How much of CB John Reid's improvements are due to his intelligence? What do you like about him and what do you hope his contributions are this season?
"He's a smart player. Look he's got a lot to learn. I just said relative to the rookie class. He's not headed to Canton quite yet, but relative to the rookie class he's done a good job. He' learning. He plays hard. He's competitive. He's a very smart guy. He can do some different things. He can help on special teams. He can potentially help us on defense. I think he's a guy that's mature. He's been through a lot, injury wise. He's had to overcome things when he was at Penn State and so, yeah, I think he's doing a good job."
When you look at available free agents, you mentioned this is a veteran type of year. Is experience more important than ever?
"I think that's a good question. I don't think there's any substitute for experience, so when it comes to this year where there are no preseason games and the first game is the real game, I think, in my opinion, this is just my opinion, if you have guys with experience I think that helps. They've been in games like this. They've played well in games like this. I think that helps. We have some really good young players. Another guy yesterday, Ross Blacklock had a really good practice yesterday. I think these guys, rookies, are really improving and working hard but I don't think there's ever any substitute for experience."
Where have you seen DE Charles Omenihu get better this offseason?
"Charles has had a really good camp. To me he's almost like a different player than he was last year. He's stronger. He's put weight on. His technique is better. He's very focused. I think guys from year one to year two, if they play in year one, a lot of guys do take that jump going into year two. They have that confidence. They understand the routine. They understand pro football. He's got great veterans there like J.J. (Watt) and Brandon Dunn and those guys that have been around a while at that position. Weave (Anthony Weaver) coached him so I think he's definitely improved."
What does ILB Peter Kalambayi do for you in terms of depth and on and special teams?
"Peter is a unique player. He was drafted here. He was an outside backer. He can play inside backer. He's done a good job over the years on special teams. He's a really good guy. I just saw him this morning coming out here. He's just a good person. He always has a smile on his face. He approaches every day in a very positive way and he's a very solid, consistent player. You can count on P.K. to know what to do. When the play is presented to him, especially on special teams, he makes the play."
With the extra offensive lineman you can have when the roster goes to 55 for a game week, how do you want the complexion of your bench to look in terms of guys who play outside versus inside on the line?
"Oh, come on. I don't think I can – you have great questions. That would be a competitive advantage question right there. I think that when you look at our roster what we try to do is just try to, at some positions, build a very what we saw as a versatile roster with guys that can do different things in case you were able to have an extra guy like you're talking about, or even a tackle that can play heavy tight end. You always want some versatility. I think you guys know that over the years with what I've spoken to you guys about. We're still working on all that and what the plans are for that. This is a big day today. It's a good practice today to get another gauge on where we are as a team."
What have you thought about what T Brent Qvale has done in camp so far?
"He's a good vet. He's big. He's tough. He's smart. Can play different positions. Can play guard. Can play tackle. I really like his approach every single day. I'm glad he's here."
Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the day you made all the trades with the Dolphins and Seahawks. With a year's worth of data now, how do you feel that day has meant to your football team?
"Look, I think that was a day where we made some moves that we felt were in the best interest of the team, not only last year but moving into the future. I believe that if you look at the players that we were able to acquire or maybe – whether it was a pick we used to acquire a player, I believe it made us a better team. I have trouble remembering my own wedding anniversary so I'm glad you brought up that anniversary. But look, I think that this year's a little bit different. I wouldn't expect us to celebrate that anniversary tomorrow with a bunch of trades, but you never know. But I do think that it improved our team. Did it improve it to where we want to be? No, but everybody is involved in that. Coaching, playing. We've won a bunch of games over that last couple of years, but we all know that us and the city of Houston want us to do better and we're working hard to do better. But I do believe that day made us a better team both last year and in some ways into the future."
How have you seen DE J.J. Watt improve in the way he teaches younger players how to get the most out of their skill set?
"I think there's a lot of veterans – you asked about J.J. and I'll be specific to him. When you come in here as a young player or even a new player and you have someone like J.J. Watt at your position, there are things that I believe you should do that you should watch him, how he does them. Now, certain things that he does, no one can do. I'll just be very honest with you. But there's other things that he can do that he does from a routine standpoint, from whether it's his work ethic or how he works in the weight room or in the training room or obviously on the practice field. Just the way that he carries himself, I think there's a lot of things. Again, I would use you come in there as a young player, you may not be a quarterback, but you should be watching Deshaun Watson. How he approaches every day, how he walks in the locker room, how he stays after practice, comes out early to practice, studies film, talks football with his teammates. I just think as a young player, if I was a young player, I would come into that locker room and I'd say, 'you know what, I'm going to watch these guys right here.' Whitney Mercilus, Benardrick McKinney, Zach Cunningham, Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks, DeAndre Carter. You go on and on. Nick Martin. I mean, where do you want me to stop? Brandon Dunn. We've got a lot of guys I think you can use as examples that you can really say to yourself, 'man, there's a reason why that guy has played at a high level for a long time.'"
What do you do differently at practice to evaluate players that you would typically get out of preseason games or joint practices?
"I think the one thing we try to do probably more than in years past is to actually drive the ball. Sometimes defensively they get mad at me because I may say, 'yeah, it was a sack, but I want to keep this drive going.' 12-play drive, 13-play drive, so that guys can really work hard to get into football shape. I think on special teams it's a little bit different. You've got to concentrate on the unit. Today we'll work on the punt team, so it's kind of by unit. You also can incorporate those in the scrimmages like we did the other night. I think it's just more about sustained drives, so in the past maybe it was a six-play period for the ones, six for the twos, 12 plays total. This is a little bit different. More plays where we can try to get into a rhythm."
Yesterday, S Michael Thomas talked about how this special teams unit is extremely talented. When you look at the special teams unit, how does the talent level of this compare to previous ones?
"I believe that you're right. I believe that we have a really good group of core guys. You talk about Michael Thomas, Dylan Cole. Obviously, our specialists – Jon Weeks, Ka'imi Fairbairn and Bryan Anger. Then Keion Crossen and A.J. Moore (Jr.), Brennan Scarlett, Tyrell Adams. There's other guys that we have that I think – even Jordan Akins has really played well on special teams this year in training camp. Kahale Warring has done a good job on certain special teams, so you have guys across the board that I think are good core special teams players. Lonnie Johnson (Jr.). There's just a lot of guys there, and I think that's important. If you have eight to 10 core special teams players and with a great kicker and a great punter, you can really play good field position football and that's part of this game. You've got to win the field position battle, I believe."
How much playing time do you see TE Kahale Warring getting this season on offense or on special teams?
"He's improved. He's in a battle, though. He's a great guy. He works really hard. He's still a young player. He's got a lot of talent. He had a good practice last week, I think. He's working really hard to get better and he's right in the mix. We're working hard with him and we want him to succeed. That's a competitive position. You've got guys there that have played a lot of football in (Darren) Fells and (Jordan) Akins, and then Jordan Thomas and Kahale are coming off of injury last year. Dylan Stapleton, coming out of James Madison, he's doing a good job, so it's a competitive position."