The Texans practiced Wednesday morning at the Methodist Training Center and 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 Lestar JeanOLB Whitney MercilusNT Earl MitchellOLB Brooks Reed
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on an update on Duane Brown) "He got rolled up, kind of got hit on the outside of his leg. It's always a scare. He did walk off on his own. We're getting him checked out right now. Hey, I hold my breath. Part of football, unfortunately. We'll hold our breath, hopefully he's okay. He did play a couple plays after he did it. I'm the one that sent him over there and told him to get out. I'll let you guys know this afternoon."
(on the injury) "He was blocking his guy and a pile kind of came into him, he got rolled up on his side, I don't know."
(on not rushing players back after injury) "Yeah, I'll be smart with all of them. It's tough. You got to battle to get better playing football, you got to put these pads on and get after it to be a good team. You hold your breath every play. I'm just going to sit here and think positive. I think the fact that he did play a few more plays, he did walk off the field on his own, is a positive sign. Hopefully I'll be smiling at 2:45 so I'll let y'all know."
(on WR Kevin Walter ) "Kevin is just a solid player. He understands our offense to a T. He can play all over the place. He's always there, he never misses time, he never misses anything. He does a lot of dirty work. Y'all hear me say that all the time. He's excellent in the run game. Kevin just kind of finds a way to do it all the time. What's this year, 10 or 11? Kevin may have a rough day or two out here at practice, but he's going to be here the whole camp, and when it's said and done, he'll still be standing. And that's why he plays, that's why he's a pro. I'm proud of his effort. You can always count on him."
(on if Duane Brown stays injured, the changes he'd make) "Well, we can move (Rashad) Butler over to the left, leave (Derek) Newton to the right. That's something we can do. You got to be careful too early in camp, starting to do that stuff because you get your reps all out of whack and you get wore down even more. It's the toughest week of training camp and probably of the season. We got three more days to push through to Saturday and really find the guts of our football team, so to speak. So we got to keep pushing."
(on the work today in pads) "I thought it was sloppy, obviously, at times. I loved the way we're finishing at the defensive back position. It seemed like every close play between a receiver and a DB, our DB's are making the play. I love the way at the end of practice our first offense came out, moved the ball right down the field. Our first defense stepped up, made a play. It's time to make those plays and do things. Our young defense looked really good again at practice. Like I said, we're really trying to find our manhood right now over the course of the rest of this week. We'll see how it goes."
(on CB Brice McCain) "He's looked very good. He's getting to play as a starter a lot of times because we're resting J.J. (Johnathan Joseph) sometimes and Kareem (Jackson)'s been out. He's looked exceptional. Brice found his confidence as a pro last year, and you can continue to see it."
(on his thoughts on the young receivers fighting for a spot) "They're all talented. Seems like right now they're all in a position to make some plays and separate themselves, but nobody's separating themselves. They're going to have to do it. I don't want to sit down and throw a dart at the board and say 'I'm keeping this guy.' I want to keep him because they do it on the field and I see it, you see it, everybody sees it. We'll keep giving them opportunities and see who steps up. Keshawn Martin worked with the first group today. I'm sure y'all saw that, y'all caught that. He's been making plays. If you're doing it, we're going to give you a chance to do it some more."
(on any other health issues) "Couple of little nicks, but I think we're okay."
(on NT Ra'Shon (Sonnie) Harris ) "I've been please with Sonnie. Sonnie Harris has been doing some really good things. On the offensive side of the ball, I think Shelley Smith stood out to me a little bit. He's going to get in the mix for this guard spot if he keeps playing the way he's playing. So there are some young guys stepping up."
(on if he needs to see more from ILB Brian Cushing as a leader) "I think Cush (Brian Cushing) is a leader. I think he is kind of a lead by example guy, obviously he's a fiery guy. But Cush is going to play hard all the time, and guys can count on him. I think he's been a leader. I think he was last year and I think he's probably even more so we had an offseason this year."
(on how WR DeVier Posey has looked) "Up and down. Very talented. He's got a chance to help this team. He's got to grow real, real fast. There's no rookie year for him or (Keshawn) Martin. It's got to be right now."
WR Lestar Jean
(on every day having ups and downs) "Yeah, it's up and down because we're all trying to just be as consistent as we can be. Being first year or second year, that's what you're trying to get. That's what the older players have, just being able to do it every single time."
(on what he has to do to separate from the pack) "Just be consistent because every day, somebody might make some plays and then the next day they might not make some plays. I think he's just looking for somebody who will just do it every single day, come out every single day. That's the best way you can separate yourself."
(on how having more reps than the rookies is an advantage) "I just feel like it's a chance for me to show my skills. All I can do is go as hard as I can. They'll just make their decisions from there."
(on what part of his game he feels comfortable in) "I feel comfortable as far as the plays and stuff like that because I pretty much know what I'm doing. I just got to keep working on attacking the ball, coming out of my breaks and things like that."
(on if he feels like he belongs on the team more than last year) "Stuff like that, I don't really worry about. I'm here. They're giving me an opportunity. I just got to try to take advantage of it."
(on if he's looking ahead to the first preseason game) "It's just a day at a time trying to get better. I'm just trying to make it day by day. I don't know if I'm going to be here that long. I'm trying to show the coaches that I belong to be here every day."
(on what he's shown so far) "I'm just going as hard as I can. I've been doing 100 percent effort. I hope that's what they see."
(on if he feels more confident coming into his second season) "I just feel like I'm trying to go out there and give it 100 percent. I feel like I know what I'm doing, so I don't have to think as much."
(on the Texans offense) "I think it's a real good offense. I like the way it works for the running backs and for the receivers because it's a lot of play action and stuff like that."
OLB Whitney Mercilus
(on if the competition is ramped up on both sides of the ball with how well the defense played last year) "Yeah, definitely both sides of the ball. It's a lot of intensity, you can feel it. If you're out there, you can just feel the energy that's brewing from both sides. Defensively, good, talented defense with young players. Also with the offense, a lot of experienced guys, Matt Schaub, Andre's (Johnson) not there, but you've got an experienced line and all that, so you can feel it."
(on if the heat is a factor) "It's not really something to get used to. I got used to it during OTAs and now I know what to expect. We've got the full pads on. We just got into the pads yesterday, so that was kind of an adjustment phase. It got to the point where there was no wind. It was all sun, so that was kind of an adjustment. Today, same thing, a lot more smoother."
(on if the defense challenges each other to make big plays) "I haven't heard anything yet, but I would expect so. They just say, 'Meet me there to the ball' or whatever, challenge somebody on the defense. 'I'm going to get there first' or 'You get there first, I'll meet you up there.' It's just things like that, working as a team and just pushing each other."
(on teammates helping each other get better while they compete for spots on the team) "Yeah, it is kind of weird because coming into the League, I was hearing the stigma that veterans, like probably fifth-year and on veterans, they won't teach you anything. It's on your own. Rookies, it's by yourself and you just got to fend for yourself. But here, it's just different. They just want to help us learn and accommodate and just learn this defense flawlessly so we can help them out during the season."
(on if he worries about playing time with so many good defensive players) "A little bit. It's not really something I think about all the time. It's just I see a lot of playmakers and the thing is, I know I have the ability. It's just I have to be able to hone my skills and just put everything together, lean on these guys and try to do the best I can in training camp."
NT Earl Mitchell
(on the main difference between G Brandon Brooks and G Antoine Caldwell) "Right now, Brooks is pretty stout. He's definitely a wall and a lot to handle. Caldwell, he's a veteran now. He understands a lot of moves and the different positions you're going to be in and knows how to work hands. He's pretty much the veteran against the novice."
(on the team's mentality) "Last year we definitely had a chip on our shoulder. We definitely knew what we were capable of, so it was exciting to go out there and prove to everybody what we knew what we've been working on. And this year, we pretty much have that on our back now. We know what we can do and the only person that can beat us is ourselves. So for us to take care of business, we just got to make sure we got everybody in order."
(on the fan turnout at training camp) "It's really good to have the fans on our side. The playoffs, that was an amazing thing. That was the loudest stadium I've ever been a part of. Just to have the fans out here on our side is great, because in previous years there was a lack of fans out here. They definitely have an appreciation for us and it's definitely reciprocated."
OLB Brooks Reed
(on getting back into his groove) "I think technique-wise I'm a lot better. I know the defense and there's still some subtle things that I have to get down but that just comes with more time and experience. I still have a lot more room for improvement."
(on how the defensive backs help out the front seven) "They work hand-in-hand. If the DBs are covering well, the D-line is going to have a lot more time to get to the quarterback, and if the D-line is rushing well, then that forces the quarterback to get rid of the ball and the DBs can make some plays.
(on how ILB Bradie James will fit in with the defense) "I see him being just like DeMeco (Ryans). He played in Dallas under (Linebackers Coach) Reggie (Herring), under the same exact defense with (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips). So he came in here and knew everything. He didn't even need a playbook. He's a vet and been in the League for 10 years or something like that. He's a leader and I look up to the guy."
(on how capable the defense already is) "Obviously, we lose Mario Williams so we have to get more depth there by adding Whitney (Mercilus). (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) really likes this group and he likes applying pressure to offenses, so it's going to be a lot of fun utilizing everyone on our defense to apply pressure."
The Texans practiced in the afternoon at the Methodist Training Center and 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 KubiakT Duane BrownQB Matt Schaub
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on how relieved he is that T Duane Brown doesn't have a significant injury) "Yeah, we're lucky. Arian (Foster) kind of made a cut and he was engaged and he got kicked. It just scares you, but he's fine. He's got a bad bruise. He's probably going to miss a couple days and we'll be smart with him through the week. Oh boy, he's an important piece of the puzzle. You sure hate to lose guys. You got to work, but you sure hate to lose guys that way, but he's going to be fine."
(on any other health issues) "No, we're okay. We had a few nicks this morning. (Jared) Crick got banged up a little bit, his neck. He should be fine. But I think we're okay. I think we came out okay."
(on what he's seen out of OLB Whitney Mercilus with the pads on) "I think he's getting better every day. If you watch one on one, his pass rush has been very good. The thing I've been impressed with is he's a very smart player. They've got him doing a lot of stuff with nickel and base and all those things. He's handling it all very well. I see a real pro for a young, young kid. He works hard, doesn't say much, great in the meetings and very mature, a lot like J.J. (Watt) from a standpoint of how quickly he's adapting to pro football and what he has to do."
(on what jumps out at him when watching OLB Whitney Mercilus as a pass rusher) "You would think it's about speed when you're 250 or whatever, but he's got some power too. He's very comfortable with his hand down because he played that way in college. We do both here. He plays standing up, plays with his hand down. He's going to be a great addition to the two we already have. In a lot of ways, your outside guys, three guys really start because they rotate and play with nickel and everything. He's on his way. It's a good thing to see."
(on if he's still hoping WR Andre Johnson will be back on Monday) "Yeah, I hope so. Like I told y'all, next week, I don't know if that's Monday, but he did run today with Kap (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) earlier in practice and he looked good. I think we're fine there. I know we're going to be fine, but it's just we want to get him back out there and get to work. We've got some time to make up for and he knows that, but I got to do the right thing too."
T Duane Brown
(on his injury) "Just a bone bruise, got pretty lucky. It's pretty sore but nothing major."
(on if he's relieved) "Extremely, extremely. I was pretty upset when it happened. I didn't know what to expect, but after all the x-rays and everything, I'm very relieved."
(on when he'll be back) "Just going day to day. I don't expect to be out too long. I'll be out there soon."
(on any pain) "Little bit, just from it being stiff. As I get treatment and keep it warm, it's not so bad."
(on how scary it was) "Extremely scary. I've been blessed not to get hurt that often, so whenever you go down and it's kind of hard for you to walk the next play, it's extremely scary. But like I said, once I got the x-rays and everything came back negative, I was extremely relieved."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak having to take) "You know, I'm a lineman, I'm a fighter, man. I got up, I knew it was kind of hard to walk, but I wanted to block the next play. Of course it's going against J.J. Watt I realized that I was pretty hurt."
(on QB Matt Schaub's reaction to the good news about his injury) "Oh, yeah, I guess he got the results while I was still over at the hospital. He sent me a text and told me that he was happy that everything was okay."
QB Matt Schaub
(on his confidence level with the receivers) "My confidence level is really high with them. We've got a lot of work in. We're going to continue to get a lot of work in so it becomes second nature to us. But over the summertime and the early stages of camp, we've really developed good chemistry and we just got to keep it going."
(on T Duane Brown's injury) "I'm very relieved. Seeing him out at practice later on there and inside earlier, we're relieved to know that it wasn't anything serious. You'd hate to see anything happen where it takes a guy out of practice, but we're glad that it's nothing too severe."
(on the new parts on the offensive line) "It's early but for them it's about gelling and finding that cohesion as a group because so much of what they do is as a group of all of them. They all feed off one another. Everything we do, they're working together in the blocking schemes and pass protection. It's just about them gelling together, but those guys have all been here. Antoine (Caldwell) and Rashad (Butler) have been here three, four years. We know what they can do; they know our system, so it's been just bringing them up to speed as a group."
(on how relieved he is that T Duane Brown doesn't have a significant injury) "Yeah, it's good to hear that it's nothing too serious. I hate to see anyone lose out in practice or miss some time, but we're glad that we got things checked out and that he's going to be fine. I don't know how long, a couple days or whatever, a week, but just glad it's nothing severe."
(on not wanting the left tackle to be injured as a right-handed quarterback) "Well you don't want to see anyone go down on your team at all in any position. Duane's (Brown) just been a key component of what we've done the last four, five years, so he's vital to what we want to do."