Head Coach Gary Kubiak
DE J.J. Watt
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on RG Brandon Brooks) "It's been really good. The biggest thing is any time you've got a young player and you say, 'Okay, you're a starter.' The best thing you can have happen is that you don't really notice him. And that's kind of what's happened. He went in there, he's done his job. He understands what we're doing now. He's got the tools of a big-time player. So it will all just be up to him. He's come a long way. I think he's very comfortable in his own skin right now in what he's doing and feeling good about himself."
(on Brandon Brooks being penciled in as the starter at right guard) "He's right there. That's his. He's got to line up every day and earn it. I think he worked through it last year and at the end of last year I think he was playing that way so I think he's earned the opportunity to be that guy, so we'll see if he can hang on."
(on the relationship between WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR Andre Johnson) "It's good. I'll tell you what, when I watch it, to be honest with you, I think (WR) Andre (Johnson) first just because Andre's just always had such a load on this team of bringing on players and teaching and he's got enough stuff on his own plate. But here we go again. But that's what he's all about and he's done a really good job with the young man. He's on overload right now, the kid, but he's pushing and hanging in there. I think (WR) Keshawn (Martin) and (WR) Lestar (Jean) have come a long way, so it's the best group of young guys we've had to work with and we've got to get them all in the right spot."
(on any new injuries) "We're fine. (LG) Wade (Smith) got nicked a little bit at the end of practice, got his elbow hit. But I think he's fine. We've had a good clean week, other than the (RB) Arian (Foster) situation. We'll take our time and get him healthy."
(on the Texans' secondary) "Well first off, we've got great leadership back there with (CB Johnathan Joseph) J-Joe and (SS Danieal Manning) D Manning. I'm real impressed right now with the young guys. When I look at (SS) Eddie Pleasant, what he's become watching him. (FS) D.J. (Swearinger), obviously I've talked about him enough. (CB) Brandon Harris making plays out here every day. You see first-, second-, third-year players all the sudden start acting like five- or six-year players. And that's the key to the team."
(on what he's seen from rookie FS D.J. Swearinger after two weeks) "Confidence. He's got a ton of confidence. He just walks out here like he belongs and he does. I mean, he's got a ton of ability. He's a smart player. When the ball is close to him, he's going to make the play. That's the difference between a good player and a great player in this league is being in the right spot and making big plays when you get there. He's got a chance to make those plays."
(on if rookie FS D.J. Swearinger is getting more opportunities with FS Ed Reed not being at OTAs) "Oh, yeah. He's basically a starter out here from the standpoint of what we do dime-wise right now and working with (FS Shiloh) Keo. But working with a lot of starter reps. But he's going to be called on very quickly and he's sure acting like he can do it. We'll just keep our fingers crossed, keep going."
(on if he notices the year one confidence level of safeties Shiloh Keo, Eddie Pleasant and D.J. Swearinger) "You notice a difference in their confidence with our defense and what they're doing. When guys start to get that way all their athletic skill starts to show up. They don't slow down, they speed up when they get confidence in what they're doing. So that's what you see."
(on if there is a difference in the confidence level FS D.J. Swearinger has from that of FS Shiloh Keo and SS Eddie Pleasant in their first years) "I don't know. I think there's been an acceleration with (FS) D.J. (Swearinger) with the fact that (FS) Ed (Reed) is not here. So it's been a quick push, so it's showed up maybe a little bit quicker. Hey, that's part of our business, that's where we're at, so we've got to get that done."
(on having a player as great as DE J.J. Watt be such a standout in the community) "He's amazing. I always worry about guys. I always tell them, 'If you've got too much on your plate, let me know. I'll help you because we've got to have you playing good football.' He's one of those guys that does so many things. I've never heard him complain one time. A special person, a special player, so we better enjoy it every day because they don't come along like that very often."
(on people concerned with the percentage of offense that went through WR Andre Johnson last year) "Tell them a big percentage is going to go through him again."
DE J.J. Watt
(on being a more vocal leader on defense) "It's been going well. I'm doing a little bit more talking than I've done in the past but like I said at the beginning, it all starts with my play. If I'm not playing well, nobody wants to follow me. I'm just trying to make sure I'm the best player I can be."
(on what he has seen from the team two weeks into OTAs) "We've got workers. We've got guys that are committed. We have guys who come out here every day and are focused on getting better and that's all you can do right now in this period, with no pads on. All you can do is focus on your technique and getting better."
(on how NT Earl Mitchell has stepped up) "(NT) Earl (Mitchell) is playing great. Earl's been a guy who got a lot of snaps last year. He knows how to play. He knows what it's like to be in that starter role and he's stepped in and it's been seamless. He's playing very well for us."
(on if it has been said to him that this is his team) "In my exit interview after last season with coach (Gary) Kubiak, we talked a little bit about my leadership role and taking a new step forward but for me it's more gradual. Obviously, I was very fortunate to be named a captain halfway through last year; just as I go, I'm just trying to take on a little bit more role each time. I'm a young kid and there's a lot of vets on this team and I'm just trying to earn my stripes and prove that I belong and prove to the young guys what it takes to get here."
(on if any of his offseason activities, including visiting Afghanistan helped develop his leadership skills) "Of course. I think it all helps. I think, any time that you have an opportunity to go see different power structures, different men in the military who have different ranks and you see how things work and the way people handle it, it's definitely an advantage and it helps you in your own leadership capabilities."
(on what he's trying to improve on his game now) "I'm working on everything. I do a lot well but I can do everything better. There's little things. There's a lot of little technique things. I'm going to be seeing a lot of double and triple teams, just like I did last year, so just finding new ways to improve. I mean, there's always ways to improve no matter how good you are, you can always get better."
(on offensive coordinators scheming to stop him) "That's good. I mean, I enjoy that. I've always said it; if you're focused on just stopping me, you're going to have a headache because you have to deal with (DE) Antonio Smith, (ILB) Brian Cushing, (OLB) Whitney Mercilus, (OLB) Brooks Reed, all those guys. I welcome all the challenges. I welcome every double team. I welcome every chip block. But I'm always working my tail off to make sure I'm prepared for that."
(on the Houston Texans' Super Bowl aspirations) "If there's a football team in this league right now that is not thinking about a Super Bowl, then show me them because that's crazy. Every single team in this team is thinking about a Super Bowl right now and we're no different. We've been to the playoffs, we've won division championships. Logically, that's the next step and that's what we're trying to do."
(on being able to help in the community and play well) "It's awesome. The way this community has embraced me, I'm trying to do everything I can to give back and show them that I appreciate them. And we have such great fans. Everywhere you go, you see so many fans and they're so great and any chance I get, I'd much rather give back to the fans than play a video game or watch a television show. So instead of sitting on my couch, I'm trying to go out into the community and help every chance I can."
(on if he is enjoying spending time with his team at OTAs) "Absolutely. I think that's one thing about our team, we have great chemistry. The offseason stuff is fun. I've had a lot of great opportunities this offseason but on the field, that's home to me. This is where I feel the most comfortable. This is where there's no distractions. I just get to enjoy the game. I get to play my craft and be around my teammates. I'm having a blast and so it was a welcome sight for me to get back on the field. I enjoy it very much."
(on the play of NT Earl Mitchell) "(NT) Earl (Mitchell) is playing great. Earl has played great in the past. He knows what it's like to be a starter in this league. He's playing starter reps and he's continuing to grow and he's continuing to get better. He's getting more confidence and I think that's the biggest thing."
(on what the defensive line needs to improve on) "We have a very good defensive line but we can always get better. I mean, there's a couple sacks we can get back, there's some tackles we need to make. I think the run game, I think we need to shore up that run game, especially when we're in our dime personnel when we're in the run game, we want to make sure we shore that up."
(on if there is a young player who has caught his eye in the last two weeks) "I think one guy who has stepped in very nicely is (ILB Darryl) Sharpton. Sharpton is playing well. He's gaining some confidence out there. He's playing good football and you can tell as the days go on, he gets more and more confident in himself and that's what these days are for. That's what these practices are for, gaining confidence."
(on what it will mean to the defense when ILB Brian Cushing is back healthy) "It's huge. (ILB) Brian Cushing is a player you love having out there because he flies around, he makes plays. He's got a lot of energy and he's a great football player and any time he's on the field with you, you're confident. I'm excited to get him back and we can't wait to have him out here at practice."
(on NT Earl Mitchell saying that he is the best teammate he's ever had because he makes everyone want to be better) "That's a great compliment. I appreciate it and I think that's my goal. Every day that I come to work, I'm trying to be the best I can and hopefully I'm pushing everybody around me. I think on this team, nobody likes to be complacent, nobody wants to be comfortable with second place running sprints, whether we're doing a lift in the weight room or if we're out here at practice. We're all trying to be the best. If I'm out front, I'm trying to (pull) everyone along with me and if somebody else is out front, I'm trying to catch them. That's just kind of the way we work."
(on the difference for him in receiving national fame in addition to local fame) "It's cool, man. It's pretty cool. I enjoy it. I mean, this is the type of stuff you dream about as a kid. You dream about all these things that I get to do now. But for me, at the end of the day, it all comes back to on this field and that weight room and working hard because as quickly; I guess it's come over so many years, but it can go away so quickly. You work so hard. You work your entire life to build up something like this and it could be taken away so quickly if you don't play well. I'm trying to make it last as long as possible so every single day I'm putting in the work."
(on how special it is that he makes people around him better) "It's very special. It means a lot to me. To hear a teammate say something like that, it's very special. I can only hope I continue that for my entire career because that's the ultimate goal. It's nice to play good for yourself but when you can make people around you better, that's what it's all about."