The Texans had their sixth practice of organized team activities (OTAs) on Thursday morning at the Methodist Training Center. The following is a transcript of head coach Gary Kubiak and others' interviews from the field after practice.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
CB Johnathan Joseph
WR Kevin Walter
DE J.J. Watt
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on how today's OTA session went) "Really good defensively today. I thought we ended the week (with) probably one of our best defensive practices. So that means it probably wasn't a very good offensively. But that's good. We've got good competition going on and we've been good and healthy throughout this course of the first six days. We've got a lot of things to cover next week but I've been pleased."
(on the competition on both sides of the ball compared to years past) "It's the best I've seen. We had a lot of new faces, I would say, last year getting started in camp. So they're familiar with each other. They get on each other pretty good out here and they compete pretty good. That's a sign of a good football team, when you're going back and forth at each other all the time. Like I said, it's been pretty good from that standpoint."
(on how the right side of the offensive line looks) "We're in shorts, so it looks good. You never know until you start banging. I think the biggest thing is (Antoine) Caldwell has held up. He's had a good six days. The biggest think with his career is just staying healthy. (Rashad) Butler and (Derek) Newton got a good battle going on and that will work itself out. The young guard (Brandon Brooks) is going to be very competitive for a starting job. So it's kind of what we thought it was and just keep going."
(on how impressed he's been with rookies OLB Whitney Mercilus and DE Jared Crick) "Well, (Whitney) Mercilus, athletically, is probably even more than what we thought he was. He's excellent. He's learning to do things on special teams and stuff. (Jared) Crick is grinder as a player. He's an effort player, a physical player. That's exactly what is usually very successful with (assistant head coach/defensive line) Bill (Kollar) as a coach. But you're waiting to get the pads on with big guys, so we'll see."
(on what he wants to see in the final week of OTAs) "We've got a lot of teaching to do. We've got a lot of things we want to cover; two-minute, red zone, a lot of stuff. Just want to get that covered and hopefully I'm feeling good about the end of the week next week with everything that the veterans have done and then we'll see where we're at going into mini-camp."
(on if RT Derek Newton is putting pressure on RT Rashad Butler for a starting spot) "No doubt. He's playing really well. We're in shorts, so it's hard to tell with big guys. Athletically and then now mentally, (Derek) Newton is catching up enough to battle for a starting spot. So that'll be a really good battle."
(on what he likes about RT Derek Newton) "He can run. He's very strong. I think I've told you over and over again the biggest thing is he came from a program where he didn't have a great football background knowledge-wise. That's not his fault. He's catching up, so he's learning NFL-wise, film-wise all the fronts he's got to see. When that gets automatic for him there's no doubt in my mind he's got a chance to be a starter."
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on how much being in Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' system for a second year will help the defensive backs) "The NFL is all about timing. If you have time to grow and time to slow the game down, you'll be that much better, and for those young guys, you can kind of see that taking place right now with those guys just running out and making plays. You saw (CB) Sherrick McManis almost have two interceptions today. I talk to him every day and he says the game is slowing down a lot for him. So to see the young guys come out and say that and experience that is a great deal for those guys."
WR Kevin Walter
(on rookie WRs DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin) "DeVier, he's a great guy. He's got size, he can run, get in and out of his breaks. The same with Keshawn. Keshawn's from Michigan State; he can run fast, he can make plays. Those two guys are going to help us out big-time."
(on how much it helps the rookie receivers to get extra reps with WR Andre Johnson not practicing) "No doubt about it. They're getting reps; everyone's getting reps, and the more reps you're out there, the more you're going to get better. Those guys are doing a great job. Each day, they're getting better. It's going to be a lot of fun this year."
(on whether he has taken the rookie receivers under his wing during OTAs) "Oh, absolutely. They come to me every day with questions, 'What should I do here?' and this and that. As long as we're on the same page (because) we're all in this together. That's what I tell them: 'We're all in this together. If you have any questions, don't leave the huddle without knowing what to do,' and they're doing a good job."
(on whether the young receivers are pushing him) "Oh, no doubt about it. Absolutely. These guys are giving effort day-in and day-out. They're very impressive. I'm learning from them as well as they're learning from me, so like I said, we're all in this together and it's going to be a fun year."
(on what skills he's noticed in the rookie receivers) "I see everything. That's why they got drafted: they can do everything. They're learning these concepts pretty quick; they get in and out of their breaks; they're fast; they can catch the ball. They're a big asset to this team. I know why we drafted them. It's big-time."
(on how willing the rookie wide receivers have been to ask him for advice) "DeVier (Posey), he talks more than Keshawn (Martin). Keshawn's more of a quiet guy kind of like (WR) Andre (Johnson), but DeVier, he'll come to you – I sit next to him in meetings – and ask questions, and that's what you want. It helps him out, it helps me out, and we're all in this together."
(on the competition that is taking place among the wide receivers) "This training camp, we're going to compete. We're all going to compete. We're all competing to get better; we're all competing for jobs, and that's the way it should be."
(on what he has learned from the rookie wide receivers) "It's amazing – DeVier (Posey) I think was in seventh grade my rookie year. It's unbelievable, and for him to come out here and run routes and latch on right away, it's impressive watching him day-in and day-out work."
(on whether he's learned any techniques from the rookie wide receivers) "Every receiver is different. Not one receiver is the same (as another) and we've been around each other the past few weeks and you try to learn things from him and he learns things from me. You try and apply them to each other's game. I think that (WR) DeVier (Posey) is pretty special and I think (WR) Keshawn (Martin) is also; and I know once Dre (WR Andre Johnson) gets out here, we're all looking to Dre to try to get better, too."
(on WR Lestar Jean) "Lestar, he's making plays out there. He's explosive, he's smart, he knows how to get open and he's done a good job. Last year, he got injured and it was too bad because I think he would have done a great job last year helping us out. He's going to make plays this year. He's going to help this ballclub."
(on his personal goals for the upcoming season) "I always have goals. I want to get better each year. In this League, if you're not getting better, you're not going to be sticking around. I feel good; I feel fast; I feel just how I want to be. There's still a lot of time between now and training camp to get better and polish some things up, but I feel great."
(on rookie WR Jerrell Jackson) "He's an impressive kid. He can run, he can catch. He seems like the all-around, overall good package as a receiver."
DE J.J. Watt
(on the rookies getting on the same page with the rest of the team) "They're definitely coming along. You can tell as the week goes on that they're really starting to pick up the defense. You can tell because they're playing faster. The first couple days, they were just trying to make sure that they're doing the right thing. Now they're trying to do the right thing and play good football. It's good to see."
(on how different these OTAs are for him after having one year under his belt) "It's really comfortable for me because I have the playbook down. Now it's just concentrating on my game and making sure that I can get my pass rush moves down and making sure I get my run reads down. It's nice to be able to focus on the little things that are really going to help improve my game."
(on the rookies progress so far in camp) "It's good. They're bringing some serious intensity and especially as we move forward, they're starting to get a little more comfortable in their own skin. We're really starting to get to see what they're about. They're definitely pushing each other and they're pushing us. It's fun. It's fun to have a little competition."
(on the Texans now having the bulls-eye on their back) "The bar has definitely been raised quite a bit. I was actually just talked to Bum Phillips before practice. He told me how every team is going to be gunning for us now that we have the target on our back. I like that, personally. It's good to have that pressure from other teams. One thing that he said, he said everybody is going to be bringing their A-game. I said, 'Well we're going to bring our A-game too.' It's not going to be a cakewalk for anyone who comes into Reliant."
(on if he likes that the Texans are now in the national conversation) "Yeah, of course. You want to be in that conversation. It's a good thing. It's a testament to the hard work that has gone on here over the last 10 years. It's a testament to the players and coaches and we hope that more and more attention comes our way because that means we're winning games. That's the plan."
(on what advice he has for the young guys for the heat) "There's not much you can do to prepare for it. Drink plenty of Gatorade and water and get your rest now, because there's nothing you can do to prepare for this Texas heat. It's unlike anything I've ever seen."