The Texans practiced at the Methodist Training Center on Saturday and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakTE Owen DanielsRB Arian FosterS Glover QuinDE Antonio Smith
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on how it felt to be out there with the fans) "It helps practice. It helps a great deal because obviously training camp is a grind and to get everybody out here, I think gets the players' juices flowing. I thought that was our best practice of the year as a football team. Good, glad to see them all out here."
(on how far along the players who started camp on Thursday are) "I think they're still a little behind the other guys. Their bodies are probably hurting a little bit more right now as they catch up, but I think as we get at it tomorrow morning, I'll give them a big break. I think by the time we get going again next week, we ought to all be about on the same page."
(on if he's happy with the team's performance after a week) "No, I wish we were a lot further along, but I know the process. I know the time we missed, but with what time we've had, we've had some really good work. I think, defensively, the progression has been excellent. I think they've practiced very well. I think, offensively, we're behind right now. We're missing some guys. We don't have Andre (Johnson) at practice. Arian (Foster) doesn't practice. This game's not easy. You got to be out there for us to get better. We need to get those guys healthy and back on the field, but we will get better through the problems too because younger guys are stepping up making plays."
(on the status of WR Andre Johnson and RB Arian Foster) "I think Andre (Johnson) could practice tomorrow. We'll see. I think Arian's (Foster) definitely going to miss a few days. I think he'll be day-to-day, but he won't be back before we come back from our break after tomorrow."
(on when ILB Brian Cushing will be back practicing) "Cush (Brian Cushing), we have a goal for him; the middle of next week. We'll see if it holds. That's what we're pushing to."
(on if RB Derrick Ward is sick) "Derrick's (Ward) just gassed. Derrick's taken a lot carries and he's just gassed. I tell you what, our three running backs practiced an hour and a half by themselves. It was impressive. Really good."
(on if it's the numbers game being out in the heat during training camp) "I think that's kind of training camp. It kind of goes on, but the fact that Arian (Foster) hasn't been a part of practice the whole time, that's not unusual for one of your backs to get worn out. It's exciting because I watched (Steve) Slaton practice today. Steve's practicing well. (Chris) Ogbonnaya is really making a push to make this team and to me, (Ben) Tate, that's as good as Tate has practiced around here. Our guys need to know that and I told them hey, we've got problems, whoever lines up at running back for us is going to play good and they did that today."
(on if anyone stuck out to him today) "I would say it's a team deal this morning because we put them through a good one. We pushed them. We asked them to give their best at the end of practice. I liked the attention to detail. I just think it was a good overall practice."
(on if he thinks about being only nine days away from playing a game) "That's the scary part. Don't remind me of that. That's unusual. I think it's one of the toughest decisions we're going to have to make as compared to other years about this time next week is who's ready to go play. Do we have some guys that aren't ready to step on the field yet? That'll be a little different than it has been in years past."
(on if not knowing who will be ready to play is going to dictate how much the starters play) "It could. It also could be on an individual basis. It's a tough decision to make for us as coaches, but there's a lot more things to put into it than there have been in the past. We'll wait and see. I can let you guys no more at the end of next week."
TE Owen Daniels(on re-signing with the Texans in March) "It's just because it's a business and you see guys change teams where you never thought they ever would. It's just the unknown. I always tried to say to myself, if I could stay here I would. The grass isn't always greener on the other side. I've learned that in terms of moving to a different city, playing for another team, another coach. There's a lot of changes, a lot of unknowns there. I'm really comfortable playing in this offense with this team. I want to see it through. I want to help us get to where this franchise has never gotten before. That will weigh heavily in my decision."
(on if being a showcase player in this offense would be automatic) "I've had a lot of opportunities to make plays in the past. Tight ends are a big part of this offense, whether we're running one tight end, two tight ends, three tight ends at times, very tight-end friendly. I saw no point in going somewhere else where it might not be featured as much. I fit in well here. I have a great relationship with the quarterback and saw no reason to leave."
(on if he likes being in camp this year working) "Yeah, man, it's way better than being by myself working with the trainer and sitting around and watching. That's no fun. That's not what football players like to do. As much as camp is a grind, it's something that is necessary to a point. I think you'll see a lot more; I'll be a lot more consistent in the beginning of this year than I was last year just in terms of how I am physically and being really able to get this work in during camp."
(if there's a mental aspect of camp he needs) "Mentally it's always good to knock the rust off and refresh myself with the offense. It's good for everybody. I was able to do that in meetings last year. That wasn't anything that I missed. It was more the get-in-football-shape, knocking-rust-off-of-the-football-fundamentals. I'm able to do that now and feeling really good."
RB Arian Foster(on if he is in a precautionary mode with his hamstring injury) "I think anytime you have a hamstring injury, you have to rest it. That's the only thing that can heal it. So that's what we're doing right now."
(on if he is worried about his hamstring injury) "No."
(on if he had a little too much energy or pent-up adrenaline when he injured his hamstring) "Probably. I probably was going a little bit too hard, feeling good being back on the first day, but that's part of life, so you have to roll with it."
(on his initial reaction when he realized he tweaked his hamstring) "I tweaked my hamstring."
(on head coach Gary Kubiak's comment that he has problems with his hamstring in the past) "Well, I popped my hamstring in the Senior Bowl and then I had tweaked in training camp my rookie year."
(on how long it took him to feel good the last time he tweaked his hamstring) "About a week."
(on if his last hamstring injury was on the same leg) "I can't even remember, actually. I think it might have been the other one."
(on if a hamstring injury is frightening for a running back) "No. Knee injuries are frightening. Hamstrings are part of the business."
(on what he can do to work his way back to health with his injury) "Rest. Lightly stretch it with a little bit of ice."
(on what he can gain from watching practice instead of participating) "You just get to sharpen your skills mentally. You get to see the plays before they're ran, so you see them. You just go over your assignment and get more detailed mentally."
(on if there is a part of him that wants to prove that his performance last year wasn't a fluke) "No. I'm not trying to prove anybody wrong. I'm trying to play the game of football. I can't go around trying to prove everybody right, or wrong."
(on if the media can expect to see 1,400- and 1,500-yard performances from him every year) "You can expect whatever you want. I'm just going to go play the game."
(on if he just goes out with the mindset to run to daylight) "Yeah. You can't worry about what people think. People are negative. People are dream-killers. You can't worry about what they think."
(on what he's seen from FB Lawrence Vickers since he joined the team) "Well, he's still learning the system and things like that but I'm more than confident he'll come along and be a valuable option for us."
(on his level of concern about his hamstring injury) "It's just a hamstring. It's a muscle, a soft-tissue injury that will heal, eventually."
(on how frustrating it is to pull his hamstring) "You want to be out here practicing with you teammates. It gets a little frustrating."
S Glover Quin(on differences switching from cornerback to safety) "Just reads, because as a corner you're pretty much playing your receiver. As a safety you have to play tight ends, you have to read run game, you have to read pass game, you have to cover bigger bodies. It is getting your eyes right and making your reads quicker."
(on what he talks to S Danieal Manning about) "We just talk about a lot of stuff. Just football and things we want to do, things we like to do, and just how we can get better and work with each other. We just have good dialogue with each other and make it work."
(how CB Kareem Jackson has looked so far) "Great. He looks more focused to me this year. He looks better. He's in shape. He looks ready to go."
(on if CB Johnathan Joseph has set a tone with the defensive backs) "I mean, I think we're all setting a tone with each other. We have a good group of guys and we're all competing with each other and we're all battling. We're just pushing each other and pumping each other up and we're having fun."
DE Antonio Smith(on DE J.J. Watt) "He works hard, he's a dog. He's got some quickness, he's got some power, he plays with leverage, good hands and he's got some of the raw talents that you would need to be a great defensive lineman in this game."
(on the things he's teaching DE J.J. Watt) "Technique stuff, little cheat stuff that you can do to help your game out. That has been about the extent of my teaching, the things I have picked up through the years that I can give to him."
(on if DE J.J. Watt has been receiving the rookie treatment) "Not as much; a little bit. He can carry a couple of pads but I don't see him with no pads right now, so he's slacking."
Head coach Gary Kubiak(on the first week of practice) "I think it's been very good. I could say there have been interesting dynamics, as far as training camp, because of who we had and how long we had each group, but now it's kind of settled down and it's pretty much the same guys every day. I think with the amount of time we've had, I feel good about what we've done. Obviously, I wish we were a little bit further along, but I think everybody's in that same boat. We'll just keep going day-to-day and we'll get to test ourselves, starting next week, each week."
(on what he will be looking for in practice next week) "The number one thing I wish would happen is I wish we had these offensive guys on the field working. That's been disappointing because you can have all the guys you want on paper, but they need to work together and play together. With (RB) Arian (Foster) going to miss some time now and (WR) Andre's (Johnson) missed some time; (WR) Jacoby (Jones) missed a lot of time, not his fault by any means; OD (TE Owen Daniels) missed a day. We need that continuity. We need to get on the field and get better. We've got to replace (FB) Vonta (Leach); we've got to replace the things (WR) David Anderson did for us, so we need that continuity, but I'm hoping that starts to pick back up next week."
(on whether people underestimate the offense's need for practice time after last year's success) "Oh, believe me, I remind them. They did some good things last year; that's last year. You don't ever stay the same in this business. You're either moving forward and getting better or you're stepping back. We've got a good group and I like the way our guys up front have worked, and they look very solid. Our tight ends look solid, but it's about putting the whole group together and everybody being there to work for (QB) Matt (Schaub). We'll be smart; we're not going to throw somebody out there who's not ready to go, but boy, I sure would like to get them all back out there."
(on whether any more players got sick today) "Yeah, (G) Kasey (Studdard) has been sick. The young man, (DE Zane) Parr, the rookie free agent that was not at practice this morning, he got sick on us. It seems like we're a couple of guys a day, so hopefully it settles down here."
(on RB Derrick Ward leaving the morning practice early) "I think Derrick (Ward) was just spent. He was not feeling good this afternoon, so we did send him home. I think we've kind of been lucky, actually. Even though we've missed a few guys, they've come right back and practiced the next day, so hopefully that stays the case."
(on when he'll begin making decisions about playing time against the New York Jets) "Boy, I'll tell you, it'll probably be as late as it's ever been. I think we'll be sitting up here Saturday night as coaches having a pow-wow, saying, 'OK, we think this guy is ready to go,' or 'Is that guy ready to go?' It's another interesting situation that's totally different than what we've dealt with in the past. The key is that we're ready September 11. That's the most important thing, so we've got to do right by all of those players, so how much we go in the first preseason game is still up in the air."
(on whether the heat and lack of team-organized offseason conditioning work has contributed to the rash of illnesses on the team) "No, I don't think so, because there have actually been some other people in the organization with the same issue and they haven't been out there practicing, so I'm not going to blame it on the heat. I think it's just something that we have to deal with. It's always something, but that's our job, to figure out a way to deal with it."
(on QB Matt Schaub's role as a leader on the team) "He's not that way publicly, but he is on the field. He's a leader and a very confident young man in what he does. I think this season is going to tell you what a great job he did, in my opinion, because he was the glue that held everybody together away from this complex this offseason and had a great group of guys working out. You look around the league and it seemed like there were quarterbacks leading the way, and I don't have to tell everybody he did that for us."