Head Coach Gary Kubiak**
WR DeAndre Hopkins
QB Matt Schaub
S D.J. SwearingerMorning practice:
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on if there were any injuries in practice) "We had a couple of guys nicked up today. (OLB) Whitney (Mercilus) got a little hamstring strain that we don't think is serious, so we've got to evaluate him. (DE) Delano Johnson had a little groin strain, so we'll evaluate him this afternoon, but it was good. It was a hot day out there today. We were down a lot of bodies out there today. I gave some older guys a break, so really down some bodies, but I thought the young guys really stepped up and did some good things in practice. Now, we're to the point where we'll be out there full-time."
(on TE Garrett Graham's status) "He's fine. It's just a process when you go through something like that. He's back with the team. He rode the bike a little bit today. He's holding his food down. He's on his way back. He went through a lot. I'm hoping mid-week, end of the week, Garrett's out here with the team. We'll make sure he's back right."
(on if he can talk about the potential of signing LB Joe Mays) "Obviously, you all know we're talking to him. He's out there. He's free and we've got some things going on with our team that we think he might be interested in as a player from an opportunity (standpoint). (General Manager) Rick (Smith) has visited with him and (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) has visited with him. I'm not sure what his timetable is, but obviously we're always trying to get better with our team."
(on the players being in full pads today and if he feels like they were flying around) "It's a little bit different. Even though when you put the pads on their legs and plus the league has changed some rules with some of the things they have to wear on their legs. We've got to get these guys used to it, but I think the biggest thing this morning is we were down a lot of bodies. (We) put a lot of reps on a lot of people, but we pushed through it and just have got to continue to do that."
(on if he sees a difference in the way players are playing who aren't used to the leg pads) "I think it's going to be different for them. I don't see a difference once it's time to play, but the biggest thing they have to do is get settled with what they're going to wear and make sure it is legal, so that (Director of Equipment Services) Jay (Brunetti), our equipment guy, has them ready to go on game day. It's just something that we know is going to be very much enforced and players have got to handle it."
(on what's going on with ILB Darryl Sharpton and if he's getting closer to returning to practice) "Yeah, we actually gave Darryl an injection yesterday. He's feeling much better. What's today? Monday. I'm thinking probably around Wednesday we've got to make a decision on the path for him. Right now, obviously it's a setback. It's a disappointment for Darryl and for us, but we've got to give him every chance to get back onto the field. He had a great offseason. He was excellent, so hopefully we can get him back there."
(on if it's a groin issue for ILB Darryl Sharpton) "Yeah, he just had a sore groin going on and had some swelling, so we started from day one. We couldn't just throw him out here. We had to start the rehab process over again."
(on how RTs Derek Newton and Brennan Williams looked today) "Well, Newton is almost a full-time participant right now (and) did some really good stuff today. Williams is about a part-time participant. I think they're both doing some good things. I think Newton's acting like he's been around a few years now and that's what I notice. Obviously, Williams is a younger kid that we've got to get to where he's a full participant and see what he's got."
(on how OLB Willie Jefferson looks) "Willie's gone from fifth-team to first-team in about a month-and-a-half. So Willie's come a long way. I just told the team what an opportunity for him. He's got the length. He's got the ability. He's got two coaches that do wonders with linebackers, so we'll see what happens."
(on people saying T David Quessenberry slipped because of the length of his arms and how much stock this team takes into things like that) "I don't think it was as much that as it was some people were worried about his size. He was tight end. How much weight could he handle? Could he keep it on? I think people were a little bit worried about that, but boy has he been a nice find, so hopefully we keep going. We'll keep our fingers crossed. He's doing a lot. He's playing left guard, left tackle and everywhere."
(on defending the read-option and playing more teams that employ that scheme this season) "We always do things or put things in that we may not necessarily do because we have to do it to prepare for other teams. It is something that we're going to teach here in a couple of days as part of our progression, so that we can get our defense ready to do that. That doesn't mean we're going to be a read-option team. We've got to go with what we have strength-wise as a team, but you're always teaching things. (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) has to run some defensive schemes so that we can get ready offensively. We have to do the same thing as them offensively to get Wade and them ready. It's all part of the grand scheme and obviously it's a big part of football right now."
(on more and more fans going to away games and how the team responds to that) "First off, it's impressive. I know, since I've been here, there's nothing better than getting off your bus at a hotel and seeing Texans hats and jerseys and fans and following us. It means a lot to us. You win a road game and they're sitting there hanging out in the tunnel. That's impressive. We've come a long way. Our fans have been excellent. Yes, it does mean a great deal to the team."
(on if there is any one guy who has stood out to him that was not drafted) "I don't know that I could say that right now. (OLB) Willie (Jefferson) has done some really good stuff. His name came up earlier. We've got so far to go so, yeah, it would be hard to throw one guy out there."
WR DeAndre Hopkins
(on what has surprised him the most about training camp so far) "I would probably say the intensity level of everybody out here, the coaches and the players. The vets, they put pressure on the young guys to perform out here. It's the first couple days of practice, but they still expect you to be at your best."
(on if he's still a wide-eyed rookie) "I wouldn't say I'm so much wide-eyed as I was coming in the first couple of days. I felt like I've improved in my playbook and I'm paying attention to details."
(on what has been the biggest difference for him so far) "Not really too much. It's kind of what I thought it would be, but I would probably just say how everybody is just a professional on and off the field. Guys take care of business off the field as well as on the field."
(on what player is different than he thought he would be like) "I would probably say (DE) J.J. Watt. I kind of thought he would be loud, a very talkative guy, but he's not. He's very calm, laid back guy. He just goes out there and gets his job done."
(on if he's been assigned to carry anybody's pads yet) "(WR) Andre Johnson. Yeah, I've been carrying his pads off the field for him."
(on what WR Andre Johnson has said to him) "He really doesn't say too much to me, but he gives me that look sometimes when I do something wrong. I kind of know I didn't do my assignment. He just kind of gives me that look like, 'You could have did better.'"
(on if he feels bad when WR Andre Johnson gives him a look) "Yeah, always because I expect to do my best every play."
QB Matt Schaub
(on LT Duane Brown saying the team got lazy at the end of last season) "I don't know about lazy. I don't like that term, but I can see where he's coming from with that. We gotta fight through that. We put ourselves in that position for the first time and to use that as a building block going forward. Knowing how to handle that part of the season in the situation we were in, we will be better now going forward. We've moved on past it, we learned from it, we've talked about it over the offseason. We're ready to get right back in that position and do better."
(on using RB Arian Foster in the passing game) "Well, he is one of our weapons. I mean, it's hard to script certain plays and put certain plays in for your running back to catch the ball, but you want to be able to get the ball down field to your playmakers down the field. If you have to check it down underneath or come down to your secondary options like a back or tight end, you know that he can make a play for you. He has shown over his career that he can do that and so he's definitely one of our weapons. When we get one-on-one matchups and we can take advantage of it, we definitely want to take advantage of those things."
(on WR DeAndre Hopkins) "He's looking good, he's learning. He's getting a ton of reps and a ton of opportunities in both the run and the pass and understanding the certain adjustments that our defense presents. How he runs routes, how he gets open, how certain guys play leverage on certain routes. He is learning and he's getting opportunities. You can see that and he's really progressed well."
(on WR Andre Johnson not getting enough looks in the red zone) "Oh yeah, absolutely. When you have a guy like that, you want to get him the ball as much as you can. When you get down there, there is less field to defend and teams try to take him away because obviously he is such a great player. When you get a corner and a safety over there matched up on him and there's not as much field to defend, it's tough to get the ball into him so you gotta look at your tight ends, your backs, your other receivers and have them make plays. When they start making more plays which they have in the past then you get the one-on-one coverage's and you can get him the ball. It's also predicated on what the defense is doing to what we are trying to get done, so you gotta take what they give you and make plays from there."
(on the coverage of WR Andre Johnson in the red zone) "Oh, absolutely. It's not like we are trying to get Andre the ball the whole field and then when we get inside the 20 or the 15, now you know Andre, you're not going to get the ball.' It's not like that at all. He's our top weapon and we try to get him the ball as much as we can."
(on CB Kareem Jackson's improvement) "Kareem has made such huge strides over the years and I think going into last year was the biggest jump he's made. I think being comfortable in (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) System and what they are asking him to do with the other DB's around him and how they work together in certain coverage's. I think Kareem is such a smart player and you can see him really come into his own last year to start the season and throughout. It's just been great to watch that happen when he's been matched up with J-Jo (CB Johnathan Joseph) on the other side."
(on LT Duane Brown being one of the best in the game) "Absolutely. To go back to 2008 when he first came in the door, we plugged him right in. That's a tall order for a rookie to come in and play the left tackle position in the league, especially in our division with the pass rushers that we face. That year, the pass rushers we faced going into the season. Going to Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, so it really made him progress quickly. To see him where he is now where he just locks people down and you never even have to think twice about that side of the ball is just a great feeling for a quarterback."
(on possibly signing LB Joe Mays after the illegal hit last season) "We're way past that. That was gone as soon as we walked off the field that day. It's just a physical, hard-nosed game and he's a physical player. It's just part of football and I don't fault him for that. We're way past that, so he's a good player and a good guy. It's definitely water under the bridge."
(on expectations for WR DeAndre Hopkins) "Our expectations are through the roof for him coming in. He's going to get a ton of opportunities. We put him in there right from day one and playing opposite Dre (WR Andre Johnson) he is going to get plenty of one-on-one coverage and chances to get the football. We're going to get him the football and were going to get him a chance to make plays with it in his hands and he's going to do that. Big, physical, fast receiver and I'm excited to watch him get through camp here, get towards the end and get in the preseason games to see what he can do against other guys."
(on what he likes about WR DeAndre Hopkins) "Just how he has been all ears. A rookie comes in and you just want him to listen, learn, and observe as much information as he can and work at it. When you ask him to do more, he's willing to come out and get extra reps and catch extra balls so we can understand route adjustments and how certain things change when you think you have a certain coverage. His willingness to get better and do anything to help improve himself and help the team is what you want out of him."
(on the right tackle spot) "Whoever is in there, we are excited about. Newt (RT Derek Newton) really stepped up last year with no experience and getting put in there with the amount of playing time he had against the players that he played against. He really stepped up and played well. Him coming into this year means and he's that much more seasoned and ready to go. I'm definitely excited to have him in there. Brennan (Williams) we like him coming in as a rookie and finally have him out on the field to see what he can do and get better. The way you get better in this league is to get reps and get in there in the fire. He's coming along."
(on having full pads on) "It's always a difference. Yesterday we had the shoulder pads on, which there is not much difference for us the way we practice between full pads and just shoulder pads. You can see an edge to people. The banging around, the thudding up. You get excited; you get anxious cause that's football. You don't play football without pads on."
(on the thigh pads) "They are different. I have always had thigh pads, but they are just a different style. I don't know. I didn't measure them but they're thinner. I'll go compare them when I get in the locker room, but I just wear what they give me and we just go play."
(on QB T.J. Yates) "Now that he is going into his third year, that's when you really make a lot more progress. He got thrown in the fire his first year and did a very good job for us. Now he knows the system, he knows those subtle nuances that go into making this offense work. It's exciting to watch him run his huddle and go about his business because he's got a lot of young guys in his group as well."
(on WR Andre Johnson saying his window is closing) "We definitely have all the pieces there and it's our job to play 16 consecutive consistently good games to put ourselves in a position to win a championship. That's where we are at and we've got everybody in that locker room on board. Every piece of the puzzle is there, so we got to go out there and execute and do it consistently the whole season. That's the nature of this league and when you get to a certain point. As you get older, the amount of years you are going to play gets smaller and smaller but you try not to think about that. It's a reality and so we've got to go and play."
(on RB Arian Foster's injury concern) "Not at all. We don't play until September 9th or whatever it is, so we'll be ready when we get there. Arian's going to be fine. He's a tough guy and the trainers do a great job, so when he's ready to get back in there he will be out there."
(on picking FS Ed Reed's brain) "Yeah we always talk with Ed. He's coming in here with all his experience and all his years up in Baltimore. Now, he's coming down here and getting put into Wade's (Phillips) system. I'm sure his experience will help that side of the football and as we get going through camp, we are only a handful of days in, but there will be plenty of time for that."
S D.J. Swearinger
(on joining the Houston Texans) "They've had great seasons. This is one of the three teams that I said I wanted to join so it was a blessing that I got that phone call."
(on who the other teams are that he wanted to join) "It was the Ravens and the Seahawks. I mean, not the Seahawks, but Jacksonville. I like the coach down in Jacksonville. The Ravens, you know, to follow the footsteps of my idol (Baltimore Ravens ILB) Ray Lewis and (FS) Ed (Reed) so those were just the team that I threw out there."
(on if FS Ed Reed was a reason he wanted to come to the Texans) "Yeah sir it was. It was for a while and that sort of boosted my reason to come. It was one of the three teams but it sort of boosted that a little bit."
(on what FS Ed Reed has talked to him about having success) "Just being a pro about everything, on the field and off the field. Learning the full defense, it will help you a lot as safety because we are the quarterbacks on the defense. Off the field, you have to handle yourself as a pro no matter what, all eyes on you."
(on how playing under Steve Spurrier at South Carolina got him prepared for the NFL) "It helped me a lot. In college I played every position in the back end so it helped me a whole lot. Coach Spurrier threw a lot of things at us and I guarded (receivers) in the slot too so it helped me a whole lot. Just a lot of different looks from coach Spurrier and me playing a lot of different positions helped me with the game mentally over all."
(on what aspect of his game helps him catch the coaches eye) "I'd say my smarts. And my versatility. My instincts and just my ability to affect others around me. I'm a livewire on the field and I just like to have fun out there on the field."
(on if he'd rather be playing around the line of scrimmage on the ball or playing deep on players) "I could play anything. I'm down in there in the box, I'll be able to make plays on the ball. I go out on a lot of tight ends and the running backs come in so I can force turnovers with the running backs. So, No matter where I'm at I'm going to be able to make plays regardless."
(on where his work ethic came from) "I guess ever since I was little, my parents installed in me hard work beats talent when talent isn't working hard. You have to work hard for everything you get in this life on the field and off the field so that's sort of where it comes from."
(on having on full pads and being charged up) "Most definitely, any time I wake up able to play football, it's a blessing. I love this game. I'm passionate for this game and any time, like I said, when I can put these pads on and go at it it's a blessing. I love it."
(on what he thinks about other people talking a lot about him) "I guess I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. You can't listen to what other people are talking about whether it's good or bad. You got to wake up every day, put your work hat on and go to work."
(on what he is supposed to be doing) "It's just doing what I got to do. Learning. Learning the playbook every day. Going hard on my reps. Taking advantage of every opportunity that I get and just making plays."
(on studying a lot of film) "Most definitely, and that's something that I've been doing since high school, college and the more you know about this game whether its offense, defense or special teams, I think the better overall player you'll be."
(on what it means to him to have Ed Reed on the team) "It means a lot. You know it's a blessing to have one of your idols that you looked up to growing up. He talks to me every day about regular life and on the field stuff and I take it in every day and I appreciate it."
(on if Kareem Jackson has had an effect on him) "Yeah, Kareem talks to me a lot. He's the locker sort of right next to me so we vibe together and we talk a lot too. He's a cool guy. I steal a lot of stuff from him too."
(on what surprised him most about Ed Reed) "You know, he's a guy that loves to have fun. He likes to jokes around, sort of like myself. I like to joke around and have fun. It's something that sort of shocked me a little bit that he's always having fun, always smiling, always willing to give advice to anybody and I appreciate it."
(on any examples about Ed Reed joking around) "Just that he's always laughing. He'll come in the meeting room and blurt out a word. Or anytime somebody's talking he'll just say a little joke on the side and everybody will bust out laughing or something like that but he's a fun guy and fun to be around."
(on expecting Ed Reed to be more serious) "I wouldn't say that, I just didn't expect it. You know, I'm a fun guy who always jokes around too, so it's funny when I see that."
(on being loud and vocal) "I've always been a loud guy. I like to lead by example first. Earn my respect first by my play, and once I get comfortable, I like to be myself. I'm a vocal guy that likes to have fun and that's something that drives them."
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
OLB Willie Jefferson
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on what he thinks about getting LB Joe Mays) "Well, they're still working on that right now, so it's not finalized yet."
(on his thoughts on LB Joe Mays) "If it happens, yeah, we're very interested in him. He can help our football team. There's a great opportunity. (General Manager) Rick (Smith) and them are still working on it and hopefully we can get it done."
(on what he likes about LB Joe Mays) "(He's) very athletic (and has) played a lot of football. Excellent man-coverage type guy, which we play a lot of and we have a need right now for some experience in this league to come in here. So if we get it done, it'll be a good deal."
(on the importance of depth at inside linebacker given the situation with ILB's Brian Cushing and Darryl Sharpton) "Well, it's important kind of just with what's going on right now with Darryl as we try to bring him back. I think the big factor that we're all forgetting about is the way we're trying to bring Cushing along. You know what I mean? If Cush is out there practicing every day, we could be in a different situation. There's a big importance to do everything right with him. With that going on, we have a big need right now."
(on OLB Willie Jefferson) "He's interesting. He got a lot of opportunities in OTAs. He flashed in OTAs and everybody saw his ability and then, all of a sudden, through some things going on with our team, he's moved up. He's working as a starter a short time this morning in practice. He's got a lot of ability. Ability and opportunity. We'll see if he can take advantage of it."
(on if he has any update on OLB Whitney Mercilus) "He's got a slight hamstring, nothing significant. It's just going to be a few days and then (DE) Delano Johnson's got a sore groin. He's day-to-day. Both them will be day-to-day."
(on how far away ILB Darryl Sharpton is form being back practicing) "I don't know because he came in with the issue. We did the injection yesterday. There's a process to get through the injection, which usually a day or two. I think I made the comment this morning, we're hoping by mid-week that he's back moving around and then we can make a decision as far as our movement with him. We'd love to have him out here, but we've got to do what we've got to do."
(on what was the key that made T Duane Brown jump from being a good to a great player) "That was Duane. He's had a lot of ability. If you go back, he was kind of thrown in there when he got started. He was a rotational player his first year then it got all thrown on him. (He) became a really good player and then, all of a sudden, Duane played Dwight Freeney twice-a-year and players like that. How long has Duane been here right now? Golly, five or six years, something like that. Just him, he's taken his play to the next level. When your peers start to recognize you and put you in that game in February that they play in Hawaii, then they're telling you that you've become a big-time player. Duane's taking care of his business."
(on T Duane Brown playing at 305 pounds) "You know, that's up to him. There's a fine line. He's always been a movement guy. (He) runs really well, but yet, you have to have some anchor too against some of the people you play. Whatever Duane feels best, his condition is incredible, so we don't worry about his weight."
(on T David Quessenberry's versatility on the offensive line) "He doesn't have a choice but to be versatile right now. He's playing left guard, left tackle. Smart guys that can do a lot of things, the more you can do in this business especially when you're young makes you more valuable pretty quick. This kid's on his way right now to pushing for a job and being very valuable to our team. So we'll see how far he comes. We'd like to really settle him down, but we've got to do what we've got to do as we get the other two tackles going."
(on WR Andre Johnson and T Duane Brown saying the team may have been complacent down the stretch of last season and if he got that sense) "No, we just didn't play as good as we played earlier in the year. We played some really good playoff football teams. We got it done a couple of times and didn't get it done a couple of times. Everybody's good in this league and, the deeper you play and the further you go, the better you've got to be and the better you've got to play. No, it just wasn't good enough and, at that time, we understand that and now it's time to go to work and try to get back into that position."
(on if it surprises him to hear veterans like WR Andre Johnson and T Duane Brown say the team may have been complacent toward the end of last season) "No, it never surprises me. Those guys expect a lot of themselves and I expect a lot of this team and this organization, but now it's time to work toward all of those things (and) not talk about them."
(on how bad he feels for a guy like ILB Darryl Sharpton who has been productive on the field, but has experienced a lot of injuries) "Yeah, it's been tough because it's been hard on him in his career and probably the toughest thing this go-around is he went through the offseason with no problems at all. He was excellent (and) didn't miss a day, didn't miss a practice and then here we go again with another situation. You just feel bad for him. You only have so many years to play and he's worked really hard to play. Now, he's battling it again. We'll just keep our fingers crossed. He knows what he's doing. If we can get him healthy, he can help this team."
OLB Willie Jefferson
(on how much he is looking forward to playing in an NFL game) "I'm looking forward to being in a game very much. These upcoming preseason games I'm hoping that I get a lot of snaps, a lot of reps on special teams and a lot of reps on defense just so I can show the coaches when they do have to make their cuts for the 53, I'll be one of those 53."
(on how much veterans have complimented his game) "It's just progression. I talked to (DE) Antonio (Smith) every day and he just tells me to keep working on things that I do best and the things that I need to work hard on like run stopping during 9-on-7. I know I need to get better at the point of attack and getting off blocks. I just need to get better."
(on what he has learned he does well) "I guess just my get off, my use of my hands and stuff like that. I guess jumping up and trying to block passes, getting out into the coverage running with some tight ends and covering some receivers."
(on his opportunity) "That's just part of the game when a player goes down. It's just your time to step up and show that you can really play that position. This morning when (OLB) Whitney (Mercilus) went down, my eyes got wide and I was like, 'Oh, I guess it's my time.' When I got in, I just tried to do my best and show the coaches I could play that position."
(on lining up with the starters) "It was eye-opening going against D. Brown (LT Duane Brown) and the other tackle on the outside. It showed me that I need to get better at some things and showed me that I'm good at some things."
(on going against LT Duane Brown) "It was a privilege. I want to say Pro Bowl tackle against a free agent rookie. I just took my time and did my best."
(on the Texans taking a chance on him) "It's a dream come true. I guess it's my time to show when it's my time to play, I can play. All those things are in the past. Right now, I'm just trying to show growth right now."
(on players he looks up to) "Jevon Kearse and (DE) Antonio Smith coming off the ball. It's just defensive lineman. When I was a young, I played receiver so I watched a lot of wide receivers. I guess these last couple years, me watching defensive players, it's just been Jevon Kearse, Antonio Smith, Dwight Freeney and people like that coming off the ball fast, quick, using their hands, and using a lot of moves to get to the quarterback."
(on DE J.J. Watt) "Oh, that's something special right there."
(on how playing wide receiver helps him now) "Oh yeah, it helped me a lot with my hands and my quickness coming off the ball. Other than that, it's just an attitude."