The Texans practiced Tuesday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and running backs Arian Foster and Ben Tate answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakRB Arian FosterRB Ben Tate
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on Kevin Walter missing practice) "He's sick. We've had a couple guys sick, (Antoine) Caldwell yesterday and Kevin (Walter) today. He wanted to go. He showed up and wanted to work but I was trying to keep him away from everybody so hopefully we don't get anybody else sick the next couple days."
(on Johnathan Joseph leaving practice early) "He's fine. His wife is having a little work done and we wanted him to go be with his wife. He's fine. He practiced the majority of practice."
(on how the rest of the receivers looked today with the absence of Kevin Walter) "I don't know that I've ever walked on a NFL practice field and have a group of receivers who have never made an NFL catch, so that was a first for me today. It's great work for them. They're competing hard. We're down to seven guys with Kevin (Walter) being out and Trindon (Holliday) being out. That's how you get better. What an opportunity for a group of young men and we'll see who can handle it."
(on if DeVier Posey got more first team reps with Kevin Walter's absence) "He's kind of working with all of the groups right now. We're moving him around according to how they play. If they show good signs, they move up one day so they're bouncing back and forth. It's kind of crazy for them right now. We're just trying to see who can handle the most and how far we can push them here before we take a break."
(on if he's been happy with how Lestar Jean has been practicing) "Yeah, I am. He practices like a young guy sometimes still, but today he's the big vet out here and he's never caught a pass. That tells you how we have to get going there but I like his work. I like what he stands for. I think he has a chance to be a good player."
(on Brian Cushing's MRI) "He's fine. Everything is fine. We will err on the side of caution here. I don't even know if I'll practice him the rest of the week. He did workout, he just didn't go with the team."
(on how much better LT Duane Brown can be than he was last year) "I tell you, we were talking as a group yesterday. He's one of the guys who have had a great offseason in my opinion, watching him practice. Some guys that have jumped at me offensively, I think him, I think Arian (Foster), I think (Ben) Tate. Defensively, just watching Danieal Manning—I could sit here and name veteran players that really look like they're taking their stuff to another level and Duane is definitely one of those guys right now."
(on what he's liked about Duane Brown watching him out here) "Duane loves to play. He has a good time on the field. Duane can run; he's a heck of a specimen from that standpoint. He plays against the best players in the league rushing the quarterback. Once you get the confidence that you can play with those guys, the sky is the limit. I think that's where Duane is right now. He's got a chance to be a Pro Bowl player."
(on Duane Brown only giving up one sack last season) "Like I think I told y'all at the end of the year, I thought he played as good as any tackle in football last year, but they usually make you do it more than once. I'm ready for him to come back and do it again."
(on Arian Foster and Ben Tate) "They're very competitive. Tate is pushing Arian and Arian is responding every day. Arian has great work habits. It's been impressive to watch. It's a strength of what we do, those guys running the ball. If they keep working that way, it should be again."
(on RG Brandon Brooks) "I see flashes that he's capable of being a starter in this League. He's got a great opportunity. He's out there going head-to-head with Gump (Antoine Caldwell) every day. It will be interesting to see how he does once we put the pads on. With his size and stuff, there's been talk about that he's not our type of guy. That's bull. He can do everything we want him to do. It will be interesting to see how he does."
(on T Derek Newton) "(Derek) Newton is a totally different guy than last year. He's much more understanding of pro football and schemes, so his talents are taking over. He's going to push the heck out of (Rashad) Butler. It's going to be fun to watch. The best guy will come out of it, so he's doing well."
(on how DE J.J. Watt gets better considering how good he was as a rookie) "I think it's all technique, studying the League, studying the people he plays against. Wade (Phillips) and them will put him in more and more positions to make plays and do more with him. We know he's a hell of a player. I think experience gives you a chance to be even better."
RB Arian Foster
(on how he is helping younger players at OTAs) "Just any kind of questions they have, go ahead and answer them and give them your experiences so far in this League and how to do things and how to carry yourself and anything that can be helpful."
(on how OTAs are different for him this year) "I think the only thing that really changes is other people's perception. It doesn't change my work ethic, how I approach the game or anything like that. You obviously gain more confidence with more success you have. It changes in that perspective."
(on if he and RB Ben Tate push each other to succeed) "Absolutely. He's a great back, man. I think we feed off of each other and we've got a good relationship. It's just fun to come out here and compete everyday knowing that you have somebody in the same backfield as you that could get the job done."
(on not wanting his new contract to be a problem) "Yeah, it's something I stressed to my agent and my organization. I told (Houston Texans executive vice president/general manager) Rick (Smith) that. I just believe in any kind of business that needs to be handled needs to be handled face-to-face, behind closed doors because I don't like going to the media and expressing my problems. If I have a problem with a man, I'll go to his face. That's just how I was raised. It's just hard to complain when you play professional sports, in my opinion."
RB Ben Tate
(on his relationship with RB Arian Foster) "He's a competitor. He's a great running back, but at the same time, I feel like I'm a great running back. So we're always competing and when we get into games, we feed off each other. We get out there and he breaks a big run, I want to break a big run or he sees me get in and do something well, he wants to do it well. Competition is good for us, it's great. I get to go against a great defense every day and we always compete, even in practice."
(on how difficult it may be to get less carries this year) "I got less carries last year. It's the same situation. I just keep my head up and just keep working."
(on how motivated the team is to pick up where it left off last year with so much talent coming back) "We're a very motivated team. We weren't happy about how we went out last year against the Ravens. That was a very winnable game for us. That taste is still in our mouth. We go out here every day and we know we have to work to get better because we felt like we were a better team and should have won that game."
(on what he likes about RB Arian Foster's running style) "He's a patient guy. He's smooth. I can admire his patience because mine, I'm not as patient as him. I'm a patient runner, but I'm not as patient as him."
(on the notion that he runs over people) "From time to time. I pick my battles."
(on if he and RB Arian Foster talk about pushing each other) "No. It's not anything to talk about. We're both competitors, so you're going to go out here and work every day to get better because every day you've got to get better. He don't want me gaining ground on him. I don't want him gaining ground on me. It's just always a competition. We're always working to get better."
(on what it's like to play behind a Pro Bowl running back when he could start for most teams) "I just see it as a blessing in disguise because I can sit back and I can keep learning. I'm still a young player and I still can keep learning. My time will come. I know it will come. My time will come and when it comes, I'll be ready to explode on the scene and become a Pro Bowl running back myself."
(on if it's easy for him to be patient) "It's not easy. It's not easy at all but as you mature you just understand the business end. You know it is, what it is. He got a $43 million contract. Obviously, he's the guy. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. In my situation, you just have to be patient, you just have to keep learning, keep working on your craft."
(on what his motivation is to keep working) "I'm a competitor. I want to be the best. That doesn't matter that he's (Arian Foster) in front of me. You're always interviewing. Every Sunday is an interview, no matter if I'm on this team or if I'm on another team. It's always an interview. So somebody's watching me somewhere."