The Texans practiced Tuesday morning at the Methodist Training Center. Afterward, 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 Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
RB Arian Foster
WR DeVier Posey
QB T.J. Yates
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on his wide receiving corps) "They're young, I'll can tell you that. It's exciting because we've got a lot of ability to work with but obviously we've got a long, long way to go. It'll be interesting to see how they sort themselves out. It's a great opportunity for them. I mean, you look at Lestar Jean is working as a starter right now. As a player, all you can ask for is to get on the field, and if you do it, you're not coming off. That's the way this thing works. I'm going to rotate them every week. I think I'll change them up, change the depth chart and see who's going to stand out, who's going to help our football team. But they're all going to get an opportunity."
(on who is going to replace Jacoby Jones as a wide receiver and returner) "Keshawn (Martin) jumps at me because he's an excellent returner and then Trindon (Holliday) has come a long way as a football player and he's going to be more competitive this time around in camp than he's ever been. So if he can show that he can help us out at wide receiver some, we know he can return, so I think his opportunity to make this team is probably the best it's been since he's been with us."
(on what the fullback competition is looking like) "Well, it's basically James (Casey) and two very young players. One we're trying to convert from defense (Derrelle Smith) and he's got a lot of ability and we know he'll thump because he did a lot of last year with the pads on. The young man from Illinois (Jason Ford) is just swimming right now, trying to catch up like everybody else. James continues to give us the flexibility we're asking for."
(on his first impressions of ILB Bradie James now that he's on the field) "A leader. You can tell he's been a leader of a group before. He's very much under control with the defense. Fit right in with the group real quick. He's been there every day. That's what we asked of him. He's come in and been everything (defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips) and (linebackers coach) Reggie (Herring) said he would be."
(on how the right side of the offensive line is looking) "With Gump (RG Antoine Caldwell) and But (RT Rashad Butler) it looks about normal right now. Time will tell. Gump's gotta stay healthy, stay on the field. Butler's kind of been the same way. They will get pushed. I think (T Derek) Newton is way ahead of where he was last year and this young guard (Brandon Brooks) has got a chance to be a heck of a player. It's going to be a very good competition. Those things don't normally sort themselves out until you put the pads on. Right now it's more finesse and positioning-type stuff."
(on P Brett Hartmann's suspension) "It's disappointing because it's kind of hard to sit here and wait on punter whose got a suspension. We've got a team to put together. But it is what it is. He's worked hard to come back from his knee injury. I'm sure with how (P) Donnie (Jones) does will have a lot to do with our decision-making. Until he comes off of that suspension, he's not going to be ready to go and he's not physically ready to go right now. We'll have to wait and see."
(on if FB James Casey is also getting a look at tight end) "Yeah. He starts at tight end when we go in two tight ends. He's the starter across from OD (TE Owen Daniels). He's jumped at me. James (Casey) is a good football player. I think he was on his way to a great year last year. It was just unfortunate that he got hurt."
(on how hard it is to make a decision on who the team's punter and kickoff man will be when P Brett Hartmann is injured and will serve a suspension) "He does (kickoff for the team). But we think our young kicker (rookie K Randy Bullock) can kick off. We'll see how that goes. It's not really tough because you know the situation going in. It's tough on him because how do you convince coaches to wait on you for four weeks? You got to go play. So that's what he's trying to do and trying to get healthy at the same time."
(on what he wants to see from RG Antoine Caldwell and RT Rashad Butler) "I want to see them just compete. I want to see them hold up. That's been the thing with both of them. They've had good spurts in their career but you're looking for 16 weeks. One thing about our offensive line, all our guys play and stay on the field for a long time and these two guys need to be able to prove they can do that, too."
(on the chemistry that may be missed with the departure of former Texans, RG Mike Brisiel and RT Eric Winston, and the emergence of RG Antoine Caldwell and RT Rashad Butler) "Those guys have been a part of the chemistry. It's not like they haven't been here. But I mean, you miss Eric (Winston) and you miss Mike (Brisiel), two great guys and damn good players. The only way you're going to replace them is with the whole group getting good again and continue to improve and the three guys that are still here playing better, so it'll work itself out. We just got to keep going."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on what he's seen from the defense over the first two days of OTAs) "Our defense looks good right now. They have a lot of confidence in what they're doing; we're doing the same things we did last year and they picked up real well from last year, but I think just the confidence going in makes them better. We had a good day today."
(on the defense already knowing what to expect now that they're in their second year in Phillips' scheme) "We still have rookies that we're teaching and guys that need to work on some things, guys that played last year. Basically, we're doing the same things that we did last year, so that's a carryover."
(on rookie OLB Whitney Mercilus) "Yeah, Whit, I think it's not too big for him, so that's the first thing you look for in rookies. Sometimes they get overrun. He hasn't had that problem. He rushed real well today, and that's what we're looking for him to do in the defense, and he had a good day rushing the passer."
(on which players are stepping up and becoming leaders on the defense) "Oh yeah. We've got a strong group that way, as far as leadership. We have ample guys, we need to see who emerges over the next two weeks. Yeah, I feel good about our leadership."
(on his goal for the defense over the course of the OTA sessions after improving from 30th in the NFL in total defense in 2010 to second last year) "Well, actually, our goal was to be in the top five last year, even though that might've been crazy at the time. We set our standards high and we did so well last year, but we want to try to do better this year. It's all about winning. We need to win more games than we did last year. That's what we're looking for."
RB Arian Foster
(on what he's trying to accomplish at OTAs) "Out here you're really just trying to get better every day. Coming in the offseason, you've got a lot of cobwebs on you, so you've got to dust them off and really focus on your craft and get back in the playbook and buckle down and really just when you start becoming a pro again, all over again."
(on having to know when to reel it in, in OTAs) "You don't want to get hurt in May. You've got to find a balance between coming out here and working hard and really just polishing up your game."
(on the attention the Texans are receiving this offseason as a contender) "I really don't even watch TV anymore, so I don't even know, or read blogs."
(on the exposure the Texans will be receiving on national television during the season speaking to the potential of the team) "Absolutely. This has been a work in progress for years at this organization and they've been working to get all the pieces in order to compete in this League year-in and year-out. I think we're at that point where we have a respect level around the League. What Kub (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) always talks about is that you have to earn your keep every single day in this League, not just on Sundays. You can't pay too much attention to that because when you're anywhere near the top it's easy to go right back to the bottom."
(on if it's tougher to maintain success than it is to initially achieve it) "It's harder to win when people know about you. Coming in, when you're kind of the underdog, you have a sense of urgency, but when you're expected, that's what's really tough in this League."
(on the type of offseason conditioning he did with his brother) "The same stuff I've always done in the offseason. The same thing, conditioning a lot of sprint work and things like that just to keep my game polished."
(on if he misses having offseason departures like DeMeco Ryans, Mike Brisiel and Eric Winston) "Absolutely. They were staples when I got here, in this organization and the city. To see them part ways, it was tough. It kind of hit home yesterday, really to not see them out there, to see somebody else wear (no.) 59 and not hear them in pre-practice warm-ups. It's tough. It's part of the business so we've got to move on. I wish him (DeMeco Ryans) the best. He was a great leader for this team."
(on having faith that new players will step up in place of the players who departed in the offseason) "They have to. That's what this game is about. We proved that last year with that whole 'next man up' thing."
(on if he's worried about WR Andre Johnson missing time) "It's early. It's in May, so Andre (Johnson) knows what he has to do to get ready. He's one of the best the game has ever seen so I'm pretty sure he'll be ready."
(on what areas he thinks he can get better in) "Everything. Every single thing. Name it. I can get better at it."
WR DeVier Posey
(on his opportunity to earn playing time after being drafted by the Texans) "Yeah, it's just a great opportunity for me to come out and play and learn from some of the veterans and just be able to fit in the system, hopefully, and just give it my all on special teams or whatever they want me to do. Hopefully I can get some playing time and the opportunity to show these coaches and these players that I'm committed to the team."
(on the biggest transition for him so far in adapting to the NFL) "Just time, because the meetings are a lot longer. You have to be professional about everything because this is the way you feed your children and take care of your family – even not having kids, but just future planning, I mean – this is your job. I just think it's such a great opportunity, and I love what I do. A lot of kids my age don't get this opportunity, and I'm just trying to take advantage of it."
(on who has helped him the most as he's begun to adjust to the NFL) "My brother. I have a brother and he's with the (New York) Jets on their practice squad, so I like to speak to him, and then I have an uncle who played in the League. And just coming from Ohio State, we have a large array of guys that played in the League, and just for me to be able to have that network to speak to each other and those guys, to speak to them about, 'What's it like playing in the League?' Where I come from has helped me a lot, too."
QB TJ Yates
(on how much it easier it is this year with one year under his belt) "It's a lot easier because you're not in the playbook as much. You're doing more things, making more reads, making them easier, but it also puts more pressure on me. Coach Kubiak doesn't give me any slack. I'm not allowed to make rookie mistakes anymore. I have to go out there with the first team and really show them that I can lead and I've taken the next step after last season."
(on going from third string last year to having guys like Case Keenum looking up to him) "It's a little weird, because I was in a very weird situation last year. At one point I had Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart, Jeff Garcia and Jake Delhomme and I was the one playing. The roles have switched for me a lot since I've been here. Now that I know the offense well and I know Case is grinding away trying to learn as much as he can. I'm trying to help him as much as I can because I think the best way to learn a system and really get it down is to be able to teach it to someone else."
(on how difficult it is with so many young receivers) "It's different. You have to get used to them. It takes time and you have to throw a lot of routes and get a lot of reps with them but we're working hard at doing that. These guys are willing to work too."
(on more of the responsibility being on his shoulders with Matt Schaub out) "Yeah, it's just another role I have to step into for now. Matt is going to be back, but until he's back I have to be the guy that steps in and leads this team through OTAs."
(on all the young receivers looking to get their shot) "You can tell these guys have skill. They wouldn't be here if they didn't have the ability and the skill to play at a high level. You can see that in all the guys that we have out here. Right now, it's about getting our timing down and getting them to learn the offense and the nuances and reading coverage at a fast speed."
(on what receivers have stood out to him so far) "There are a lot of guys out there. DeVier (Posey) and K-Mart (Keshawn Martin) look really good. There is a reason that we drafted them. They have skill and ability and they're picking up the offense quick. They're doing a really good job."
(on having structured practices this offseason compared to last) "It's awesome. I didn't get many reps until I was thrown in there last year. It's good to be able to go through practice and get a lot of reps and go through my offseason where if I need to make tweaks or changes in my game, I can do that."