that fullbacks can do that tight ends can't just based on body size and leverage. Tight ends generally are bigger guys, but being taller guys. To be a fullback in this league, you've got to have a certain mentality. You've got to have a mentality that you go out there and I'm putting my body on the line every single play. You kind of have no remorse for your body. It takes a special person to be able to do that."
(on comparing Matt Forte to Arian Foster and Ben Tate) "I look at them just seeing Arian Foster on film and being around him these last couple days, they're very similar because they can both do a lot. They both run hard. Matt Forte is a little bit more shifty. He's not really going to put his head down as much as Foster is which sometimes you like to see your running back kind of put his head down and fight for those yards. But having two backs the caliber that we do here; it's a fullback's dream. It really is. I hope to only help them improve their game."
(on helping the running backs) "The big thing with a running back and a fullback is being on the same page and being able to play off of each other well. The running back knowing what the fullback is going to do when he inserts here, how he's going to take that block and being consistent with your blocks so that he can get a good read off of that and anticipate. If you guys are on the same page, it allows the running back to anticipate holes were they're going to be and hit it and break them."
(on if fullbacks are tougher than tight ends) "No, no, no. That's not it at all. It does take especially you get into week 12, 13, 14, 15, your body does hurt and you've still got to run through the hole full speed without any hesitation knowing that 'alright this is about to hurt,' but I've got to get my job done."
(on carrying the linebacker's defensive mentality) "I think so. I think that's helped me a lot as a fullback in the move just being the physical position, it carries over a lot."
(on if he knows any of the Texans) "No, fresh start here with all the guys."
(on playing special teams) "Absolutely, I love the game of football. The more that I can be on the field the better, whatever it is. I love playing the game. Special teams are just another opportunity to get out there and compete. That was one thing for me and my story and getting here that I had a hard time letting go was the competition aspect of football. I love it. I love the camaraderie with the guys. It's something that the more I'm on the field, the more I can compete, the better."
(on his routine when working in insurance) "I never stopped. Usually I would get in, work out at six, go to the office at eight, work until 12. On my lunch break, I would go run with the guys because none of the other guys really wanted to go lift at six, all the local pro guys. I would run on my lunch break, and then back at the office at 1:30-2:00 and finish out the day."
(on where he worked) "In Fresno, California."
(on what insurance he sold) "I sold all kinds. I was doing everything. I was doing personal, commercial, medical, whatever came my way."
(on his work attire) "Yeah my boss was old school so we had to get fitted every day."
(on if he was successful as an insurance salesman) "Yeah, my mind was still on football and that was the agreement coming into it was that I was still working to play football. But my thoughts were get in, learn the business. I shadowed some of the older guys for a few months. But once I got on my own, you got to get out and you got to grind."
(on his insurance company) "It's Reinhardt Insurance. It's a small brokerage so we would write all different companies."
(on his popularity in Chicago) "Yeah, you know kind of that Midwest personality, the blue collar. I kind of pride myself on that, not necessarily having the physical talents and abilities that some guys have. I've got to make up for that with how I work."
T Ryan Harris
(on joining the Texans) "I'm just excited to be here. I love the game of football. It's a great opportunity to be a part of a good team here. I look forward to it."
(on how well he knows the system) "It's familiar. I ran it my early years in the NFL, and haven't done as much since. But it's coming back to me slowly and I think it's good to have a short amount of time to process it, just get into it, get used to it, and be accountable for it."
(on the differences from what he's used to) "Well when (Offensive Coordinator) Rick Dennison was in Denver it was very similar. Now it's very different than what they run. I played for Rick when I was in Denver my first three years when he was there."
(on playing in Denver) "We had a lot of success. We had a lot of success early on. Clearly there's been a lot of success here with the Texans. Again, it's just good to join a good team."
(on adjusting to the Texans system ) "Yeah, one of the things coach stresses is being accountable. I definitely want to be dependable for my teammates and my coaches and knowing what I'm supposed to be doing. Especially given the time off tomorrow, I have plenty of time to get into the playbook and familiarize myself and come out so I can just play football."
(on his back) "Well, in college I had surgery and then three and a half weeks later played the entire season. As I came in as a rookie in the NFL, I had to have back surgery again. Last year when I was with the Eagles I had a back surgery and then I got signed back with the Broncos. Everything is good. I'm working on my core a lot, had a couple offers for swimsuit calendars but I pushed them off to next year. But I think a lot of players regardless of what happens take things a little more seriously as their career go on. I'm definitely one of those players and core stability is one of my areas that I focus on."
(on his career) "It's a lot of ups and downs. I think every player has those in their career and trying to ride this upswing as long as I can. A lot of that has to do with me taking accountability with the playbook and doing the right things that the coaches want."
WR Trindon Holliday
(on how he feels) "A dream come true, been working this hard all my life trying to be able to play in the NFL."
(on his hard work with the Texans ) "Yeah I think three years of being here, working hard for three years, I think it's paid off a lot."
(on the opposition knowing his explosiveness) "I don't know how they're going to approach me. I'm just going to come out every game and be ready to return as many balls as possible."
(on his focus this season) "I came out this year and I wanted to come out and try to be the best player I can be. I wanted to grasp the offense and come in and be a special returner."
(on the pressure of fighting for a roster spot ) "Well, no it didn't put that much pressure on me. I just told myself that I'm going to come out every day and work hard and try to be that special guy."
(on reps at wide receiver) "Well I've been practicing more. We started practicing today for the week and I had a couple reps at receiver so I mean it's just come out and work hard all day and hopefully I get some reps at receiver."
(on what's changed for him this year ) "Just watching film and knowing where my blockers are going to be, where the holes are going to be and to just hit the hole when it's there."
(on who he talks to on the team) "I talk to Andre (Johnson) a lot. He just told me to just come out, stay focused and work hard and just come out and prepare every day like it's your last and you'll be alright."
(on if he envisioned his preseason success) "No, I didn't envision that at all. I just wanted to come out this preseason and just try to do something special."
(on returners he models himself after ) "It wasn't really too many guys. I've seen some of the guys like Darren Sproles and Dante Hall."
(on the wide receiver group not being stereotypical wide receivers) "I think the group as a whole is just a whole bunch of quiet guys. You might get some guys to say something, but more than likely everybody is just quiet."
(on this past weekend) "This weekend I was just sitting at home trying to soak all of it in. Like I said, it was a dream come true for me to be able to make the 53-man roster is something special. I was just sitting at home soaking it all in."
(on congratulatory messages) "It was a couple of my teammates that I played with in college that are playing in the NFL right now. They told me congratulations, nice job, and just keep up the hard work."
(on what's next for him) "Get ready for Miami"
DE J.J. Watt
(on his elbow) "It feels great. It feels really good. I'm very happy with it. I have to thank our trainers. They did a heck of a job getting me back working hard with me so I really appreciate them."
(on playing Sunday) "I'll feel really good. I think I'll be 100 percent. Had my first full-padded practice today. It felt really good. I'm really excited about it. It doesn't really feel like it's going to hinder me at all."
(on his brace) "I'm wearing just a standard elbow brace. It won't be an issue at all."
(on when he'll stop wearing the brace) "As quick as possible, whenever they'll let me take it off it'll be off."
(on opposing teams adjusting to his play) "That's up to them. If they want to then they have to deal with Antonio (Smith) and Connor (Barwin) and Brooks (Reed) and (Brian) Cushing. There are a lot of guys on our defense that are a lot of weapons. It's going to be tough to block us all so that's what makes our defense so fun to play in."
(on dealing with outside expectations) "It's exciting. But as I've said before, nobody has bigger expectations than we do in our own locker room. All the outside attention is nice. All the media attention is nice. But at the end of the day, we're going out to practice every single day and working our tails off to be the best team we possibly can be."
(on improving from last year) "Yeah I sure hope I'm not stagnant. I sure hope I'm not complacent and just being the same guy I was last year. I want to be better than that guy. I think I am. I learned a lot in that playoff run. I learned a lot about myself and my style as a player. I'm really excited to go from there. If I'm the same player as I was in those playoffs then I'm not doing my job; I'm not getting better for this team and this city."
(on his excitement for Sunday) "More excited than you can imagine. It's been tough to watch. It's been frustrating to watch. But to know that I'll be out there in front of our fans with my teammates, it's going to be a heck of a feeling. I can't wait to get back out there on 9/9."
(on improving from last season) "I think understanding the overall concept of the defense. Last year we were thrust into it with a short training camp. This year we've had OTAs. We've had a full offseason with Wade (Phillips). We understand his defense. We have the full defense in now. We're just excited to go out there and play."
(on having trouble stopping the run against the Dolphins last year ) "It was early in the year. They have a good running game. Those two backs (Daniel Thomas and Reggie Bush) are very good running backs; don't discredit them. But we were kind of still working out some kinks there early in the season. We're excited about that challenge this year and it's a new day."
(on stopping the run) "That's always our first priority, stop the run, make them throw the ball; especially with a rookie quarterback, you want to make them throw the ball so we can get our pass rush after him. We have so many guys that can attack the pass. We're really excited. As long as we do what we do, we run (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's (Phillips) defense and we execute our assignments, we should have no problem."
(on if he watches Hard Knocks) "I've watched it here and there. I turn it on a little bit to try to pick up little things like snap count, stuff like that."
(on watching Hard Knocks) "I picked up on their snap count a little bit. You pick up on some things here and there, little formations, little things about the players, what type of attitude the player has, what type of mentality he has. It's just kind of cool sometimes to see behind the scenes. I hope to never see my own trade go down so it was kind of interesting to see a guy's trade go down like that. Just some little things like that."
(on if he'd want Hard Knocks in Houston) "If we had a choice, I would say no. It's an unnecessary distraction. As long as you're doing your job, your play should do the talking. I just don't think you need all those cameras around."
(on watching the final episode) "I'll watch it. I'll probably tune into it. I just got HBO. I was holding out for the longest time. I didn't' want to spend that 16 dollars a month, but the guys finally convinced me to get HBO. I actually missed the first episode. I'll probably tune into this last episode just to see what they're saying about us. It's always interesting."
(on television) "I don't watch much television. I don't really get to watch HBO much. I've really only seen Hard Knocks, that Real Sports with Bryan Gumbel, and I like the movie Cedar Rapids and that's on that a lot, so I like that."
(on the defense this year compared to last year) "We have way more of our defense in. Last year he really couldn't put a lot in because in two weeks it's tough to handle a lot. This year our full defensive playbook is in. We can run many different blitzes. We can come at you many different ways so it's could be confusing for the opposition that's the goal. So we're excited about that."
(on the vibe in the locker room) "The vibe in the locker room is like this, we came out for that first home preseason game and you would have swore it was a playoff game with the atmosphere with the way the fans were going crazy. We're in there already talking about what our fans are going to be like for the first regular season game. We know they're going to be rowdy. We know they're going to be loud. I don't even know if we're ready for what they're about to bring. We can't wait to get out there in front of our home fans, in front of our city, and show them what we've been working on all offseason. Expectations are high so we want to show them why they're so high."
(on expectations and vibe this year compared to last year) "It's a little different. I think the city's expectations are definitely a lot higher this year. Last year, kind of just wanted to make the playoffs and see what we could do. This year, they want the championship."
(on his excitement last year and now this year) "For me, it's the same. For me, I get just as excited for every game. Last year my first game as a rookie, my parents in the stands, it doesn't get much more exciting than that. So every game lives up to that atmosphere for me."
(on the Chad Johnson episode of Hard Knocks) "It's tough. It's always tough to see a guy get cut especially in a situation like that. That's a tough situation to go down anytime a guy loses his job that's tough. But we all understand our off-the-field-decisions have consequences."
(on preparing for Week 1) "We watched a little bit of their preseason. Obviously they have a new offensive coordinator so we're just getting down the plays, getting down some of their kinks and stuff like that. But we'll we be alright. We have a great defensive coordinator, and the nice thing about our defense is we always say 'As long as we line up and do our jobs, any defense we call should have success.'"
(on his health) "I could see were that would be an issue, but its' really not. Cedric, our strength coach, has been with me working my tail off running. My legs have been fine so I've been running the whole time doing a lot of different drills. I've been doing football drills for about a week and a half now so it really shouldn't be an issue at all. I was out there practicing today, felt great."