The Texans practiced Wednesday morning at the Methoidst 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 KubiakDefensive Coordinator Wade PhillipsQB Case KeenumQB T.J. Yates
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on any health issues) "That's why he's (Brian Cushing) not out here. Got a little virus, got sick on us last night and spent the night in the hospital. But hoping he's maybe back over here this afternoon, we'll see. (ILB Keyaron) Fox this morning got a knee that we're evaluating, one of our drills, and (ILB Shawn) Loiseau, little groin strain. We're hoping he's even possibly back here this afternoon."
(on ILB Brian Cushing going to the hospital) "You know what, it was really a matter of not sending him home. He stays at home, as y'all know, our vets can stay at home. His wife, if he goes home, can get her sick. It was late at night when he got sick on us so we just gave him a room down the street and had him get a good night's rest, and get him started toward his recovery."
(on the prognosis for ILB Brian Cushing getting back out) "I hope he's maybe back over this afternoon, we'll see. We'll take our time. I'm not worried about him."
(on the kicker competition) "It looked like Randy (Bullock) had a pretty good day. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but we're going to continue to do that, and try to go back and forth with him in the preseason so that it ends up even as we try to make our decision."
(on the red zone offense) "I thought offensively, probably our best day throwing and catching as a football team. It makes sense because (QB) Matt (Schaub)'s coming back from missing time. he's working with a lot of young receivers, Andre (Johnson)'s been out. Now we're kind of starting to get them all together, and so we're starting to look right. A lot of work to still do, but I was pleased with the progress we made there."
(on TE Garrett Graham and all the progress he's made) "As I've told y'all before, one of the most improved player. I could probably list five or six guys but, obviously one of the most improved players on our team right now. He's healthy had a really good offseason with (strength and conditioning coach) Cedric Smith, and it shows."
(on WR Andre Johnson's reps throughout the week) "Yeah, he's went from like 15, to 18, to 20. Probably a few more today; he's feeling really good. I've got to make a decision on him tomorrow about what we're going to do but his week has been very good."
(on CB Kareem Jackson's recovery) "Today, he was about three-quarters of the reps. You can tell he's missed five or six days to me, I can just tell conditioning-wise compared to the rest of the guys. But I like his work, and he should be ready to play, do his part this weekend."
(on CB Johnathan Joseph) "We held him out. He started practice, he was practicing, his groin got a little tight so we just pulled him out. Going to be smart with him. But I would expect him to be fine."
(on CB Alan Ball having a chance to play) "Well, he's a veteran corner that knows (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips)'s schemes, so that was easy for him to come in and compete. He's played some good football in this league and he has been an excellent special teams player. So we'll give him a chance to do that."
(on DE J.J. Watt catching passes today) "Well, I hope he's catching interceptions, he won't be catching any passes from Matt (Schaub), I'll tell you that. No, he's impressive, guys. Y'all see it's just wearing him out not to be out there, but his rehab has been excellent. I think we're looking at possibly a great opportunity for him to maybe play at the end of the preseason, but we will do the right thing. But we're heading in the right direction; he's upbeat, the team knows that he's going to be back, and they know what they're going to get when he comes back."
(on playing DE J.J. Watt in Week 4) "You're talking about putting the cart before the horse. Let's move on from that one. Probably not, how about that?"
(on a plan for Carolina) "You know what, we're going to talk, coaches are going to visit tomorrow. But I would imagine it's kind of like I've be in the past. I'd like to see our vets get some early work. I'll put a play count on them. Our two's will play the majority of the football game, and our three's will definitely carry the fourth quarter of the game. But the key is everybody needs to play, everybody needs to get on the field. Everybody's been working hard, they deserve a chance, so I'll give them all a chance."
(on CB Sherrick McManis) "I like Sherrick and I'll tell you why. I think Sherrick is an overachiever. When things get really, really hard, when everybody gets really, really tired, Sherrick seems to flourish. He finds a way to keep going. He's a grinder and those guys play in this league for a long time. He showed up today and everyone was dragging a little bit on the backend, but Sherrick showed up and made some plays"
(on what he's looking for form the position battles this weekend overall) "I can't really say. I just want to see everybody play. I want to see everybody get out there and go get somebody other than themselves and see how they handle themselves. Their poise and being on the road, their assignments, effort, those types of things. I just want to make sure I give everybody a chance."
(on the secondary being a strength on the team) "It's as good of a group as I ever went against. As a coach watching practice every day, I tell our offensive guys that if you can go out there and you can hold your own day-in and day-out against our group, you're not going to face many groups that are better. That's how much I think of our guys on our backend. It's a great competition. They've been very, very consistent in everything they've done."
(on WR Keshawn Martin) "What he's done is just be very consistent. He's a talented young man. He's the one guy out of the rookies that has acted like a pro from the get-go, handling himself mentally, physically and can run all day. This thing doesn't look too big for him and that's a great sign for our team."
(on if WR Keshawn Martin will play much on Saturday night) "He'll play a great deal."
(on if WR Keshawn Martin will return any kicks or punts) "I don't know how I'm going to do that. I know he can do it. I know he's going to be very good doing it. I need to really find out what Trindon (Holliday) is all about through all these injuries he's had the last couple of years. If that means I'll have Trindon do it, I don't know. I'll decide tomorrow."
(on what WR Keshawn Martin has done to get better every day) "Just what we do. You coach him on something one time and it's fixed. He's a really sharp kid and professional in the meeting room. He comes from the meeting room to the field with retention. His effort is excellent and the fact that his conditioning is where he can go all day. He's a very quiet kid. He's just all business and that's what pro football is all about. You've got to be all business and do your job."
(on if WR Keshawn Martin is playing out and in) "I'm keeping him out right now. He'll be able to do both."
(on RB Jonathan Grimes) I've been very impressed with him it'll be interesting to see how he does in the preseason but a very nice find in free agency, and he will definitely get a chance with us. He's our type of back so we'll see how he does. He's a sharp kid, he can play three downs because he understands protections. He's not a flash player; he's a one-cut, downhill-type player. Those types of backs we look for in our offense. We don't want guys jitterbugging around all over the place. He fits that mold so we'll see if he can handle it."
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on his father, Bum Phillips, being out at practice) "It's always special with my dad. He's my hero. He's my dad. He was my coach. I coached for him. All those things, I look up to him."
(on what he's learned from his father) "I've learned about everything I know from my dad as a person, certainly, and football-wise he started me out. I was with him for 10 years. It rubbed off on me, I think."
(on how he deals with a young defense) "People are people. You treat them as men. You ask them to do something and we expect it to be done. That's the way we treat them."
(on the makeup of his young players on defense that have made them successful early in their careers) "Self-motivated, they work hard, they've got a great work ethic. I think that helps any player but the young players we have seem to be motivated that way."
(on his father saying that he doesn't give him advice anymore) "That's not true (laughs). After every game he tells me something we should have done. I call him a fan."
(on his father saying that he sees the whole field) "When you've been doing it a long time like I have, you kind of know where everybody is and you don't really have to see the play to know what happened on the play. It's experience. It's experience in being in coaching that long and coaching the same defense for a long, long time as far as where they're lined up and what their responsibilities are."
(on ) "Well I played quarterback and middle linebacker. I really wasn't a good quarterback but I was a pretty good middle linebacker."
(on what makes the 3-4 scheme work so well) "When you have four linebackers, you have more active people on the field. They can run to the ball a little bit better, we can give people problems as far as pass protection. Simply speaking, if you've got four guys down in a 4-3, those four guys are rushing. When you've only got three of them down, you don't know where the other one is coming from."
(on having his family out at practice) "It's great. I'm so pleased to have them around and support me and our team."
(on how his family feels about him coaching in Houston) "They were excited for me being here and I'm still excited about being here. We're looking forward to every year and this is going to be a big season for us."
(on the play of CB Alan Ball) "Alan has performed well. He had, what, three interceptions in about a practice-and-a-half stretch. He's always doing good things. He's a hard worker. He's the right kind of guy and he's talented. We're glad we have him."
(on if CB Alan Ball has a chance to pick up the reps that former Texans CB Jason Allen used to take) "We're going to play preseason games and see where everybody is and how well we're doing. We're getting ready for the season. Anybody that can help us play, we're going to utilize them."
(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying that this is the best Texans secondary he's seen) "We've got a strong group. We've got guys that can cover. We've got guys that are tough. We've got guys that are active. They do the things we want to do and they do them well."
(on if he saw DE J.J. Watt catching balls on the JUGS machine with his one good arm) "No. We know he can catch them, that's for sure."
(on DE J.J. Watt) "Like I said, he's self-motivated. All the great players that I've been around are that way. They want to do well but hey outwork people. They're not only talented but they keep working at what they're doing to try to get better at their skills and he's one of those guys."
(on the impact of FS Quintin Demps) "Quintin, I said it when we brought him back last year, that we shouldn't have cut him. I think I was right. He's a real talent and he works hard. He's really gotten the defense down. I think last year he struggled a little bit early but now he's gotten the defense down. I think we'll see good things from him."
QB Case Keenum
(on what he thinks of his performance so far) "I've been working really hard. Just trying to attack each day and grind out each rep. I think it's a deal where you got to take every rep whether you're in there or not as a mental rep."
(on if he feels like he has nothing to lose because he went undrafted) "I think I've played that way my whole life. It's got to be that way. You got to play like you have nothing to lose. I just know that at the end of it, I'm going to give it my all each day and just try to get as much out each rep and each day as I can."
(on his strengths) "I think my strength is operation, being able to operate the offense but it's something I can get better at too. I was even talking today that I need to work on my operation and speeding it up, and just getting the play call, calling the huddle, getting to the line, getting my checks and then that's all before the play. That's not even actually the play. So working on that too has been key."
(on the difference in speed in the NFL) "Definitely, there are a lot of talented players out here and I think it's raised my game level as well. It's nice to play with really talented players and get better going against really good defenses too. It's been great all around."
QB T.J. Yates
(on his approach to this year's training camp) "You get a lot of experience being in those games and there's nothing really quite like it than getting in the game. You can look at a piece of paper or tape as many times as you want but unless you're in the game, you don't really get a feel for it until you do that. That was an amazing experience for me to be able to step in and get some game time experience and it's helped my transition this year so much."
(on knowing he's the backup quarterback) "It's a little bit different role but that doesn't mean I can slack off or take anything for granted. I still got to work as hard as the next guy. As last year taught everybody, you always got to be ready. I have a lot of things to improve on. I made a lot of mistakes last year, and that's what I'm trying to do, just get better as a quarterback."
(on the experience he got last year) "I got so much experience last year, it's hard to even describe. Stepping into a role like that, in the middle of a run that we were going on, to keep that going, to experience the playoffs. A lot of quarterbacks play a long time in this league and don't get to experience that type of thing and I got it the first eight weeks that I was playing. All the guys that I had around me in the quarterback room. Jake Delhomme, Jeff Garcia, Matt Schaub, Matt Leinart and all my coaches. For me to be in a room like that and I was the one playing and every single guy in that room helping me out, giving me their tidbits and picking their brain. I just got so much experience last year; it's hard to really put a grasp on it."
(on priority during training camp) "Just doing thing right every single down. I've made plays out here…big plays down field. But it's more about being consistent and coming out here every day…The little short throws, being very accurate…pin point accuracy on every throw so you can put guys in a good position to catch and run."
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on ILB Brian Cushing's health) "He's doing better. All his tests came back good. He's still feeling a little sluggish so we still got him over there right now. I don't know if he'll be back for meetings tonight or we'll work toward tomorrow morning, but we're just being cautious."
(on if ILB Brian Cushing is still at the hospital) "Yes, he is still there right now as we speak."
(on if he is still not worried about ILB Brian Cushing's condition) "Yeah, no concerns. He has some type of virus, and they think they've got it under control and his tests all came back good, whatever tests they ran on him, I'm not sure. (Dr.) Jim (Muntz) just said, 'let's keep him over there and let him get some more rest and fluids.' Maybe he's back here for the team meeting tonight, but I don't know. All I know is he's doing well."
(on if ILB Brian Cushing has the flu) "I really don't know. I just know he started feeling really bad in meetings last night. We took him out of meetings and proceeded from there to the hospital."
(on K Randy Bullock) "He kicked good today, kicked real good today. We're kind of giving him a day off here and there, some groin soreness. Kickers are that way. We've done the same thing with (K) Shayne (Graham). He's kicked good, he's ready to go compete, and we hopefully can cut it right down the middle."
(on any injury situations this afternoon) "No, no we're good. (LB Keyaron) Fox has got a pretty significant knee (injury) that we're trying to evaluate right now and decide what we have to do."
(on if ILB Brian Cushing will be back working tomorrow) "I don't know. I would hope so. We're not going to do a whole lot in the morning. We're going to come out in shorts, and we're just kind of preparing for Carolina now, freshen them back up till Saturday. If Brian gets out there this evening and he's feeling good and I'd like to see him get his work in, and need to see him play. As you can tell I think he's going to be fine. If he misses tomorrow then we'll have to reevaluate where we're at."
(on if he's concerned about the depth at inside linebacker) "Yeah, I'm very concerned. We went through a whole practice this morning with four guys doing it. I told the team after practice that's why Mister (Alexander) and (Tim) Dobbins and Jesse (Nading) and (Bryan) Braman, that's why they make this team because they can do all kinds of things. They're always out there; they're always going. You can count on them. In situations like this, you find out a lot about people. Our team knows you can count on those guys. It was a gut check for the linebackers this morning and they passed with flying colors."
(on the luxury of having T.J. Yates as the backup quarterback, after gaining so much experience last season) "It's great for him. It's really T.J.'s first camp as a pro. He's a very young player. He continues to get better. He goes against our first defense a lot because we do it that way. Two's versus one's. He's got a lot of ability. He knows exactly what he's doing so now it's just a matter of competing. I've told y'all before that T.J. can get a lot better. There are a lot of things he can get better at. He knows it and he's working at it. The future is his. It's a great opportunity for him."
(on how QB T.J. Yates has improved from last year) "He's improved. He was improved in OTAs. He ran our first group the whole time. I'm always on him. I'm trying to get him from an accuracy standpoint and be consistent every day with what he does, but all the tools are there. T.J. knows he can do it. He's played in some tough venues. He's been a playoff quarterback and won a game and then he went into Baltimore and went against the best on the road. I told him that's as tough as it's going to get. If he can handle that, hopefully we can handle that a little better next time. His future is very bright."
(on how QBs Case Keenum and John Beck are doing in training camp) "They're doing good. Beck has got experience. He's been in there before, but I've been really impressed with Case. I like his want to be good. He's a very driven young man. He works very hard at it. I think he's going to find a way. I just think that's what I see every day in practice. Football is very important to him. He's a leader. People kind of flock to him and you can tell that in practice."
(on his thoughts of the female referee in tomorrow night's preseason game) "Well I'm sure she wouldn't be out there if she couldn't do the job, so congratulations to her."