Hey, did you all hear? Training camp began in earnest today! Yes, sir or ma'am, the Houston Texans have all reported to camp and hit the field this morning and afternoon for their first practices of their 2013 training camp.
As is the norm, some select Texans met with the media afterwards. Let's see if there's any good tidbits. Let's start with head coach Gary Kubiak. He's always got something colorful to say.
(on how the first practice of training camp went) "Yeah, I thought it was good. I liked the conditioning. I like the way we came back, good sense of urgency. Obviously, we’ve got a lot of, well, for a first day out, we’ve got quite a few guys that are limited or have something going on. We’ve got to bring them along the right way, but I like the conditioning of the team, good start."
Good start, cool. Coolcoolcool. Well, what about those injured or missing players?
(on having ILB Brian Cushing back and not overexerting him early) "Yeah, no doubt. Obviously, there’s a plan in place. I think he worked about 25 minutes today. We’ll keep heading that way. We’ll do the right thing. We’re trying to work him toward, obviously, thinking about grass in the preseason. So that starts to talk about preseason two or three, one of those, but we’ll stick with our plan."
(on RB Arian Foster’s situation) "He’s doing really good. A little bit of a surprise to me because I thought he’d be ready to go, but Kap (Head Athletic Trainer Geoff Kaplan) and they just think he needs a few days with them to work into the routine. But he’s had a good summer; he’s been here every day. I expect him back pretty quickly."
(on ILB Darryl Sharpton’s injury status) "Sharp’s a little bit of a surprise to us. (He) came back with a sore groin, so we didn’t really know where we were because obviously we haven’t seen him in a little while. (He) probably had as good of an offseason as anyone on our team, so it was a surprise and we’ll watch him here for a couple days and see where he’s at."
(on OLB Sam Montgomery and making him active) "We didn’t like the condition he came back in, but he made up a lot of ground the last few days. He was ready to go back out (and) tweaked his ankle a little bit today, so Sam’s just got to stay in one piece, figure out what we’re doing and I think (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) and (LBs Coach) Reggie (Herring) will do a great job with him. We’ve just got to keep him healthy."(on TE Garrett Graham not practicing) "(He’s) sick. Actually, we didn’t even let him report yesterday. Very sick with some type of virus. Spent the day in the hospital yesterday. He is back home. Probably will not see him until Sunday. We’ll try to keep him away from everybody else."
(on other players who weren’t initially active on the roster) "Let’s see. You’ll just have to start asking me. Other than that, we’re just trying to work some guys like (T Derek) Newton in slowly, (T Brennan) Williams in slowly, but they did practice today. We’ve got guys we have to keep off the turf. A few guys will probably see that as we go, but we’ve got a plan for all of them. Talked about all of them, but good to get started."
Great, no reason to panic about anyone at all. Not that we'd panic in July, right? Right?! Speaking of not panicking, what's the situation at right tackle, Coach?
(on how he would characterize the right tackle battle) "We’re very talented there, but we’ve got a lot of work to do because we missed a great deal of time. We’ve got to have some patience here as we get them both (T Derek Newton and T Brennan Williams) to full speed. We have a young player in (T David) Quessenberry who we think can go out and compete, but we don’t want to run him all over the place right now, so we’re starting him inside and we’ll see what happens. But we’ve got to get them both to where they’re 100 percent, competing every day and then see what happens."
(on T Ryan Harris) "If we started today, Ryan would start at right tackle because Newton is not totally back and Williams is not totally back. So Ryan’s the guinea pig so to speak, he plays all over the place right now, but he’s had a good offseason and he’s 100 percent."
Let's see what the returning Brian Cushing had to say about his first practice in months, shall we?
(on what he can and can’t do) "Right now I’m doing individual. I’m taking it slow and doing individual and being smart. I’m just judging how I feel and everything. We’ve got a plan how to progress myself and to come along. There’s no rush right now. The biggest thing is that I feel great and I’m able to do everything, as far as cutting, running, jumping, planting, everything. That’s exactly what we want right now and it’s going as planned."
(on what the plan is to have him back full-bore) "I’m not sure. I think we’re kind of going day-by-day with this and keeping things just short-term. That’s all we can control right now. It’s a serious injury to come back from but at the same time, you put in the right work, you can be better than ever. So that’s the goal. In order to reach that, we have to be smart about this."
If you check the full transcript (see below for link), Cushing was asked essentially the same questions over and over again. Up your game, reporters. Finally, first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins had some comments after his first practice.
(on today’s practice) "It was a good day for me. I feel I came out and I knew my assignments pretty well. I feel like, the team and as a wide receiver corps, we had a good practice."
(on if he was nervous at all playing with the first team) "No, not at all. I love the pressure. I don’t really look at it as pressure. I look at it as coming out and helping this team out and whether they need help out. I’ve been in my playbook, so I feel pretty comfortable coming out here and running with the first group."
(on his response to grasping the playbook) "That was a key thing that I felt like I needed to focus on is getting in my playbook and I feel like I did a great job with that during the offseason."
(on what is the first thing he notices between college and pro) "Everything that you do, you have to be on point. There’s no room for any mistakes. The difference between a 10-yard route and an 11-yard route makes a big difference between these guys out here than in college."
(on if he wears 3XL gloves) "Yeah. Oh yeah."
(on what it is like playing with WR Andre Johnson) "He’s told me everything that a veteran should tell a rookie. He’s a guy that’s on every single wide receiver out here, not just me. He’s not just focusing in on just DeAndre Hopkins. He’s paying attention to all the guys out here and helping all of us out. He’s giving all of us great things to work on and telling us what we need to do."
(on WR Andre Johnson asking the young receivers to look for things that he can improve on and if that surprised him) "It didn’t surprise me at all because I know he’s that type of guy that he wants to get better every single day. People might think that he did everything he can do. But Andre is a hard worker and he comes out every day willing to get better."
As I said, you can see the full transcript here with more quotes from more players. After you've read that twenty times, chime in below with your typical keen insight and observations, Texans fans.