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Old 06-15-2006   #1
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Default Chronic: Texans' minicamp marked by optimism

Kubiak dismisses Texans a day early, has praise for Carr

By MEGAN MANFULL
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Gary Kubiak had his Texans line up on the Reliant Park practice field and watch kicker Kris Brown during practice Tuesday.

"If he makes this, there's no practice Wednesday," Kubiak said.

Brown promptly split the uprights, and his teammates cheered.

Kubiak later admitted Brown could have re-kicked had he missed. After almost a month of practice, Kubiak didn't want to hold the final day of the Texans' scheduled minicamp. The team had made the progress he desired.

The Texans have no more mandatory team activities until they check into their hotel for training camp on July 27. The first day of practice is July 28.

In just a month, Kubiak liked what he saw from much of the team, especially quarterback David Carr.

"I think he's the most improved player from this offseason," Kubiak said. "From the day we walked out here until today, I really thought he was the most improved. Yet he still has a long way to go.

"The key to David, like any other player — and I've already spent a ton of time with him — David's got to come back and pick up right where he left off. We can't go back and work on things that we were trying to clean up. Nobody's worked harder."


While the players will have time off in the next few weeks, Kubiak will stay busy with general manager Rick Smith watching player developments around the NFL.

"How much (the roster) could change depends on what's going on around the league," Kubiak said. "We're going to continue to look. I talked about a veteran running back. We're going to continue to look for a veteran fullback. And this team continues to look for a returner-type receiver guy, so there won't be a day that Rick and I aren't seeing what's going on."

The Texans still have their eyes on New Orleans running back Michael Bennett, whom the Saints are interested in trading. New Orleans is in no hurry, though. Reggie Bush missed some of the offseason workouts with injuries, and Deuce McAllister is still rebounding from last season's injury, leaving Bennett to take the majority of repetitions with the first team.

"We've talked to them over and over again," Kubiak said. "At this point, they aren't just going to let their starting running back go."


Kubiak said running back Domanick Davis will be one of few players who won't have the luxury of taking the next month off. Davis, defensive end Travis Johnson, and linebackers Kailee Wong, Charlie Anderson and Sam Cowart will be expected to focus on rehabilitating their injuries in the coming weeks.

Everyone except Wong is expected to be healthy enough to participate in training camp. Wong has made progress, however, and will be reevaluated at the end of July to determine his timetable for a return.

"They have to be here full time," Kubiak said. "I told some of these guys that they might need to break away from us — we've been after them for a while. But they don't need a break away from their livelihood, and that's staying in shape and being ready to go for camp."
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Old 06-15-2006   #2
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Will yall get mad at me if I said something to the affect that if there was one thing Capers did for us was teach a bunch of young players how to be responsible in the NFL?

I remember Capers being a stickler for things like making sure you come back in playing shape when training camp begins, and making each practice count. I think he taught the team how to survive in the NFL but just didn't teach how to win.

Don't be too harsh....
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Old 06-15-2006   #3
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For me, one of the most optimistic things is how seriously the team has taken the OTAs and competition for spots. If you look around the league, a number of teams have had difficulty getting guys to show up. (Buffalo, GB, IIRC).

It is hard learning a new system, but our guys couldn't be taking it more seriously. I know this isn't a common point of view, but I never thought the team quit last year--I just thought they had no depth in a bad system. The players felt horrible about last season and really do want to win. 100% participation in OTAs is a good start.
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Old 06-15-2006   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Tejano
Will yall get mad at me if I said something to the affect that if there was one thing Capers did for us was teach a bunch of young players how to be responsible in the NFL?

I remember Capers being a stickler for things like making sure you come back in playing shape when training camp begins, and making each practice count. I think he taught the team how to survive in the NFL but just didn't teach how to win.

Don't be too harsh....


Nah, I don't think that is an unfair assessment. A friend of mine who is a Panther fan told me after the Texans hire that Capers was very good at setting up an expansion team and figuring out how to eek out wins with not very much and setting up discipline but that at some point we would need another coach.

And it is so. (though it isn't much of a prediction that an expansion coach gets fired because most modern day ones do).
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Old 06-15-2006   #5
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I like how he's making kris brown practice under pressure....
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Old 06-15-2006   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texans_Chick
I know this isn't a common point of view, but I never thought the team quit last year--I just thought they had no depth in a bad system. The players felt horrible about last season and really do want to win. 100% participation in OTAs is a good start.
I would agree with that. There were moments in games last year that it looked like we had given up, but I think it was pure frustration at that point. Our system was horribly inept from Day One and we never did have that depth. That is why this offseason is like Christmas for me:
  1. New coaches who appear to be inspirational and have yet to use the word "execute" in course of public speech.
  2. Competent and downright aggressive system on both sides of the line after four years of prevent O and Cover-No D.
  3. Playoff caliber depth at virtually every position but RB and DB.
September can't come fast enough.
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Old 06-15-2006   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texans_Chick
It is hard learning a new system, but our guys couldn't be taking it more seriously. I know this isn't a common point of view, but I never thought the team quit last year--I just thought they had no depth in a bad system. The players felt horrible about last season and really do want to win. 100% participation in OTAs is a good start.
I don't know, TC....never having even a single lead in the first 24 quarters (6 games) of the 2005 season seems to me a mix of bad system (from the coaches) and lack of will (from the players).

It seemed to me, from the very beginning, that the team was not only unprepared to play at an NFL level, but they seemed to quit on the coaching staff. Nobody really seemed to even care when our OC was fired only two games into the regular season. They appeared more relieved that someone else was a scapegoat and not them, which indicates a lack of accountability, IMO.
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Old 06-15-2006   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Tejano
Will yall get mad at me if I said something to the affect that if there was one thing Capers did for us was teach a bunch of young players how to be responsible in the NFL?

I remember Capers being a stickler for things like making sure you come back in playing shape when training camp begins, and making each practice count. I think he taught the team how to survive in the NFL but just didn't teach how to win.

Don't be too harsh....
Capers was very good with the players, just didn't do to well on the GM side. Even Gary Walker said he still like Capers and would possibly play for him again.
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Old 06-15-2006   #9
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Originally Posted by Double Barrel
I don't know, TC....never having even a single lead in the first 24 quarters (6 games) of the 2005 season seems to me a mix of bad system (from the coaches) and lack of will (from the players).

It seemed to me, from the very beginning, that the team was not only unprepared to play at an NFL level, but they seemed to quit on the coaching staff. Nobody really seemed to even care when our OC was fired only two games into the regular season. They appeared more relieved that someone else was a scapegoat and not them, which indicates a lack of accountability, IMO.
I need a definition here. Does "the player quit" mean

1) The player going into a game and not giving it his best because he knows they are going to lose - not even trying.

2) The player is giving it his best shot, but his "best shot" lacks the psychological aspect that adds the vim and vigor to his play that allows him to reach the highest level of his ability - subconsciously giving less than his best because he knows the system is doomed to lose.

I'd believe the second occurred with far greater frequency than the first last year.
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Old 06-15-2006   #10
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We've seen this same stuff every offseason. Here's a blast from the past and few interesting quotes about Carr's alleged progress...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...t/3321308.html


The coaches went to camp with specific goals, and one was to take a close look at the progress quarterback David Carr has made in a system that has added shorter drops and quicker releases.

"I think David's ready to take his game to the next level," offensive coordinator Chris Palmer said. "He has a better command of the offense. He's got a sense of urgency. He expects to win."

The primary goal on offense is to keep Carr from becoming the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL for the third time in four years.

"Every day, you can see how much more comfortable and confident David is," Palmer said. "His teammates see it, too.

"As a coach, you're never where you want to be, but I feel good about our offense. We've got a chance to be very good. If everyone stays healthy, I could see us in the top 12 statistically."
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Old 06-15-2006   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runner
I need a definition here. Does "the player quit" mean

1) The player going into a game and not giving it his best because he knows they are going to lose - not even trying.

2) The player is giving it his best shot, but his "best shot" lacks the psychological aspect that adds the vim and vigor to his play that allows him to reach the highest level of his ability - subconsciously giving less than his best because he knows the system is doomed to lose.

I'd believe the second occurred with far greater frequency than the first last year.
I agree with your last statement, but I saw both [1) and 2)] last year. Each feeds off the other. If you play in a system you don't believe in, you tend to hold back 100% of your effort. This can be seen by outsiders as "quitting".

Guys weren't running routes to completion, failing to make tackles, etc., and just generally played bad football at a fundamental level. This indicates that either a) the coaches could not even teach basic football skills, or b) the players weren't even trying.

The stat that I keep coming back to - not one lead in 6 games - hasn't been touched in the NFL since 1933! C'mon, our team just came off a 7-9 season (2004), so we weren't even considered bottom-dwellers at that point. They should have played better than the crap we saw at the beginning of last year.

But I don't want to get this thread in that direction, so I'll leave it at that.

I'm stoked about the 2006 Texans, and I have no doubt that Coach Kubiak has lit a fire in this team. I'd be utterly shocked if they played anything as poorly as the 2005 team.

I fully expect David Carr to have his best year. I'm not predicting Pro-Bowl season, but I do think we will see wholesale improvements in all the areas that have plagued us in the past.
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Old 06-15-2006   #12
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Originally Posted by Runner
2) The player is giving it his best shot, but his "best shot" lacks the psychological aspect that adds the vim and vigor to his play that allows him to reach the highest level of his ability - subconsciously giving less than his best because he knows the system is doomed to lose.

I'd believe the second occurred with far greater frequency than the first last year.
Bingo. I would add to the definition, a lack of enthusiasm for coordinating with each other and playing as a team rather than 11 individuals trying to do their jobs.
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Old 06-15-2006   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the wonger need food
We've seen this same stuff every offseason. Here's a blast from the past and few interesting quotes about Carr's alleged progress...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...t/3321308.html


The coaches went to camp with specific goals, and one was to take a close look at the progress quarterback David Carr has made in a system that has added shorter drops and quicker releases.

"I think David's ready to take his game to the next level," offensive coordinator Chris Palmer said. "He has a better command of the offense. He's got a sense of urgency. He expects to win."

The primary goal on offense is to keep Carr from becoming the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL for the third time in four years.

"Every day, you can see how much more comfortable and confident David is," Palmer said. "His teammates see it, too.

"As a coach, you're never where you want to be, but I feel good about our offense. We've got a chance to be very good. If everyone stays healthy, I could see us in the top 12 statistically."
Sure. I guess it just depends on what you feel about Kubiak's system and wisdom versus Capers'. Personally, I'll reserve a certain esteem for Kubiak, given his past consistent successes, after four years of seeing how effective CapersBall is.

Still ... eerie, the similarities.
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Old 06-15-2006   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the wonger need food
We've seen this same stuff every offseason. Here's a blast from the past and few interesting quotes about Carr's alleged progress...

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...t/3321308.html
Just as an FYI, McClain has observed this off-season that the Texans installed all sorts of new stuff last off-season and then promptly abandoned them once the season began.
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Old 06-15-2006   #15
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There is no way to look into the player's hearts, so unless someone really fesses up to not caring, and it isn't completely obvious from play, you just can't know.

We've rehashed this a bunch of time but I think that last season was a product of:

1. No depth, lots of youth, few veteran leaders, few proven winners.
2. Lots of injuries of key players and key parts of the team--musical chairs at Oline is not usually a recipe for success.
3. No confidence in an offensive system. You try to incorporate a new offense in week 4, you are hosed.
4. A very difficult early season schedule. (For a good portion of the season, we had statistically the most difficult or the second most difficult schedule of the season--we got the easier teams at the end of the year when there was no confidence left on the team). We played both of the Super Bowl participants. With a young team and a training wheels offense, they never had a chance to get their feet under them.

Carr calls his own plays in the first half against a pretty good defense, (the Cards), and the offense gets a 24 point half. They get a good lead against the Rams, and then run outta gas.

There was enough messes on last year's team without having to go to the "team gave up" card.
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Old 06-15-2006   #16
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When a team is ranked 31st in defense and 30th in offense, I think it is ALL of the above (including a lack of drive to overcome in the players).
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Old 06-15-2006   #17
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I believe that Andre Johnson quit last year and I don't blame the guy one bit.
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Old 06-15-2006   #18
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Originally Posted by the wonger need food
We've seen this same stuff every offseason. Here's a blast from the past and few interesting quotes about Carr's alleged progress...
I think the last quote from Palmer in that story was "but we're going to stifle him with a ninth grade offense once the season starts". But I could be wrong....
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Old 06-15-2006   #19
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Originally Posted by infantrycak
Just as an FYI, McClain has observed this off-season that the Texans installed all sorts of new stuff last off-season and then promptly abandoned them once the season began.
That is so weird to me. Why in the world would a coaching staff do that? They just wasted valuable time and effort. Yet another indication that our FO made one of the best decisions in our short history last January.
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Old 06-15-2006   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the wonger need food
We've seen this same stuff every offseason. Here's a blast from the past and few interesting quotes about Carr's alleged progress.....
Wow, good research wonger... but I'm sensing a different read in it.

Quote:
The Texans ended their fourth training camp with more questions than answers, but they still have 19 days and two preseason games to solve problems before they begin the regular season at Buffalo.....
So, Kubiak seems to have more questions answered after OTA's than Capers has at preseason time.

Quote:
...."We're a little more mature in terms of realizing there's a fine line between winning and losing. Our biggest challenge right now is to make sure we keep the right 53 guys."...
I don't think I've recalled any fine line speeches, much less discussion of losing before the season even started with Kubiak - he demands more and talks more of optimistic futures.

Quote:
The coaches went to camp with specific goals, and one was to take a close look at the progress quarterback David Carr has made in a system that has added shorter drops and quicker releases....
... and a neat little buzzer behind Carr. So much for that offseason's "#1 priority".

Quote:
"We went into camp hoping to identify what this group does best," Palmer said. "We wanted to identify who our best players are."
Current staff seems to be relying less on hope and more on results and competition. Knowing the path of the team and what players fit it.

... and on and on. Just like anything, items can be spun to favor a thought. There is some likeness between yesteryear and this, as far as some terms used (no "e" words thankfully this year)... but one thing that's interesting is last year - I didn't hear too much of players with optimism, believing in the coming year, high expectations and really giving it their all during practices. Just seems alot more upbeat this year for them.

Plus Kubiak noted he's seen quite a bit of improvement in Carr, but still has a way to go. I think that's what is different, previous staff talked of hope and "let's try this".... this seems more of "good job, but we need it better".

Good find though.
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