The Texans practiced Tuesday at the Methodist Training Center. After, head coach Gary Kubiak and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakWR Trindon HollidayCB Kareem JacksonWR Andre Johnson NT Earl Mitchell
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the status of the injured players) "We had all those guys back today. Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) was back, Sunny (Harris) was back, (WR) Bryant Johnson was back, (DE Jared) Crick was back, (NT Shaun) Cody, obviously the only guy out and (WR Jerrell) Jackson continues to be out. It was good, kind of pushed through. Got some more training camp days coming this week so trying to really get them back focused on some double sessions here over the course of the next three days."
(on NT Earl Mitchel) "Well, he's been playing like a starter now. It's been exciting, been playing very, very well. Obviously, with (NT) Shaun (Cody) out now, the load gets bigger, the expectations are the same; we expect Earl to do a great job and play well, and hopefully he'll do that."
(on what he thinks of RB Jonathan Grimes) "Very impressed. He's just a worker. He's very consistent, acts like a three or four-year guy. He's a good example today, that's a hard day; you come off a game, first time back in pads, still in training camp mode. You see players like him continue to push, continue to grind, continue to get better. He's an impressive young man, and he's playing good on special teams, too.
(on if he's noticed a jump in CB Kareem Jackson) "No doubt. You guys all watch practice. He's a much better player right now, he's much more comfortable in (defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips)'s system, confident. Had a chance to make a big play early in the game last week, a pick. But I think Kareem's really improved as a player, and it's all about confidence with him, too."
(on how much NT Earl Mitchel has grown in the last few years) "A great deal. He's matured. With Earl, early in his career, conditioning was an issue. It wasn't that he didn't work at it; it was just kind of getting used to everything and knowing how to keep himself up to speed, so to speak. He's handled that now, he's in much better condition. He can play all day, and that's making him a better player."
(on what he sees out of CB Kareem Jackson that he liked)" Kareem's very smart, his diagnosis is excellent. On the back end, you got to be able to cheat, got to be able to see splits and seek formations and cheat plays. Kareem's seen enough of them now that's he's able to do that quite a bit, and that's helping him make more plays."
(on if WR Trindon Holliday can make the team as just a returner) "You know, we'll see. I can't sit here and say how the roster is going to pan out; we have so far to go. Can you make the team as just a returner? Yeah. You better be special, though. That guy's going to touch the ball a lot today; I try to give him opportunities in the receiving game. He needs to continue to improve there, but his first outing was a good one, so we'll see."
(on the battle for the spot at right tackle) "I think (T Rashad) Butler's experience right now has shown up a little bit through one week. (T Derek) Newton has tremendous ability. If he can get consistent, he's definitely going to have every opportunity from that standpoint. But it's a good battle. We're two weeks into it with one game, and we'll kind of switch it up a little bit this week so they'll get a lot of reps."
(on if T Rashad Butler and T Derek Newton will possibly have a dual-role) "I think it's something to think about. Obviously, it's not on my plate right now, but I think as we get to the season, that could very well be the case. This guy's the starter and this guy goes every third series, and we'll let them sort it out as we go through the season, we'll see. We'll see how it goes the next couple weeks."
WR Trindon Holliday
(on what's different about this camp compared to past years) "What's different about this camp is I feel good. I'm completely healthy and I can come out here and just play fast instead of thinking about what I have to do."
(on if a huge weight is lifted off his shoulders after returning for a touchdown against Carolina) "It was a lot of weight off my shoulders, but one return doesn't make a player. You've got to come out and beat the system with it."
(on the support he's getting from his teammates) "Guys came up to me and told me that the one thing that our team was missing was special teams and I just wanted to come out and show those guys that I can be counted on to make plays for this team."
(on if there's something he worked on this offseason to help his hands) "I just worked on catching balls all day. In the offseason, I'd just go outside and my cousin would kick it and I would just catch and catch and catch until I got tired."
(on if he's feeling more comfortable catching balls) "Yeah, I'm way more comfortable this year at catching the ball."
CB Kareem Jackson
(on if the Texans organization and fans are seeing now why he was a first round pick) "I think the coaches are. They've always believed in me. They always told me to keep getting better, stay focused, do the little things right and continue to progress and be accountable to the guys in the locker room. As for the fans, hopefully on Sunday they see it. For the fans that come out here, they've seen it a little bit this training camp, but like I said, definitely the coaches."
(on if he has more confidence in this year's training camp than last year) "Definitely, playing that (cornerback) position you have to have that confidence. You can't go out there lacking that. At any time the ball could be coming your way. The offense can kind of sense when you're lacking that confidence out there and it can kind of turn into an every down thing where they're coming at you. My thing is to never lose that confidence whether I get beat, a guy is catching balls or whatever happens. You always have to have that confidence out there so that's my thing."
(on what he's paying more attention to in this year's training camp) "I think I'm paying more attention to the little things a lot more. From knowing the defense inside and out, knowing where guys are going to be on the field and knowing where I have help. I use my technique that I've learned throughout the years and transferring the things from the film room to the playing field. I think I've done that a lot better this year."
WR Andre Johnson
(on getting more reps this week than last week) "Yeah, it wasn't my decision. If the coaches want me to play, I'll play. If not, I'll be sitting on the sideline so it depends on what they want."
(on getting in some more work this week) "Yeah, but I was working last week so I'm doing fine. I could have played last week if I wanted to but like I said, it's not my decision."
(on if he is anxious to play) "You'd like to get out there and play and get a little contact and things like that, and get tackled a few times before your first regular season game. But like I said, this is not my decision. I don't have the final say so we'll see what happens."
(on if he will play in this weekend's preseason game) "I don't know. In my opinion, I don't think so. I'm preparing as if I'm playing. I haven't heard anything yet. We'll find out when the time comes."
(on the importance of a little bit of work in the preseason) "You'd like to get it. Anybody would like to be out there playing. It doesn't matter if the game counts or doesn't count. I just like playing the game of football and get to go against somebody different and see where you're at. I think it's important but like I said, I plan on being out there Saturday."
(on him accepting sitting out because he is very important to the team's success) "Well, if that's the coach's decision, then that's his decision. I can't do anything about it. All I can do is get better and get better every time I'm on the field and that's what I try to do every time I'm out here."
(on Randy Moss) "I think he's an amazing athlete. I've been a big fan of Randy Moss since he was in college at Marshall. I used to watch a lot of his games and things like that. I've been a fan of him since I've been in the NFL. (He's) a tremendous talent, something that doesn't come around very often and what he has done over his career just shows what type of talent he is."
(on going against a good 49ers defense this weekend) "I think it'll be a good challenge for us. They're a very good physical football team. They're physical on both sides of the ball. They like to run the ball on offense. They play very physical on defense. I think it's a good test for us to see where we're at right now as a team."
(on which young receiver impressed him in the game at Carolina) "All of them did. I think they went out and played well. A lot of them were a little anxious first time playing a game in the NFL, but I think they all played well. They all had some mistakes and that's going to happen. That's the biggest thing I tell them, don't worry about the mistakes. We can fix that when we go in the film room and watch it. The biggest thing is just going out, playing hard and they all went out and played hard on Saturday."
(on WR Keshawn Martin) "Keshawn (Martin) is a guy that doesn't say anything. Everybody has always said that I'm quiet. He's quieter than me. You have to really pull things out of him to get him to talk, but he has a lot of talent. They're all very talented. Since he's been here, he's been making lots of plays for us."
(on the receivers he watched growing up) "There were a lot of receivers I watched growing up. Growing up, I was a big (Miami) Hurricanes fan. That's why I went there. Watching guys like Kevin Williams, Lamar Thomas, Eddie Brown and Michael Irvin, all those guys. Keyshawn Johnson when he was at USC. There were a bunch of receivers I watched growing up. I think when Randy Moss came on the scene, he just kind of caught everybody by storm with some of the stuff he was doing and then for him to be at the college that he was at doing it. I think it just kind of surprised a lot of people."
(on if he is comfortable offering his advice and analysis to younger players) "Yeah, that's the biggest thing. I think when you tell people the truth, I think they respect you for it. I don't have a problem with them telling me the truth just because they're a rookie. I tell them that if you see me doing something wrong, tell me. I want to know because I want to get better as a player. I think that's the only way you get better. I think that if you don't tell them the truth and if you tell them they're doing something good and they're really not, then they're not going to get better as player. That's something we do around here. We tell each other the truth about what's going on."
NT Earl Mitchell
(on how he thinks he has grown as a player over the last few years) "There's just a lot of things. Just playing football and so many different positions in my career and just being able to learn and just staying at one position is a big deal. It has been beneficial for me in my career to just focus on one position and actually learn how to be a productive player at the nose tackle position."
(on the key to becoming a well-conditioned player) "Just coming from Arizona, the weather was different and just getting acclimated to the environment and the mental preparation that goes along with being a professional. It can be a lot of wear and tear on the body coming from the collegiate environment, so just coming to play with professionals who have been on the field for longer and understand the position and have been playing longer, and just getting used to working with professionals and being able to play consistently."
Following the afternoon practice inside the Methodist Training Center, head coach Gary Kubiak and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head Coach Gary KubiakDefensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on any health updates) "Nothing different from this morning. (NT) Shaun (Cody)'s going to be out for a few days, (WR Jerrell) Jackson is still out. Everybody else is back to work."
(on if he still plans to give QB Case Keenum some playing time in the upcoming game) "Yeah, it was kind of nice the way the game worked out the other night; we controlled the ball really well so all four of our quarterbacks got to play. Case's work will pick up this week, and I'd like to possibly get him a little work with the second group in there as we work our quarterback and talking about the second offensive line. We'll see how we sort that out. "
(on if he will play QB Case Keenum as the third quarterback) "I don't know, we'll see. But we'll keep working with this week and make a decision. But obviously, I want to continue to see him play."
(on if he'd like to see San Francisco Head Coach Jim Harbaugh's defense show more complex schemes ) "Well, you bait me on that question; you can't talk to coaches about preseason games. That's against the rules. No, they're a hell of a football team and everything they do, they do well. Won 13 games in this league and they're very, very physical. They present a lot of problems for you offensively; they're a 3-4 football team. Defensively, they've got some big weapons, they've added some big weapons to their offense, and they run the ball very well. So we got to work it out for us."
(on if he's decided on the quarterback rotation) "No, no I haven't. It'll probably be pretty much the same. The only thing is, like I said, I'd like to see Case (Keenum) a little bit more, so I'll see how I get that done."
(on how he feels about the referee replacements) "I don't get concerned with that, I've got to worry about my team."
(on any comparisons with his team and the 49ers) "I think we both pride ourselves on being physical football teams. It'll be good work. It's a good team to play for us in the preseason because they're an excellent football team. Our preseason, I like it, it's very real. Carolina's a good football team, got after us last year. San Francisco's a hell of a football team. New Orleans, going to New Orleans is tough as it gets, it's our third game. It's a really good prep for us this month, just getting ready for the season."
(on what kind of challenges he sees with the 49ers receivers) "This time of year I can't say that we're sitting here studying individuals going into preseason games and stuff. We're concerned with ourselves and looking at all of our players. But they've added some guys and their tight end is as good as there is in the game. Very capable and like I said, very physical."
(on if the lack of hitting in practice has affected solid tackling) "No, we have four preseason games to tackle. If we need to work on tackling, we will. A lot of tackling is being able to get to the ball and break down and take great angles, and we work on those things a lot."
(on why ILB Bradie James has worked out and fit in so well) "He knows the defense. He's sharp at making all the calls. I think the other guys have confidence in him that way and he's a good football player. He can play."
(on Bradie James' comments that it is OLB Connor Barwin and ILB Brian Cushing who are making the defensive calls) "Well, it's all of us. It's all of those guys. It's a combination of guys that lead by example and then we've got some vocal guys, too."
(on DE Antonio Smith) "Antonio is a lot of what I thought he'd be. He's very active. You can do a lot of things with him, stunt a lot with him. He's played stronger against the run, consistently. I think that's one of the reasons he was in the Pro Bowl. Not only can he rush the passer, but I wasn't sure how well he'd play against the run and he played real well."
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus) "After the first game, the guy did the things we thought he could do going in. He can rush the passer. He gets off blocks well. He hustles to the ball and he's smart."
(on if OLB Whitney Mercilus needs to improve technique) "Yeah that's all our guys. We try to get them where they don't make assignment mistakes first and most of them aren't doing that, although, we had a few. The next step is the technique involved in that assignment."
(on getting OLB Whitney Mercilus more reps with the first team) "We'll play him more and more with the first group to see how he does. I think he'll do well."