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Houston Texans

Quotes: Sunday practice

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
WR DeAndre Hopkins
QB Case Keenum
S D.J. Swearinger
RB Cierre Wood

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the health status of the team) "Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) is sick, so y'all saw he's not out here. He came in sick on us this morning, but now we're just trying to get moving around again a couple of days after the game, just do a bunch of individual work and then we'll get back to camp in the morning."

(on ILB Brian Cushing's illness) "No, just sick. We've had a few guys sick and today's his turn I guess."

(on switching up the rotation between QBs T.J. Yates and Case Keenum) "It's something we've talked about. What I want to do is come out of this camp with them going right down the middle as far as the group they play with and how many reps they get. That's what I'm trying to do. We could possibly do it that way. I'm not going to make any decisions until the end of the week. I just want them to be working with the same people when it's all said and done."

(on the college free agent LBs Justin Tuggle and Willie Jefferson) "Tuggle did a lot of good stuff. He did some good stuff on special teams as well. Willie has flashed pass rush ability. He's got to catch up in a lot of other areas as a player. We're going to be young there, very young as a matter of fact. So these guys have got to play a bunch in the preseason and they've got a lot of ability. We just need to bring it along as best we can."

(on what has impressed him most about OLB Justin Tuggle) "Physical play. That's what (LBs Coach) Reggie (Herring) has been saying all along. Really good against the run, very physical. He actually showed a couple of pass rush situations against some backs. The thing I was excited is he went in and played for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) too. If you're going to play that position for our team, you're going to have to be a dang good special teams player."

(on G Wade Smith's status) "Wade's fine. We actually slowed down his process a little bit, get the inflammation out of his knee. We'll see where we're at probably mid-week and make a decision on Miami for him."

(on if there is any more clarity on who will be back at practice this week) "Yeah, but I'm going to miss somebody. (TE Adam) Schiltz is back today. (OLB Sam) Montgomery is back full-go today. Probably best to just check with me in the morning. We've got about five or six guys that are back full time."

(on if he's pretty happy with the young running backs and what they did, especially in the second half on Friday) "Yeah, we ran the ball better in the second half. We can still run it better. We didn't run it very good in the first half. I was pleased with some of the things they did. I've got to get them playing better on special teams because, if we're going to keep four, somebody's really going to have to be a world-beater so to speak. But there's something for them all to grow from. They all did something pretty well."

WR DeAndre Hopkins

(on the things he needs to improve on) "Oh, I need to improve on a lot of things. That was my first game. I don't feel like I played close to my potential. I made a good catch, but I had a lot of mistakes."

(on what the coaches told him after the game and if it was encouraging) "Yeah, it was encouraging because we got the win so anything they tell you after the game is going to be good, but once you get into that meeting room and you see all of the mistakes you made, it's not so encouraging."

(on getting the first game out of the way) "It felt great to get that first game out of the way. Plus, we got the win which made it even better."

(on if he thinks he's where he would be at this point in his NFL career) "No, I'm not, honestly. I feel like I can still be a lot better than I am. I feel like I've got a lot of improving to do. I don't feel like I'm close to being where I can be."

(on his drive and not feeling like he is where he needs to be yet) "Yeah, that's part of the drive that I have."

(on where the drive he has comes from) "That's something I had on my own and that's something that watching (WR) Andre Johnson every day. He still feels like he has improvement, so me being a rookie, I know I have a lot to do."

(on what WR Andre Johnson told him after the game) "He told me that I could have done better than I did. He told me you know, basically, 'It's one touchdown, don't get over-excited.' He told me I could have done better."

(on if it is easy for him to not get too excited about making a touchdown) "Yeah it is because it's just a preseason game, there's a lot more games left. It's a long journey in this NFL season."

(on playing against CB Johnathan Joseph in practice and it making him better) "Yeah, playing against (CB) Johnathan Joseph every day makes you a ton of a lot better, going against a pro-bowler defensive back, so once I get in the game, it's not too much better that the competition can get than Johnathan Joseph."

(on if he talks to CB Johnathan Joseph and if he gives him advice) "Yeah, he actually tells me tips. If he covers me up on a play, he'll tell me what I could have done better. He kind of coaches me up as practice goes on."

(on if he feels like he's getting the best of CB Johnathan Joseph in practice more now) "No, I wouldn't say that. I would just say it's good scheming by the offense, putting me in the right position to make the play."

(on how much different practice is than the games and if it's as easy to make the good plays in the game rather than just in practice) "Yeah, you know, how I practice is how I play. That's what I live by. I've been making those catches at practice so once I got into a game, it just carried over."

QB Case Keenum
(on what will be the emphasis for him this week) "Lot of emphasis, pocket presence, just decision-making, operating the offense. Kind of doing a better job of operating as a quarterback, just kind of knowing what's going on with game-time situations. There's a lot of stuff to look at the film and work on. Just keep getting better every day like I always do."

(on his reaction to the hype surrounding his position recently) "It is what it is. It's the same it's always been. I'm going to keep the same mindset I've always kept. Nothing's changed. I've got to do better. That's the deal. If you go out and play well, you've got to come back and do it again. If you go out and play bad, you've got to forget about it and move on. Same mindset I've always had."

(on Coach Kubiak saying the he's got his swagger back like he had in college) "I think it feels good to just get back out and play quarterback and play, and not just try to go out there and survive. Being able to operate and move the ball and know what's going on is a big key."

(on smiling so much when he plays football) "I can always count on you to tell the quotes or whatever is said about me. I love playing football. This is something that I've always loved doing and getting out there and playing quarterback especially is a lot of fun. It's what I'm supposed to be doing right now."

(on if he knew he was smiling that much during the game on Friday) "Yeah, I knew I was having a good time. That's always a good thing."

(on if anyone has said to him that smiling so much could be a sign of weakness) "No, I think you've got to have fun. It's not making light of what I do by any means, but if you're not having fun, if you're not getting amped up, then I think you should probably be doing something else."

(on how much stock he puts in to being either the second or third quarterback this week and Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying he will wait later in the week to determine that) "I know I'm going to get a chance. That's all I can ask for no matter what time of the game it is, what rep it is. You can't really tell what plays it's going to be either. Just got to go out and do my absolute best no matter what time it is and that's the opportunity I get. The opportunity we get is very small. I know it's a small window of opportunity. I'm just focused on making the best of it no matter when it is."

(on the one or two things he doing differently this year than last year) "I can't really put a finger on one or two. Just everything's slowing down; the operation's slowing down, the play coming into the headset, calling the play, knowing my reads, my mechanics, being able to read the defense and different keys in those situations. It's a lot of things."

S D.J. Swearinger
(on how he played in his first game) "I think I had a decent first game. I missed one tackle, but other than that, I had a good game and I think I'm progressing very well."

(on what he needs to do to improve) "Just stay studying, keep studying and learn the full defense. Keep working on my technique. I've got to work on my eyes in man-to-man. It's a lot of stuff I need to get better on and I'm just going to continue to work on."

(on if there were any surprises in first game) "Not at all; this is a man's game and its pros. It's a lot of pros out here and you got to be a pro in everything you do. I was expecting that and that's what it is."

(on how it felt playing in his first game) "It felt great man. It's a dream come true. It felt great running out of that tunnel and getting to play my first NFL game. I took it to heart and it was a good game for me."

(on if he received a grade from the coaches) "We didn't have any grades, but we did receive our little sheet."

(on what the coaches told him to work on) "My eyes in man-to-man and then tackling. That's something he just said. We haven't been doing a lot of tackling out here so during preseason reps tackling will get better."

(on getting first game out of the way) "I'm ready for the second one, man. My old coach always said the best improvement is from game one to game two, so I'm looking forward to game two and I'm looking to have great improvement."

RB Cierre Wood
(on if splitting time with other running backs prevented him from having a big game) "It could have been, but like I said I'm really not too worried as far as why that didn't happen. I only control what I can control, so I have my opportunity now and I'll make the best out of it."

(on how much he followed the Texans before joining the team) "Yeah I knew a lot about this team. I did my homework. I knew everything there was to know and like I said I just felt like it was the right spot for me and I made the decision to come here."

(on if the heat is the only negative to Houston) "Houston is a real great city. This heat, that about takes the cake for me. It's too hot. I thank God I can't get any blacker than this, but it's just ridiculous hot out here, especially today."

(on if he thinks he earned a bigger role this week) "Yeah I think I did, but like I said it's all up to the coaches. Wherever they put me, I'm just going to do my best. Wherever they put me, whether it's less carries, more carries, it really doesn't matter. If they gave me five carries, I'm going to make the best out of that. I'm going to try the most and do the most that I can with those five carries."

(on having a welcome to the NFL moment) "The inside runs is really very rare in the league that you're going to bust it right down the middle like I did at Oklahoma for like 63. A run that I should have taken it to the crib was when we ran like a stretch play and it was just me and the safety. I gave him too many juke moves and my body like leaned back inside. I was intending for me to go outside, but at that point I had to run him over. That just comes with over thinking and stuff like that. The more I play, the more I get a feel for things. Next game, that will be a touchdown."

(on the importance of special teams) "Yeah, special teams are a tremendous part of this game. That's really where you make your money at. I was dying on special teams. I just came off of a series and then I had to go right back on kickoff. I felt like I was right out in this 100-million degree heat, I could not breathe for the life of me but that's part of it. I have to suck it up and go in there and try and make a tackle."

(on if special teams could win him the third running back spot) "Oh yes, I knew that coming in. Everybody knows that who plays this game. Special teams are the key to getting on to the team, so I don't care if I have to snap. If that's what I have to do then hey that's what I'm going to do to make this team."

(on RB Arian Foster not practicing) "I have seen him work. Not just while I was here, but throughout the times I've just been watching the Texans play. He's always around giving us words of encouragement and whatnot. If I miss a play or miss a hole, he'll come up to me 'did you see this' or 'did you see that.' He'll ask me what did I see all together and stuff like that. It's kind of having him right here on my shoulder just telling me what to do and what not to do really."

(on if he admired RB Arian Foster before coming to the Texans) "It's too many running backs to say that for just one personally. But like I said, I watch everybody. I try to take certain parts of everybody's game and combine it into one. I'm not trying to be anybody else but Cierre Wood, but you can't help but try to mimic off the greats."

(on if there are any running backs he is similar to) "I would say AP (Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson) except for I don't run like a horse. That's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to implement that into my game, but once I get there I can say we're just about twins. But until then, I got a long way to go."

(on the background of his name) "Well, that's really special. Everybody when they say my name says 'Cierra.' I don't know why they say 'Cierra,' there's no A at the end of my name. It's actually French, it comes from the word 'Pierre' then you just add a C which gives you Cierre. That's where it really came from. My mom wanted something unique. First of all, they thought I was a girl coming out, but thank god I wasn't and that's really the origin of my name. It is Cierre, not Cierra. That's what I try to tell everybody. But for some reason, I got coaches still calling me Cierra. I don't see an A at the end of my name. I've never seen one on my birth certificate. I've never seen it anywhere."

(on if his mom has French ties) "Not that I know of; my mom tells me a lot of things. She could be anything at this point. I believed she was 39 for the past two years, so I couldn't tell you what she was. I know I'm black so she got to be some sort of black."

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