The Texans reported to Reliant Stadium on Monday for the start of the team's voluntary offseason workout program. Here is a transcript of several players' interviews with the media:
TE Owen Daniels
TE Garrett Graham
LB Bradie James
CB Johnathan Joseph
SS Glover Quin
QB Matt Schaub
TE Owen Daniels
(on starting offseason workouts) "I think there is more excitement around here than there ever has been going into an offseason program. Obviously, after the year we had, everyone's fired up to get started and continue on that path. So, a lot of smiling faces in the building right now."
(on the offseason changes with the Texans) "I think, as a player, that's just part of the business. I think we've been lucky that it hasn't happened more so in previous years. Obviously, I wish all those guys the best but we still got a lot of good players here and a lot of guys that contributed and a lot of up-and-coming guys that we're excited about. I try to focus not necessarily more on who's gone; you have to give them credit for helping and contributing to get us where we got to, but a lot of the guys here have been working hard to continue that process. We're really excited about that."
(on some of players lost to free agency or trades being instrumental in getting the team to where it is now) "No question. We've had coaches along the way that aren't here anymore; players along the way that aren't here anymore that contributed and been here since Kub (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) got here in '06. But that's just the nature of the beast. That's the way things go. New players come in. I think we have a really good nucleus of guys still around here and a lot of big-time players that are just going to take this thing to the next level. Yeah, obviously you've got to give those guys credit. We'll remember those guys and they're still our friends and hopefully they do well on their new teams. But we're excited of everything we have here. "
(on being the last remaining member of the Texans' 2006 draft class) "If you would have asked me, 'Do you think you'll be that last one?' I would have said 'No way.' But here we are. I think we were lucky to be able to play together as long as we did. You don't get that a lot, guys playing six years together and doing as much as we did to help a franchise. Usually college is as long a span you'll spend with friends and teammates. We had a good run and looking forward to some better years here."
(on the loss of TE Joel Dreessen and what TE Garrett Graham can do) "You guys know Joel (Dreessen) did everything around here; became one of the leaders of our team. You can't say enough about what he did. He gets to go home and play for another good franchise. I know he was torn up about the decision he had to make. I think he did what's best for him. Obviously, a guy's got to do that. Garrett (Graham), I think he's really chomping at the bit to get a real opportunity and get out there and play a lot. We use multiple tight ends a whole bunch. Garrett's going to get his chance to get out there and show what he's about and show that he can be a contributor more than he has been. I think he's excited about that opportunity."
(on what impresses him about TE Garrett Graham) "I think he's more of an athletic guy than people think. He's got better wheels than people think and he's a really, really tough kid. I'm biased saying he's tough because he went to Wisconsin, but those type of players come out of there and we've got three really good ones on this team right now and Garrett's no exception. He's been kind of waiting in the wings, playing his role the last couple years, getting better preparing the defense, so now he gets his chance to hopefully get out and contribute a bunch more."
(on being able to work out at the Texans' facilities in the offseason this year compared to last year when they couldn't) "I think this year will be a lot smoother. We'll be able to obviously have the guys around, build that continuity within in our team. As many guys as we had together last year, we'll be able to have the whole team around this year, working together from day one. That's going to go a long way, I think, for us and our preparation for the season."
(on why former University of Wisconsin players make such a smooth transition into the NFL) "I think playing in the Big Ten Conference, you want to say there are other conferences that are better or more talented, but we're grinders up there and we're guys that are going to last just because we play mostly pro-style football up there. That's the type of offense we ran at Wisconsin, the type of coaching staff and the leadership that we had. I played under coach (Barry) Alvarez. J.J. (Watt) and Garrett (Graham) played (under Wisconsin head coach Brett Bielema). Garrett played under Alvarez and Bielema and they just expect a lot out of their players. They're going to work every day and that's what you've got to carry over to the NFL to be successful. Shout out to UW for that."
(on what he envisions the offense being with QB Matt Schaub being healthy) "Yeah, we're excited to get eight (Matt Schaub) back under center. We did a lot of good stuff last year even without Matt. T.J. (Yates) did an excellent job coming in. I think we didn't want to put too much pressure on T.J., so we ran the ball a little bit more. I think that is going to pay off huge for us, being able to have Arian (Foster) and Ben (Tate) back there, as that type of combination. To have the run game that we established last year and then hopefully we can get back to putting up the numbers, stats that we did in past years throwing the ball, it's going to be pretty exciting for us. I think we're looking forward to getting going."
TE Garrett Graham
(on how it feels knowing that his role with the team will increase) "It feels good. I'm looking forward to proving myself on this team and just getting an opportunity to go out there and show what I can do."
(on what it means to him that teammates QB Matt Schaub and TE Owen Daniels each voiced their confidence in him) "It means a lot, and I'm just going to try and go out there and earn the respect of the rest of my team and just try and do my best."
(on his initial thoughts when TE Joel Dreessen signed with Denver) "I felt like it was an opportunity to step up and show what I can do [and] compete for the spot. That's about it."
(on whether he has a different mindset this offseason, knowing that his role is likely to grow) "I'd say so, definitely. (TE) Joel (Dreessen) did a lot for our team. He's a great tight end, so I'm expecting to work my hardest and contribute and show what I can do in camp."
(on what he's learned since he joined the team in 2010) "How to handle yourself as a pro, not only in practice, but in the season each day: getting in early, doing the study in film, and going out there and working."
(on whether he feels more pressure now that he has an opportunity for more playing time) "I don't think so. I've always had high standards for myself and put a lot of pressure on myself, so I'm just going to go into it like I would normally and work as hard as I can."
(on his current weight) "I was 242 (pounds) today."
(on where he wants his weight to be when the season starts) "Around 245, give or take a couple pounds."
(on if he feels like he needs to be bigger and stronger to take on a bigger role) "A little bit. You always want to get bigger and stronger and faster, so I'm going to do my best to do that."
(on having a full offseason with the team this year as opposed to last year) "It's great. It's great to finally get an offseason in with (Strength & Conditioning Coach) Cedric (Smith). I've been in here all the time working with him since we were allowed to this year, and I'm looking forward to just building camaraderie with the team and everything, so it'll be good."
(on why Wisconsin players all seem to be able to make a smooth transition to the NFL each year) "Offensively, I'd say (Wisconsin Offensive Coordinator) Paul Chryst's offense really helps you out. It's a pro-style offense and it's an easy transition. But just Wisconsin in general, it's a bunch of guys that work hard, you know what you're going to get from them every day, and they go out there and give their best."
LB Bradie James
(on signing with the Texans) "It feels great to be here. Being reunited with Wade (Phillips) is great, and Reggie (Herring). This is a great team. As I've been told on Twitter, this is the best team in Texas. The opportunity is here for us to do some great things. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
(on how defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and linebackers coach Reggie Herring being here influenced his decision) "It was a big influence because I'm very familiar with them, very familiar with the scheme. It's good to know guys. Being in one place for nine years in today's game is kind of unheard of. To leave, and go somewhere where you still have some familiar faces, is awesome. It does play a big part in your decision."
(on Texans players reaching out to him since his signing) "It's been great. A lot of people have reached out to me. J.J. Watt, (Matt) Schaub, I just saw (Arian) Foster a minute ago, all of the LBs. When Cush (Brian Cushing) called me this weekend, that was big. It is a testament to the cohesion here and that's how you have team camaraderie."
(on what he brings to this defense) "Just experience and productivity, that's what I plan to bring. My job is coming out here and helping everybody take it to another level and we'll do it together."
(on why he has thrived in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' defense) "I don't know. Mainly because I was playing but really it's just an understanding. I went through a tough time with Wade (Phillips) when he first came to Dallas. I didn't know any of his terminology and I had to study a lot. I was coming from a Bill Parcells 3-4, which was totally different from what Wade runs. I was about 260 (pounds) at that time, and when Wade came in and he saw me, he was like, 'Oooh, you're too big.' I had to change some things up and get to know his personality because Wade's personality was totally different from what I was used to. It's totally different now, leaving a different situation and coming to Wade. It feels like I just have that experience and we have some kind of rapport."
(on what his playing weight is now) "That was six years ago. Right now, it doesn't matter what I play at. You just go get the guy with the ball. That's all that matters."
(on what makes him a good fit in this defensive scheme) "Just studying. That's a tough question to answer because when you're out there and you have the experience where you can go out there and play, Wade lets you be very reckless and relentless. It's not too complex to where you can't figure out certain things. He lets you use whatever your talents are and take that to another level."
(on how impressed he was with what the Texans defense was able to accomplish last season) "Very impressive. I think they ended up being the number two defense in the league. Hey, that's a tall order. The NFL is so tough. It's tough to just win, let alone be ranked in the top tier of anything. These guys are very relentless, they work hard. Just watching them on film, you can tell that effort makes up for a lot of things. We all had a short offseason to get ready for the season last year with the lockout. Those guys, they handled it real well and Wade (Phillips) stepped in and brought in his stamp on things. Reggie Herring, he's a guy that compliments Wade. Wade is kind of laid back, but not too laid back. If you want to get Wade riled up, miss an assignment and he'll get after you. Reggie is the guy that is a spit on the side of your face type of guy. He's just on you like an old nagging woman, but they complement each other. You can just tell how the guys rallied around those two last year and there is talent all over the field out here. Like I said, just watching them on film a couple days ago, it was impressive."
(on if it was tough to leave the Cowboys) "They call it the business of the game now. We're not in high school and we're not in college. You have to be a big boy about certain decisions that are made. I enjoyed my time as a Cowboy and for me, it's time to turn the page to my next chapter and I want to go out with a bang. This is the best opportunity, the best team that gives me that chance."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on the offseason changes to the roster) "Obviously, that's part of football. Each offseason, every team looks different each and every year. That's part of the adjustment you have to make on the run. With us, we have a number of guys who are capable of stepping up and now have the opportunity. For us, we just have to look forward and move forward."
(on the defense returning mostly everyone and expectations moving forward) "That's part of the NFL. Once they figure you out and find out about you, the next year you have to go out and prove yourself over and over again. So for us, it's going to be an even bigger task just going out and proving that last year wasn't a fluke. It wasn't just a first-time thing. For us, it will be a challenge for us to gel even tighter and go out there and show everyone that we can do it in back-to-back seasons."
(on having an offseason to work with his teammates and coaches unlike last year) "I'm ecstatic just to be here with the guys and walking in with them this morning. The offseason felt pretty short, but for me, it also seemed like a long time since I have seen a lot of the guys since December and January. It will be a good feeling just to get back going."
(on what he's going to learn and benefit from having an offseason) "Just picking up on everything overall. You can always get better at anything and everything. For me, it's just going back and grading myself last year and the overall defense itself and just seeing what ways I can help improve myself and this team."
(on what the team has to do to overcome a loss like DeMeco Ryans) "Obviously, DeMeco (Ryans) has been a great player for this organization. As a guy that's been a leader in this community and a leader on this team, it's hard to replace a guy like that. It's hard to put a value on a guy like that. In this business, it happens like that sometimes. You have to learn to get over it. I think we have enough guys here that are strong enough and can step up and make the plays. I think guys like myself, (Brian) Cushing, Antonio Smith, a number of guys just need to step up and be leaders as well."
(on what the defense can get better at this year) "That's still to be determined because obviously, we haven't had time to go over it and watch film, break things down, look at things at close detail, see where we made mistakes at last year and where we can make improvement. Over the next few weeks, I'm sure we'll see areas where we can improve."
(on how a full offseason will help to reduce the number of injuries from around the league) "Yeah, that's part of the thing when you have a short offseason because you don't have a feel on where guys are physically. To come in and have a full offseason, they can kind of gauge guys and see where they're at physically and move them forward so you can hopefully prevent some of those injures."
(on LB Darryl Sharpton stepping in and playing a significant role) "Before Sharp (Darryl Sharpton) got hurt last year, he played great. He was one of those guys that when I first walked in here last year, before I even knew anyone, that popped out to me as a playmaker. It's a great opportunity for him as well and I'm sure he's excited. This team knows what he's capable of. He just needs to go out and prove himself and I'm sure he will."
(on going against quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Matt Stafford and Tom Brady this league) "It's a passing league now, so you can't stop those numbers nowadays. Guys are putting up big numbers. Overall as a team, it's a collective team effort. It comes with the front seven, like it was last year, nothing has changed. Us in the backend, we have to hold up as well. Facing those guys, it will be a challenged, but I'm sure we have guys on this team that are looking forward to it and stepping up."
SS Glover Quin
(on having a full offseason schedule this year as opposed to last year) "I'm excited to be back. We had a nice little break, but I'm excited to be back with the guys, with the team, and starting our journey for next year. I think it'll be good, getting a chance to go through the offseason. Last year, we were locked out and when we came back, it was straight into camp and so we were still learning the defense as we were going through the season. So I think getting a chance to have an offseason and work with the guys, work with the coaches and dive more into our playbook and more into our looks and things like that, I think we'll benefit from it."
(on how the continuity in the secondary from last year to this year can help the unit improve) "I think that's a big thing. I think we lost J-Allen (CB Jason Allen), and so for the most part we've got most of our guys back, so we'll just try to continue and pick up where we left off last year. Last year, I think we finished number two or three in pass defense, but having an offseason and getting a chance to work with the guys and learn each other more and learn how to work with each other more, I think we can be better next year, so we're excited to get back. I think everybody's excited. We've been gone for a while and now we get to come back and be with our friends and work hard every day, so it's fun."
(on the defense knowing they're good this year as opposed to the uncertainty going into last season) "I guess it's going to be a little different. Like you said, people know who we are now, they know we were a top defense last year, so they're going to be gunning for us, they're going to be expecting it, so we've just got to go out each and every week and step up to the challenge, meet the challenge, and execute our game plan each and every week and do what we've been doing."
(on what it says about the Texans that so many players showed up for voluntary workouts today) "It says a lot. It says a lot about the organization, about the coaches, and about the players that we have on this team. It's an environment that people want to come to. People want to come work. It's a brotherhood and you don't want to feel like you're letting your brother down by not showing up, so everybody wants to come in, everybody wants to work. Everybody's excited, and so we're looking forward to having a good offseason."
(on how much last season's success motivates the team to work harder this offseason) "I think getting to where we got to last year, making it to the second round of the playoffs, it was a good experience. I think a lot of guys are taking that experience and want to go to the next level, want to keep going. To end the season like that, knowing what we could have done and knowing how it ended up, I think it just makes you hungrier and you get excited to come back and work. You know to get past that step, you've got to work even harder; you've got to do even more; you've got to dedicate and commit more to the team and to this defense and offense. So I think guys are ready to work and we're going to come in and do what we've got to do this offseason to be prepared to go and take that next step."
(on how he felt CB Kareem Jackson played last year and his expectations for Jackson this season) "I think Kareem played excellent last year. He went from being a rookie being thrown in the fire and he didn't even have an offseason and came back under new coaches, a new system, and he played well. He made a great leap from year one to year two, and so having the continuity of the same players, the same coaches, the same system going into year three for him, it's going to be big. He's going to have a good year. I think he's going to make another great leap and he's going to help our defense a whole lot more."
(on which players he expects to fill CB Jason Allen's role this year) "We've got several guys capable in the secondary. I mean, (CB) Brice McCain had a great year playing the nickel last year and I think he can step up and be a good corner. We've got (CB) Sherrick (McManis), we've got (CB) Brandon Harris that we drafted, so I think it's going to be a committee thing. We're going to go out and we're going to play and we're going to let the coaches decide who's the guy to take that spot and fall in and everybody get their role and we'll go with that."
(on if he's excited about facing quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford this year) "I'm excited to go against all of the good quarterbacks. That's one of the fun parts of the season, when you get the schedule, you look and say, 'Alright, we get to go against this guy, this guy, this guy, and we've got to go against this receiver and this running back.' It's fun. You want to play against the best guys in the League; and Brady and Rodgers and some of the other good quarterbacks we have on our schedule, it's going to be fun. We've got a real good schedule in front of us this year and we're excited for it."
(on the difference between this offseason and last year's with the defense in its second year and him being in his second year at safety) "I feel a lot better. Last year at this time, I was kind of in an unknown spot. I didn't know if I was going to be a corner, I didn't know if I was going to be a safety because we couldn't have contact (with the coaches) and nothing was kind of set in stone before we left, so I was kind of in that no man's land. But having this whole offseason to know, I'm going into my second year as a safety, second year with this defense and just thinking about all the experience and things I learned from last season, how I can improve and get better this year, it's exciting this year - knowing that we have a good time to work together and compete and get better and be ready to move forward and take a huge step in training camp and get ready for the season. I think everybody's excited just having the chance to have the same defense and be able to get better in the scheme."
(on QB Peyton Manning signing with Denver) "He made a decision and that's where he wanted to play. I'm glad to see him back out there. As a player, you always want to leave the game on your terms, I guess, and so I would hate to see him have to leave the game from an injury like that, not when he wanted to leave. So I'm excited to see him play. He's another great quarterback that's on our schedule this year that we're going to be excited to go against and try to make some plays against. So it'll be fun. I'm sure he's excited to be in Denver. He had a great career with the Colts, and I'm pretty sure he wanted to finish his career there, but some things don't work out the way you want it to, but I'm happy for him."
QB Matt Schaub
(on how good Houston's offense can be when he's healthy and has the personnel around him) "I think we've kept a lot of our weapons in place. I think we've shown over the years that we can be a pretty good offense and move the football, put some points on the board, and as long as we eliminate penalties and mistakes and turnovers, we're hard to stop. We're looking forward to continuing that trend this year."
(on coming to the facility and not seeing some of the more players that had been here in years past) "It's the harsh reality of this business when you lose some players, whether in free agency or trades, but it is part of the business. We have a spectacular core-nucleus of guys taking our back and looking forward to climbing the ladder and taking the next step. But we're excited to be here and excited to get going with workouts and the offseason. It goes by pretty quick each year when we're back out here but we're excited and eager to get going."
(on being able to work out at the Texans' facilities in the offseason this year compared to last year when they couldn't) "Yeah, it's refreshing compared to last year where we were just looking for places to work out and working out over at Rice and doing our football stuff. To be here with the coaches, with the strength coaches and doing our work here, where we actually work, it's nice to have that familiarity."
(on how rehab is going on his foot) "Great. We're just moving forward. I had a procedure last week, getting hardware taken out, which is customary for this thing, so just let the incisions heal up and move forward."
(on how he would label his rehabilitation) "I'm right on schedule because where the hardware removal takes place in this procedure is right where we are and so from here, we just move forward and just keep going. But we have a lot of time left to get ready and there's no doubt I will be ready."
(on how much he pays attention to the NFL Draft and what's going on) "I'm not sitting there for three straight days watching every pick every team makes but I definitely keep on tack with what we're doing and especially other teams in our division to see what's going on. To sit there for three days, that's a lot of TV to watch when you've got other responsibilities."
(on the players who will be stepping up on the offensive line with all the moves made this offseason) "Very confident in what they can do. They are guys that have played for us and played in this system and played in this League, so they have experience. Looking forward to just getting them out there and getting a more integral role in what we are doing. I'm sure we'll just add some depth at certain positions, but very confident at what we can do with Antoine (Caldwell) and Rashad (Butler)."
(on TE Garrett Graham) "Garrett's (Graham) very versatile. You have to be to be a tight end in our system, so I'm excited. Just watching him for two years, what he can do and his skill set, I think it suits what we do as an offense really well. I'm very comfortable working with him and throwing to him. I understand his route-running just from working with him for two years now. I have a lot of confidence in Garrett."
(on when he feels he'll be 100 percent) "I mean, sitting here on April 16, it's hard for me to say when I will be. I mean, after the screws came out this past week, it's hard for me to tell you a certain date or June or something like that. All I know is come time for training camp, I'm going to be 100 percent ready to go and that's all that really matters, in my mind.