The Texans practiced at the Methodist Training Center on Thursday, and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakWR Dorin DickersonS Glover QuinILB DeMeco RyansDE Antonio SmithFB Lawrence Vickers
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on if the rest of the players will be able to practice this afternoon) "I don't know quite exactly what's going to take place. It's my understanding that hopefully all these other guys that haven't been able to do anything are able to do something as of 3 (o'clock) today, but that's still up in the air. I have changed our schedule to where we're going to have our walkthroughs later in the day so they can participate in those, but I don't have word from the League yet. We'll still have our normal walkthrough this afternoon. We're just moving it back so if those guys are able to come practice, they'll be part of our walkthrough."
(on if everyone will be in pads tomorrow) "No, I'm coming back in shorts tomorrow. I'm doing everything I can to get the team in the same spot. When all those guys are able to have a physical practice, we'll come back in shorts tomorrow, have a good practice and go back in pads on Friday. I'm hoping by the end of the week by Sunday, that we've got everybody on the same page."
(on why ILB DeMeco Ryans was sitting out today) "DeMeco (Ryans), Antonio (Smith) and actually Andre (Johnson) were all part of a restructuring situation from a contract standpoint, so they fall into the category with the other 10 or 12 guys right now. They actually can't do anything until this afternoon or tomorrow morning, depending on what happens, so that's why they weren't practicing. Andre wouldn't have practiced anyway."
(on if he considered doing the walkthrough in the morning if everyone could play this afternoon) "No I didn't because I think there's a chance it may not happen. We've been told as of yesterday that if you have anything to schedule it as late as you can schedule it today. If I pushed everything back and then we didn't get them back, then I would push it back for nothing. We'll catch them up. We'll stay on schedule here. The guys have had good work and we'll catch those 10 or 12 up."
(on who flashed at him today) "(Darryl) Sharpton really flashed at me today. DeMeco (Ryans) was out so he got a chance to go in and run the defensive football team. Just watching him, I thought he did a hell of a job. Jason Allen had a very good day and there are kind of new guys every day showing up. I liked the way Sharpton stepped in and he got a chance to run the football team."
(on if it's frustrating having to work at a slow pace) "I say it's disappointing. It's not frustrating. It's just disappointing because you've got 10 or 12 guys that just want to practice and play. They want to go and it's not their fault, so I'm not going to get frustrated at them because they can't go. I'm not going to get frustrated because there's such good work going on with everybody else. It's about patience. It's about being fluid every day. Every day is a different day and when I get them all to the same spot, which I feel good about doing in the next three days, I'll feel good. There's nothing anybody can do. If I could do something about it, hell I'd do it. There's nothing they can do neither."
(on the status of ILB Brian Cushing) "I watched him run today. I think he's better every day. He's not ready to come back out here quite yet, so we're being smart with him. Is that this weekend? Is it next week? I don't know. We'll see. We're day-to-day with that."
(on if players like WR Lestar Jean and WR Terrence Toliver have caught his eye) "They really have. They're big guys. Obviously they're getting a big opportunity because Andre's (Johnson) out. Jacoby's (Jones) not practicing, so we're basically running with a real young group right now. They both got the body and the athletic ability to play in this league. We'll see how far they come. Special teams will probably be a big key there. It's a good group. It's probably as good a group of free agent wide receivers we've had."
(on how CB Kareem Jackson looks) "He's doing a good job. He's all business, but he was all business last year. Kareem (Jackson) comes here every day to work. I think he's really taken to (Defensive Backs Coach) Vance (Joseph). Our system that we're running is really what he ran in college. I think he feels very comfortable in it."
WR Dorin Dickerson(on what motivates him to get better) "Just winning. I just want to be part of a winning team. I want to win a championship, I've never been part of a winning team in my life, I've been close a bunch of times but I just want to be a part of a winning team and help be one of the reasons why we win."
(on working with Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald this summer) "It was awesome. Tyler Palko was out there, too, and he played quarterback at Pitt (University of Pittsburgh). I went to high school with him and he brought me out there. Those guys know how to work and get it done. Larry (Fitzgerald) is one of the best receivers in the game, him and Andre (Johnson), and there's a reason why they are the best because they both do work really hard. So you could tell when you're there, working with them, why they are the best in the game."
(on if he has any mentors on the team) "Andre Johnson. I look at all of my teammates as mentors. We're all trying to push each other to the same goals and win a championship; well, first make it to the playoffs for the first time, so we all look up at each other."
S Glover Quin(on Defensive Backs Coach Vance Joseph) "When you get a guy that knows exactly what his scheme is and a guy that knows how to help the players to make plays, it can only benefit the players if we all buy in; and I think that we're doing a great job of buying in, so we should be a whole lot better this year."
(on Defensive Backs Coach Vance Joseph being the right man to lead the Texans secondary) "I think he's definitely the right guy. When you have a young secondary, sometimes it's like he said last night: we want to be great, but when you're a young secondary, sometimes you really don't know how because you've never had the guys before you to show you what it takes every day to be great. With him bringing that excitement, that fun, that attitude to the game, to the practice field, to the meeting rooms, it makes the players relax a little bit but also be concentrating on what we're supposed to do. When you're relaxed and having fun, you'll automatically play better."
(on Defensive Backs Coach Vance Joseph losing his voice already during training camp) "We're having fun out here. We're hollering, we're talking, we're getting into it."
(on managing the heat during the team's first practice in full pads) "Man, it was steaming hot out here today, but you know, that's Houston and when we got drafted and came to the Houston Texans, you knew it was going to be hot for training camp and we've got to fight through it."
ILB DeMeco Ryans(on if he was surprised about re-negotiating his contract) "Not really. I didn't know what was going on. Like I said, anything I can do to help the team get better, get where we need to be."
(on if he can understand Linebackers Coach Reggie Herring at practice) "Sometimes. He's a character. He's fun. He's a very live, a very animated guy but it's fun playing for Reggie (Herring) and having those coaches. I understand what he says when it's relevant pertaining to football. I understand what he's saying."
(on being able to help the team off the field) "It's just something that needed to be done. That's it. No big deal."
DE Antonio Smith(on the indecision the defense faces in a new defensive style) "We're going to have that when you come into a totally new defense and what I mean by totally new is the calls are different, the names of things are different and you have to re-teach yourself after all the things you've learned over your career."
(on how beneficial it would have been to have a longer offseason) "It would have been real beneficial but I don't think it's that big of a deal. I think it puts you a little bit behind the eight-ball, but it's the offseason anyway so it's our job to just get going."
(on if he understand Linebackers Coach Reggie Herring) "I understand him clearly, 'cause if you don't he'll repeat it three or four or five times."
(on if he thought he would ever have a coach as loud as Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Coach Bill Kollar) "No, I told Bill today that he (Reggie Herring) has his number and Bill was like, 'I feel bad for the guy.'"
(on his first impressions of Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips) "My first impression of him is that he knows what he's doing. That's the first thing that he said to us 'I know what it takes and I know what's needed.' You can see it in the way he carries himself and the way the defense is structured and if you learn it, the terminology and all that, there is so many ways you can use this defense. It's been successful for him for years and years for a reason."
(on if the defense has bought into the 3-4 system) "Yeah, I think it's easy for him now because with the rock-bottom we hit last year, you can't do nothing but look up with a fresh mind and a new frame of mind for this defense. You just want a fresh start, you want to get that taste out of your mouth."
FB Lawrence Vickers(on what he brings to the team) "I don't necessarily think I bring something different. I'm a different person in a sense that I bring passion. I don't necessarily know if that's different, but I bring passion, excitement. I enjoy the game. I enjoy doing whatever it is to get the win. I want to win. I'm in a good position, being here, with a chance to win. I'm just going to take it all in and be the best player I can be."
(on how exciting it is to be playing in his hometown) "It is exciting. I think everybody else is more excited than me. My kids are; they're going to go back to school and tell their friends that daddy's home now. I'm enjoying it."
(on if there is a lot of pressure replacing former Texans FB Vonta Leach) "I don't look at it as I'm replacing anybody. I'm Lawrence. So I'm coming in and I'm doing me. I'm not coming in to replace nobody. I'm coming in to make my own name and do the things that I do and that's just the end of that one."
(on developing chemistry between him and RB Arian Foster) "I guess it's repetition. I don't necessarily put a time limit on it, but repetition I think will make things a lot easier for me and us just feeling each other out. That's with just every fullback. Just feeling each other out, knowing the likes and dislikes and how they like things and just going from there."
(on other parts of the game besides blocking) "I like everything about football, catching, blocking, running, whatever it may be. I just want the opportunity to do some different things than what I did last year. I was just a straight blocker so I'm happy about the opportunity to be able to run out the backfield, catch the ball, make dominating blocks, block on the outside, block on the edge, just whatever it is they ask me to do. I'm here to do that. I'm ready to work and I'm just trying to win."
(on competition with TE James Casey) "This is my sixth year (in the NFL). I've been starting four out of the six (seasons). I'm just going to come in, I'm going to try to help as much as I can and try to learn as much as I can. With the competition thing, it's always competition. I had competition in Cleveland, I had competition everywhere, so competition doesn't bother me at all. I enjoy it. Let's go get it. Let's see who's going to do it. I know what I'm going to go out there and do so I'm just ready to get out there and do what I do."