Head Coach Bill O'Brien
(on if he's ready to discuss who will start at quarterback on Saturday) "No, it's preseason. Still in training camp you know, and still got a lot of things to install between now and Saturday, seriously, I mean we have two-minute situations, backed up, goal line situations still, two-point plays. I mean we have so many things that we're not, regardless of who starts the game, both guys will play, all three guys will play in the game. Do not read too much into who's starting that game. I'll tell you that."
(on if both quarterbacks playing with the starters for two games during the preseason will be fair) "I think we're trying to be very fair, I'll tell you that. I think we are. I believe that both guys understand that and both guys have had an equal amount of reps. We're looking for consistency regardless of who they're playing with, just overall consistency."
(on how tough they've made the decision for him) "Both guys are even. They're competitive guys. We really, we have a lot of fun coaching both guys, they bring a lot of energy to the table. They're smart, they're good quarterbacks, and like I said, like I've said from day one, one guy will start and the other guy will back up the start, and we'll go from there."
(on how QB Tom Savage is doing) "Savage is getting better, he really is. I think he's made a lot of strides from his first year. He's another guy, you know I thought, we had a 50-play scrimmage the other night with some of the younger guys in the bubble, and I thought he did some decent things in that scrimmage. It was one of those things, get him into a rhythm and the other two guys weren't in that scrimmage, and he was in there and I thought he did some good things."
(on what he wants to see out of the running backs in the first preseason game) "Yeah, they're all going to play. (Jonathan) Grimesy we gave the day off today to, but I think he'll be alright. He just, he's had a lot of reps. I would say they'll all play in the game, some of them will play a different amount of reps than others, but just consistency. We like the group, they work extremely hard, they're smart guys, they're good teammates. Just going out there and playing consistent football will be good."
Take a look at the best photos from the eighth practice of #TexansCamp.
(on S Andre Hal and ILB Benardrick McKinney) "'Dre Hal has really had a good offseason. He spent the offseason here, he trained in our weight room, he came back in great shape, his movement skills I think are better. We moved him to safety in the spring but he can also play corner if we need him to. So he's a versatile player, he's a good special teams player, so he's a guy that we, again, another one of those guys that's really working hard out here to make the team and understands that he's got a role and he's got to really do a good job with that role. McKinney has come in here as a rookie and we think he's an instinctive, smart player who's learning every day, plays hard, he's a tough guy and we've, like I said, we enjoy coaching him too."
(on how RB Kenny Hilliard is doing) "Hilliard's improved every day, he really has. I think to this day, to this date, I really like the way he runs the ball. I think he, well-coached in college at LSU, smart kid, really good kid to coach. He's made our roster very competitive."
(on if he's going to have time to watch Hard Knocks tonight) "I've seen it. Yeah, I've seen the first episode."
(on what his take on the episode is) "I called my parents and I asked them not to watch it."
(on why he's asked his parents to not watch Hard Knocks) "Especially my mother. She's Irish Catholic and she goes to mass I think every day. She's not going to be very happy with me."
(on if he's happy overall with the episode) "I think they do a good job. I think the Hard Knocks people, to this day, to where we are right now, have done a really good job of working with us. Matt Dissinger is a guy that's been very good to work with. I think that, again, it should showcase the players, and I think it does, showcases a lot of players in a good way, and that's a good thing for the Houston Texans."
(on how he doesn't let the cameras affect him while he's coaching) "It's always been important to me to just be myself. Whether you succeed or fail in life, at least you did it being yourself. You know I'm not trying to be somebody else, and that's what I try to do is just be myself. I'm not really concerned about cameras. But like I said, I may get a phone call tomorrow morning from my mother."
(on if the competition at quarterback and running back will affect how much he plays the first team on Saturday) "I don't think so. We actually do the reps, probably more based on individuals than we do on units. Because in many cases, there's certain guys that we know probably will start for us, but there's still some competitive battles at a lot of positions. So we're not really looking at it, we actually divide the team up sometimes in certain drills into red and blue. That's a mixture of one's and two's and three's and so it's more of an individual deal when we look at the reps in the games."
(on how NT Vince Wilfork is handling the Houston heat) "Good. Yeah, we came back in shape. He ran the conditioning test out here. To me, to be 35-years-old and come back and run that conditioning test and pass it, I thought was really good for our team to see that. Yeah, he's come back in shape."
(on the trip to Richmond) "It was good to go to Richmond. It was good to practice against another team. We got a lot of work done. It's good, competitive work. The last day, you know, it got a little heated, but it wasn't a wasted day for us. I mean, we went over to our field and we got a lot done. We got a lot of situational work done, red area, two-minute, short yardage, and goal line. We got a lot done. It was good for us. Good three days up there."
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus) "I think Mercilus is one of the more improved guys on our team from last year to this year. Really good teammate, fun guy to coach."
(on LS Jon Weeks) "He's a valuable guy. Jon's a guy that's one of those unsung hero-type guys. I see him in here every morning at about 5:45. He gets here very early, goes in the weight room, works out, gets some extra snaps, some extra stretching. He just really wants to be good at what he does. Those guys, that are like that, I've been around a few of those guys in my time in the NFL, and they're very valuable to the team."
(on RB Chris Polk's fit) "It's like I said the other day, Polk's a talented guy. I think the big thing with Chris is staying healthy. He's been out here for two straight days. He was a part of that scrimmage. He did a really good job in the scrimmage and he came out here today and had some nice plays out here today. When we were backed up, I think he had a big pass reception for a big gain. I think the big thing with him is just staying healthy and being able to be out here. Being available is the big thing for him."
(on if OLB Jadeveon Clowney is still expected to return on August 17) "Yeah, look, August 17 is the day that I think our medical team has talked to him about. But again, with JD, it's if he feels ready to go on that day, his knee feels good, then he'll go. We're not going to rush him back. We feel like that's a good date for him, so yeah we're on target for that. Hopefully, he'll get out here and be able to do something that day."
(on if NT Louis Nix III will play a lot on Saturday) "Yeah, he should get a lot of snaps on Saturday."
(on how important the game on Saturday is for NT Louis Nix III) "I think it's important for everybody. Anybody that plays in this game, it's a very important game. Not everybody will play in this game. But the guys that do play in the game, it's a chance to get on film. It's another chance to show us what you can do. It's another chance to make your case that you want to be part of this team, that you can make this team. I think anybody that plays in this game, it's important."
(on DE Jeoffrey Pagan) "He's back out on the field. He's same thing, it's being out there, being healthy. When he's out there and playing hard, he's a good football player. The key for him is being out there."
Take a look at the best fan photos from the eighth practice of #TexansCamp.
(on the competition at safety between Andre Hal and Eddie Pleasant) "That's a very good competition. Both guys are very, very competitive guys. There's other guys in there too. I mean, they're not the only ones. You've got Rahim (Moore) that's doing some things well. You've got Corey Moore. Lonnie Ballentine should be back from his injury tomorrow, should be out there practicing tomorrow. It's a competitive position. It's a bunch of good guys that know our defense well, so it's definitely a competitive battle there."
(on who will start at safety on Saturday) "I don't know. I wouldn't look too much. I really wouldn't, in the preseason, I would not be reading too much into who starts the game at any position."
T Duane Brown
(on if he will watch HBO's Hard Knocks) "I will probably check it out. I am a little nervous, I don't know what to expect. They have followed me a little bit. It will be interesting. I have no idea what parts they are going to use, so mom get ready for it, a lot of expletives. It will be alright."
(on the way he talks on the football field) "It is a different environment out here, you know. The way I talk out here I wouldn't talk that way back home."
(on if he thinks about what will be on Hard Knocks) "I don't think about it man, I don't think about it. That is the thing you try to just block it out and ignore it and that can lead to good and bad things, so we will see what happens."
(on the concert Hard Knocks followed him to) "Perhaps, it was a Nikki Minaj and Meek Mill concert."
(on if the concert will make it on the show) "It could be, I didn't think it was a whole lot going on, but we will see."
(on if Hard Knocks was a distraction) "You know they do a great job of staying out of the way. You will notice a camera pop up here and there and you might be mic'd up for practice, but you block that out. We are out here working, man. You can just sense the competition and everyone is excited about the season. Nobody is really trying to perform for the camera or do anything out of the ordinary. We are just out here being ourselves and just grinding."
(on what it means having football back) "Football is really back, you know what I mean? You come out here and it's training camp and it is just a grind every day. When you actually go and compete against other teams and this week compete in our own stadium, that's when you know it is really time to get cranked up. The lights come on, fans out there, feeling that. I am glad to get a break from going against each other every day to being able to do that."
(on if Head Coach Bill O'Brien had to adjust for Hard Knocks) "No, he hasn't adjusted at all. He is a great personality, man. I think a lot of people will be entertained by him. He is a great football mind, you know. You will see his interactions with us, we love him. He is a great coach, a great person, in his relation to us as players. He is very intense, he doesn't take any stuff off of us and he is going to let us, let it be known what is on his mind. So he is very entertaining."
QB Brian Hoyer
(on the first preseason game) "It's great to get out in that first preseason game and we can do it out here as much as we want or we can go to Washington as much as we want, but when it's an actual game and you know, everybody is off the field except for those 22 players on there, I mean, there's nothing like that, so it'll be great to get a chance to get back out there and play the game."
(on Head Coach Bill O'Brien saying he is even with QB Ryan Mallett) "Just focus on what I did right and wrong today, you know correct that, keep doing the good stuff and then come out here tomorrow and put another good day out there."
(on what he wants to work on) "I think everything really. As an offense, you have to come together, so everyone is on the same page as far as communication, calls, those types of things, and then obviously when you drop back to throw being in the same time with your receivers, running backs, tight ends, all those things and making the right checks. There is a lot that goes into playing quarterback, especially in this offense, so you know you try to get it all right and get your team in the right play."
(on trying to be perfect in a quarterback competition) "I think we all strive to be perfect, we know that that's not reality. I think you go out there, you prepare as best as you can and you go out there and go through the progression of what the play is, whether it's a run or pass and you know try to do your best and put your best foot forward. So, I think for me, you obviously go out there and you strive for perfection, but you know that's not really attainable and you hope that mistakes aren't crucial mistakes."
(on what he has done since camp started) "I think it has been good. I think as an offense we've done a really good job of overcoming some of the things that we haven't expected, you know we went up to Washington not knowing what they were going to play and adjusted on the fly there and you know, going against our defense every day pushes us to do better. So, it's always a great competition to go against those guys."
(on if he will watch Hard Knocks) "No."
(on DE J.J. Watt spiking his passes) "Well, he hasn't gotten one of mine yet, so now he'll probably get me tomorrow. He got me once or twice in the spring, but I don't think he's gotten me since we started training camp."
(on if he has to look out of DE J.J. Watt specifically) "No, if you're watching those guys, I think for us as a quarterback, I know when I played against the Texans last year in my mind, you don't try to you know obviously see those guys, but feel. Sometimes you can feel there are little pockets, little holes in the line, so it's more of a feel than it is a seeing-type thing."
(on adjusting on the fly against the Washington Redskins) "Yeah, for sure, I mean you're not getting a scouting report going in. They had a new defensive coordinator, so it's not like you can put on a tape from last year and see what they were going to do, so you've got to go out there and rely on your rules of each play and go through and sometimes that gets you and sometimes you adjust on the fly and make the corrections out there. So, that's pretty game-like when you have to go out there and practice and someone brings something new at you and then you go over to the sideline, get it corrected and then hopefully next time you go out, you go out and execute it."
(on the first day back in Houston after Richmond) "It was actually good to see our defense again because you do know what they're going to do, so then you really have got to go through your rules and play a little faster."
(on being where he wants to be at this point in camp) "Yeah, I think so, I think obviously there is always room for improvement, but I think going into this first game, about a week-and-a-half into training camp, obviously keep getting better each day. The thing about this offense, we're always putting new stuff in, it's always evolving, so you know, the day that you feel complacent, you know the next day there's 15 more things you've got to do. So it's a constant battle I think to always stay on top of that stuff and I think, for the most part, as an offense as a whole we've done a good job of that."
CB Kevin Johnson
(on what he feels like he's done well so far and what he wants to do better) "I feel like I've done a pretty good job of breaking down the ball and playing my game. Some things that I want to work on is coming out of my breaks, driving my eyes on the receiver, you know because it makes that much of a difference with the separation aspect."
(on if the team is counting on him to be a starter in a three-corner system) "I'm just coming in here trying to compete and get better every day. That's not my decision. I'm just coming out here trying to make the team better every day."
(on what he thinks he brings to the table as a rookie) "I'm a competitor. I think that's something that I bring to the table. I'm going to come out there and compete, give it my all."
(on how the complexity of the defense has been for him) "Yeah, it's been pretty good. The coaching staff has done a great job helping me out, coming along with the schemes, the veterans like K-Jack (Kareem Jackson) and J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph), those guys are coming out here helping me as well."
(on fighting for the third cornerback spot) "Yeah, like I said, I am just coming out here every day and doing what I can control, which is coming out here and competing."
(on the depth at cornerback) "Oh for sure, I mean we have a plethora of guys who can come out here and play. It is very exciting."
(on playing in a passing league) "For sure, everybody in the league has guys and you have to be able to match up with them."
(on the relationship between the cornerbacks) "Like I said, those guys welcomed me with open arms, teaching me the schemes and things I needed to look for. We are just coming out here, we are really cool off the field and on the field we are just competing with each other."
(on going against another team for the first time in Richmond) "At the end of the day, it is just football so of course it is going to be a high level competition in the NFL. But I am just excited to work hard and get better every day so hopefully I can be a great player one day."
QB Ryan Mallett
(on training camp to date) "Going well, we had a day off yesterday, came back. I thought we looked alright, a little rusty, but not too much. Like every other practice, you want to get better the next day."
(on what he's doing well and what he wants to improve upon) "I just, I like how I'm keeping the ball in our team's hands. I think I'm protecting the ball well. I've just got to speed some things up."
(on preseason games) "I love it. You get to see a new team, new scheme. It gets you ready for the regular season."
(on how he's approaching camp) "I'm doing what I always do. Just doing my job."
(on things he would like to improve) "There's a lot of things. We're, what is it, week two of training camp? It's still early, but there's things that we need to do better that we're not doing right now, so that's what we come out here to do. Meet, all this meeting time, you know walkthroughs, just got to get on top of it."
(on the importance of the first preseason game) "Just to come out and play well. We want to get off to a fast start, set the tone for the season pretty much."
(on the Nate Washington and the wide receivers helping him on the field) "Getting to know Nate and teaching Nate this offensive system has been pretty easy. He's a professional, he's been in the league 11 years now. He knows how to come to work and learn every day."
(on RB Alfred Blue) "I love Alfred, even though he went to LSU, I love Alfred. He's a great player, he's a downhill runner, he's a one-cut guy so he's got to keep doing what he's doing."
(on RB Alfred Blue now has a good opportunity to show what he can do) "It's up to Blue to do whatever, you know, Blue decides to do with his chance. I want him to do well though."
(on watching Hard Knocks) "No, I'll be asleep by the time that comes on."
(on avoiding DE J.J. Watt blocking his passes) "Just look the other way. Look opposite of where you're throwing it. That's probably about the only way you can do it. It's unbelievable."
(on T Duane Brown picking him up at practice today after he threw a touchdown pass) "He scared me. He scared me. I didn't know who it was. I thought a defensive guy was getting mad at me or something, but yeah, he scared me, but Duane is the first one to come down and celebrate with his teammates, so you've got to love that about that guy."
(on getting cheered on by teammates) "I mean, I just want to do my job and get better, you know, make plays when plays present themselves for my team and you know, we'll celebrate when we get to the touchdown."
(on how much he's worked on his touch on passes) "It's just a continuous process. Hard work in the offseason. Hard work in training camp. It's the same thing. It's the same thing I've been working on forever apparently."
(on what it means that Head Coach Bill O'Brien said the quarterbacks are even right now) "Nothing. I'm out here trying to compete and get better for my team."
NT Louis Nix III
(on NT Vince Wilfork) "He is a guy that knows a lot about the 3-4 defense. Obviously he's been one of the best players at his position for a long time. It's great to have a guy like that because you can try your best to take in all the little things that he learned over the years and just put it in your game and that's what I'm trying to do."
(on if NT Vince Wilfork makes him feel small) "He's a big guy. I grew up watching him. I was a Miami Hurricane fan. I went to Notre Dame, but you know, I still watched a lot and he's always been a big guy. I just look up to him and I just try to do my best."
(on his expectations for the season) "Just come out here every day, you know, I have no expectations yet. I've got to make the team for one, so I just come out here and just do the best I can."
(on living up to being a high draft pick) "At the end of the day, the expectations are the same whether you're a draft pick or an undrafted free agent. Coach (Bill) O'Brien wants you to come out here and work and that's what I'm trying to do, you know, just be the best I can."
(on Head Coach Bill O'Brien's expectations) "You hear it a lot. He mentions it in the team room with everybody, you know, he just expects us to come out here, work hard and compete and that's what we do."
(on his offseason) "Just training, just getting back out, so I can be ready for here. I got my conditioning up, you know, and it can still get better, you still have to climatize to the heat because it's always hot."
(on what he's working to improve) "I'm trying to do my best to stay on the field. You know, stay off the injury list. I'm just trying to get out here and do the best I can. It's hot, guys are competing, you got guys that are the best at their position right now and you've just got to take that all in and you've just got to do the best you can and just come out here and show that you can hang with them."
RB Chris Polk
(on how he feels) "I just feel really great just being back out there, you know it's really hard to sit the last four days and watch the running backs playing really good ball. I just want to go out there and contribute. They are doing a phenomenal job. They are competing every day. I just felt bad because of the competitor in me. We are kind of low on numbers so they are sitting there getting tired and I just felt bad, so I really just took the extra time and just really wanted to get back out there and make sure I am not going back out."
(on how it felt to make plays today) "It feels really good, because I have been sitting down just waiting there just playing with your fingers. Everyone has their own expectations of themselves so now that I am starting to get healthy, starting to get back into it, it is starting to feel really good. Starting to really learn the system and be confident in it."
(on working out in the bubble) "That was really big because that was actually my first day hitting and being in pads. So you know, just going out there and just seeing if I was ready and it just reiterates to myself, yeah I'm ready."
(on possibly being a third down back for this team) "I view myself as doing everything. Running, passing, running routes, blocking, I see myself doing everything and whatever they want me to do I am going to do. I just try to do everything so they know that I can, so when my number is called I won't let them down."
(on being in a veteran mentoring role for the younger running backs) "Yeah definitely, because this may be my fourth year but I have been behind a lot of great all-pro running backs. I learned a lot from them and I kind of catch myself mentoring Kenny (Hilliard) or Alfred (Blue). They mentor me so I guess I am kind of a veteran. It is kind of weird, but it's cool."
(on the all-pro running backs he played behind) "I played behind Lesean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Felix Jones, and of course our coach was Deuce Staley. That is like a running back treasure chest full of knowledge so it's just great to behind them and learn all I could, because you never know, you never know."
(on if he sees his fit with the Texans) "I definitely see the fit. They ask a lot to do of their running backs and I feel like I can do all of that whether it is running routes, running pass protection, I love this offense. Love it."