After Tuesday's training camp practice at the Methodist Training Center, head coach Gary Kubiak and some Texans players spoke with the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak K Kris Brown WR André Davis SS Bernard Pollard K Neil Rackers LB DeMeco Ryans RB Steve Slaton
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on what he took from today's practice) "Well, got some good work. We are down a lot of numbers. We got a lot of nicks on our football team that happened in the last 24 hours. We are right in the middle of the hardest week of training camp and going through the things you normally go through. We got to keep pushing and giving other guys an opportunity and we got to get some guys healthy."
(on the younger players getting more reps with veterans not participating in practice) "Yeah, they definitely are. Sometimes you don't know what a young guy has got till he gets thrown in the fire and they're getting thrown in the fire right now because of some things happing here in the last day. We will find out. We'll just keep pushing, but I tell you what, the team has been working through some tough workouts. We are talking as an organization, as a team, that we want to get tougher. So we want to get our chance right now."
(on the competition between K Neil Rackers and K Kris Brown today in practice) "It looked pretty good today. I don't think that either one of them missed. If I was the referee I thought both of them were really good. I think that's the way it's going to be. I think it's going to be nip and tuck the whole way. They will both handle themselves well and kick well and make it tough on us to make a decision."
(on if there will be enough situations in the preseason to determine who will be the starting place kicker this season) "I wish I could tell you yes, but you could normally assume no. It's just the way it works. It's not like you could go out and create field goal (situations during a game). We'll probably rotate them every kick. If one of them has a game-winner, we will make sure the next guy will get the other one. We are just going to be as fair as we can. They will kick enough during the course of the month. The competition will be more than fair."
(on the good and the bad coming from these first few days of training camp) "I like how far we are coming as far as our toughness mentally and physically. It's always very hot here in camp. We are down a bunch of number today. I think we practiced minus-10. That's quite a few. Usually you're about five or six (out) after five days, but we're minus 10 today and had a good practice. I like what I see from this standpoint."
(on the minor injuries from the first few days of training camp) "Yeah, (LB) Zac (Diles) out. (LB Xavier) Adibi is out. (DE Pannel) Egboh went down today in practice. We started with a very short number (of players out) today before the day started."
(on the injury of LB Zac Diles) "(LB) Zac (Diles) had a little groin (injury) bothering him yesterday. He did practice yesterday, but it started to bother him last night. Hopefully we can get him back as quick as we can."
(on any other notable injuries) "Adibi, in our shortest practice of the year, 35 minutes in the (Methodist Training Center), has a pretty good groin strain. So we got to see where he's at."
*Following the afternoon practice inside the Methodist Training Center, head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of his interview.
(on the progress of CB Fred Bennett) "Well he's doing fine. He's got a lot of young players that he has to battle against. So it's very competitive on the back end. He's doing his job. (CB) Fred (Bennett) had some ups and downs in his brief career here in Houston. He had some opportunities to start. Now he's trying to work himself back to that level, but he's working hard. He had a good offseason."
(on how hot it was during morning practice) "It really was (hot). I slowed it down this afternoon. It was good. We're just down some bodies. I think we're down nine or 10 this morning. It's the toughest part in camp for the rest of this week. So, we got to get some guys fresh. Maybe we could get them back before the week's out, but we're trying to do more mental stuff now."
(on WR Andre Johnson going one on one with CB Kareem Jackson during practice) "First of all with (WR) Andre (Johnson), you're going to get his best from him every day. We're trying to get (CB) Kareem (Jackson) ready for opening day. He's probably going to line up against three good players. You don't want to protect him, you want to just kind of throw him to the wolves, so to speak, and he's getting Andre every day. So we just want him to understand who he's working against and how great of a player he is so there is no false impression there. He knows exactly where he's at everyday and he's doing a good job."
(on the reported retirement of QB Brett Favre) "I'll be honest with you, I didn't even know until I came over to practice. Whatever Brett wants to do, he's a great guy and good for the league. I wish he would play, but whatever is best for him and his family."
K Kris Brown
(on how he handled the situation when they signed K Neil Rackers) "I think at first I didn't handle it as well as I should have, but I realized that he's here to make me better. Hopefully, I could do the same for him. I'm going to come out here every day with a good attitude and just enjoy this opportunity, and compete as best I can. At the end of the day, not worry about every decision that is made. I can only control the things I have control over. I can control my attitude, I can control that I'm out here to compete."
(on whether or not he has changed his kicking mechanics) "Same stuff, just making sure I come out here every day and focus on my routine. And again, just enjoy it."
(on how he did in practice today) "I thought I hit the ball really well. I felt that my focus was good; I think most of every one of my kicks I hit solidly. At this stage in the game of training camp, that's what you're looking for. You're looking for consistent contact on the ball, I got balls that I pulled a little left, but I'm certainly not pleased anytime I miss a kick. But when you do, and you feel like you hit it well, and you focus early on your target, there really isn't much you can do."
(on how he mentally moved past last season) "No question about it, I had to sit down in the off-season and evaluate what happened and figure out in my mind what happened. I'll move past it though, that's the great thing about this game, last year is over and done with, and I'm just looking forward to this year. I'm just enjoying the training camp. This is my 12th year and I probably have enjoyed this situation more than any other camp. You probably think that's crazy, but it's good to have competition, it's good to have (K) Neil (Rackers) in, and I think that there's this idea that just because there is a competition going on that there is tension in the relationship, and really there doesn't need to be. Neil is a great guy, we're having a good time, we're out here competing against each other, we're competing, and we're fierce competitors. When we walk away from here hopefully we'll be friends."
WR André Davis(on his concerns about roster cuts and the amount of money he is making) "I mean, it could be a factor. I know how the business goes and that's why I'm going to continue to come out here and continue to prove to these coaches why I deserve to be here. Whenever I get an opportunity, I'll make sure that I prove to them why I deserve to be here."
(on having a really good camp thus far) "You know, you've got to take the compliments, but at the same time, I just want to keep my head down and work. A lot of people know I'm not a talker. I just like to come out here and continue to make the players on the team better and to make myself better. So I'm just going to continue to go out here and work."
(on his new child) "The baby is doing great; four months old right now. That's my second. I've got a two-and-a-half-year old and a four-month old and they're enjoying Disney World without me right now. It has been amazing to have both of them here in Houston and be a part of the Texans. It has just been a great time since I've been here."
SS Bernard Pollard(on having the opportunity to play) "This is amazing. I am blessed. I'm truly blessed to be here and have an opportunity to get a second chance. Like I told my teammates and (defensive backs coach) David (Gibbs), I won't let them down."
(on what this second chance means to him) "That's big, because in life most people don't get second chances. In life, you screw up or something gets taken away from you and sometimes you don't get a second time around. Obviously, the second chance came around and I prayed and everything else, and God was watching. That door was closed; this is a new beginning for me and my family. I continue to say that I'm humbled, I'm grateful for what's been done, and I'm going to be here to show everyone that you guys made a good decision and I will not let you down."
K Neil Rackers
(on his relationship with K Kris Brown) "I have a lot of respect for Kris. We get along great, we hang out a lot during practice, and when it comes to kicking time, we just try and make the best of it. After practice, we go back and talk about what each other did. It's good to have another experienced kicker. If you're not hitting the ball well, you have someone else who knows what is going on."
(on whether there is tension between him and K Kris Brown) "No because I think that usually happens with younger guys. With vets, they're more professional, you know how to do it, you've had competition before and you just go out there and do your job."
(on re-creating situations during practice) "Well I'd love to get a game-winner after the Green Bay game back in Phoenix this year, so I'm with (Head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak, I'd like to re-create that situation as well. You just try to create those situations in practice."
LB DeMeco Ryans(on the rookie hazing) "There is nothing too degrading about it. It is just about earning your stripes as a rookie. You know you do the same thing as a veteran now, you know, carry out the tradition. I am not big on that because I did what I had to do. Everybody has to go through it. It is not something that I am just huge on like trying to ride rookies just because. We are in football now, so it is whatever it takes. We are going to have our fun with it. When it is our down time we are going to have fun and make some rookies take care of stuff."
(on TE Joel Dreessen and TE James Casey) "(TE Joel) Dreessen has improved a lot. Dreessen is doing a great job. Dreessen is definitely one of the best tight ends that we have and it is good going against him because he is a tough guy, a never-give-up kind of guy. He is going to go all day and I like his attitude and his work ethic. (TE James) Casey can do a lot. He can line up in the backfield at fullback. Casey is probably one of the guys with some of the best hands on the team. He pulls in a lot of difficult catches. We have a good group of tight ends."
(on similarities of him and LB Darryl Sharpton when DE DeMeco Ryans was a rookie) "(LB) Darryl (Sharpton) has been moved around a lot. He has been asked to play the mike (linebacker), the will (linebacker). The same thing happened to me when I was a rookie and he has handled it well. Darryl is a very smart kid, a sharp guy. He has stepped in and he is doing a good job and I know it is a lot on his plate, just like it was for me. He is handling it well and I am proud of the way he is handling it."
(on questions about this season's defensive corps) "We still have to show up and play, no matter what people think about us. They can think we suck as a defense. They can think we have arrived as a defense. Our attitude is we have to keep grinding every day and that is the mentality that we are going to keep no matter what the press says about us or who says anything about us. We know ourselves and we know we have to continue to grind every day."
RB Steve Slaton(on how camp is going for him) "Going good, I'm just happy to be out here. I missed a lot of football out here, and I'm just ready to get this started."
(on how hard last year was on him professionally) "It was real hard. Things weren't going my way. I didn't know why, I came down with injuries, and it didn't end the way I wanted it to end. I have new health, so hopefully I can stay healthy the whole season."
(on what his injury was) "It was a pinched nerve in my neck, C4 and C5 (vertebrae).It was good to find out what it was, but heartbreaking to know that I couldn't finish the season. Getting it fixed and getting cleared about a month ago was the best thing that could have happened to me."
(on how hard football is to play when not healthy) "It's definitely tough. That's the name of the game though. You're always going to have nicks. Nobody is ever going to be 100 percent week in and week out. That's what training camp is all about; learning how to play through the injuries."