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Sit-down with Bob McNair: Part 1

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Texans owner Bob McNair recently closed the books on a record season for the franchise. He sat down with Texans TV's Brooke Bentley to review the year and discuss how the team plans to take the next step in 2008. Below is the transcript.

Brooke Bentley (Texans TV): Last season, the Texans finished with the best record in franchise history at 8-8. Do you feel like the franchise has turned a corner?

Bob McNair: I think without a doubt. In fact, I think we probably turned a corner the year before during the season. But definitely last year, I think everyone saw how close we were to getting to the playoffs and that that is a realistic goal for us. I think that, in itself, is a confidence booster.

Brooke Bentley: You are certainly emotionally invested in this team, and last year was an emotional roller coaster with all of the injuries the team sustained. Looking back, when were you proudest of last year's team?

Bob McNair: Oh, wow. When we started the first two games, we had virtually everyone healthy. I think to go to Carolina and to beat a Carolina team that at that time was considered one of the favorites for the Super Bowl from the NFC side, and to beat them at their stadium after we were behind in the first part of the game – to come back and then beat them as soundly as we did – I really, really felt good about our team at that point in time. We played a very fine game that day.

Brooke Bentley: What was the hardest part of last season for you?

Bob McNair: Seeing all the players go down. It was difficult, but that's part of the game. Our coaching staff, I thought, did a terrific job in being able to move people around and keep the players motivated and to get the results that we did with all the people we had on the sidelines. I just thought it was really a tremendous job.

{QUOTE}Brooke Bentley: Now, the team is in looking-forward mode, signing free agents and getting ready for the draft. You said at the beginning of the year that the team really wanted to re-sign Andre Davis, which they did do. How involved have you been in free agency?

Bob McNair: I visit with (Texans general manager) Rick Smith and he, of course, is the one who has primary responsibility for this and he spends a lot of time with Gary (Kubiak) to see what coach Kubiak wants and what his needs are. I think he has a good feel for that. And then it's up to Rick to go out and start ferreting through all of the players and all of the information and see who bubbles up at the end, because sometimes the ones that you think you are going to get – after you get into it, you decide maybe they won't fit the way you thought they were and you are ready to go to someone else. And we did that in a couple of cases.

Certainly, André Davis was an important signing for us because, number one, we want to keep our good players. We don't want to lose any of them. Then we will build on that. André finished the year great for us. He really stepped in when Andre Johnson went down and then, of course, to return the two kicks in one game – that was so exciting. Everybody was ecstatic about that. There were a lot of highlights last year.

Brooke Bentley: This year's draft will be a little different for you because the Texans don't have a top-10 pick. They will be selecting a player with the 18th selection. What excites you about this year's draft and which direction do you see the team going with the first-round draft pick?

Bob McNair: Fortunately, there is depth in several positions and depth in several positions where we could use some more help. We've had problems with left tackle in the offensive line from day one, as you will recall. We thought we solved that when we picked Tony Boselli. Then, we drafted another young player behind Tony and he didn't work out and Tony never played one down for us because of his injuries. And the last year with (Charles) Spencer, we thought, "Now, we've got the guy in there," and then I think it was in the second game (of 2006) that he got injured and then he was down. So we have had a real difficult time filling that position. Ephraim (Salaam) did a good job for us last year and he's going to be back with us, but we need a young player in there that's going to be with us for a long time.

Hopefully, we'll find that. If we don't, there's some good defensive backs and one of those should be available at the 18th pick. And who knows? Maybe there's an outstanding running back. If there is somebody special, we would certainly consider that. But I think that Rick and his people have done a good enough job in free agency that we are not really vulnerable or desperate at any one position, so we can pick the best athlete that is available when our turn comes. And if we have the opportunity to trade down and still get the player we want and get an additional pick later, then certainly we always like to do that.

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