Texans players met with the media at Reliant Stadium on Sunday, the first day of 2011 Houston Texans Training Camp presented by xfinity. Below is a transcript of their interviews.
G Antoine Caldwell
WR Dorin Dickerson
WR Andre Johnson
WR Jacoby Jones
CB Johnathan Joseph
ILB DeMeco Ryans
WR Terrence Toliver
T Eric Winston
QB T.J. Yates
G Antoine Caldwell
(on if he's relieved to finally be playing football again) "Definitely. After everything we've been waiting for and all the hard work we've been putting in, for it to finally be opening up today is a good feeling."
(on if he thinks most guys will be in football shape tomorrow) "I think so. We came up here this week. A lot of us guys came up and conditioned with our strength coach and tried to see where everybody is. I think the team looked good, everybody was working hard and pushing through everything, so I think we'll be ready to go."
(on if he likes the idea of no more two-a-days) "It is what it is. You got to have the same approach that you're going to work hard regardless. They'll make it up in that one practice that we have. Right now, everybody's trying to get back into the swing of things."
(on his mindset on the competition at right guard) "It's the same as every year. You want to be the starter. That's the way you got to approach it and that's the same way I'm going to approach it this year. I'm sure Mike (Brisiel) feels the same way. We've been here competing for a while and this year you go in with the same mindset working hard and try to be a starter on this football team."
(on the continuity of the offense with a lot of players re-signing) "I think it's huge not only on the field but off the field. The chemistry all of us have definitely helps us on the field. Having us guys together and everybody on the same page definitely feels like it gives us an advantage."
(on if it's an exciting buzz in the locker room) "That's probably exactly how I would say it. Everybody's excited, everybody's energetic. We had a lot of key moves to help this football team out and that's the approach we're going to take. They're doing their part. We got to go out there and do ours."
WR Dorin Dickerson
(on how he's feeling being back) "I'm excited to put the pads on, go out there tomorrow and compete. I'm real excited."
(on if he feels like the team can make up for the time lost) "I feel we can make up for it. I've just been trying to prepare myself and stay in shape everyday and I feel like my teammates have done the same thing. We can make up for lost time and we'll go out there tomorrow and start working."
(on where he worked out and what he tried to improve) "I was working out in Pittsburgh with my high school coach. He was training me. I was also working out in Minnesota with Larry Fitzgerald up there. There's a bunch of guys up here. I was just working on my routes and trying to become a better receiver everyday and just working hard."
(on if he feels there's a big opportunity to step up this year) "Definitely. I feel there's a lot of opportunity for everybody, me, Jacoby (Jones), Kevin (Walter) and Andre (Johnson), of course. I feel like all of us will have a good opportunity to make some plays and I'm very excited for that."
(on what he learned the most being on the sidelines last year) "Just watching the guys and watching how to play receiver and how they run their routes, approach their game and become a professional football player."
(on how much more comfortable he feels as a wide receiver this year) "We'll find out tomorrow. I've been out there working with the best, Andre (Johnson) and Larry Fitzgerald, so we'll find out tomorrow."
(on if the lockout affected guys like him who were trying to make some strides during the offseason) "I could've used the offseason. I could've used the OTAs and everything, but that's behind us now and I can't really think about that. I just had to do what I had to do in the offseason and keep working on my game."
(on the mood here with everybody) "It's a business and you just have to move on. That's what it is. You develop great relationships with teammates and other players, but you'll keep those relationships. It's also a business and you just got to move on."
WR Andre Johnson
(on the signings of S Danieal Manning and CB Johnathan Joseph) "I think these are the two biggest signings we've had since I've been here. I'm very excited about it. I had a chance to talk to Johnathan (Joseph) this off season and he stressed to me how bad he wanted to be here. It was a very good conversation and it went on for a couple of hours. I wanted him to be a part of the Houston Texans and to see that happen, I was very excited about it. I'm pumped about having him here and also having Danieal (Manning)."
(on what the buzz is with all the new additions) "I just think the biggest thing is just winning. We've made some moves to help better our team and we have a new coaching staff, a new defensive staff. Everybody's just trying to do everything we can to get this organization headed in the right direction. I just think the biggest thing right now is just winning."
(on if this is the best team he's been on going into camp) "I totally agree. Every year since Coach Kubiak has gotten here we've improved every year. Like I said before, the signings we have made the past couple of days have been the biggest that we've had since I've been here."
(on what's in reach of this team) "Well anything is possible. I don't really get caught up into what year I'm in and things like that. My biggest thing is just winning, and I'm going to go out and do everything I can to get this organization to where we want it to be. I'll continue to do that until the day I decide to hang my cleats up. Hopefully we can get that accomplished before that day comes."
(on if having almost the whole starting lineup back is an advantage) "We all know each other. We've been together for a few years. It's not going to be easy. You can always say, 'well hey they've been together' and things like that but at the same time you still have to go out and put the work out on the field, and I know we'll do that once we get out there tomorrow. I think everybody's pumped and ready to go. We know it's not going to happen overnight. We haven't had the practices and stuff we normally do, but guys will be out there working their butts off getting ready for opening day."
WR Jacoby Jones
(on if he's feeling pretty good) "Of course, it's football time. The lockout's over, I'm back around my teammates and everybody's got smiles on their face."
(on if there was any doubt he would be back with the Texans this season) "No doubt one bit. I knew I would get the job done. I had faith in my agent and Rick (Smith) that they would get the deal done and they got it done."
(on if he feels more responsibility to earn the second contract) "I think when you're in the NFL, you feel responsibility, period. It's not about the pay that you get, so when you have a job to do, you have to be responsible for it."
(on the goals he's set for himself this year) "I don't really have personal goals with how many touchdowns or punts I run back. I just want to be able to make that play when they call my name, so we can move forward and win a game."
(on if he's going to be a returner or a receiver) "Of course I'm returning punts. Why wouldn't I do that? That's what I love doing the most. Like I said, whatever they need me to do, if I have to go block a field goal or punt that thing, I'm going to go do it."
(on if he has more confidence since the Texans stayed committed to him) "When they stuck with me when I had my trials and tribulations the first couple years in the league, that shows you what kind of team and what kind of organization this was. I'm going to stay loyal and come back home."
(on the offense going into camp) "We've all been in the locker room. When everybody walked in, they all had big smiles. It seems like they're eager to get on the field, make plays and get that right foot stepped forward."
(on his maturity level now compared to his first year in the league) "Honestly I just hit the age of 27 and I found one gray hair on my head. It's a big step. You see things as you grow up and you learn from your mistakes. That's part of maturing. You mature on the field when you watch guys like Andre (Johnson) and Matt (Schaub) do things consistently and you want to do that too, so you take heed to that."
(on if he's approaching his offseason and preparation differently than he used to) "No, same old Jacoby, just get out there and run as fast as possible. That's my thing. I'm running. That's what I do."
(on if the pieces are in place to be successful this year) "You can just feel that buzz and that atmosphere in the locker room. Those guys are just itching to get on the field. When you got that in place, we're all just coming together like camaraderie."
(on if they have an advantage returning almost every starter) "We do have chemistry. Most of us have been here for the last five or six years. We might have a little head start jump."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on the potential of the defensive backfield) "Well, the guys we have back here and with the additions we have, I think the sky is the limit. They drafted a few guys the last couple of years and those guys obviously have talent and we added two more guys so we are just looking to add more to the puzzle."
(on the perception of the Texans defense) "It was a bad defense but it's nothing that can't be fixed because we definitely have the guys in the room and it's just putting everyone together and on the same page."
(on researching the 3-4) "I didn't really do much brushing up on it because I'm a corner and all of that is pretty much up front, run responsibilities and things like that. My job is to cover first so my main thing was to learn my teammates and getting to know my guys I'm going to communicate with back there."
(on if there are any concerns with learning a new scheme in a short time) "The lockout has all of us in the same boat. Those guys probably had a chance to pick up their playbooks for one day maybe the day the gates were lifted but for the most part we were all back here around the same time."
(on if he talked to WR Andre Johnson) "We were at Fred Bennett's wedding and Dre (Andre Johnson) was there and I was there and I had a conversation with him letting him know that I was a free agent and if things didn't go right in Cincy, my first choice of destination was wanting to be in Houston, Texas and things just happened to fall into order."
(on why Houston was his first choice) "First, it was offense. One of the best offenses in the league, year-in and year-out. Then the defense, you've got All-Pro guys in the front seven and you've got talent in the back so it was just a chance for me to add my talent with those guys and take this thing off running."
(on if Andre Johnson tried to sell him hard) "He's real quiet. He just told me what a great organization it was here and how much I would like it here, the city and fans and that's what you want to be part of in this league."
ILB DeMeco Ryans
(on how it feels to be back) "It feels good. It was a lot of time off, a lot of work put in, in the offseason and it does feel good to be back here at training camp getting ready to play some football."
(on getting a crash course on the new defensive scheme) "We all have to be on the same page so it's good to have these meetings. Trying to learn the scheme, it's a lot we have to learn in a short period of time but there won't be any excuses that we don't know what we're doing. I think we're going to play what we're comfortable with and be good at what we do."
(on where he is physically) "I'm good. I'll get back on the field tomorrow and see what I can do. It's really exciting to finally be cleared and no more going to see a doctor, none of that, just back to my regular workouts, back to throwing a helmet on and running around the football field."
(on having any reservations) "No. I haven't tackled anybody all summer so that'll be something new that I add in there. Other than that, as far as running, shuffling and changing direction, everything's been going good throughout the summer."
(on the additions the last few days) "It's a good feeling. I feel like (Rick Smith) made some good moves and we got some good, quality players in here that can step on the field and help us win, some experienced guys that can help our younger guys and teach them along the way. I feel good about the pickups that we had."
(on what the defense has to do to make up for lost time) "It's going to take a little extra studying for our whole defense to make sure that we're speaking the same terminology and making the right call. It's going to take some getting used to but every training camp you always have a new group of guys. You never have that same group, so it's always a new group and it takes time getting adjusted to that new group. The more and more we work together, the better we'll become."
WR Terrence Toliver
(on how it feels to be playing for the Texans) "It feels great. I'm back at home. I always wanted to be part of the Texans. It was my first choice to come here."
(on if he has anything to prove after going undrafted) "It did. It made me more hungry. I feel like I have a lot to prove. I'm learning from the best, Andre Johnson, and I'm ready to practice tomorrow."
(on what he did during the lockout to stay in shape) "I just went back to LSU to try to get my degree. I worked out with the LSU team and just tried to stay in shape."
(on what tells him he is ready for the NFL) "My preparation. I prepared hard from the start of the Combine to this day. I've been studying the playbook, watching film, learning from Andre Johnson and I think I'll be ready tomorrow."
(on the expectations from the coaches whether he would play receiver or on special teams) "I'm doing both. I help on special teams. I'm a rookie, an undrafted rookie, and I have a lot to prove. I didn't really play much special teams at LSU, but I know I can play. I played it in high school and I know it's different, but I think I can play special teams on this level too."
(on if he really wants to get back to special teams) "I do. I didn't get that opportunity. LSU had a lot of young guys and I was one of the starters, so a majority of the time, the starters don't get on special teams a lot. I'm excited to be here to earn my spot on the roster."
(on if this is an opportunity to establish himself as the player he wants to be) "I think so. Like I said, I'm just learning from the best, Andre Johnson. I don't blame anything on LSU. All that was on me. I'm just going to do what I have to do to get better here and I think I'll be good."
(on if he learned patience at LSU) "I did. That's why I stayed the whole four years. I would've left my junior year. Even though that was the better year, I think I learned more my senior year. It wasn't as good, but I think I learned a lot about maturity and leadership."
T Eric Winston
(on being back in training camp) "It's kind of the first-day-of-school feeling. We're ready to get back to it, everyone has a had a long summer and everyone is excited; getting to see the new guys and meeting them and everything like that I think everyone is excited to get back on the field."
(on if this year's team is better) "We'll see. I think that it matters what we do on the field and that's it. I'm happy that we've made the moves that we have and I think we are a better team overall talent-wise, but at the same time, your record is what it is and we have to go out there and get better everyday starting on Monday and we'll see where it goes from there."
(on if the recertification was complete) "I think that's something we're doing today but I know a lot of the cards have already been sent in so they could move forward. We've already reconstituted and those negotiations are going on."
(on if this offseason drained him) "It was obviously a lot on me and DeMeco's (Ryans) plate but at the same time that's what we signed up for and that's our responsibility. We took it as very important and I think we're very glad that a long-term deal got done for the good of the game, good of the fans, for everybody."
(on if he takes pride in being part of the CBA negotiations) "I won't say I was the catalyst for getting anything done. I was lucky enough to be in on the some of the conversations and know what was going on but at the same time I am proud of what we did. I'm proud of everybody. There were times when it didn't look good, there were times when it was pretty contentious but at the same time I think we were able to put things behind us and get things done that I think is good for both sides. I won't sit here and say the players got everything they wanted but I think the owners would say the same thing. But that's when I think you know you have a pretty fair and balanced deal. We have a 10-year deal so we won't be talking about this for the next decade so that's good for everybody."
(on the continuity of the offense) "I think anytime you know exactly who you are playing next to at any position is good, but at the same time we have to find ways to get better, I think there are still ways to improve. I have to find ways to get better and I think there's plenty of room for that. I'm going to worry about trying to do the little things a lot better, finishing plays and all that to try and help out."
(on the restructured training camp schedule) "Everybody is acting like that's a big shock to us but that's been the way. I would say half the league has already gone to this schedule over the last four or five years since I've been in the league. Everybody is acting like this is some sort of different schedule than what we've been doing; it's not. We are still going to have hard practices like we've always had. We're going to go out in the afternoon and make sure we're getting it right and the rest of the league is going to be kind of on the same schedule. But to act like this is going to be something different than what we've been doing is wrong and I think you guys [the media] already know that from being out here but it takes the fans back when they really look at it."
(on if RB Arian Foster can repeat the kind of season he had) "You never know how things are going to go, and to say if he doesn't get 1,600 yards this year will be disappointing, I think that's wrong you never know how teams are going to play us. If teams are going to come in and load the box and prevent Arian (Foster) from getting 150 or 100 yards a game I expect Matt (Schaub), Andre (Johnson) and Owen (Daniels) to have big years as well so I feel like we've built this offense around a situation where you have to pick your poison, you can't stop everything and I think that's what exciting about playing in this offense. You're always giving yourself a chance for success, you're not going in saying we can't do this or we're not going to have much success. If they decide they want to do a certain defense to stop one player, then there's always going to be other players to step up and make those plays and have the ability to make those plays. I'm not going to look at Arian's year this year, whether he gets 1,600 yards this year or not, as a success or not. I think it depends on the situation he's in and based on what kind of games we're in but I know he's put the work in to have the same kind of year. You look at him and he looks as good as he ever has and I'm looking forward to trying to better that mark."
(on if playing time in preseason will be different) "I don't know, I think that's kind of a question for coach (Gary Kubiak). I think it depends on how we practice if it looks like we need more practice I think we'll be out there more but I'm sure he'll be able to take a look at that and say we need to do a few more series than we have in the past but I think that's going to be determined by what kind of practice we're having."
(on the impact of not having some workouts) "In my opinion, not much. I'll be surprised if any. You could make the argument that guys are fresher and that guys are more ready to go but I think the rookies are a little bit behind the eight ball. They didn't have a chance to have OTA's and some of this so they're going to have to learn a little bit more quickly but I feel by week one there won't be any drop-off in play there's not going to be any difference than any other years in week one."
QB T.J. Yates
(on finally getting going tomorrow) "I'm excited. I'm very excited. It's been a long time since I've been out there on a football field with a team and practice and going through drills and throwing to receivers live. I'm excited to get out there."
(on his expectations for his first camp) "Just try to go in there and learn the playbook as fast as possible, try not to make too many mistakes and try to learn from the guys in front of me. I have a great opportunity to learn from one of the best quarterbacks in the league and I'm going to try to do as much as I can."
(on if the difficulties his North Carolina team experienced helped his leadership) "Absolutely. Going through the things we did as a team last year at North Carolina was very hard on us and it took a lot for the leaders on the team to be able to rise up and kind of take everybody under their wing and just become a better team. I think it's made me a better player."
(on if this is a perfect situation for him) "Absolutely. I was extremely excited when I got drafted here. Not only for the reasons that you said but this offense is very similar to the one I ran in college. I think that's going to make the transition a lot easier."
(on how to make up missed reps from OTAs) "Every rep that all the other quarterbacks take you have to take as well in your head. I have to be right there in the huddle with some of the play calls and just go through it in your mind. And you can never get enough film. I've been in that film room pretty much non-stop since I got here trying to get as many mental reps as possible so when I get on to that field I'll be prepared."