General Manager Rick Smith spoke with Nick Scurfield of HoustonTexans.com on Tuesday about new contracts and the high expectations placed on the Texans this season.
(on the importance of getting QB Matt Schaub under contract for the next four years) "Well, it was significantly important. We talked about building our football team through the draft and identifying our core group of players and trying to keep that group together. Certainly Matt is a huge part of that and a player that we feel extremely confident in his ability to lead our football team. Obviously, he was going into the last year of his contract so for us to have the opportunity to get him extended and to keep him around for four additional years was important."
(on why he decided to extend QB Matt Schaub's contract now as opposed to waiting until after the 2012 season) "I think that assumption was there because we don't negotiate in the media, and I think that there was a lot of talk about some of the other deals that we were negotiating, and there just wasn't a lot of chatter about Matt's deal. He was a guy that we obviously had targeted along with several other players, and we got a couple of them done; we didn't get some others done, but he was always a target. Injuries are a part of the game but, as you mentioned, when Matt is playing and when he's healthy, we operate at a very, very high level on the offense, and we believe in him. We believe in his ability to lead our team and to lead our offense. So that's why we did it."
(on DE Tim Jamison's contract extension and development as a player) "It's important. Obviously, you got to have your star players but you also need your role players to give significant contributions to your football team. Tim's a guy who has worked himself into being a player and a contributor on our team. Works extremely hard. Our players really, really like him. They respect him because he's come through it the hard way. And for us to have an opportunity to extend him for a couple years is good. He has a young family, just had a son; I think he named him Tim Jamison III. So, young family, a guy that's working hard, it was just nice to see him rewarded."
(on if it's rewarding to see undrafted players having success like RB Arian Foster) "It really is. I'll tell you what, that's one of the characteristics that I really, really like about our football team. We've got a group of men that work hard, and they understand that in order for us to have a chance to be successful on gameday that we got to put the work in during the week, put the work in during the offseason, put the work in in the training room and in the weight room. So it's nice to watch guys work and have that sense of urgency as it's related to doing the things that it takes to be successful. Obviously, he's a great example of that."
(on what he thinks the future holds for OLB Connor Barwin and the Houston Texans) ""He's a member of that core group. The fact that we did not get a contract extension done for him is not indicative of our desire at all. Sometimes you're successful in negotiations, and sometimes you're not. We attempted to do a deal with Connor and it didn't work out, but that does not mean that we don't want to sign him to a long-term agreement. After the season, we'll have an opportunity to sit back down with him and see if we can hammer out a deal at that time."
(on Week 1 victory) "Well, when you win in this league, it's important. To start off at home and to come out of the game and to win it was important for our team. Obviously, there were some things that we can improve on, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, running the ball. On the defense, we got to do a better job of stopping the run, as well. We got a tough division unfold this weekend that likes to play a physical brand of football, as do we, so we've got to improve. But any time you can go out in this league and win, I think it's important to recognize that. But that's gone; one thing about this league is you got to be ready to go on each gameday and you got to be able to look at it and correct your mistakes. That's what we're in the process of doing now. Once these players arrive here at the facility tomorrow and Wednesday, it'll be time to put Miami behind us and to move on to Jacksonville."
(on how Sunday's game, a 20-point victory, brought to light a lot of areas that need work) "Well, because there's an expectation that we're a better football team than what we showed on Sunday. Every week when we go out, we want to show our best, and we didn't do that in certain areas. That's one of the things that we're going to continue to constantly try to do each week."
(on what having all veterans in the starting lineup says about the talent level that the Texans have built) "Obviously, I think what it says is we've got a pretty veteran football team. The one thing about it is we do have some rookies that are making significant contributions in the game. But as you say, we didn't have to count on a guy to come in and start for us this year. This football team works hard and we've attempted to put a group together over the years that we've learned from past experiences. That's another thing I like about this team; we've got experience, and when we find ourselves in difficult situation like on Sunday when we're not performing maybe up to our abilities, we do have that fortitude to dig down and figure out a way to draw some of the experience we have to win football games. That's going to serve us down the road."