The Texans practiced Wednesday at the Methodist Training Center and after, head coach Gary Kubiak, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and some players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Texans Head Coach Gary KubiakOffensive Coordinator Rick DennisonOLB Connor BarwinG Mike BrisielLT Duane BrownFB James CaseyILB Brian CushingRB Arian FosterWR Andre JohnsonSS Glover QuinQB Matt SchaubDE Antonio SmithRB Ben TateDE J.J. WattRT Eric Winston
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on if there's any update on RB Arian Foster) "No, he went a little harder today in his rehab process. He was over there working out and he'll be day-to-day. We'll see where we're at tomorrow, but it looked like he did a little bit more from me watching from afar."
(on if RB Arian Foster is improving every day) "I think he's improved every day, but it's still going to be a day-to-day deal, so we'll see where we're at tomorrow."
(on his plans for the running backs on Sunday) "You always prepare for possibly not having a guy. That's just the way you prepare, so the reps are going to (RB) Derrick's (Ward) way, (RB Ben) Tate's way and (RB) Steve's (Slaton) way right now. Got to get those guys ready to play, but we'll see where we're at tomorrow and see how he does."
(on if he doesn't want to take any chances on RB Arian Foster this early in the season) "Well, if Arian's full speed, he can play. We want him to play. We need to be at our best to win a football game, but at the same time, we've got to listen to what's going on. As I said all along, the progress has been very good and I know there was more progress today, so maybe this conversation is different tomorrow. I don't know. We'll see. I have to listen to Kap (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) and those guys."
(on QB Kerry Collins) "I think he's a hell of a player. He's been successful against us. My focus right now is on our football team. We've got to get ourselves ready to play. It doesn't matter who you play or whatever, it matters how you play in this business, so we've got to prepare to get ready to win a game."
(on if it's weird to prepare for the Colts knowing QB Peyton Manning is doubtful to play) "It's not weird to get ready for the Colts. We do it twice a year and it's always a good football game between us. Everybody's got some problems this time of year. We've got ours, too, and you've just got to get your guys ready to play and on Sunday be good enough to try to win a game in this league."
(on RB Steve Slaton impressing him) "Yeah, he really has. I think he kind of got lost a little bit because he missed that time, but up until the time he pulled a hamstring, he was excellent through camp. I thought it was really pushing (RB) Derrick (Ward) and (RB) Ben (Tate) very much so. It was unfortunate, but I think Steve's come back the right way and Steve's ready to be successful again in this league. You never know when your opportunity's going to come, so I've been impressed with what he's done. I'm glad he's on this football team."
(on if he feels confident in RB Steve Slaton) "Oh yeah, yes I do. He's played well for me before and I think he'll play well for me again. I think that's just how those things work. He's stayed focused the whole time through a lot of tough times, through a surgery. He's always stayed focused."
(on if ILB DeMeco Ryans is 100% healthy) "Yeah, he's 100%. He's going. Obviously, he doesn't have the reps that the defensive players had throughout the preseason, but we have had some extra time here and we've worked the heck out of him. He's responded. He looks good. We'll go to the end of the week and see how many reps we think he can handle, but hopefully he can handle them all."
(on if he considers it an advantage that the Texans are the only ones with a stable quarterback in the AFC South) "No, I just think it's part of football. I think throughout the season in this league, every year I've ever been involved with pro football, there's always issues with every team. You've got a small roster and how you work through those issues has a lot to do with how the season ends up. But as I tell you, as I tell the guys, we got to stay focused on our team and getting ready to play a good football team. If we don't play well, then we're not going to win, but if we play well, we're going to have a dang good chance to win, so just stay focused on us."
(on his message to the team this year) "What I probably just said, I'd repeat it again, so that's the message to them. It's a long season and this game's important. They're all very, very important, but we've had a good preseason. We've had good work, just getting ready to go. The key in this league is to try and be as good as you can be on a given Sunday and find a way to win a game, so that's what we're trying to do."
(on if he changed anything to start getting off to faster starts at the end of last season) "No, we did some things in practice. We've done them through camp, talking about fast starts in practice and stuff like that. As I've said, I think many times, we were a slow-starting team last year, not just slow on defense or slow on offense or special teams; just as a group, we had a hard time getting going. If we play three good quarters and win the game, that's fine with me, but I'd like to play them all perfect and we'll try to start doing that this week."
(on what RB Ben Tate showed him in camp) "I think it's important for the team. I think guys have confidence in him. He came in and played extremely well against New Orleans, did some good things against San Francisco. You never know if a guy's taking care of his business until he gets thrown into the spot. He could very well get thrown in there this week. We'll see."
(on DE Antonio Smith losing a friend over the weekend) "It's a tragic situation and we're just supporting him as an organization. He has a coach, his teammates and [he's] trying to work through it. It's difficult, but all we can do is try to help him work through it."
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison(on his thoughts on the Texans' offense and RB Arian Foster) "I think we're in fine shape. You know, we had a lot of backs take some reps through preseason. If Arian (Foster) can play, he'll play. If he can't, somebody else will play and everybody's worked hard and got a place in the right spot. I think we're ready to go."
(on how important it is for RB Ben Tate to show what he can do now) "Certainly from last summer to this summer, when he didn't get any reps, he's done a great job. He's worked hard at it though, so he deserves some reps."
(on if it could go up until Sunday when a decision is made on whether to play RB Arian Foster or not) "You're going to have to ask (Director of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) Kap about that. I don't know."
(on having healthy players going into the season opener) "Well, it's always important to be healthy. That's the key to the season being successful, is if you get a lot of guys healthy. That's good for us and hopefully we'll keep them that way and keep the good guys out there and keep playing."
(on what concerns him about the Colts' defense) "They've got great players. (Colts Defensive Coordinator) Larry Coyer does a great job on defense. He's a good coach. They're a tough team. We got to scratch and claw for every yard we get."
(on if players on the offensive line are getting healthy) "It looks it. It looks like (G Antoine) Caldwell and (T Rashad) Butler are coming back and that's a good thing. The guys up front have done a nice job all the way through preseason."
(on what the Texans did to run the ball so well against Indianapolis in the season opener last year) "I think we were real consistent. Whatever we needed to do; we were effective on the backside. Watching the tape Arian (Foster) did a great job but they did a great job up front."
(on if he has to adjust the game plan if RB Arian Foster doesn't play) "I don't think so. I think what we do is what we do. The running back; he's taught the same way, he's taking the same reps. We'll continue to keep doing the same thing we're doing."
(on how the offense changes with James Casey at fullback) "James (Casey) is a different animal; not to call him an animal or anything, than Vonta (Leach). But he's done a great job. We've asked him to do a little bit of everything. He moves a bit more. James has done a good job for what we've asked him to do."
(on if FB James Casey will be getting the ball more than former FB Vonta Leach did) "Well, that's to be played out. We have a lot of really good players that will get the ball. We'll just have to wait and see what happens."
(on if there is confidence in FB James Casey) "Well, yeah. (James Casey) is a good receiver. Vonta (Leach) was a good receiver, too. Whatever we get, we'll take."
(on how much he's looking forward to opening up the offense after seeing how his first string looked in the preseason) "We're looking forward to playing for real. Like I said, whatever we get from the defense, we'll try to take. They're a really good defense. They've done a nice job over the years. We'll just scratch and claw and get every yard we can."
(on having TE Owen Daniels back healthy) "He's looked really good, obviously, and that's important for us. It's another facet. It's another guy they have to cover. It makes everybody else open and certainly he can beat man coverage whenever we ask him to."
OLB Connor Barwin(on if he's excited to see the defense get a little more complex after playing basic schemes during preseason) "Yeah. I don't know how much we'll do, but there will definitely be some more calls being made, which definitely is exciting."
(on whether he feels like the 3-4 defense is more suited to his skill set) "Oh yeah. A month ago, you're learning everything, but now practice is a little more detailed, but you just feel a lot more confident out there and feel more natural than you did a month ago."
(on preparing for the Colts offense without knowing whether QB Peyton Manning will play) "Yeah, but I mean, all the film we watch, Peyton's playing. All the plays they run, Peyton was playing, so everything we prepare for, he was playing and we're going to do the same type of thing whether he's in or not. I just said before that they're going to run the same plays that they would run with him in, so we're going to run the same defenses."
(on whether he expects that the Colts will trust QB Kerry Collins as much as they do QB Peyton Manning) "Well, I'm going to prepare like they do. I'm going to prepare like they can run everything they did when he (Manning) was there, so I'm sure they will."
(on guarding against a mental let-down from possibly not facing Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning) "No, I don't think so. It's Week 1, everybody's all pumped up about the game. I think if you're not charged up for this game and you're going to have a mental let-down, I don't know why you would. It's Week 1 against the Colts; you're going to be pumped up."
G Mike Brisiel(on how it feels to be playing after injuries) "For me, I'm just happy to stay on the field. I made it through training camp feeling good, so just got to keep that going."
(on if QB Peyton Manning's status has been a topic of conversation in the locker room) "No, we're going into with the same old game plan. There's a lot of good teams that have been beaten with a backup quarterback. Everybody's got to play the same. We're preparing same as always. It's not even a deal we're messing with."
(on if there is more pressure to win with QB Peyton Manning being out) "It's just one of 16 we have to take care of business at and that's how we're preparing."
(on all the hype on the Texans) "Until we prove it to ourselves, to our fans and until we make it to the playoffs, we've got a lot to prove. The hype doesn't really mean anything."
(on the depth at running back) "I'm happy. As an offensive lineman, it's good to see that kind of depth and every one of them we have faith in. It's definitely a positive for our team."
LT Duane Brown(on whether the Texans offense is much different without RB Arian Foster) "It's not much difference. Arian's a great back and we love to have him out there, but as far as us up front, we've got the same scheme trying to create the same lanes for the backs. They all bring something different to the table. Like I said, if 23 is back there, it would be great for us, but whoever is back there is going to get the job done."
(on the importance of chemistry and familiarity along the offensive line) "It's extremely important. For us up front, chemistry is everything, and the fact that most of us have played together for a while here means a lot and it gives us great confidence going into the games with all of the guys on the same page. Having guys healthy this year is tremendous for us, everyone playing at 100 percent, playing at a high level. We're trying to get this thing started off right."
(on facing Indianapolis' defensive ends) "They're probably the top tandem in the game, with (DE Dwight) Freeney and (DE Robert) Mathis over there. They love to put pressure on the quarterback and they have a variety of pass-rush moves they can use. We've just got to do our jobs. We're all accountable. We're going out there and whether we want to run the ball, you've got to be ready to do that; and if you have to line up and drop back and pass it, you've got to be able to do that, too."
(on Indianapolis DE Dwight Freeney) "He's a Hall of Fame-caliber player. He's got the spin move, of course, the patented spin move, but he's also very powerful. He can drive the pocket back if he gets you light on your feet. I've got a pretty good plan going into it. This will be my seventh time going against him, so I've got a pretty good idea of what they expect, and I feel like I'm a lot better than I was last year when we played against them. It's definitely a tough challenge, but one that I'm ready for."
(on how much it helps to have experience against Indianapolis DE Dwight Freeney) "It helps a lot. It's no secret to what he's going to do, but you still have to line up and get the job done. You watch film on him and even the best left tackles in the league have trouble from time to time, but you've just got to get it done. That's what I'm here for and I've just got to go out and get the job done."
FB James Casey(on how he views the new position he will be playing this season) "I view it as just an opportunity to go out there and make plays. That's what this League's all about is getting opportunities and taking advantage of it. I'm going to hopefully go out there and take advantage of the opportunities and show that I can play and help this team win games and that's what it's all about. When you get chances, you got to take the best of them and go out there and find a way to win somehow."
(on if opening day will be more special for him as he starts a new part of his career) "Yeah, it is. It's a little different for me. Just my whole outlook going into the season is different than it has been in the past two years because you're mindset is different going into the game when you know you're not doing as much compared to when you know you're starting. It's just a different mindset and it's a good mindset because you know you're going to go out there. You know you're going to be contributing so you're ready to go and you're preparing all week knowing you're going to play a lot. I'm excited about it and I'm ready to get out there."
(on the competition between him and FB Lawrence Vickers) "I looked at it as I was the starter going into training camp ever since I knew when Vonta (Leach) wasn't re-signed. I knew they were going to bring in guys. There was going to be competition. Every position's got competition at it. It's the NFL, you're never guaranteed a spot anywhere. I just looked at it as I was working with the ones from day one. I learned from Owen (Daniels) and Joel (Dreessen) they don't want to come off the field because they've worked so hard to get that opportunity to be working with the ones, so that's the way I looked at it. I wanted to make sure I stayed out there, did everything I could to make sure they couldn't take me off the field. I think there was a lot of talk about it early on in training camp and then as training camp went on, I didn't hear much to talk about it, so I think that's kind of a good sign for me. Hopefully I keep that up, keep doing that."
ILB Brian Cushing(on the attitude around the locker room) "I think there's a lot of positive attitude going on around here. We've got a great opponent of course, a divisional opponent, which is huge and we get to play at home in front of our fans, so it's something we're really looking forward to."
(on if he's upset that QB Peyton Manning won't be playing on Sunday) "That's something we're not in control of. Obviously, we'd like to see him out there. He's one of the best to ever play the game. As a competitor, you want to play against him. You want to play against the best, but it doesn't change our game plan. It doesn't change anything as far as Houston Texans playing our style defense and our style football come September 11."
RB Arian Foster(on if he will play on Sunday) "I don't know. We're going to take it day-by-day and see how it feels on Sunday."
(on how he's progressing) "It feels good. I ran pretty well on it today. It's the closest to full speed as you can get without going full speed and it felt good."
(on if it's surprising on how much his hamstring is progressing) "You can't really expect anything with hamstrings, so just taking it day-by-day."
(on how frustrating it is to not be injured with the season opener on Sunday) "It's frustrating, but injuries are a part of the game. It's all about maintaining them. You can't escape injuries if you play this game for a long time, so you just have to maintain them and take care of them when they happen."
(on if he's confident in the other running backs if he is unable to play on Sunday) "Of course, that's what they're here for. They play this game at a very high level, just like I do, so they should do fine."
(on how he knows how hard to push his hamstring each day) "You kind of know your body. You listen to your body. Sometimes I don't and it gets me in trouble. When it comes to hamstrings, you have to listen to your body. It talks to you."
(on if it will be a game-time decision if he will play on Sunday) "Yeah, like I said, I ran on it today and it felt good, but you don't want to push it too fast, too soon."
(on how this injury compares to the one that happened earlier in the preseason) "I don't think it was as bad, but like I said, this is a 16-game season and you don't want to rush back for Game One if you're not ready. I plan on being ready, but if it's not ready, it's not ready, so we're going to take it day-by-day."
(on the urgency to make the playoffs this year) "I think we say that every year here. I think that every team has a different character about them, a different identity. Every team has a different identity and this team has a different identity than last year and the year before. This team is hungry, we're young, we have a new defense and they're fun to watch. They're fun to watch in practice. I enjoy watching them. I think (Defensive Coordinator) Wade's (Phillips) done a magnificent job with them and I'm excited to see them on opening day."
(on if the hamstring injury is affecting his ability to cut) "I was cutting. I was running, cutting and frolicking."
WR Andre Johnson(on how excited he is for the season and having a chance to make the playoffs) "I think we have a great football team. Everybody talks about the playoffs and stuff like that. I don't really get caught up in that. We still got to go out and play the game. If we don't go out and win, we don't go to the playoffs. There's no reason to talk about it. Of course that's a goal. It's every team's goal coming into the season, going to the playoffs and hopefully getting to the Super Bowl and winning, but talking about it is not going to get us anywhere. We have to go out and win games."
(on the importance of getting fast starts) "I just think that when you're able to come out and get into a rhythm as an offense or a defense or whatever, it just kind of carries over throughout the game. I think that's the biggest thing for us just when we go out, just getting into a rhythm early, making a few plays here and there. Normally when that happens, we tend to get off to fast starts. I think if you look at the most successful offenses, that's what happens. They get into a little rhythm and everything else starts to fall in place. I think that's the biggest thing for us just getting into a rhythm and being consistent."
(on if he has confidence in the running backs behind RB Arian Foster) "Yeah, that's why those guys are here. When a guy goes down, you have to have someone step in place and pick up the slack. The guys we have here will do a great job and they're working their butts off every day. We're just waiting for Arian to get back."
(on if there's been much discussion about whether QB Peyton Manning would play or not) "It was all over ESPN or whatever, but you still got to play the game. Through history of this League, you've seen backup quarterbacks go out and win big games for teams when their starting quarterbacks weren't there. You still got to go out and play the game. All this stuff about him playing, that really doesn't matter. You still got to go out and play."
(on if it's hard to believe that QB Peyton Manning will not be playing on Sunday) "Things happen. I don't think he's missed a game since he's been in the League. I'm pretty sure it's different for him. It'll be different not seeing him out there, but at the same time, you still have to go out and play the game. We're not worried about him not playing or whatnot. We still have to go out and play. If we don't go out and play like we need to play, then we won't come out on top, so we have to go out there and play football like we know how to play in order to win the game."
SS Glover Quin(on how he views the game on Sunday with QB Kerry Collins playing) "My focus don't change. We've been focusing on doing us and on what we do, so it's not going to change whether Peyton's (Manning) playing, whether (Kerry) Collins is playing. It doesn't matter. We have to do what we do because Kerry Collins is a winning quarterback in this League as well. We still have to play great. I feel like we have to be up on what we're doing, we have to play our game plan and execute it and we'll be fine with whoever they have at quarterback."
(on if the approach changes at all with QB Kerry Collins playing) "No change at all. We have to do what we do regardless of who they have at the quarterback. Our rules don't change just because we have a different quarterback. We still have to go through our reads, we still have to cover our guys, we still have to make our calls and play the game. It doesn't matter who they got throwing the ball. Our rules don't change."
(on if he prepares for QB Kerry Collins or the Colts offense) "I'm preparing for the Colts offense."
(on if it will be weird not seeing QB Payton Manning playing on Sunday) "I guess it will be kind of weird, but at the end of the day, I don't play the quarterback. I play receivers, so I got to go make plays, we got to go make plays in the secondary, regardless of who's throwing the ball because the receivers are still playing. The receivers are still going to try to get open and it's an NFL quarterback, so I'm pretty sure he can make the throws."
QB Matt Schaub(on his thoughts on QB Peyton Manning not playing on Sunday) "It's about what we do and how we prepare and how we play as a team. All we can concentrate on is our business and going out and playing a good clean football game, so we're focused on our side of the ball and what we can control and not who's on their side of the ball and what they're doing."
(on finally getting ready to start the season after all the anticipation) "Yeah, it's an exciting time. We're all anxious to get going. We had a good training camp, a good preseason and we're just excited for live bullets and the real thing to get going. We're ready to go."
(on the challenge of going up against the Colts two defensive ends) "Obviously they're two of the better pass rushers in the business. They've been playing together for a long time. They know what they do. They know our offense very well, so it's a tough test, a tough challenge, but one that I know our guys are excited for. Both teams know each other real well, so there's not going to be any surprises. We just have to go out, play good football and play together and we'll be in good shape."
(on if this is the best he feels about the team since he's been here) "Well, just focusing on our things and who we have here, yeah, each year, I've felt really good about things, but no more than this year. We really have a lot of talent and a lot of good players on this team. Offensively, we've stuck together and we have good continuity with the system and with the guys that are in the huddle. Defensively, we've got a great group of guys and with the system they're running now. We're really excited about getting going and getting started."
(on if he's comfortable with the running back situation) "Yeah, we've got a lot of confidence in all those guys, no matter what Arian's (Foster) situation is. Derrick's (Ward) played a lot of football and played really well for us. Ben Tate's had a great camp and he's coming along good. Steve (Slaton), we know what he can do. He can go in and play really well for us, so we've got a lot of confidence in all those guys in whoever's back there."
(on the importance of quicker starts this season) "I think more than anything, it was definitely our Achilles' heel last year in a lot of games getting behind and having to play catch up. That was an emphasis for us this preseason and we've started the games better. Obviously the San Fran game had a bad play the first one, but we rebounded and played real well the first half after that play. It's definitely an emphasis for us this season to play better in the first half and then keep that going consistently the whole game."
(on if the good performance of the ones in the preseason gives him confidence for this season) "Yeah, we've had good preseasons in the past as well. I've felt good about our team in every year that I've been here. Going into the season, it's just about being able to go in and do it week in and week out throughout the football season. I definitely feel real good about the guys we have in the huddle on both sides of the football and what we're trying to accomplish and what we're going to get done."
(on if there's more of a sense of urgency this season) "Absolutely, with as much experience as we have in this locker room on both sides of the football and the things we've had to overcome and deal with over the past few years and the continuity we have together, the time is now for us. All the expectations and anticipation for this season, but we have to go out and do it. It's about what we do between the lines that's going to affect things."
(on FB James Casey) "He's had a great camp. He's really assumed that role and really embraced it. He's doing so much for us at fullback, still doing some tight end stuff, so he's one of those guys that can really handle everything we're throwing at him. He's embraced the role and really taken full grasp of it and has done a great job."
(on if FB James Casey has picked up right where FB Vonta Leach left off) "Yeah and he adds an added dimension to our pass game with what he can do out on the outside. He's really done a nice job blocking and assuming that role because it's a big change-up from what he's used to from his past in college and his first couple years with us. Vonta (Leach) was a tremendous player and did a whole lot for us in the run and in the pass, but James (Casey) is really taking that role to heart."
(on how much of a luxury it is to have tight ends Owen Daniels and Joel Dreessen) "It's huge for us. They are such vital weapons for us in our passing game working the middle of the field, creating some mismatches and Joel has really stepped up the past couple years and done a really good job for us in that role. He's a guy that's always going to do the right thing, be in the right place and he's going to make the play when it's there. Owen coming back and having the offseason that he did, he's back to the Owen Daniels we knew before his injury, so it's just a big luxury to have multiple tight ends to come in there. It creates so many mismatches and you can do so many different things in the pass game as well as the run game."
(on if the game is even bigger because it's against the Colts) "It's one of the 16 games throughout the year, but being a divisional game, it adds a little bit more weight to what it could mean to your record and your season. Being at home against a divisional rival, yeah it's a big game. They're all big obviously, but it does add a little bit more because it's a divisional opponent."
(on the Texans putting up offensive numbers similar to the Colts last season) "In this League, you've got to be a balanced attack. You've got to have the ability to run the ball as well as throw it and being that we were able to run the ball last year just added so much to our attack. We were fortunate to have that. It really opened up our pass game and the play action game, so it's important. You got to have the ability to win multiple ways to be successful."
(on if what the Texans accomplished last year makes him feel good about what they can accomplish this year) "Yeah, obviously it all comes down to winning, so we fell short of that. We didn't accomplish our goals as far as that's concerned. As far as offensively, we were able to move the football, score points. We're encouraged by that and how we improved in the red zone, how we did in the turnover battle and on third down. Ultimately, there were games that we could have even helped more to win, so we just got to find a way to go do those things."
DE Antonio Smith(opening statement) "First off, I just want to lend out my prayers and my thoughts to Lamar's (Crenshaw) family. A tragic accident happened and it's just heartfelt type of thing. It's a thing that sinks in my heart. Other than that, I'm cooperating with the ongoing investigation, so I can't speak anything else about the situation on that."
(on how things change with QB Kerry Collins starting on Sunday) "In my mind, I was still thinking Peyton (Manning) was going to pull a hat trick and come. I just heard today that it's official that he's not going to be there. Only thing that changed is he's a little less mobile than Peyton, so easier target to get to, in my opinion."
(on if he respects the Colts offense no matter who their quarterback is) "The offense is going to run like it's going to run either way. There will probably be less checks, less of the little things Peyton (Manning) does at the line to try trick you and things like that. In my opinion, quarterbacks, you can either make a star or break them, so a quarterback that's struggling right now can come in and put up points on us and they're the next best thing until Peyton comes back. It's our job to make sure that doesn't happen."
RB Ben Tate(on what the team has told him to expect for Sunday) "I haven't really talked to them. I haven't really asked them. It doesn't really matter. I'm just going to go, come to work every day and prepare just like I'm playing."
(on how good it makes him feel that teammates are confident in all the running backs) "I guess it makes me feel pretty good. This is why they brought me here, to come and play running back. I feel like this is what I'm supposed to do."
(on if there's added anticipation after missing all of last season) "Yeah, the anticipation is building, but like I said, I'm going to go out here every day, try to get ready, work hard and when Sunday shows up, try to ball out."
DE J.J. Watt(on how it feels now that game week is finally here) "I'm excited. It's finally the real deal, and this is what you dream about as a kid. The preseason is fun and all, but this is the real NFL and this is why you come to play. The adrenaline is starting to pump and the fans are starting to get excited, so we can't wait."
(on what he has learned since the start of training camp) "I think the biggest thing is just how to handle yourself, how to go about your daily business. I'm learning a lot of things from the older guys on the team, and just how to take care of your business as a professional. That's what I'm trying to do is be a professional."
(on possibly facing Kerry Collins at quarterback for Indianapolis instead of Peyton Manning) "That's what I hear. A quarterback is a quarterback. It's a guy back there trying to throw the ball, and I'm a guy trying to stop him from doing that, so it doesn't matter what number he's wearing or who he is; I just need to go back there and try and disrupt him as much as possible."
(on if he's excited to see the defense get a little more complex after playing basic schemes during preseason) "We're really excited. We're very confident in Coach (Defensive Coordinator Wade) Phillips - he's a great football coach - and we're confident in the players that we have, so we can't wait to go out there and show what we can do for a full game and just fly around and have fun."
(on which veterans he'll lean on to prepare for playing in the regular season) "I think one of the guys I've been leaning on, my locker is right next to (DE) Antonio (Smith). He's a guy who gets real fired up for games, and I like that. I feed off of that. A lot of the guys have been helping me out. You've got such veteran guys like (ILB) DeMeco (Ryans), (OLB) Mario (Williams); there's a lot of guys for me to look to and it's been a lot of fun. I've had a blast playing with them so far."
(on what he has learned about the Texans-Colts rivalry) "I'm excited. I believe that I heard that they've won the AFC South nine of the last 10 years, so any time a team has that type of record, you obviously respect them greatly. We're coming in here and we want to stop that record. We want to change the tape and we want to win the AFC South. That's our goal, and this is step one; this is the first step. You can't win the AFC South if you don't beat the teams in the division."
RT Eric Winston(on if the potential of the Texans' defense takes some of the pressure off the Texans' offense) "No. You can't worry about what they do. If they give up 30 points, you got to go find a way to put 31 on the board. If they give up seven (points), you know you still got to go find a way to put 31 on the board. As far as what they are doing, we can't let that affect us either way. Obviously, it's fun watching them fly around, creating turnovers. That's going to build us up; there's no way it can't. At the same time, if they're struggling one day, it's on us to go pick them up. You're not always going to be on everything for 16 games. I look at it from a team aspect. If we're struggling one day, I expect them to pick us up. It's one of those things that I think we got a chance to be a complete team this year. Look at the Packers last year; you know, they won a lot of games 14-10, 10-9. You look at Aaron Rodgers and think 'Oh, they must have been putting up 28 every game. They weren't. I think we can be that kind of team this year where if one side is struggling, the other side can pick us up. It's all about the Ws."
(on the Colts defense) "You look at those guys and they get overshadowed a lot by their offense. Some teams run the ball on them but you look at where they've been in the League in scoring defense; they've been up there. To act like they don't have players over there is wrong. They've got some Hall-of-Famers over there. They've got All-Pros over there and it's going to be a test. It's going to be a lot of fun, but at the same time, we've got to go out there and play well."
(on if Opening Day is different for him than other games) "I don't know if it's different. You get that little tingle in your stomach that hasn't been around in awhile. That's fun to get the churning going. I'm just excited to start the year and get this thing going. We're eager to fix what we did last year and to produce a winner and get to the playoffs."
(on if getting to the playoffs is the biggest reason he's so eager to play) "I'm just eager to play. When you do this for a living; I have a lot of fun playing. I love to play football. That's probably the biggest reason. But at the same time, I'm eager to see what this team can do because I think we got a lot of potential and I think we got a lot of good players and I think we've put the right work in so far to be a good team and now we got to go produce."
(on if it is relevant at all who is playing running back for the Houston Texans) "Of course. I'm not going to act like the League's leading rusher isn't important. But at the same, they all know what to do. They've been in this. Let's not act for a second like Steve Slaton hasn't put up big numbers in this League. Let's not act like Derrick Ward hasn't put up some 100-yard rushing games in this League either. At the same time, those guys, when called upon, can definitely do it and I'm not worried about who's back there. But you always want Arian (Foster) as much as you can, but at the same time, it's not worth rushing him back either."
(on what the team did to run so well against the Colts in the 2010 season opener) "I think we just stayed on schedule. We were able to be able to play-action pass when we wanted to and when you're constantly doing that, you don't give a team a chance to really go get you. They're the best at that; just pinning their ears back and going to get you. When you're able to keep them down like that, having to play the run so much, you're able to take the aggressiveness out of them; you can go after them."