The Texans practiced Thursday morning at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakDefensive Coordinator Wade PhillipsRB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonDE Antonio SmithQB T.J. Yates
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on his level of concern with DE J.J. Watt) "Well, I don't have concerns until we go find out what's going on, but I don't want to say nothing. It's his elbow. We're going to take a look at it. Hopefully everything will be ok."
(on how he feels when he sees his star players go down) "That's the hardest part of this business. You got to work to get better, you got to work to play good. You hold your breath every day. We've had our share of guys go down around here. Hopefully we'll dodge some bullets this year and keep some people healthy. We were lucky with Duane (Brown) yesterday. Let's stay on a roll, let's be lucky with this one too."
(on the heat) "Yeah, we've been pretty good. It's hard to believe to say it hasn't been too bad out here. Actually there's been some breeze, and maybe it's a little cooler than it was last year. But we've held up pretty good. It's interesting, when we have heat issues, it's usually new guys, young guys that aren't used to Houston. Our guys that are here hold up pretty good."
(on if the team is where he wants it to be right now) "Yeah, I mean, you're never where you want to be. I'd like Duane (Brown) and J.J. (Watt) to be out there when we come out here tomorrow but they won't. I like what's going on. I thought the offense practiced very well today. Matt Schaub practiced extremely well. That's important to that. Defense will continue to step up and make plays. There's some guys on our third defense right now that have been doing some really good things. We just got to keep going. We got two more grinder-type days, then we start to get into a routine where we check ourselves every Saturday or Sunday when we play. I know they're looking forward to that, but we have a couple more days of just tough work."
(on injuries) "Well, you don't want anybody to get hurt. It doesn't matter who it is, but there have been some key scares with some key guys on our football team. Like I said, hopefully we work through some of that and be fortunate. We got a long way to go between now and the time we play. Right now I don't have any doubt that Andre's (Johnson) going to be there on opening day, and Duane's (Brown) going to be there on opening day, and J.J.'s (Watt) going to be, in my mind, he's going to be there on opening day. That's what's most important. Other than that we got to stay focused on the work."
(on his history with Quarterbacks Coach Karl Dorrell) "Karl was my receiver coach in Denver and since then he's moved on and coached receivers, coached quarterback at Miami, worked for (former Coach Bill) Parcells, then a head coach at UCLA. So Karl's got a lot of experience. Kind of knows the language that I speak and how I teach. He's worked with (Offensive Coordinator) Rick (Dennison), so it was a good fit for us from an offensive standpoint."
(on coaches leaving) "Yeah, I lose all these offensive guys. They go get good jobs. I got to keep them around here. But no, I'm happy for guys when they get opportunities like that. It's part of coaching. You're going to get good coaches. People are going to come snatch them up. You better have some ties out there and people that know how you do things so they can come fit in with your players and keep moving forward."
(on his history with Offensive Assistant Dan Hammerschmidt) "Yeah he was at Rice. Hammer's been an offensive coordinator. Hammer's got a history with (Offensive Line Coach) John Benton. He's got a history with Rico (Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison) a little bit. I think he's got a bright future as a coach in this League, position coach in this League and possibly a coordinator. Hammer's had some family issues where he's raising two young kids on his own and has done that for a long time in his life, so this is a great opportunity for him to settle down here in Houston, become part of our program."
(on how hard it is to balance the work and the injuries) "It's really hard. The work – you don't balance work, you got to go to work. You got to have a good camp, you got to battle, you got to work to be good at football. That's the way it is. But you do everything you can to preach to your team and teach them practice habits that possibly keep everybody up and everybody healthy. It's a constant battle. I told the team today after practice, probably the most powerful moment since I've been with the Houston Texans is last year against Pittsburgh when we're in a 10-10 game, or whatever it was, and Andre (Johnson) goes down. Not only coaches and players but there were probably about 80,000 people that took a deep breath too. But this team found something in itself and it found it all year long. You got to have moments like that as a team and know that you can find a way to work through them."
(on practicing in pads in his NFL days compared to now) "We practiced twice a day in pads. I'm no expert on that, as long as there's been the game, there's been injuries. It's part of the game. But you're right, we really practice once a day nowadays in camp and very seldom. We're probably in pads seven or eight days during training camp, so you just, you know, hold your breath. I don't know what else to say."
(on who would fill in for DE J.J. Watt) "Timmy Jamison. Timmy will go in and, like I said, he gives people an opportunity. So, we'll see."
(on T Derek Newton's progress) "It's been very good. A good example of Newton yesterday would be when Duane (Brown) gets nicked. They've got to switch sides so that we can keep operating, kind of like somebody getting hurt in a game. Newton went in and practiced pretty darn good, came back to me and practiced well, and that's what he's here for. I see him growing up, and he's in a push to start on this football team."
(on a silver lining to the injuries) "When you have situations like this, you can really get better as a team and all those guys that are working with the twos and the threes, they all move up. Sometimes you find players through problems like 'Damn that guy really stepped in and did a hell of a job'. You never know, but training camp's about opportunity so when you wake up each day you never know how big your opportunity's going to be."
(on T Derek Newton) "He's just young. There at Arkansas State, he was way behind knowledge-wise when it came to the game. He's catching up there, his physical talents are good, he's hungry, he's turning into a pro. It's all there, it's just a matter of time."
(on WR Lestar Jean's absence from practice) "He has an excused absence from me. Personal issue we're dealing with, hopefully he's back tomorrow."
(on field goal competition) "I think it's been good. (Shayne) Graham did not kick yesterday, said he wasn't feeling well. I think Randy's (Bullock) been working hard. I think he's kicked well. He's had some misses. Obviously we're looking for the most consistent guy but they're both very, very talented. One's at this end of the spectrum from playing a long time and ones just getting started. So we got to see how it works out."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on how the defense improves from last year) "Well, you keep working. That's what you do. You work hard. From one year to the other, there are no guarantees so we have to work for this year. And we have a really good group. We have a young group that learned as they went last year but they played well. We expect to play well. We're confident."
(on ILB Brian Cushing taking a leadership position) "Brian Cushing is a really good football player, great football player. We coached the Pro Bowl last year as coaches and there weren't any inside backers that were any better than him. He's really a fantastic player. He's a good leader but he's a great player on the field.
(on how OLB Connor Barwin is looking) "Connor has looked really well. The two outside backers, Barwin and Brooks Reed, are really strong and really put the pressure on the quarterback."
(on DE J.J. Watt's injury) "I'm not the doctor but from what I hear he's going to be fine so that's a good thing. You got to deal with injures but certainly you don't want a star player like him hurt this early."
(on the team's expectations) "We expect to win. Our fans expect us to win. The coaches expect to win and the players expect to win. But we got to live up to those things. We got to work hard to get there."
RB Arian Foster
(on getting in the work during training camp but still keeping everybody healthy) "You're not going to go through an NFL season with everybody healthy. That's just how this game goes. It's been like that for years and it's about managing your injures. Injuries are going to happen. It's just all about how you take care of them and how your team responds to them."
(on the team's injuries) "That's football. You look around the League, I bet you there's some injures around the League already. It just happens. It's unfortunate that those important key guys to our success but luckily they weren't serious injuries from what I hear, so they're going to be able to bounce back. It's early in camp so they'll have some time to rest and get back. But as a player on this team and as a team, we just have to continue to focus and go forward."
(on RB Justin Forsett's comments of how much he's learned from Foster) "I appreciate it but he's a hell of a back also. I enjoy watching him. I try to learn as much as I can from everybody who has had success in this League."
(on grinding through until the first preseason game) "Now it's about pushing through the monotony of the temperature and running the same plays over and over and just perfecting your craft. You can look at it either way. You can look at it as I got to get through it or you can look at it as an opportunity to get better. I think that's what separates good from great."
(on how good the running backs are) "It's as good as our offensive line will be able to make us. We go as they go."
WR Andre Johnson
(on his injury) "I didn't feel anything pull when it happened. It just got tight. They were saying I got carted off the field. I don't know when I got carted off the field. I guess when you tell people that I was carted off the field, it makes it seem like it was bigger than it was. I'm not really worried about what people have to say about it. Everybody's going to react the way they want to react to it. The only thing that matters is that I'm healthy."
DE Antonio Smith
(on if the offensive line is getting better by facing a good defense) "Well we all going to get better going against each other. That's why I think coach designed ones go against ones for the period of time that we do, so that we can elevate our game, so we can compete and get better. As far as our offensive line, they did a dang good job last year and they're going to do a dang good job this year. We've got a good group of boys in. I don't think it's going to fall off. We've got a couple pieces missing, but that's them two men's job to get that job done and so far they've been doing it."
(on how relieved he was that T Duane Brown was okay) "I'm almost relieved to hear when one of my brothers goes down that they're going to be good. We don't want to miss nobody because if we go through this season totally healthy, we might dominate everything."
(on DE J.J. Watt's injury) "I just saw him fall. When I'd seen him fall, I looked over and he made a noise. I went to go check on him and his elbow looked like something was wrong with it. We always in panic mode, but the trainers got him inside and Kubs (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) said he's going to be alright, so I'm rolling with that. That's all I know."
QB T.J. Yates
"Just having a year of experience under your belt. You can look at plays on paper as much as you want, but until you go into the game and you do the plays under fire, that's the best experience you can get. I was fortunate enough to get that last year. You come in here and you're going against the number one defense and everything's not as fast. Everything slows down and that's made me a lot more comfortable."
(on competing for playing time now that QB Matt Schaub is healthy) "Yeah, absolutely. Everybody knows that it's his team and he's the leader. I'm trying to come out here every day and get better because I still made a lot of mistakes last year. I have a lot of things to improve on and to be that backup guy and to be ready to go into the game, I got to improve my game."
(on being prepared for anything) "Absolutely, you've got to be ready for anything. I got a taste of that very, very fast last year. I'm hopeful that a situation like that doesn't occur again this year, but if something does happen, I will be ready. That's what I'm trying to do out here in camp is get ready for that situation."
The Texans practiced in the afternoon at the Methodist Training Center, and head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on DE J.J. Watt's injury) "Well, we dodged another bullet. He dislocated his (left) elbow. All the tests came back good and, obviously, he's going to miss some time, but he's going to be ready to go. And knowing J.J., it's going to be pretty darn quick. So we're very, very fortunate. He's already in there rehabbing already when I walked over to practice."
(on if DE J.J. Watt will play in preseason) "Knowing J.J., he'll be beating on our door pretty quick. I think we know he's going to miss some time now. What is that? Ten days? Two weeks? I'm not putting a table on that. The fact's that we know he's going to be ready to go once the season gets started. We'll see where we're at in this process, preseason process, and see if he's ready for some time out there; or do we continue to be cautious up till opening day? But the great news is he's going to be fine. He'll be ready to go."
(on what the worst case scenario would have been for DE J.J. Watt's elbow injury) "Well, when it dislocates, I don't know enough, but when it dislocates I guess there are some other things that could happen, but they didn't so they were able to reset it. Actually, Kap (Head Trainer Geoff Kaplan) reset it right there on the field; I saw it. So when they did the test for whatever they're looking for, they said the tests were fine, and he can basically rest and rehab it."
(on if DE J.J. Watt got tangled up to cause the injury) "He didn't. He was just being reached, he had his arm extended and when his arm was extended I can't remember who it was ran into the back of his arm and basically sent his elbow the wrong way."
(on his thoughts on all the recent injuries) "There must be something buried over there on field one. We're going to move over to field two and three to see if we can keep them upright."
(on when DE J.J. Watt will be back ) "Well, I can't put a timetable on it. The reason we won't do that is because it's not like we're trying to rush him back to play in preseason Game 2 or something. We're not going to do that. We know what we're going to get from J.J. The key is that he's there at noon on September 9, and we know he's going to be there. We'll get the rehab process going, make sure we keep his conditioning level up and move forward."
(on if he's spoken with DE J.J. Watt) "Oh, yeah. As a matter of fact, I was teasing with him a while ago. I told him I did it in college and I missed two days. He didn't believe me."
(on the status of G Brandon Brooks) "Brandon's fine. He should be back right away."
(on worries of DE J.J. Watt's injury lingering into the season) "No. The doctors felt very good about it. That's the only conversation I've had with him to this point."
(on who would replace DE J.J. Watt in the lineup) "(DE) Timmy (Jamison) will move up and Sunny (NT Ra'Shon Harris) can play a lot of spots. Because he's going to miss some time, maybe we're in the market right now. I think we're one short, roster-wise, to bring in a defensive lineman or so to help us as we continue through camp, so we'll see how that works."
(on DE Tim Jamison) "Timmy's a grinder. He's a hard worker, plays with a lot of effort. He gave us a lot of time last year, and now he gets the chance to act like a starter, so we'll see how he handles it."
(on what he needs to see from DE Tim Jamison) "Just continue what he's doing. Just more reps for him and a chance for him to be a better player."
(on when T Duane Brown and WR Andre Johnson will recover from their injuries) "No, you're not going to see either one of those guys the rest of the week, I can tell you that. So we'll start that process over Monday."
(on DE Jared Crick's progress) "He's doing fine. He's got a little neck issue from yesterday. We held him out this morning. He'll be day-to-day. He's ok. He was out here this afternoon."
(on changing his name to Dr. Kubiak) "Yeah, that won't happen. I promise you that."