Andre Johnson: “I think that we’re a lot better football team than we were last year at this point”

August 10, 2011 – 10:35 am by Chris Fedor

The Houston Texans have the offense to be a playoff team. In fact they have for a little while now. They have a running game led by last year’s rushing king, Arian Foster, and the combination of Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson is as good as any quarterback-wide receiver combo in the NFL. The downfall of the Houston Texans for the past couple of years has been their defense. Last year the Texans were lit up by just about everybody in the league and they had an extremely difficult time getting any pressure on the quarterback.

It’s clear that the Texans realized their undeniable weaknesses this offseason as well. After using their first five picks in the draft on defensive players, the Texans were also extremely aggressive in free agency. Houston lost out on the Nnamdi Asomugha sweepstakes, but landed one of the best young cornerbacks in the league, Jonathan Joseph, to be a difference maker in the secondary. The Texans can score points in bunches, but if they want to make their first ever playoff appearance in franchise history, they need the defense to step up in 2011 under the watchful eye of new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

Andre Johnson joined KILT in Houston with Mike Meltser to talk about how his finger is feeling, if he was scared at first to try and catch a ball with his finger injury, how tough it was for him to fight through injuries last season and be less than 100 percent, how much better he thinks the Texans defense will be this year, how excited he is about adding free agent cornerback Jonathan Joseph, and what the expectations are for the Texans this season.

How his finger feels:

“It’s a little sore. It’s in a splint for most of the day. The only time it’s not in a splint is when I’m out here. We’re still waiting for the wounds to close up but it’s not stopping me from practicing so that’s a good thing.”

Whether or not he was scared to try and catch a ball with his finger at first:

“I wasn’t scared. I think the biggest thing was I looked at my finger and said ‘wow that looks kinda ugly.’ I popped it back into place and once I popped it back into place I really didn’t think nothing of it. I just went to get buddy tape and when I went to take my glove off blood was just running down my hand.”

How tough it has been to gain back his confidence in that finger:

“At times you’re kinda hesitant about sticking your hands up there rather than body catch it. That’s just part of it because you have to gain the confidence back. My first day at practice I caught myself doing that at times and actually one of the balls popped off my facemask. One of the first few passes I tried to catch I was just getting that confidence back and getting used to catching the ball. You know I wear a splint now on my finger so I have to get used to catching the ball with that on also. It’s been a little different. Like I said I’m just excited to be back out here.”

Whether or not he was frustrated by his injuries last season:

“I think it’s very frustrating because you know you can play better than what you’re playing. I think that’s the biggest thing. During the year nobody is really 100 percent and you have a lot of guys that are banged up, but my biggest thing was just trying to find a way to get through it week in and week out so I think our trainers and everybody did a great job that I worked with as far as rehab. I was able to go out and play on Sundays.”

On this year’s team versus last year’s:

“I think that we’re a lot better football team than we were last year at this point. Guys are working and guys know where we want to be. Every team has that one goal at the beginning of the season and that’s winning the Super Bowl. That’s our goal, we’re gonna work towards it and we’re gonna try and do everything we can to accomplish it.”

On how excited he was when Jonathan Joseph was signed:

“I was excited man. I had a chance to talk to Jonathan this offseason. We were both at Fred Bennett’s wedding. He just came up to me, we started talking, and he stressed that he would love to come play here in the city of Houston. I told him we would love to have him. Word got out that he wanted to be here and once I saw that he was signed I was very excited because I know what he brings as a football player.”

Whether or not he thinks the defense will be better with the additions:

“I think our defense will be a lot better. Last year we were young at the back end as far as secondary-wise. Now the guys have the experience. Brought Jonathan and Danieal (Manning) in and I think even with bringing in J.J. (Watt) and Brooks Reed and all those guys I think that’s gonna help get pressure on the quarterback and it’s gonna make the work for the back-end much easier. I’m excited and ready to see them on the field and watch them wreak havoc.”

Listen to Andre Johnson on KILT in Houston here

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