The Texans went through their second day of training camp practice Tuesday at the Methodist Training Center. General manager Rick Smith, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of the players answered questions from the media after. The following is a transcript of their respective answers.
General Manager Rick SmithHead Coach Gary KubiakDT Earl MitchellFS Glover QuinOLB Brooks ReedQB Matt SchaubRB Ben TateWR Terrence Toliver
General Manager Rick Smith(on what has changed with the Houston Texans in the last few weeks) "Well, I think our football team has improved; that was the design of the offseason. I think we had a productive offseason. You go back to even before the lockout; we were able to get some key guys under contract. We signed Owen Daniels back. We signed Derrick Ward back. We were able to get those contracts done. Shaun Cody was done and then we had a productive draft, I felt. To kind of finish that off with the free-agent acquisitions that we had, I just felt like we improved our team and that's what we set out to do."
(on if he changed his philosophy in the offseason by going after specific needs) "We've done that in the past. I think from a philosophical standpoint, the only thing that was different was we had a lot more time. With the lockout we were able to really, really hone in on our plan and we were able to go over it numerous times, ad naseum at certain points; I'm sure my guys were tired of talking to me about it. I really felt like, especially from the college free-agency standpoint, I think the reason we were able to sign the guys we had rated fairly high in that group is because our preparation was so thorough, and then our guys executed. That was the only difference, in terms of how we go about our offseason plan and how we evaluate our football team and evaluate our needs."
(on the approach to getting unrestricted free agents CB Johnathan Joseph and S Daneial Manning once the lockout was over) "It was a decision. It was an internal decision and an organizational decision that we had to make, whether or not we were going to try to maybe make the big splash and sign one guy or if we were going to try to maybe sign two guys. And we contemplated that decision for a few days. A lot of reports, we were in on a couple different things and different options. What we decided when we decided, we felt like Danieal Manning and Johnathan Joseph would come in and really help our football team and impact us the best way. That's why we decided to go in that direction and we were able to get those deals done."
(on what the selling point was to sell Danieal Manning and Johnathan Joseph on signing with the Texans) "I think everybody understands that our football team is close. We have not realized our goals over the last couple years, particularly last year, when we took a step back. I think people understand that our team is close and they understand that we've got something special here, that we're building something special and they wanted to be a part of it and that was a big part of it. They wanted to be a part of what we're doing and they were excited about joining the Houston Texans and what we can accomplish together."
(on what areas of the team he would like to address, possibly the fullback position) "My job is to continue to always try to get better. So, the roster is never set, in my opinion. We will continue to look and I think there are some areas on our team that we might be able to improve depth-wise. You mention the fullback position and we've got a free agent in town today, visiting with him. He's taking a physical now. Lawrence Vickers is here, visiting of course. So we'll talk with him and visit with him later today. We'll continue to try to upgrade our roster constantly."
(on the status of free agent DE Ty Warren) "We had a good visit yesterday. I think this is a good spot for him (Ty Warren). We talked a long time about all the reasons why I think it's a good spot for him; I think he believes so. But he's got some options. He visited a couple different places. He's at another club now. We'll get a chance to re-visit with him later today and see where he is in his decision-making process."
(on the health status of free agent DE Ty Warren and if he is confident in that) "You know what, he's coming off the hip injury, obviously but our doctors, we did a pretty good work-up yesterday and we feel pretty comfortable about where he is."
(on when he would like an answer from free agent DE Ty Warren) "I'm not going to pressure him (Ty Warren). Those guys (free agents) can't practice anyway until Thursday. I think this is a good spot for him. I think we've done everything we can do to communicate that to him and we're going to let him make a decision on his terms."
(on if he's gotten more personal satisfaction out of this offseason than any other because of the moves he's been able to make) "I don't know if I get more personal satisfaction out of it. I'm just trying to do a good job. I think that I've got a great group of guys that work with us. I can't tell you how proud I am of the personnel staff, the coaching staff, our operations staff; there was a lot of work to be done. (Vice President of Football Administration) Chris Olsen and (Football Administration Analyst) Kevin Krajcovic, in terms of helping with the contracts; you know we did over 40 deals in seven days. That's just a tremendous amount of negotiating and brain power that we're trying to recover from. Everybody did a great job and I think our team is better. Again, that was the design of the offseason. So we feel like we were able to get better and now it's just time to go out and play."
(on the play of his rookies so far) "It's early, it's a couple days. I think our team is more athletic. I like the fact that I don't see a lot mental mistakes, which means that they're locked in, so we'll give them a chance to compete."
(on what clicked to make him pull the trigger on the deals to sign CB Johnathan Joseph on S Danieal Manning while being in the running for CB Nnamdi Asomugha) "Again, what we were trying to do is be patient. We were trying to make an internal decision, which way to go. So I had to get in the game on both fronts, on all fronts, actually. It was just a matter of us feeling like, as an organization, that we knew what we wanted to do and we had given all the parties time to make decisions. When we made our decision, we were able to communicate that to everybody involved and then we were able to execute and get the players."
(on if stocking the roster provides for fewer excuses than not living up to what everybody wants) "We don't look for excuses, in general. We've never looked for excuses. We're going to try to do the best job that we can do. I'm going to try to put the best football team on this field and we're going to try to have those guys execute the best that they can. That's always been our goal and that will continue to be our goal."
(on if he's looking at signing a veteran backup linebacker who is used to the 3-4 defense given that ILBs DeMeco Ryans and Brian Cushing are coming back from injury) "That's one of the things, as we talked about, always improving the roster. We're looking at that position to maybe try to add some guys, veteran players that we can give an opportunity. That's certainly a position, just like the fullback position is. But again, that's across the board in all of our positions. We're going to try to improve everywhere that we can and there are a lot of free agent still without jobs. We'll entertain every opportunity that we have to improve our football team."
(on his assessment of WR Jacoby Jones' time with the Texans and signing him back) "I think he has matured. I think his level of play, last year, obviously was his best year and I think that was a product of experience. I think it was a product of his personal maturation process. I gotta be honest, I think who he surrounds himself with I think has helped him. It was nice to see him evolve the way he did last year and produce the way that he produced. He's still got some inconsistent things about him that he's got to correct but I think he's immensely talented and I think he can help us."
(on if there is a degree of bad luck in the way the team has lost some of its games the last two years) "What we've got to do, we've got to execute. That's all. We've got to execute, particularly in the times of a football game where you've got to really be locked in. That's the discipline part of and then guys have got to step up and make plays. That's what we've got to do. We didn't do a good job of that in games at the end last year. I will pretty much tell you that we're going to be focused on that this year and I would expect that we will perform a heck of a lot better in those situation this year moving forward."
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on WR Andre Johnson's injury) "He dislocated his finger in a one-on-one drill this morning and we're getting it looked at, so hopefully he's back here this afternoon. We'll have to wait and see. I wasn't at the drill so I just got the information. I have a big lump in my throat like everybody else, but hopefully he'll be fine."
(on how long a dislocated finger takes to heal) "Like I said, I was at the 9-on-7 drill and it happened over at the one-on-one drill. Right away, they took him to get it looked at so that's where they're at right now; should be back here shortly is what they just told me, so we'll know. Hopefully it's just a dislocation and they're able to get it back in place and they're able to get back to work."
(on if WR Andre Johnson's injury is just part of training camp) "Yeah, unfortunately. We came out here this morning and like I tell the players all the time, you're one play away from getting a chance to be a starter in this league. (Dorin) Dickerson worked as a starter today. Jason Allen got sick. (Sherrick) McManis worked as a starter today. Wade Smith got sick on us last night. We've got a little bug going around. Shelley Smith is starting at left guard. That's the NFL. We'll go back and see how they did, but it's a great opportunity for those guys today."
(on meeting with DE Ty Warren yesterday) "I had a visit with him. Obviously, (General Manager) Rick's (Smith) been visiting with him a great deal going through this process. We're impressed with Ty (Warren). He's a heck of player. I know him personally, obviously from being from here and I think he's trying to decide where he wants to go next. He's got some options and we're hoping we might be one of those options, so we'll see. We're part of the process right now."
(on not having much time before the season starts) "It's a fluid process. Everything we're doing right now is to bring them along and not slowly, so to speak, but we do have a sense of urgency from a standpoint of when we've got to be ready to play. We were able to stay outside all day today. That's a good sign. The weather wasn't too bad, so I'm hoping our first day in pads will either be in the morning or Thursday. I'll have to make a decision as we go. I'm trying to spend a lot of time with our trainers and doctors on how to go about this and try to go about it the right way."
(on if the team is picking up things faster than anticipated) "It's been a good two days. The pickup part, you're probably talking more about the defense since they haven't been together. I've been impressed. You've seen us have a lot of jog-through situations late in practice where we're getting excessive reps so we can teach off it. It's a little different approach, but it's important. It's something we've got to do. It's not something to see if we can do. We got to do it."
(on what he wants to see out of WR Trindon Holliday) "I just want him to show me that he knows what our receivers do in our playbook right now. That's the most important thing. He's had a year to study and if he knows what he's doing, he can compete. He was never asked to play that position in college and I'm asking him to do it. It's been a good couple days for him. He's way ahead of where he was last year, so we'll see how he does."
(on if there's more excitement and expectations for the team this year than in years past) "I think we do. Obviously to me, the last 10 days is what added to that in the fact that we were able to get some pieces for our defense that we knew were very important. You never know in free agency if you're going to get them or not, but (General Manager) Rick (Smith) and (Vice President of Football Administration) Chris (Olsen) did a great job, so that has added to it. Just being on the field with J.J. (Watt) and just watching some of these young guys that we drafted and the athletes we have on the defensive side of the ball right now watching practice is very exciting. We're looking forward to it, but we just have to stay focused on what we're doing."
(on Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips' respect among the players) "When he walks in a room, he doesn't have to introduce himself. They know what he's been doing, how long he's been doing it and it's been successful. I heard him telling a story to the team the other day about Robert Brazile. I was wondering in my office if they know who Robert Brazile is. Just listening to him, talking to him and the credibility that he instantly brings to the coaches, the players on this field, to this city is awesome, just glad to be with him."
(on if FS Shiloh Keo is pretty vocal on the field) "He is. You can tell he's a leader. Where he comes from, he's the leader of their football team. You see that in him. Special teams will be a big part of his career early. He's got a lot to learn, but he's very eager to do it."
(on if there's any update on RB Lawrence Vickers) "No, there is no update. I think he's supposed to be visiting today, but I have not seen him. He is a player that we have some interest in and we're going to talk to him."
(on QB T.J. Yates) "I tell you what, if you want to pick out a guy that's made the most improvement from practice one to two, it was him. It was a tough situation, asking a rookie quarterback to run the second and the third group the first day of camp and he's never had a rep. He had a tough day yesterday, but I told him this morning when we walked on the field, 'You're a second-year pro today so you better be better,' and he was better."
(on if QB T.J. Yates is performing as they thought he would) "We've got to see. He's smart. He knows what he's doing. He knows how to find completions and he's going to get a lot of time, so we'll see."
DT Earl Mitchell(on his progression since his rookie year) "I think I have the ability to do good things, obviously I have confidence in myself but I got to keep working and do whatever it takes."
(on the possibility of more playing time) "It's the nature of the business. Once your number is called, all you can do is just do what you can do. It's pretty nice though and I wish him (former Texan Amobi Okoye) well, but I got my job to do and I got a career of my own so I've got to do whatever I can do."
(on Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips) "You can just tell that everyone knows their responsibilities and everyone is on the same page. We just listen to what he has to say because he knows a lot more than us, because obviously he's been coaching longer than most of us have been playing."
FS Glover Quin(on if he's a true free safety) "I feel better and natural back there. I just feel like that's what I was born to do, but I like to play whatever they ask me to play and so now I'm actually working out the strong safety so you have to know it all. You have to know the strong (safety), you have to know the free (safety), you have to know the corner and you have to know the nickel to be a versatile player. It's been a good transition and it's been fun you just have to continue to work at it."
LB Brooks Reed(on what he's learned from the veterans) "Just tempo of the practice and keep your mind in the game when you're not taking a rep. When you're on the sideline you're taking mental reps watching your guy do the repetition and you learn from him, too."
(on if his biggest adjustment is size and speed of players) "Yeah, size and speed. In college I really didn't drop into coverage that much and that's something my eyes have to get adjusted to. Just coverage, reading the receivers like Andre (Johnson). These guys are running around here like, 'Holy cow.' I'm slowly getting a grip on it. I'm progressing every day, so hopefully by tomorrow I'll be better."
(on what film they've looked at on the 3-4 defense) "That's one thing that they harp on is that it's been a proven system and what we have to do is buy into our system even though it may be different than what we were trained to do in college. As soon as we do that then this defense will be very successful."
(on who has taken him under their wing) "Connor (Baldwin). He's the starter right now and he's helping me try to come along.
QB Matt Schaub(on WR Jacoby Jones) "He's done good. He's really matured a lot and we just look for, he needs to take that next step and we really expect him to. I feel like he's primed to really take off."
(on how WR Jacoby Jones played last year) "He had flashes of excellence, and that's what we expect of him. He's a big play guy. The more he's out there the more comfortable he gets so that's our job right now, is to get him out there and get him involved."
RB Ben Tate(on getting No. 44 after FB Vonta Leach left) "Well it went back to last year. I tried to get it from Vonta (Leach) but 'Leach to the Beach', he wanted a ridiculous number for it so that wasn't going to happen. Unfortunately, he's gone this year but I had a chance to get (number) 44 back."
(on if many players ask for money for number changes) "I would guess, but I don't think it's as outrageous as what Vonta (Leach) was asking for."
(on how anxious he is to get back on the field) "I'm very anxious to get back to a preseason game and get to show everyone, the fans, the organization, teammates, what I can do. I've been working hard this offseason to come back from this ankle injury and I'm just looking forward to having my opportunity."
(on if he was frustrated not having a year like RB Arian Foster last year) "In a sense yes, but it is one of your teammates and I am happy for him that he's doing well. It will just help me be a better running back knowing that I have to go out there and compete against those other guys every day."
(on what the running backs bring to the team) "We're all a little different. From Derrick (Ward) to Steve (Slaton) to me to Arian (Foster), we all are a little different. At the same time, I think we have one of the best backfields in the league this year. It's all competition, it's all fun, we're all friends."
WR Terrence Toliver(on being a Houston Texan) "Well it was my first choice to be here with the Texans organization. They have a great offense, great quarterback, great receivers, so I'm just here to make the 53-man roster."
(on being in camp with WR Andre Johnson) "It's fun. Being in high school watching him, being in college watching him, and I'm out here playing with him so it's nice. It's nice to come out here and compete and watch him."
(on coming from LSU to training camp) "It makes it much easier. We ran a similar offense, the same kind of plays but different terminology, so it's made the transition much easier.
Head Coach Gary KubiakTE Owen DanielsWR Andre JohnsonTE Owen Daniels
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on WR Andre Johnson's injury) "He's fine. He dislocated his finger obviously, so we took him to the hospital this morning. He's back, has it bandaged up and probably is going to miss a day or two of practice until we make sure there's no infection and it calms down. He's fine. He's going to be okay."
(on if he is relieved that WR Andre Johnson will be back practicing in a couple days) "Very much so. I wasn't over there so I was concerned about what had happened. I think we got lucky."
(on if there's any rush to get him back) "No, I would just like him to try to keep his condition level going. Obviously he's like everybody else trying to get there to where he wants it to be. We need to work these young guys too and Jacoby (Jones) will be back Thursday, so it will be a good opportunity for some of these young guys to work, especially tomorrow."
(on if there's any update on ILB Brian Cushing) "Brian's (Cushing) taking all the walkthrough sessions right now. He's a few days away. I'll just have to let you know day-to-day. He's the one guy that we had that wasn't quite ready to go on the field, so we're just trying to take our time."
(on if he's holding things back at practice with so many guys out until Thursday) "No, we're not holding anything back. We're moving. They're able to watch, be a part of practice and be with their coaches out there so they're getting the reps mentally. Physically they'll take off Thursday, but we're proceeding as normal."
(on if there are any thoughts on keeping WR Andre Johnson out longer for safety) "They say he's fine and he can go. Andre (Johnson) can go tomorrow, knowing how he is. I'll just listen to the doctors and when he's ready to go, he'll go. It's an opportunity for these younger guys to take some reps."
(on what he's liked in practice so far) "I like our detail right now. Guys are really into what they're doing. We got a lot of catch up to do and obviously a whole new defensive football team, so to speak, putting it together. Their attention to detail, we're getting a ton of reps, the condition level, as I told you yesterday, I've been excited about what I've seen. I think our guys have done a good job away from here. There's a couple guys that have to catch up, but for the most part, we're heading in the right direction."
(on if there's any update on RB Lawrence Vickers or DE Ty Warren) "(Lawrence) Vickers is here. We had him here today and he visited with me at lunch and visited with (General Manager) Rick (Smith). As we came out to practice, we're talking to him. He's a good player. There are other people talking to him, but we have some interest in him so we'll see. Ty Warren, same thing. It's our understanding that he's making a trip as we speak. I think he's in Kansas City, but we have interest in Ty. I actually talked to him at lunch today too, so we'll see how it goes."
(on the punter situation right now) "The punter? The punter situation? He's (P Brett Hartmann) winning the job right now. Actually we're going to sign (Brad) Maynard. I don't know if that's been released yet, but we're going to sign a veteran punter, Maynard, who should be here I think tomorrow or Thursday. I'm not quite sure. We gave him a chance to go back and get his stuff. We'll see, but the young guy's done a good job. He's getting a chance and he's done a good job."
TE Owen Daniels(on what he feels he needs to prove) "I just want to get back to be able to contribute like I did before. Last year was a struggle with the injuries, trying to come back and be here from day one, week one. That was tough but it was a good offseason for me. I was able to get everything right and I'm just looking forward to doing what I used to do."
(on if changes in the offense with FB Vonta Leach being gone will help him) "I don't think it's going to change too much, honestly. Obviously Vonta (Leach) did a lot of good things for us but the offense didn't revolve around him. We have a lot of good playmakers out there and James (Casey) is going to step up and do a good job at fullback for us. I think we'll still run the ball a lot. Hopefully that'll open up some holes for the passing and hopefully I can make some plays."
(on goals for the team this season) "Our first goal is to win our game Week One against the Colts. That's the goal I'm focused on right now is winning Week One and then we can move on from there. Obviously we want to get to the playoffs and just getting into that tournament, you never know what could happen from there. We want to get to that point. We haven't yet as a franchise, so that's where we ultimately need to be."
(on what he wants to prove by the end of the season) "For myself, I just want to get back to making plays and being respected by everyone around the league. You can lose that quick, and I don't know if I have or not, but I just want to get back to being a guy we can count on to make plays in some crucial situations."
WR Andre Johnson(on if his dislocated finger scared him) "It wasn't scary, it's just a dislocated finger, I've had worse. I don't think I'm worried about a finger keeping me from missing anything."
(on the timeframe for him to catch passes again) "It'll just be a couple of days because my bone broke the skin, so it'll be a couple of days, I didn't have to get any stitches or anything like that. Soon as I felt it pop, I felt it out of place and I popped it right back in. I didn't know the bone had broke the skin until I took my glove off so I really wasn't in a lot of pain or anything like that. It was just more concern about the bleeding and everything like that. I went and got it checked out and everything is fine so once it heals I'll be right back out there."
(on the pass that dislocated his finger) "The ball just hit the tip of my finger and I didn't realize it at first; I just went to make a fist and my index finger didn't feel normal so when I looked at it looked kind of crazy and I just popped it back in."
(on the news that he was carted off the field) "I heard about that when I got back to the stadium I was eating lunch and saw it on ESPN that I was carted off the field and stuff like that. I had a lot of text messages and people asking me if I was ok. I'm fine, it's just a finger. I've played with a bum ankle I don't think a finger will keep me out I'm just letting it heal up."
(on the potential of the offense) "I think we can be great. We all feel that same way, we know we have to be more consistent with what we do. Getting off to a fast start, playing the full four quarters, not getting down and playing catch-up that's what we need to be able to put our offense together for the full four quarters."
(on CB Johnathan Joseph) "He's a great player, he's physical, a lot of DBs (defensive backs) are not known for tackling and he's a guy who will stick his head in there and make tackles, so like I said before, when we met this offseason and he talked about coming here, he was a guy that I was hoping could be part of this team and the transaction was made and I'm happy he's here."
QB Matt Schaub(on young receivers getting practice) "They're doing a great job, our young guys have really stepped up and been playing well. They understand the offense, their role, they're not busting formations and routes. They're doing a good job so there's some talent there so the more they get reps, the better off they will be because it's a league of opportunity and they are getting an opportunity to show what they can do."
(on if the young receivers are having to transition faster than previous years) "Yeah, absolutely and this whole situation has been probably the toughest on the young guys because they didn't have time this spring for meeting and watching film and OTAs, going through the motions, so to speak, that time of year but they're coming in and just going."
(on QB T.J. Yates' progression from Day One to Day Two) "T.J. has been down here since the draft working out with us, so being together and just talking through things, I feel like he really grabbed on to the offense really well. He has a lot of similar things from North Carolina that we do here, but he gets a ton of reps more than I think most rookie quarterbacks in his position get; I know a whole lot more than I got when I was in Atlanta, but he's doing really well."
(on if he feels like this is his team) "I think so, the more you play the more years you have. I'm going on my fifth year here, so with each year you get a little bit more of that especially from performance and how you play and you operate and handle your business. So, in that respect I feel like it is, but I said that last year, also. We have a ton of guys that have played a lot of football on this team so it's not just going to come from one spot it's going to come from a lot of spots."
(on his leadership style) "There's a time and a place for everything. We're out here for practice and there's no need to, especially on the second day of camp when we're out here as a unit after not doing anything together for eight months, to yell and scream and be all that. I think the most important you do is what you do and how you play and your actions and how you go about your business is what guys look to the most. You have to pick and choose your spots, throughout the course of the year you're have to wrestle with some guys to let them know that what we're doing isn't good enough."