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Houston Texans

Quotes: Tuesday practice


The Texans practiced Tuesday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak and the players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.

Head Coach Gary KubiakOffensive Coordinator Rick DennisonSS Glover QuinSS Danieal ManningQB Matt SchaubDE Antonio SmithQB T.J. Yates

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Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on who held out of practice today) "Cush (LB Brian Cushing) did not practice today. (NT Shaun) Cody did not practice, but did run and did work out. (DE) J.J. (Watt) did not work with the team, but did work out and he was doing a lot of football specific stuff, so the biggest one was Cush today."

(on what he's looking to see from the third preseason game) "You want your snap count to go up. You're working toward a progression, towards Miami. Sometimes you can't control it. As far as that, I would just like to see us get more snaps and watch our conditioning continue to hold up. It's been pretty good I think. There are always things that we can do better as a football team and a lot of things that we have to work on. We've got some issues on defense. We've got a few players missing. We're continuing to get an identity with those guys out and I think that's important because we're going to face those types of things during the season. Obviously, we want to play better against the run this week. Offensively, I'm down a few days of making some tough, tough decisions on the right side and those types of things. I've got to continue to put this receiving group together. I just want those things to become a little bit clearer for me, if they can. I just want to watch us do something a little bit better this week and hopefully improve some of the things we haven't done so well. Penalties have been a problem for us. They were not last year, but they have been in the preseason."

(on if RT Rashad Butler will be starting at right tackle this weekend) "I haven't made a decision yet. This thing is so close. I've got them competing in practice. I just told them on the field that I've got to go back and watch. It's going to be very difficult, but I want one of them to really pull away with it, that type of thing. It's been a good battle. They're both doing their part. I'm sure it's going to go all the way down until next week."

(on this will be a good test for the pass rush and the secondary against Saints QB Drew Brees) "Yeah, an excellent test for us. Their tempo with how they play offensively and how they can spread you out, and of course he (Brees) is one of the best to play the game. So it will be a big test for us from that standpoint. But at the same time, they can line up and run the ball on you. Like I said, we've got to improve from that standpoint."

(on if he plans to use the kickers the same way he has all preseason) "Yeah, I think so. I think (Shayne) Graham has kicked one more field goal than Randy (Bullock), so we'd like that to all even out. I think the kickoffs are pretty even. During practice, we've been charting them. We chart them all the way through pregame, so it's a big process throughout the course of a month. It's very, very close right now. Hopefully, when we leave the field in the next two weeks, we'll have it pretty much even as in the number of kicks where we can make our decision."

(on what he needs to see more of from WR DeVier Posey) "I just have to move him up a little bit. That's what I'll have to do. You have to remember, the guys that he's behind right now are young guys too, so I'm trying to get those guys ready to play, (Keshawn) Martin and Lestar (Jean). So that makes it a little difficult, but I'll get him more repetitions. I tried to get him the ball late in the game the other day. You can't really control the number of snaps, but between this week and definitely Thursday night against Minnesota, there are going to be plenty of snaps to go around, so he's going to get plenty of them."

(on if WR DeVier Posey has been affected by the amount of time he missed last year) "I think it has an impact on you as a player as far as adjustments. Football is a repetition sport and then off a sudden you get away from repetition. You've got to get back in the groove and doing it every day—make a mistake and getting it corrected, doing that. I think that's been part of his process. His attention to detail has been good. His work has been good. But he's had a little bit further to go than a couple of those players, just because I think of the missed time. We knew that. It's an unfortunate situation, but we believe in his talent. That's why we drafted him and I know he's going to be able to help this team. We've just got to get him up with everyone else."

(on how helpful WR Andre Johnson has been to all of the young receivers) "He's been very helpful, because when he was out he was helping them a great deal mentally. Now that he's back and playing like himself and working like himself, they are seeing why he's a great player. I just made a comment to him on the field; he looks like himself at practice. Andre has always been a guy that wants to practice well. That means he's going to play well. I've been around players like that. Rod Smith was just like that. Jerry Rice was like that. Our young guys are watching him. He was excellent in practice today, so it's fun to see right now."

(on how critical WR Andre Johnson is to the success of the young receivers) "It's huge. You can tell guys something until you're blue in the face, but they need to see examples. As a coach, you can say this is how I want it done or do it this hard, but there's nothing better than somebody out there that's doing it that way who has been successful. They see that that's the key to their future too. Those go hand-in-hand."

(on if the close competition on the right side of the line and wide receiver is a result of everyone playing at a high level or no one really showing more than anyone else) "I would say they're all playing at pretty darn good level. I think that's what's been going on between (Derek) Newton and (Rashad) Butler. They both have their strengths. As you watch them play, they show off the strengths that they have. Butler is a little more athletic. Newton is a big, physical guy. They show up in different ways. The receivers, when you look at Keshawn (Martin), he's been pretty consistent since day one when he walked in here. Lestar (Jean) has really been excellent the last two weeks. There is going to be room for all of those guys. The question is how do we sort it out and how do we go about it three weeks from now. That's the key for me."

(on how much of a luxury is it having TE Owen Daniels in his offense) "It's a huge piece. We've got to have Garrett (Graham) play. Garrett is as much improved as I've told you numerous times. James (Casey) is a swing player for us, from that standpoint. One of the things different about our team right now, if it was build today, if it would be built a little bit different at tight end than it has in the past. What does that mean for us offensively? We may have to call on a few more options so to speak and come up with some new things. Our team could be built different that way, but O.D.'s presence and what he does for us is the same."

(on if he can imagine having to keep six wide receivers) "No, but that's a nice problem. When we get to that Friday, a week from this Friday, that hopefully everybody is standing and everybody is in one piece and that is something that we're talking about.  The only reason you're going to do that is when one of them is a tremendous special teams player and we all know what Trindon (Holliday) has done up to this point. We'll see how that all pans out, but like I said, I hope they're all there on that Friday and that we have to make a tough decision."

(on how ILB Brian Cushing has adjusted to working with ILB Bradie James on the field compared to previous years with DeMeco Ryans) "I can't speak for their personal relationship. I'm watching the football. It looks excellent to me. First off, Bradie understands (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips)'s defense as good as any coach. So Cush pulls from that. From that standpoint, that's been an easy transition for Cush. Obviously, they go get a playing relationship on the field, talking and when things get tough on the field, you know how they rely on each other and what they do. That's something they have to build, because Cush and DeMeco did play a lot of football together. I've seen it. It's been good throughout the course of the preseason and I think Bradie has been everything we thought he would be when he came to this team."

(on how he would evaluate the progress of QB Case Keenum right now) "I think he's further along than I thought he would be. Watching him get ready for the combine and all those things, going from a shotgun player to an under center player, it looked like it was a struggle. I'm sure it was.  So that was a concern of mine, but me watching him do it for us has been excellent. He's handled it, the snaps, all that we do has not been a problem. So I've been very impressed with how far he's come. He could or could not get some time this week, depending on how it goes with our ones and our twos. Between he and John (Beck), they're going to play a ton of football against Minnesota. He's holding his own. I've been very impressed."

(on if he is happy with how QB T.J. Yates has progressed in the last year) "Yeah, I think he's a better player this year than last. I really liked his first outing against Carolina. The other night, I thought he could've played better. I've told him that. He needs to trust his people up front a little more than he did the other night, but T.J., this is his first camp. I can just watch him and see him handling himself. To me, he's a better player right now than he was last year. Some of the mistakes he made last year, and he played through them and found a way to make plays, but there's not as many this year."

(on if he is still hopeful to get J.J. Watt back on the practice field so he can play in one of the final preseason games) "I would answer that this way: I would say that if we were playing this week, I think you would see J.J. That's how far he's come and that's how well he's doing right now. At the same time, we've got to be very, very smart. We're talking about him. We're talking about (NT Shaun) Cody. Cush (LB Brian Cushing) is a little bit banged up and didn't practice today. Although I want them all there and working, there is an ultimate goal here and we've got to take it a day at a time and be smart."

(on if ILB Brian Cushing will play against the Saints) "I think he's going to be able to play. We'll see where he's at. I did not let him practice today. He's still very sore. We're going to bang a little bit tomorrow, so I think chances are that I will keep him out tomorrow. He does not need to practice to play, from the standpoint of knowing our defense. I would like him to get his reps. I would like him to be available to get his reps on Saturday, but we'll see a day at a time."

(on if his toughest cut will be from the defensive secondary) "I think there is a few of them. Let's hope those cuts are real, real tough. Let's hope that everyone stays healthy for the next two weeks. Yeah, we've got a surplus of players at a few positions. That's going to make it very, very difficult. Like I said, let's hope that we have those problems here in a week."

(on ILB Darryl Sharpton) "He's not ready. I've used the word 'slow-process', but I knew it was going to be four or five weeks. We knew that from the start. He is doing well. He's starting to run. So he's a lot closer now to getting on the field than he was before, but at the same time, we're working on an eight or nine day window where we have to make some decisions."

(on how ILB Darryl Sharpton's injury affects how he shapes the roster next week) "Well, it's strictly whether or not he's ready to play. We know what he can do. We know what we'll get. We know what type of special teams player we'll get, but at the same time, we've got to see when we think he's going to be ready to contribute. Just going back to practice doesn't mean you're quite ready to go contribute yet. It's something we'll have to work through."

(on Roger Clemens being the same age as him and coming back to play minor league baseball) "I can tell you this: I won't be coming back. I can tell you that. I just found out before I went out. He's an amazing athlete. Hey, get after it. What can I say? I know this guy (speaking of himself) won't be able to come back. I can promise you that. I didn't even jog a lap today."

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on where the young receivers are, progress-wise ) "Well, as a group they've worked very hard, first off. And each one is making strides in different areas. I think, certainly, with (WR) Andre (Johnson) missing one week that helped put them on the field a little more. We just got to keep working with them, I think. They're certainly a talented crew. Put (WR) Lestar (Jean) in there with the two we drafted and then the young guys; everybody's making strides."

(on if WR Keshawn Martin was a little bit of a surprise) "Well, we'd like to think we drafted pretty well there. He's done very well. (WR) DeVier (Posey)'s done well, too, it's just certain things have happened for Keshawn, I think. So we're very happy with both of them."

(on what he's seen from WRs DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin that's concerned or disappointed him) "I don't think we're really concerned about either one of them. I think both of them are doing what we've expected. Our system is not that easy; it takes a while to get that, and both of them have picked up on the things that we've asked them to. They're both explosive receivers, all our group are; that's why we're here is to be explosive and just go out there and keep making plays. To say we're disappointed, we're not disappointed in anybody. We just keep working with them and see where they fit in. We're going to do what we do and see how they match up. If somebody's strengths are better in a certain area, we'll use that to our advantage."

(on how he balances the playing time between the young guys without letting WR DeVier Posey get too far behind) "Well, that is one of those things that we'll just keep rolling him in there, and practice time has helped quite a bit. That's when we had some guys down earlier. We just keep trying to put them out there and see who makes the plays. We're not targeting balls to anybody; the coverage will dictate that and see who gets open and who has the explosion in and out of breaks. That's the biggest thing to create the separation. And I think both of them can do that."

(on how valuable TE Owen Daniels is to the offense) "Well I think Owen has always done a great job. When you got a guy like (WR) Andre (Johnson) out there, he attracts a lot of attention so when all that goes outside, Owen's got some room inside. He certainly can beat man coverage underneath, it doesn't matter who it is. Owen's really working really hard in the running game. He's never been a bad player at that but these two guys we practice against everyday are pretty darn good so that's really helped him out so it'll balance out and he's done a great job and he'll continue to help us."

(on FB James Casey's flexibility will allow them to keep less tight ends) "Well certainly he can play darn near everywhere, he's so bright. When we move him out and create one back stuff with him on the edge, that creates some problems for the defense to think about and adjust to so, we think that's a plus for us all."

(on if what they saw at New Orleans last year from FB James Casey is what they're ultimately looking for) "Yeah, I think he can give us both. He can still go in there and do what a fullback needs to do on our offense, but it allows us to move him out and do the things because of his athletic ability and, obviously, understanding what we do."

(on QBs John Beck and Case Keenum) "I think both of them have done very well. We still keep working with them, it's still open. We've got two games. (QB) Matt (Schaub) and (QB) T.J. (Yates) will get a lot of this game, and then the last game we'll see how that works out. I think both of them have done we'll; both have obviously strengths and weaknesses. John's been around the system, he's played a lot in the League, and Case is a battler. He always figures out a way to do it. Obviously, with the career at Houston, you can see that at practice."

(on if logic is telling him to go with the more experienced QB, John Beck) "I don't know; logic and my name has rarely been in the same sentence. I think it'll play itself out, I really do. I think we'll figure that one out. It'll play itself out and obviously (QB) Matt (Schaub) and (QB) T.J. (Yates) have done everything we've asked and done great. Matt's really made some strides, especially the last couple weeks."

SS Glover Quin
(on how challenging the Saints offense is to go against) "They always have a great offense. They have a great quarterback, good receiving corps. They've got one of the top tight ends in the league. They've got great running backs. (RB) Darren Sproles always creates matchup problems. They're a tough offense. They do a lot of things empty. They throw the ball really well, but they also run the ball. They've got a good running game and a big O-line. It's going to be a challenge. We're going to have to be on our A-game. It's going to be in their place, so they're always pumped up to play down there. It's going to be fun."

(on if he's looking forward to testing himself against the Saints in the third preseason game) "Definitely. Our preseason, we've talked about it the whole time, it's a tough preseason. Each week has gotten tougher. Last week, going against San Francisco, it was a very physical game. So we got a chance to test ourselves in that sense. This week, we're going to get a chance to test our pass defense to see where we are. Hopefully, we're ready to go."

(on if the Saints offense is tricky because they have so many offensive options) "I wouldn't say tricky. It's just one of those things where everybody has to be on point because the quarterback is really good. Even if his first read is covered, he's going to go to the next one. He has the ability to make great throws that you can have great coverage and the throw will beat you. It's going to take a great team effort for us with the D-line getting good pressure on the quarterback and the secondary holding up in coverage. Hopefully we can come out of there with a win."

(on if QB Drew Brees is one of those quarterbacks that you have to expect will throw for his yards) "He's going to complete some passes. I wouldn't say he's necessarily going to get his yards. He's a smart quarterback. He's going to take a few shots. They love the vertical game. He's real big on if it's not there, he's not afraid to check the ball down. He's not afraid to throw the ball away and try again the next down. I will say he's going to complete some passes, but I think it's up to us to limit the yards after the catch, as far as completing a 5-yard pass and they turn it into a big play. It's also up to us to limit the big plays. If we keep the big plays off of us and tackle the short ones, we should be fine."

(on how much of the regular season defense  "We use our base calls. The stuff that we're running right now is the stuff that we run every week. Obviously, during a regular season game, you do a little more game planning, you call certain defenses to come by what they do. So you may have a few more calls but for the most part, it's about doing what you do and doing it better than the other team. At the end of the day, it's preseason, so everybody basically works on their base package, what they're known for. This is what we're gonna do and we got to get good at it. I think a lot of teams do that and that's what we do, so we're gonna call our calls. The stuff that we run now, we're going to be running in Week 17. We have to do a good job and get good at it and play it."

(on how much the secondary has progressed as a unit) "I think we've come a long way from the end of the season last year going into the offseason; having the confidence to keep pushing and then coming into this training camp, having a full training camp. Pushing each other every day, that's one thing that we do. We don't take any slack off any of our players. We push guys to be the best, to work hard every day in practice. We just go at it and we go against a great offense every day. The guys challenge us and we step up to the challenge and we try to make plays. Right now, we play with a lot of confidence and I think that's the way you have to be."

(on TE Owen Daniels) "OD (TE Owen Daniels) is a great route-runner. He's a great tight end and you mix that with our offense; the run-pass looking the same and the bootlegs and the isolation coverage on linebackers and safeties. He's a tough cover. Good thing he's on our team and we get to work with him every day. It definitely helps us out on Sundays or in the games going against other tight ends. He has to be a guy you pay a lot of attention to."

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SS Danieal Manning
(on how far the second year guys have come from having a year of camp under their belts) "I'd say we came leaps and bounds for the fact of just picking up the defense. We can add more to it. The more guys know, the better we can play and the faster we can play. We're starting to play good ball early in training camp and preseason from last year. At the end of this season, we were really picking up steam. I think it's carrying over to this season."

(on the depth of the team) "Yeah, it's good depth. Guys competing all the time; every day, every play. It's always good because you can learn from the guys when you're on the side. That's something I always try to do. I get out there and I'm not really leaning from anyone as one of the starters, so when I get out there and see other guys play my position, I see the mistakes or the good plays that make. I'm learning form them at the same time."

(on what he thinks of the first team reps with so many starters out due to injury) "I think with (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips)'s system alone, that right there will just let you know that it's not just about the guys, the system does help and how Wade calls it. And guys that can play make it stand out even more. I would say that when you have guys like those guys going down, it gives other guys opportunity and gives us a chance to see how depth works on this team. And different changes because if certain players aren't in, we don't call certain plays."

(on having so much depth for many different positions) "Yeah, and, unfortunately, we can't keep all those guys, and that's a good thing and a bad thing. I always tell those guys to keep putting good film together because somewhere somebody's going to pick you up. For our team, you can't help injury, that's a part of the game, but it's always good when somebody behind you can always step up and play just as good. You can keep your team moving. The most important thing is depth and playing your best ball, whoever's on the field."

(on what's different about CB Brandon Harris) "B-Money (CB Brandon Harris), I like him. He's so smart, he's a competitive cornerback, doesn't give you too much as far as this is one position he can play, he can play all over the field. From corner, go inside and play some nickel, maybe can play some dime. He gives you that opportunity to move him around and then change both certain packages. That's what's so good about him."

(on if he planned on taking more of a leadership role this season) "To be honest with you, I never really thought about it, I just said this is another year in the Wade (Phillips) system under this team, and I feel it's time to step my game up even more. I'm more comfortable with the guys, of course, and I just lead by example. If that's what you want to call a type of leader, then that's what all of us are about. Guys always, always trying to be leaders in that way and stepping up. Guys lead by example on the team."

(on the talent of the young receivers) "You see it all the time with the younger receivers, and they show those flashes, certain plays are called in their direction. But for the most part, I can see the big improvement. They work hard, they're catching those hard balls and in practice they're making us a whole lot better. Certain things that they're doing, you have them seeing a route that you see from veteran receivers. Sometimes you see certain route combinations from these younger guys that you haven't seen in a while and it just makes you stand your Ps and Qs; that's important, too. Like I said, these guys are tremendous athletes. They definitely come in here and giving us a shot on that offense. Most of those guys we brought can definitely run, and it's just going to help us be a better team."

(on the New Orleans offense) "Yeah, this offense is quick-paced. They're in and out of the huddle. They've got great athletes, receivers that can run, they got a great tight end that can move him around. They also use their backs in the same way, they move them around. I would say these guys don't just hold certain positions because certain players or in certain slots, they run certain routes. But the thing is they can get you on mismatches, and that's what's so good about that veteran team and a quarterback that they have like Drew Brees."

(on playing New Orleans last year) "Well, they showed us everything so early that we didn't expect all that to happen. They came out with all type of formations: empty, 21, 11 personnel, 10, 22, they were just all over the place and it was u- tempo. And with the young team that we had and learning the new defense, that was our battle at that time and they played on it. They matched up well against us."

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QB Matt Schaub
(on the importance of the third preseason game) "Well, there's importance anytime you're out there in the preseason to get yourself as best prepared for the start of the season, but the third game, it's a dress rehearsal. We prepare during the week as if it's a regular season game, our meetings, our installs and how we operate at practice is very much like what we do once we get to the regular season. For all of us, it's of the utmost importance."

(on if he's been watching film and preparing for teams' defenses) "Yeah, you take a look at what they've done in the first couple preseason games, and for new staffs you look back at what they did with their former teams. Obviously, those were in regular season scenarios when they're game planning. So, you try to just get a feel for what they like to do."

(on what the third receiver has to do) "Well, I think you're going to be facing the other team's third corner so you got to be able to work the middle of the field, work against tight spaces, whereas on the outside you have a lot more room to operate. You got to be a real good route runner, you gotta be precise in your depths and coming in and out of your breaks and be able to catch the ball in traffic and make yards. Sometimes we're third and seven, and you run a five-yard route, you got to be able to break a tackle and get the first down for us. So you got to be an explosive guy that can come in and be consistent and move the chains for us."

(on what he sees from the receivers in terms of running routes and making plays) "Yeah, I think it's been great work for all those young receivers coming along here in camp, working throughout the summer; the route running, our concepts and what we try to do, what we ask of them, where they need to be, where to expect the football. Then letting their natural ability and their skill sets take over. We got a lot of guys that can make plays with the ball in their hand, and it's just my job to get them the ball in space to where they can make a guy miss or break a tackle. We have a good mixture of the quick, elusive guys, and the bigger body guys that can outman or outmuscle the defenders."

(on QB Case Keenum) "I think his progression has been really good. He's a tremendous worker; his mind for the game is incredible for a young guy in this league, especially in our system, something totally new to him and from what he ran in college for five, six years. How he's picked it up and how he works has been very impressive. So it's been exciting to watch."

(on where the ability to handle high expectations and pressure comes from) "I think it stems from the top down. I think from our ownership front office to our head coach on down the staff to the veterans and the leaders on the team, I think we have the group of people in place to just lead by example, to set that standard, demand it every day in practice. We bring the right people year in and year out, we have the right people that we bring in that fit that same mold. When you have enough people like that, it keeps the whole group on the right path and keeping their head on straight."

(on the biggest difference he notices in WR Lestar Jean) "I think the big thing is all year last year he got hurt the first preseason game, but he was here every day working and rehabbing, in meetings. You can really see all those mental reps that he went through last year on the practice field watching and in the meeting rooms. He put it to use; he just didn't let last year go by without learning anything and I think throughout the OTAs and on into camp, you just see those mental reps coming through. He understands, you can see a much more mature player, a smarter player, and his route running's tremendous. He attacks the ball with his hands, which is impressive. "

(on anything the team has to improve on this week offensively) "Well, I think just starting fast, being more consistent early in the game. Last week we played a great team, a good defense, but we demand a lot out of ourselves and we want to be more consistent in the pass game and in the run game early in the first quarter and being more consistent throughout. But just keep climbing the latter and progressing from what we did the first two preseason games and get better here on the road in a tough environment."

(on trying to share wisdom with QB Case Keenum) "Yeah, I think as a young guy in this league you just observe. I've tried to whenever I could, when he asked things, let him know or teach him some things here or there, but it's about just learning and watching the guys in front of you. So just being an example, I guess. But he's a smart guy, and you just got to learn and find your niche and how you operate at this level and deal with guys in the huddle because you got different personalities, guys from all over the place, and you just got to learn how to deal with all of them."

(on WR Keshawn Martin) "Keshawn has come right in and been consistent all through camp. He doesn't have a lot of mental errors, he goes out and makes plays and when he's called on to do something, he goes out and does it. He's always in the right spot, and he has tremendous confidence in his ability. We really have a lot of confidence in what he can do. If we put him in a tough situation, he's going to make a play."

(on if it's too early to be impressed with how fast the young receivers have picked up the system) "No, I don't think it's too early. I think after so many weeks in the preseason here and two preseason games we have a real good feel of what we got, and we're really excited about it. They've come along really quick and that stems from them getting a ton of reps. All through practice, they've gotten a whole lot of reps because Andre was out for a little while, (WR) Kevin (Walter) knows what he's doing when he's in there so there's days where he might not take as many reps as he normally does because we want to get those young guys on the field in a game situation against our defense. And going against guys like (CB) Johnathan Joseph and (CB) Kareem (Jackson) and (CB) Brice McCain and our safeties that we have, GQ (Glover Quin) and D-Man (Danieal Manning), they're going against a pretty good group right there so they get them ready as well. It's been good for them."

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DE Antonio Smith
(on facing New Orleans' passing attack a week after playing a strong running team in San Francisco) "With (QB) Drew (Brees) back there, they've got a dynamic passing game, but you can't sleep on their running backs, either, so we're going to have a test either-or, running and passing. We're going down there to their house, and this game, no matter if it's preseason or not, tends to get kind of serious."

(on the difference in DE Tim Jamison's play this year as compared to previous years) "He's ready. That's the thing that I've noticed: he's ready to be a contributing player. He's ready, in my opinion, to one day be a starter. Timmy J is a bad man out there on that practice field. I very rarely see him lose any pass rushes. All he's got to do is get game-time experience, so the one thing I see in him is the determination to be out there on the field for more snaps."

(on the defense gelling last season after they played at New Orleans in Week 3) "Yeah. I think we knew we had that game and ended up losing that game in the fourth quarter, and that was one of the best offenses in the NFL, so we knew that we had a pretty good defense after that game. The confidence level went sky-high."

(on the defense believing that it has the ability to stop New Orleans' offense) "You've always got to give somebody their just due, and they've got weapons and they've got a good offense, but going into any game with our defense coming from the top to bottom – that's (defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips) down to us – the confidence level is never going to be lacking. We never focus too much on what the other team does; just on what we need to do to beat them."

(on whether the Texans defense is still having to prove itself to observers around the NFL) "I don't know. I don't know what other people in the League think, but nevertheless, (defensive coordinator) Wade (Phillips) is going to coach us as winners, Wade is going to preach it, and we're going to play as winners every time we're out there on the field. I'm not thinking if I'm going to measure up to any offensive lineman that's in this League or any offensive player that's in this League. All I'm thinking about is dominating; all I'm thinking about is winning. I think that they would be thinking the same thing when they're facing me, so that's just how it is if you're a competitor."

(on New Orleans' offense providing the best preseason test possible for Houston's defense) "I can agree with that, because like I just said a second ago, they can test you in many ways. They can test us in the running game and in the passing game. Even though they're known for the passing game, they've got some pretty good running backs that can change it up. This is a team that you know is going to be in the postseason, unless all of the distractions that they've got kind of mess it up, but every year they're in the postseason; every year they're a top contender for that NFC, so you know how you measure up against them is going to be kind of a measuring stick on where you're at in the preseason."

(on how explosive New Orleans' offense can be and how they showed that in the fourth quarter last year against Houston) "That's the thing is we had a problem finishing that game and didn't finish the game out. (New Orleans QB) Drew (Brees) came through and made some big plays; their defense in that fourth quarter gave them the ball, go them the ball back, so it's like a thorn in your side a little bit. We're going to see how we're going to play out there. I know it's a preseason game, but for three quarters, I bet you we're going to be banging."

(on if the Texans need to send a message by beating New Orleans) "A message? No, I wouldn't feel like we've got to send them a message, but I just know from playing this game prior. Before I came here, I had no understanding of it, but these past four years, playing this game has always been heated. When we used to have practice here, when they come here or we go there, it's a fight every time, so I just know from past experience that this game is going to be a physical game. And I think that's the way to end a good preseason as far as your veterans playing a lot of snaps. This third game, we're going all the way into the fourth quarter, so I think that's a big test for us."

(on if he wishes the Texans and Saints practiced against one another this year) "We had some pretty nice banging going on with our offense. It's the same to me. Practice is practice. I did miss it because once we'd get into a couple of fights, practice would be over, so then that's the end of the day, but other than that, it's the same old, same old."

(on how ILB Brian Cushing and ILB Bradie James appear to be working together) "Cush has grown into his own, so I don't think him coming in and getting a feel is a problem. Cush has always been Cush. Once he hits that field, he's just a wrecking ball, so wherever he's supposed to be, wherever he's going to be, he's going to cause some destruction, and I think that's just Cush's game. That's who he is, so I have not had a problem or ever worried about Cush coming in and fitting in, because he's been having a little – I think he's got some kind of issue now. Every now and then, the way he plays – he's always hitting, he's always running to the ball, he gives his body up for his teammates – you're going to come into some nicks and bruises, but when he comes in it's like he never left. He flows right on in."

* *

QB T.J. Yates
(on Houston's preseason thus far) "The first game, played well; got the ball moving down the field, made some nice throws, had some nice reads, played a clean game. We kind of sputtered in the red zone a little bit in the first game. The second game against San Francisco, we just had a lot of negative plays. The second group, we couldn't really get into a nice rhythm.  We were always starting of a series with a penalty or a sack or a miscue on a pass play. We just couldn't really get into a good rhythm. We had some nice plays. We had some downfield throws, some good runs but didn't really put a whole drive together."

(on the difference in training camp for him from his rookie season a year ago) "Going into camp last year, it was night and day for me this year because we had the lockout so it was kind of a whirlwind going into preseason last year. So this year, you come in a lot more comfortable, you're able to work on things and able to kind of have an expectation of what to expect as far as practices and the tempo and just going through the entire camp. Doing it the year before kind of helps you out."  

(on the competition among the young wide receivers) "It's a great competition, especially those two young guys, (WR) DeVier (Posey) and K-Mart (WR Keshawn Martin). After the first couple days, after they kind of got their heads out of the game; those first couple days, you see those young guys, kind of counting their steps and making sure they're at the exact same yardage, once they kind of get over that, get past that, receivers, they really can kind of let their athletic ability take over and you can see what kind of players they are. They really started developing after that point. Lestar (Jean) has obviously been doing a tremendous job. All of those guys have been working their tails off. They stay late, they go early to practice, they're always catching the jugs. I'm really excited to see them keep pushing each other and keep getting better."

(on building trust with the young wide receivers over the last three weeks) "Lestar (Jean) I would say has the edge up on the other two guys in that category because he's been here for a year. He knows the offense more. He's been around us and seen us make the throws and knows where the ball's coming, where to expect it. K-Mart (WR Keshawn Martin) is coming along great in that category. He's a guy that can really separate from man coverage and kind of make a play and go up and get the ball. So he's doing a great job with that. And DeVier (Posey) is doing the same thing. He's a big-body guy, so he can really push those smaller DBs around and go get the ball."

(on if there is a different feeling being the primary backup than he had a year ago as the third quarterback)  "Yeah, I would say so. Going into last season, I wasn't even dressing out for the game, so I know there wasn't a chance I was going into the game. Once Matt Schaub went down and then Matt Leinart was the starter for that one game, I realized that, just like you said, I was one play away and I definitely had to be ready. Going through that coming into this season helped me out a lot. I know that I have to be prepared more than ever to be able to step in and take over."

(on his role changing into that of a mentor in his second season) "It's changed a lot. I was the guy last year in Matt's (Schaub) ear, asking questions every single play when he'd come off the field. I still do that to some point but it's good for Case (Keenum). He asks Matt the same type of questions but I can also offer my advice and help him out with just the situations I was in last year in his same spot; just kind of the things I went through, kind of the growing pains that I experienced. It really helps him out hearing it from somebody that went through it the year before."

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