After Monday's practice, head coach Gary Kubiak and some Texans spoke with the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakCB Alan BallDE Jared CrickRB Justin Forsett
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on free agent signings RB Justin Forsett and CB Alan Ball) "Well, I was just telling the players it's interesting to watch two pros come in here. They've both been pretty successful and done some good things at other places they've been and they jumped right in with our team today and just worked extremely hard, so I was just using them as an example to our young players. Very happy to get them. Justin (Forsett) will give us some depth, and he's been a very good special teams player; and then Alan (Ball), he knows the system, so he has a chance to come in and compete real fast."
(on if there were any new injuries at today's practice) "Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) was out today. His knee's a little sore, so I held him. We may hold him a few days this week. We'll be smart with anybody. (RB Antoine) Caldwell was sick, under the weather, so he did not practice, and Loni (NT Hebron Fangupo) did not practice, so he still did not practice. We're hoping before we get through here that he gets some more days in."
(on whether he has any concern about the health of ILB Brian Cushing) "No, just his knee got sore on him; and I'm going to err on that side this time of year, so we sent him down for an MRI. He did come out and watch practice, and it gives some other guys a chance to get some reps."
(on what he hopes to accomplish over the last two weeks of spring practices) "Well, we've got a lot to do this week. We've got four straight days and we want to teach. We're teaching red zone; we want to teach all of our situational football: short yardage, goal line, two-minute. I want to feel very good by the end of the week and then take a look at how we'll handle next week."
(on the rookies' ability to learn the concepts they're being taught on offense and defense) "I think it's a talented young group. I mean, there's still a ways to go. I think the first thing you find out is that their conditioning level has to be such to perform here in this city in the heat, so that's been a rude awakening for them, but they've responded. I think we've got some players that should be able to help us quickly. How they come back after we get through here in the next two weeks and get ready for training camp I think will say a lot about how quickly they help us, but they just keep plugging right now."
(on free agent signings RB Justin Forsett and CB Alan Ball) "Justin walks in here really as our third back right now, competing with (RB Davin) Meggett and competing with (RB Jonathan) Grimes. He's done some good things in this League. He's a good special teams player; that's important. Our third back the past few years has been (RB) Derrick (Ward), who did a good job for us. Derrick did not play a lot of special teams for us, and we're looking to continue to get better for (Special Teams Coordinator) Joe (Marciano) on special teams and he gives us a chance. Alan has played for (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips), he knows his system. Boy, he's a good-looking young man. I just think his knowledge of Wade's system, and it's one of those deals where Wade and (Linebackers Coach) Reggie (Herring) said, 'Hey, this is a good fit for us. He can make us better.' They both looked good today, so we're glad to have them."
(on whether he plans to sign any more veterans to the roster) "I think we could. We've got to continue to look, (General Manager) Rick (Smith) and I right now, but I've got to work with what I'm doing right now and pay attention to that. We've got a good five or six weeks to continue to try to better our football team going into training camp, so I think there's a couple of areas we continue to look hard at."
(on whether RB Justin Forsett will have a chance to return kickoffs) "Yeah. There's a lot of things he can do. The thing, too, he does know our offense a little bit. Being in Seattle, their verbiage is a little bit like ours, so he'll catch up quick."
(on if they are stressing anything in practice to generate fast starts on offense again this season) "Tell 'em it's the fourth quarter. No, there's always things when you come out of a season, things you do well, things you don't do so well. My thing is every year, I don't go back and just say, 'We did this poorly, let's focus here,' because when you do that, you get lost in every other area. We've got to focus on everything. We've got to get better in everything that we do. We did start games a lot faster as a team last year. That had a lot to do with how much better we played defense, too. Starting quick in this League, getting leads in this League makes you tough to beat, so hopefully we can have some of that going again this year."
(on the offense looking to get back to being a top-five unit in the NFL this year) "Yeah, no doubt. We've been dang good on offense around here for a long time, and to me, the job that (Offensive Coordinator) Rick (Dennison) did last year, losing his quarterback, his receiver – or losing a few quarterbacks, I should say – not playing with (RB) Arian (Foster) for a while, was tremendous. This year we're going with some younger guys, so we're trying to kind of – I don't want to ever use that word 'rebuild,' because I don't believe in that; I think you should be as good as you can be all the time – but we've got to get some new faces come in and keep our standard of play up, I guess is a good way of saying it."
(on the status of ILB Darryl Sharpton and WR Trindon Holliday) "I watched (Darryl) Sharpton run today and boy, he sure looked real close to me, but I'm waiting on the trainers to tell me when. Trindon (Holliday) could probably miss this week. He got rolled up pretty good, his ankle, last week, but he has had a good, good OTAs. He's made progress."
CB Alan Ball
(on how much it helps that he's played in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' system before) "It helps a lot. I come in a get right to going. It makes it a whole different game when you have to learn a playbook and go at the same time, so it helps that I'm kind of refreshing instead of learning."
(on what he thinks he can bring to the Texans) "I've been trying to figure that out today. They've got a lot of guys here, so they've been working hard. Any way I can help in that secondary with these guys is going to be (amazing). I'm just looking to add onto what they've got. They've got a lot of talent. They've got some guys that work hard in that secondary, so I'm just looking to fit in where I can and help however I can."
(on how he would define himself as a player) "I'm a work-hard guy. I've been in the game a little bit, so I'm a work-hard guy. I'm going to do things the right way and I just want to get the drift and fit in how I can and help the team."
(on making it six years in the NFL as a seventh-round pick) "It's part of working hard. It's a part of working hard and coming to work every day and knowing what you've got to do when you get there and trying to figure out how you can help the team in doing that when you get your chance."
(on how playing in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' system in Dallas will help him fit in) "It's kind of just learning from growing when I was a young guy and going through it and knowing how the older guys were there for me when I'm new in the system, so now the younger guys are helping me and the older guys are helping me. It's just a matter of how I fit in with the guys and seeing how they do things."
(on how his familiarity with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips helps him) "It helps a lot. Not everything is new, like I said earlier. It makes a big difference when you're refreshing and not learning. So it helps that I'm refreshing myself to the defense and not learning it all over again."
(on his experience with defensive coordinator Wade Phillips in Dallas) "I enjoyed Wade (Phillips) when he was in Dallas. Things happened but I definitely enjoyed the defense and I think this defense works and I believe in the system and I'm excited to be in it again."
(on his ability to play safety and cornerback) "Right now it's just a part of knowing the defense. Right now I want to focus on corner and get as good as I can right now when they need me in any situation, whether it's special teams, corner, whatever it may be. I just want to be as good as I can and ready to go when they call my number."
(on if playing in this defense again brings back good memories) "Definitely. This is a defense where you can get after it. Wade's (Phillips) going to do his job making the right calls. We've got to do a good job being in the right place and that's what I like about the defense. It helps you play fast and any time you can do that it helps you make plays."
(on his first thoughts of the Texans after his first OTA with the team) "They work hard. This is a good group, man. I enjoy the energy that they got. It's a group that works hard every play. I enjoy that. I definitely like the energy that they have."
(on if he is enjoying a fresh start in Houston) "Any time you get into something new, it's definitely a pleasure. Like I said, they're going to let me work at corner and I enjoy myself. I'm comfortable at corner. I definitely feel comfortable and I'm excited."
(on if he is infused with energy after joining a new team) "Always. Just the energy that they have here is infectious with (defensive backs) coach Vance (Joseph) and the guys, the energy that they carry throughout the drills, throughout the play; it's just infectious. So I'm happy to be here. I enjoy it so far. I enjoyed it a lot."
(on what the Texans have told him about his role with the team) "They haven't said much. I mean, it's OTAs. They just told me to come out here, get work, get familiar with the system and go from there."
DE Jared Crick
(on his injuries as a senior at Nebraska) "I just had the torn pec. That was the big thing that kept me out all year. I had a concussion before that, but those things happen. It's football."
(on if those injuries hurt his draft stock) "Who knows? Perhaps. That's what I've been hearing. But I'm here now, I'm in the NFL and on a team. That's the most important thing. Now I just got to take advantage of my opportunity now. I figure if I do that, everything is going to play out for itself."
(on the learning curve during OTAs) "It's been a whole lot different, but in college I had some great coaches and that helped me out a lot coming, as far as picking up the schemes. It's a different scheme but just the fact I had that knowledge at Nebraska, it really helped me. And I have great coaches in (defensive coordinator) Coach (Wade) Phillips and (assistant head coach/defensive line) Coach (Bill) Kollar, so the transition has been easy."
(on if he is going to feel sorry for himself about being injured his senior season at Nebraska) "Absolutely not. That's the way life is. You hit some road bumps every now and then and that was one of them, one of mine, so just got to take like and you just got to run with it. You got to roll with the punches and I figure if I take that mentality into anything in life, I'm going to come out okay."
(on what the defensive coaches have told him about his performance thus far) "Nothing, really. Just coming out every day and trying to improve. As long as they see improvement out of me, I think they're happy."
(on what teammates have helped him the most) "All of them. Antonio (Smith), he's been here for awhile. J.J. (Watt), Shaun (Cody), all those guys who play; J-Mo (Tim Jamison) and Earl (Mitchell), everybody on the d-line who's played snaps here have been a great help, not only for myself, but for all the rookies. Having them, I'm very fortunate to have those kind of guys."
(on if his teammates' work ethic is similar to his) "Those guys are workers and I like to consider myself that. I'm just following their lead and just trying to do everything they do. Hopefully, down the road, we'll all be on the same par."
RB Justin Forsett
(on his first practice being a Texan) "It was great. I'm excited to be here. I had fun out there. It's good to be back in a team environment. I've been training by myself, so it's good to be back on the field getting the hang of things."
(on why he chose the Texans) "Just for the opportunity. (They are) a team that's winning and on the rise. I want to win, so this is where I wanted to be."
(on what he feels he brings to the team) "I think I bring a little bit of versatility. I played a lot of different things and do a lot of different things on offense. I'll play special teams. I've returned in my career. I've ran down on kickoff and punts, so those are all things I can do."
(on how impressive RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate are) "Awesome, man. Awesome individuals. They're great running backs. Being up in Seattle, you still watch film and you pay attention to every one of the great backs in the league. These two are two of the great backs in this league. To go out and work with them and compete, it's an honor. The offensive line is tremendous."
(on of this opportunity provides him a fresh start) "Definitely. It feels like a fresh start. I'm happy to be here. I'm back home in Texas for a little bit. It feels good, everybody is excited."
(on if he feels he has a chip on his shoulder to prove something) "No, I'm just blessed for this opportunity. Sitting at home, for all those weeks and a couple months, you relish the opportunity. You don't take it for granted. I'm just thankful for the opportunity and I'm going to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak."
(on if he reached out to the Texans) "No, they called me in and I worked out. They liked what they saw I guess and they offered me a contract."
(on his thoughts and emotions when he got the call from the Texans) "Here's my chance. I'm ready to get back on the field and I'm not going to let it go."