The Texans practiced Thursday morning at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and defensive end Antonio Smith answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakDE Antonio Smith
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on how practice went today) "I didn't think it was very good. It wasn't one of our better practices defensively, offensively and special teams. I didn't think we were real sharp, a little tired and feeling sorry for ourselves. We got a big test Saturday so we need to come back this afternoon, be sharp in our walk-through and have a good one in the morning and then get ready to play."
(on if he has finalized who will start this weekend) "No, I'm going to meet with the coaches this evening when we get through but it'll be pretty much like it was last week. It'll just be extended time for the 'ones' and they'll probably play a good quarter and a half."
(on who will start on the right side of the offensive line) "(T Derek) Newton is going to start at right tackle but (G Antoine) Caldwell will start at right guard. But between the four of them, they will all play the same throughout three quarters of play. That's the way we'll do it this week."
(on the quarterbacks) "I'm going to talk more about it tonight but like I told you, we'll keep the rotation. I want to see Case (Keenum) play with our second group so he's obviously going to play more. Does that mean he plays third (in line)? I don't know. We'll see."
(on if there is added significance when in a starting role) "It's just rotation. I think (T Derek) Newton deserves a chance to go out there as starter this week. It's not anything (T Rashad) Butler did, and the young guard (Brandon Brooks) isn't ready to go do that if I put him in there right now. We'll give (Derek) Newton a chance but between him and (Rashad) Butler, they're going to play the same amount of plays. It's still a hell of a battle going on."
(on what he likes about T Derek Newton) "Derek's got a lot of ability. He needs to get more consistent in his play. He's very young but he's powerful and he's got the ability to do it. The question is if he's going to be able to do it on a consistent basis."
(on any health issues today) "No, we're good. Shaun (Cody) looks like he's doing better but I know he won't play. (WR Jerrell) Jackson won't play but other than that, we're okay."
(on if the team is on their regular season routine) "Yeah, we've started our routine. We actually got an extra day on Monday. We'll come in and watch film but Tuesday will be like our normal Wednesday during the week, so we'll operate next week the way we do in the regular season."
(on the growth of ILB Mister Alexander) "A lot. Health is the biggest issue. He's healthy. He has not missed a practice and hasn't missed a rep and when you do that, you get better as a player and obviously it's showed."
DE Antonio Smith
(on how much he expects to play this weekend)"Normally, from the past, I think into the second quarter, first half, really. Depending on how good we do. For our defense, it's how many three-and-outs we can get, and for our offense, it's for how long they can hold the ball and score."
(on if the defense is where he wants it to be at this point) "The defense is never where you want it to be, you always want to make it better. (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's got us on the track of doing that. I think each and every week we won't be satisfied with where we are. I'm not satisfied at all if the defense ain't at its best."
(on the defense recording eight sacks against Carolina) "Now that's real impressive. It was fun watching the youngsters get out there and do their thing. I really enjoyed watching some of the youngsters come out of their own, get their pass-rush swag on. They were all up and down the sideline, cheering like they just won the Super Bowl. That's what football's all about."
Head Coach Gary KubiakExecutive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick SmithLT Duane BrownNT Shaun Cody
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on LT Duane Brown's contract extension) "We're happy for him. As a coach in this business, you love seeing players who do it the right way get rewarded. He's been exceptional since the day he walked in the building, not only as a player but as a person. He's got a lot of bright years ahead of him so we're very happy for him. The whole team is."
(on why he would not hesitate to get LT Duane Brown's contract extended) "Well, you're around Duane (Brown) every day just watching him handle himself as a pro, how he works and his abilities. That's easy to look at every day. You're getting an accountable young man for a long time so it's an easy situation for us as an organization and it's a great one for him. I think it's good for the players because he got rewarded. He's handled himself the right way, done things the right way and he's being rewarded so that's a very positive thing."
(on LT Duane Brown's contract extension limiting distractions) "Duane (Brown) can answer that. For us to know that we're going to have him for a long time, that's awesome for a coach to know that. I can say this; it wasn't like it was on his mind. He's having a great camp. He's been working hard and good things come to those who wait. He's waited his turn and put forth the effort and obviously he's a happy young man today."
(on LT Duane Brown's progression as a player since he's been in Houston) "He's been special. From day one when he walked in the door, we said 'You're a starter.' We put a lot of pressure on him. He had not played tackle a long time in college. Remember, he was a tight end at one time, so the progress that he made with the load that was put on him early in his career, he responded to and he's been good ever since."
(on LG Wade Smith and C Chris Myers calling an informal meeting on the field with the rest of the offensive line after practice to express their dislike with the lack energy and focus) "Well, that's important for your whole team. I tell them all the time, if you're waiting on me every day to police you and to get mad when things aren't right, then we don't have a good team. When you start policing each other and your expectations of each other are that way each and every day, then we got a heck of chance to be a great football team. I like the way we go about our business. We were a little sloppy this morning but we came out this afternoon and we rain into what we were doing."
(on how much LT Duane Brown's leadership played a role into his new contract extension) "Well, it's a great deal. Obviously, a lot of things are taken into account. Duane, like I said, has not only been a good player but he's been excellent off the field, in the locker room, he's had a great offseason, he's a worker and he's here all the time. All those things add up to what happened to him today so it was well deserved."
Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager Rick Smith
(on what it means to the Texans to have LT Duane Brown's contract extension done before the season starts) "I'm extremely thrilled for Duane (Brown), first of all, and for our organization, secondly. He's a young, ascending player. I think he's determined and committed to being as good as he can be and I think he has the ability to be as good as there is in the league. We're excited. It's another important piece to the foundation that we've laid about trying to bring a championship to Houston and build on that."
(on not hesitating to get a deal done with LT Duane Brown) "It was important for us to do a deal but it's also important for us in the context in how we put our football team together; to come to an agreement that makes sense for us. I thought that his agents, Andy Ross and Kenny Landophere did an outstanding job of representing him and hearing all our concerns and we were responsive to them and they were responsive to us and that's how you get deals done."
(on what it says about the Houston Texans as an organization to get a contract extension done like LT Duane Brown's without it lingering during the season) "Obviously, we're pleased that we had some success in this particular negotiation and it is important particularly when you identify players that you think represent your core group of football players and guys that you want to build your team around. Duane (Brown) represents one of those guys and so it's always a benefit when you can get one of those guys locked up long-term."
(on OLB Connor Barwin's contract negotiations) "I don't comment on contract negotiations in the public and I'm going to maintain that. We've been forthright about the fact that we've got several guys that are entering into the last year of their deals and to the degree that we can get some of those guys done like a Duane (Brown), like an Arian (Foster) early, then we will. We're always working that way."
(on the decision to draft LT Duane Brown with the 26th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and the criticism that followed that selection) "What I can say is that was a very tackle-rich draft and he was a guy that we identified that we wanted. We anticipated that there was going to be another guy to go before him. We had studied that draft fairly extensively and felt comfortable moving back. And if you remember, we moved back and picked up that extra third-round pick and we took (RB) Steve Slaton with that pick and we were able to get Duane (Brown). We were excited about it. We thought we knew the type of player that he could develop into and it's just fortunate that he has."
(on what LT Duane Brown's contract extensions says about him when players like QB Matt Schaub and OLB Connor Barwin are in the last year of their contracts) "What I would hope that is says is we think that Duane Brown is a really good football player and that we think he is a football player that's on the rise and that he's got an opportunity to be one of the better ones in the league."
LT Duane Brown
(on his contract extension) "I'm extremely excited, man. First and foremost, I want to thank the whole Texans organization, (Owner) Bob McNair, (Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager) Rick Smith, (Vice President of Football Administration) Chris Olsen, Coach (Gary) Kubiak, the whole staff, everyone. I'm so excited to be able to get this deal extended, and to be a Texan for a long time means a lot to me."
(on if he understands how special this is) "Oh yeah, absolutely. I understand that they had a lot of confidence in me, a lot of faith in me to not let me play my last year and to extend it and keep me here for a while. I'm just very grateful. I try to put in as much work as possible and do my part for this team to make it successful, and I'll continue to do that."
(on if his contract was weighing on his mind at all) "A little bit. When you hear that there's a possibility it could happen, you can't help but to think about it. The stuff I was saying before about preparing for the season and preparing to have the biggest year of my career, I really meant that."
(on his emotions when he found out the deal was done) "Man, just surreal. I've been happy to make it to this point, to the NFL, but once you get here, it's hard work and I realized that. It took me a while to mature and to get to this point in my life where I've become a complete pro. I'm just happy that they recognize that and have the confidence in me to extend this great deal."
(on his teammates' reactions) "Just congratulating me, everyone's happy, everyone knows how hard I work and how serious I take my job. The o-line is letting me have it, of course; it's their job. I got to thank those guys too because without those hogs up front, I wouldn't be successful as I am."
(on how he feels about getting his contract renewed with players like QB Matt Schaub and OLB Connor Barwin in the last year of their contracts) "I'm honored, man. Those are two great players, and my job on the left side of the line is to keep number 8 (QB Matt Schaub) clean, and for them to extend the deal to me and show that they want to get me done early means a lot to me."
(on his year, getting married and getting this deal) "It's been a heck of a year for me, I'm very blessed, very grateful. I have to thank my wife, too, she's been very supportive. You go from marriage to honeymoon, coming to training camp and get a new deal; it's awesome. And my birthday is coming up. So, yeah, it's been an awesome year for me."
(on the Super Bowl completing his year) "Yeah, that's the only thing missing, man. That's what we're working towards now."
(on if he thinks this contract validates talk about him being an elite tackle ) "I mean, I think the Texans feel that I'm an elite tackle and that's why they chose to pay me as well as they have. My validation comes from my peers and just my performance. I haven't played a down yet in the regular season this year, so I need to go out and prove that."
NT Shaun Cody
(on rehabilitating his back) "It's a process. I got an epidural, like coach (Gary Kubiak) said, to calm things down; everything's starting to tighten up and calm down in there. It's going to be a process, of course, but I start feeling better every day. I'm starting to do some rehab stuff from tightening my core and getting that stuff ready. So, it's going in the right direction."
(on what he's able to do) "We just started, we're about four or five days out from my little procedure. I'm doing core stuff, I can do cardio stuff now. So I can move around just as tolerated. It feels really good, actually."
(on if he's aiming to get back by the Miami game) "No, as soon as possible, really. I'd like to get back before then, you want to get feeling really good before the first week. So, hopefully I can get back as soon as possible."