The ’13 training camp for the Houston Texans has finally arrived, and so with the arrival of camp, there are position battles and roster cuts.
Before their first practice was set to take place, the media in Houston spoke with a number of players, including two players in particular whose overall success is very important to the Texans this season in starting quarterback Matt Schaub and No. 1 wide receiver Andre Johnson.
Both players are the cornerstone of the Texans’ offense, and both spoke to the media Thursday as they arrived for camp.
“Yeah, I’m excited,” Johnson told the media when asked if he was excited to start camp. “I’m tired of sitting at home. There’s nothing to watch on TV, so it’s time to get back to work. Just be focused and just go out there and just, as a team, just work on the things we need to work on and make sure we’re as prepared as possible when we open up the season against San Diego.”
Schaub spoke the media for a lengthy period of time Thursday, beginning with saying he knows the Texans are not catching anyone by surprise after back-to-back postseason berths and being the reigning AFC South Champions after finishing 12-4 one year ago.
“After the past couple of years, we’re not going to creep up on anyone,” the veteran QB said. “We’re going to have a target on our backs, so to speak. We’re fine with that. It’s a new year, a new team. We have to go out here in training camp and put our team together and set ourselves up week one to get rolling.”
Schaub is coming off a ’12 season where he passed for 4,008 yards, 22 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He finished with a passing rating of 90.7, ninth-best in the NFL.
“Just the consistency,” Schaub said when asked what he wants the Texans to improve on this season. “We got to the end of the year and faced some tough teams, tough challenges, and we didn’t handle it that well. We’ve got to be a little better in those moments, and we’ll be fine.
“With each year, we keep adding new pieces. We’ve got an influx of young talent, young receivers and young guys on our offense. We like what they can bring. We just have to bring them along, as far as how we operate and the little subtle nuances in our offense and getting that timing down in full pads, getting them into the full speed of the game because in OTAs it’s more of a teaching tempo, teaching pace. So now we really have to turn it on to get those guys caught up.”
Johnson, who had 112 receptions for 1,598 yards and four touchdowns in ’12, also spoke about the expectations of the Texans.
“Every team has the same goal to win it all, but you have steps you have to take to get there,” Johnson said. “You just have to take it one game at a time, and you have to leave everything out on the field every time you’re out there in order to get where you want to go.
“Since I’ve been in the NFL … we have a lot of guys that can go out and make plays for us. Yeah, I would say, yeah, it’s probably the most (weapons) we’ve had.”
Schaub continued during his time with the media talking about the weapons the Texans have on offense this upcoming season.
“With each year, we keep adding new pieces. We’ve got an influx of young talent, young receivers and young guys on our offense,” Schaub said. “We like what they can bring. We just have to bring them along, as far as how we operate and the little subtle nuances in our offense and getting that timing down in full pads, getting them into the full speed of the game because in OTAs it’s more of a teaching tempo, teaching pace. So now we really have to turn it on to get those guys caught up.”
Schaub, who said he was “fine” at the end of last season, spoke about how they want to incorporate first-round draft choice DeAndre Hopkins into the offense.
“A lot of film study, a lot of just talking, a lot of communication, that’s number one,” he said. “He’s all ears and willing to listen and learn, just watching Andre (Johnson), because no one works at the position like Andre Johnson.
“He’s got a great example right in front of him. We’re going to make sure he gets to week one against San Diego ready to help us big time.”
Johnson, too, talked about having Hopkins on the opposite side of the offense.
“He has great hands,” Johnson said of Hopkins. “I’ve never seen a guy that just one-hands the ball like he does. During OTAs, you could just tell he was thinking a little bit while he was playing, but I think he’s grasped the playbook.
“I’ve talked to him during the offseason. I talked to him the other day, and he’s ready to go. He’s pumped about being a Texan. He was excited about signing his contract and stuff like that, so he’s ready to go.”
The Texans’ first preseason game will be on Aug. 9 when they travel to play the Minnesota Vikings at 7 p.m. CDT.