Head Coach Bill O'Brien**
(on how he will handle the quarterback situation and reps moving forward) "We mix and match those guys. We're looking at a lot of different guys at different positions. Today, you saw some younger players in there with (Brian) Hoyer and (Ryan) Mallett. You saw some different offensive lines in there, just trying to look at the versatility of some of those guys. I wouldn't read too much into that. It's really all about, like I said a couple weeks ago, when the ball is snapped and the decisions that they're making and how they're communicating and things like that. Like I said last week, both guys have really competed hard and done a good job this spring."
Take a look at photos from the Houston Texans' first day of veteran minicamp.
(on it being hard for either guy to convince him this early he should be the starting quarterback) "Yeah, I would say that. I think we feel very confident in both guys. We really do. We have two good guys there that have really good knowledge of our system and that have both done a really good job. It's been tough. We've thrown a lot of situations at those guys, we've blared the music, we've put them into things where maybe we necessarily didn't meet about in the morning, you know? We wanted to see how they would react to a different situation. Right now, both those guys are working very hard and, like I said, they've both done a good job."
(on what he is looking for in his starting quarterback) "The most consistent guy. The guy that makes the most consistent, correct decisions, consistently completes the ball to the right guy, and gets us into the right play. The most consistent guy."
(on planning around the weather) "Yeah, I apologize to you guys about that. I try to get the word out and I know they do a good job of getting the word to you guys. I just felt like with the forecast, I'm certainly not a meteorologist, I'm just trying to be a football coach, but when I looked at the radar, it looked like this thing was coming pretty quickly, so I felt like we needed to get good work in. What I told the players was be on the alert this afternoon. They are done for the day now. I want them to get home in case the rain really hits us, so they're home and not having to drive through a potential flood and things like that. I told them for tomorrow to be on alert for our messages. We do a good job of messaging these guys, between myself, Emmett (Baylor), Doug West, Rick's (Smith) crew. We do a good job of communicating with these guys. Right now, we're on schedule to have a normal day tomorrow."
(on trying to pick up the tempo and practice full field these last few days) "Yes, definitely. Even last week, yeah definitely. Trying to do a little bit more 11-on-11. It's hard because, and everybody, all 32 teams are having to deal with this, but you're not in pads, so certain determinations cannot be made until pads go on because you're not in pads. You're in t-shirts out there. What you want to do is try to get a lot of things covered as it relates to situational football, 11-on-11, the passing game obviously is worked much more than the running game. You're not in pads. I think when you guys ask about all the different positions, I would say that every position that padded factor really comes into play in training camp. Guys are really going to have to earn their stripes. Obviously, up front, linebackers, offensive and defensive line, quarterbacks to a certain extent. When the pads go on, that's going to be a big challenge for these guys and that's when you'll really see some guys separate at that point."
(on if he likes what he is seeing out of OLB John Simon) "John Simon has had a very consistent spring. He's worked very hard. One thing, when you look at John Simon, and I could say this about a number of guys on this team, Whitney Mercilus, another guy like that. These guys since the end of the season, I don't know exactly what their vacation schedule was or not, but I know this, they were here quite a bit. There's a number of guys like that. They worked very hard in the offseason when they weren't required to be there. John is one of those guys. I think that's helped him. He's in shape. He's stronger. He's knows our defense better and he's been a very consistent performer. There are a lot of things, just like everybody else, he's got to get better at, but he's shown up every day and been very consistent."
(on what he looks for on tape for his outside linebackers) "I think that's hard right now in no pads. I think that when you look at the tape right now what you're looking for is good alignment, good hand position, and a good job of understanding the blocking scheme that's coming at them. Other than that, as far as how is he driving the tight end back or is he driving the tight end back? Or vice-versa, is the tight end driving him back? It's hard to judge that with no pads. We're going to have to really look at that when the pads go on."
(on the difference between OTAs and minicamp) "Probably, generally no difference in the practice schedule. Like I said, more situational football, more 11-on-11, but as far as the schedule of it and the structure of it, not a whole lot of difference. Just again, putting these guys in a lot of situations, see how they react, see how they know our system, and see how well they've studied over the weekend leading into this. I thought we had a good, competitive practice. We'll go upstairs now, watch the tape, and see how these guys did, but probably more 11-on-11 this week."
(on the importance of having WR Jaelen Strong back) "You know, it's important to have everybody back. Jaelen's got a long way to go, so it was good to see him out there today. He's got a big stretch here in front of him where he can work on getting his hamstring better. It was a hamstring pull that he was missing with and get ready to go for training camp. But it is good to see everyone out there, rookie, veteran, whoever it is. It's good to see everybody out there at practice."
(on if WR Damaris Johnson has looked good) "He has. He's done a good job. It's a very competitive position, that receiver positon. He's competed every day. He's got good quickness. He's a really hardworking guy, fun guy to coach. He knows our system better after having been in it for a year now. He's able to understand the nuances of the different routes he has to run. He's worked hard with these quarterbacks to understand their timing and how they throw him the ball. I think he's had a very, very solid spring. That's a very competitive position. Last year, I think on the first 53 (man roster) there at the beginning of the season, I think we only kept five receivers. We've got a good group of guys that are working extremely hard and competing. He's one of those guys."
(on if he is impressed with WR Cecil Shorts III although it's a passing camp) "Cecil has done a good job, along with Nate Washington. I would kind of put those guys in a similar category as far as being veteran players that are new to our system. They've both come in here and put a lot of studying in. They've done a good job of understanding where to line up, what the route call is, how the route adjusts versus different looks, and then catching the ball. Cecil is a very bright guy. I remember Cecil when he was coming out of Mount Union when I was in New England taking a looking at him. He's a professional and he's done a good job coming in here."
(on who the return guy would be if they had to play tomorrow) "That's a very good question. I would say that there are a number of candidates and I would not stand up here and give you one name. I'd give you five or six names. Obviously, Keshawn (Martin) from last year, he did it. He's done it. He has experience. He's done a good job with it this offseason. We've got two rookies that are back there fielding punts in (Chandler) Worthy and (Keith) Mumphery. We've got D.J. (Damaris Johnson) back there. Cecil Shorts has fielded punts. Arian Foster has fielded punts, so we've used a number of guys back there. Like I said, it's June. It's June, I don't know what the date is, but we've got a long way to go before the season so I wouldn't be ready to answer that question right now."
(on how WR Chandler Worthy has performed) "I'd say he's got a ways to go in the returning category, but just like every rookie, for the most part, I think this rookie class has come in here and worked extremely hard. He's a hardworking kid. When I'm in here on the weekends, I see him in here. I see Corey Moore in here. I see a few other guys. I can't think of them right now, but I see a number of rookies in here working extra on the weekends. Worthy is in that group and I think he's improved, but those rookies have a long way to go. They don't have a clue yet because this has just been like a t-shirt and shorts practice. Now, once we break this camp and we're heading into training camp, we're in full pads, we're playing fast, and it's ramped up about 10 times from what it is now. And that's not their fault. You know what I mean? That's what I tell them, 'It's not your fault, you just don't know yet. You got to get with our program, get on the train, and understand where we are headed.' I think all those guys, for the most part, have done a pretty good job of that."
(on having a year with his staff) "I think that our staff works well together. We communicate well together. We've got a good mix on our staff of veteran coaches, guys that have coached 30-plus years, lot of years in the NFL. Some guys that have only coached a few years in the NFL. We've got a good mixture of that. We've got a staff that understands the expectation level here. The expectation is to win in Houston. What it takes to win is competing in practice. Our staff really understands that. I've been happy with our staff as a whole. I think that our players understand that our staff is going to tell them the truth and they're going to bring energy to practice. Our players, you'd have to ask them, but I think they enjoy that."
G Brandon Brooks
(on getting in better shape this offseason) "I guess a couple of things I did try to do different: I had like a stomach issue, a stomach ulcer in the offseason. I really had to alter my diet as far as things I would normally have eaten that I didn't eat. I cut sodas out. I cut a lot of junk food out. Other than that, I've been doing yoga. That's about it."
(on if his stomach problems had to do with his sickness) "Yeah. Originally, I thought it was a stomach flu or something, but turns out I had an ulcer. I didn't know about it. Luckily, they found it this time with the same symptoms I had last time. I knew it was something serious so I wanted to get it checked out. Not to get too much into detail, but they went in with cameras and found it and gave me some medicine, so I'm good to go."
(on how much better he thinks he can be this season) "Yeah, I think I can be much better. I would say I'm one of those guys where I think there are always things I can work on to get better. You know, pass-pro, running game, recognition of blitzes, knowing the playbook better, things along those lines. I think I can be much better."
(on what he thinks he did well last year) "Honestly I don't know. I go out there and just try to play as hard as I can and try to be as consistent as I can each and every play. I'm not a guy who's going to sit here and give myself props. I'm a guy who always tries to look at my faults and try to improve them from there."
(on offensive line coach Mike Devlin) "I think Devlin is a great coach, great guy, great man of character, great leader in our room. You can come to him with anything, on and off the field. He always keeps it light in there and makes sure you know your assignments. It's also always great to have a former player that understands the nuances that go on on the field. Xs and Os on the paper is one thing, but to have somebody who has played, and knows that it doesn't always necessarily go that way, is great to have."
(on the changes across the offensive line this year) "Ben (Jones) is a highly intelligent guy. From day one, it's almost like he had a photographic memory. He can scan through the playbook and know it like the back of his hand. I think it will be a smooth adjustment with him moving to center. Really up until he came to the Texans, he was a center his entire life. I'd almost say he's back home in that sense. Xavier (Su'a-Filo) was drafted high, expected to come in and be the guy. He got some reps last year, doing good things. I guess I will say that as long as I've been here, every time I look to my left it was Chris (Myers). When he was released, I was hurt a little bit. Other than that, those two guys are doing good things. Not only that, but we're really close outside of the room too, close on and off the field, which I guess makes it easier for us when we're in there."
T Duane Brown
(on what it's like having NT Vince Wilfork) "He's an incredible player and an incredible person to have in our locker room. I've had a tremendous amount of respect for him playing against him for years when he was in New England. When we signed him here, I was extremely excited to have the opportunity to watch the havoc he can wreak on defenses. Outside of that, just his leadership ability and just his demeanor and the way he carries himself around here, it's been a joy to watch in just a short time. The conversations that I've had the opportunity to have with him one-on-one, you learn so much from someone who's been playing this game at a high level for so long. He's won Super Bowls and had a lot of success. Just the kind of man he is, he has some great character and a lot of integrity. I think it's great to have on our team."
(on what kind of leader he is) "I think I lead by example a lot. I try to work pretty hard. I take everything very seriously, whether it's a workout, walkthrough, meetings. I try to give guys something to look at as an example. I can be vocal, if I need to be. I think my level of intensity is something that I think a lot of people look to. Just kind of setting the tone out there for the offense, at least. I'm always open for questions, you know what I mean? It's crazy for me to think that I've been here so long, going into my eighth year. A lot of rookies, second-year, or third-year players come to me with questions. I'm more than happy to have conversations with them. Whatever way I can help. People always paved the way for me and set a great example for me, so I just try to do the same thing."
(on his similar career path to T Derek Newton) "It's very similar. I think when I came into the NFL, I was kind of a raw talent. Just a pretty good athlete, but still learning the nuances of the tackle position. He was kind of the same way when he came in. You could see he had a lot of upside, big guy, strong, who can move. But his technique just wasn't there. Mentally, it just wasn't there. As years went on, you could just see him develop every year into a great player. Right now, he's a great player in my eyes. I kind of think I'm a great player now. It's been a joy to watch and I've been very proud of him to see the progress that he's made as a person, his approach to the game, his approach to being a professional, and just the results that he's had. He's gone against some pretty good pass rushers in his career and he's held his own. I think he's been rewarded for it here this offseason, which is always great to see, but I don't think he's satisfied. He wants to get better every time he steps out there and it's a great thing to see."
(on RB Arian Foster) "It's amazing. When he's healthy and able to do what he does, I think he's the best running back in the league in my eyes. He's just a special player. He has characteristics and abilities that you just can't coach. He's a great running back, but he's also a great receiver. It's always a joy to watch him. As a lineman, watching him get up to the second level, you become a fan after that. Just sit back and see what he can do. I was very happy to see him bounce back last year after his season was cut short the year before that. We expect big things from him and he expects big things from us as an o-line. We work hand in hand. As we go, he goes and vice-versa. I'm looking forward to it."
RB Arian Foster
(on how OTAs and minicamp have gone) "I felt good. The team felt good as well. I did. I felt really good."
(on what made him feel good) "I mean, anytime the sun shines, anytime the winds blows. It's there. You feel the warmth. I felt good about it, man."
(on how the offense is flowing this year) "It's a little more smooth than last year. It was new. Everybody was learning terminology and all those things. We're more efficient."
(on the two quarterbacks) "I think they're both competing very hard."
(on if he did anything different working out this offseason) "No man, same old Rocky, you know what I mean? Lifting tree logs and stuff like that."
(on if he has any plans before training camp) "No plans. Just work out and get in great shape."
(on if he is more comfortable this year) "I am."
(on how being comfortable will help him) "Just getting a year under your belt in the offense, it kind of helps with your confidence. It helps with just everything, how you attack certain plays. You're not thinking. You're just reacting."
(on if he thinks the coaches will use him more in the passing game) "I'm not sure what they're going to do, man. But I would enjoy that."
(on his expectations for this year) "I have no idea. I don't want to get into expectations. Y'all are going to write whatever."
(on the younger players looking at him as a leader) "It's definitely different. Your years pass by fast in the league. Younger guys start looking at you like the OG. You got to kind of fill that role and just give them your life experiences in the NFL. It's cool to take on the big bro role."
(on who helped him when he was a rookie) "Big homie Dre (Andre Johnson). That was my guy."
(on what it's like without WR Andre Johnson) "It's weird, but that's the league. People come, people go. Everybody is going to get the axe one day. You just have to enjoy it and enjoy the people."
(on what he expects from RB Alfred Blue this year) "I told him I'm going to make him a third down back before I leave this place. I'm trying to extend his career and make him the best possible threat he can be on the field. Just share with him the things that I know and I've learned."
NT Vince Wilfork
(on getting his Super Bowl ring) "It was good just to close the chapter to what we started up there and we did. Everything we worked for up there, being an organization that was very successful, my second time being able to get one, so it was closure. It's time for me to move on, which I have, so my focus now is all about being here in Houston and hopefully we can achieve some great things down here. That's what I'm looking forward to."
(on if it was different not being on the team) "It wasn't different feeling because some of those guys I've been around for a long time. There are a lot of great teammates that I had there that are friends of mine. It was just like a big family coming together for a family reunion. That's what it was and that's how it felt. Just being able to see them all for one last time, it was good. They understand this is a business and you move on. I've moved on, trust me. Believe when I say I've moved on."
(on his impact inside the locker room) "You would have to ask those guys. I have no clue."
(on the impact he wants to have in the locker room) "I just want to be a guy that has played the game for a while that they can always turn to and ask questions about anything football-wise or off the field. I've been around for a while. I've played with a lot of guys. I've played with some Hall of Famers. I've been coached by some great guys. The way that I look at the game is different. I don't just look at a game from a defensive standpoint. I talk to the quarterbacks. I talk to the punter. I talk to DBs. I talk to the receivers. I talk to all of my teammates. I think that's one thing they can probably get a feeling that I kind of know the game a little bit, not just as a defensive lineman putting my hand in the dirt. That's what it's all about. When you come in and you have fun with the team and bring a different aspect to the game, a winning mentality, sometimes you look at it different. Sometimes people look at it different. Sometimes they know stuff already. This is a group that is pretty well-coached. They compete at a high level. I think, in football, that's one of the things about sports in general, one of the things to be successful is you have to compete. If you can't compete in football, you won't have a chance. Sometimes it's 60 minutes, sometimes it's more. Being able to compete at a high level on a consistent basis, that's the key. A lot of people talk about me and you hear the word consistent. I like to say the right consistent. Anybody can be consistent doing something, but it's not always right. You want to be the right consistent. That's what we're striving to do right now. We're trying to bring it all together in minicamp and hopefully in training camp we will ready to rock and roll."
(on DE J.J. Watt calling him jolly) "I'm a fun guy. That's one thing you'll know. I'm a great teammate. I'm not selfish. To play what I play, the position I play, I can't be selfish. It's just good to come down here and have the same feeling like I've been here for 12 years. That's the feeling I get when I come into this locker room. They've welcomed me here: the city, the fans, you guys, my teammates, the organization. On the practice field, it's easy, it's just like I'm playing football like I always do. To me, that's the sign of a great football team. That's a good football team. A lot of guys are leaders in their own right and that's one of the things that I would stress. Just because you have certain guys that have done some great things in their career, it doesn't mean that everybody else is a bunch of nobodies. I'm a big believer in that teams need multiple leaders, some vocal, some not so vocal that just lead by example. I think we have a bunch of those guys. We have to get it out of those guys. That's one of those things that we're going to have to get out of them, but we have it. But once we get that out, we'll be fine."
(on how he would describe DE J.J. Watt) "Intense. The way he plays is the way he practices. That's why he does the things he does on game day because he practices the same way. He has a great motor. It's exciting for me to see just because I know the success he's had in his short career so far. Just to be with him every day to see exactly what he puts in because a lot of guys don't put a lot of work in the game. They just get to a certain level and they get complacent. They're just happy with where they're at. To see him work every day, he's going to be a great player for a long time and it all starts with the way he works. He makes me work harder. He makes guys around him work harder. That's a true leader. I think a lot of the guys feed off of him, offensively and defensively. We all feed off him. He's going to be great for a long time."
(on the story behind his shirt) "I think this was a Father's Day gift a couple years ago. It's me and my son on a plane, so we're giving each other the mean-mug look. Neither one of us budged that day, so that was a long plane ride with a five-year old, so my hands are full."
(on what would be on the menu for his BBQ with DE J.J. Watt) "Everything. You name it, I have it. I like to cook, so I like to have guys over. I like to bring the team together and do things as one because outside of football you can always see what type of people you have around you. Sometimes a lot of people don't want to talk while they're here at work, but they'll talk one-on-one or behind closed doors. I use those moments as team-bonding or one-on-one bonding, however you look at it. It's basically outside of the facility and just being together, picking each other's brains, and getting the feel for what type of guys I'm around. They get a chance to see my family and see how I do away from work. It's coming soon. Hopefully, we'll have that situated soon. I'm praying that it'll be soon. I'm looking forward to it."
(on RB Arian Foster) "Complete back. Playing against him for a couple times, I knew that was one of the things that we talked about. He's a complete back. A back that can do it all. That's good for this team, not just the offense. It's good for this team. He creates matchups that you have to pick your poison of how you want to cover him and how you want to defend him. He's just so explosive. He's another one that doesn't talk much. He's kind of quiet, but he works his tail off. That's another one of our leaders that come to work and put it in. It's easy for guys around themselves with people like that and can see that on a daily basis. The success he's had, the success J.J. (Watt) has had over the years. The success that Duane Brown had. J-Jo (Johnathan Joseph), all these guys, the way they work, what they put into the game. It's easy for a guy to come in and see those guys work and be able to jump on the train. That's what it's all about. Sometimes as an older guy and as a leader, you really don't understand. A lot of people pay you attention when you least expect it, but they do. For you to be doing the right thing all the time is very important for the individual and for us as a team because you don't know whose going to be able to watch you on that day, on that play, or in that meeting room and see what you're doing and how your taking notes or what you're watching and the film study you're doing. You don't know who that's going to be, but believe it's somebody. That's a good thing to have great teammates, great leaders on this team and hopefully we can win a lot of ball games with that leadership."
The Houston Texans roster in photos.