David Anderson chats with The Scores Report

HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 23:  Wide receiver David Anderson #89 of the Houston Texans avoids a tackle by safety Kevin Kaesviharn #26 of the Tennessee Titans in the fourth quarter at Reliant Stadium on November 23, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Do a YouTube search of Texans’ receiver David Anderson and what usually pops up first is his imitation of Conan O’Brien’s “String Dance” following a touchdown against the Bengals in 2009.

That’s usually not something a player wants to be known for, but after chatting with him while he was on break from football at Manhattan Beach, we get the impression that David doesn’t mind.

During our 15-minute chat, Anderson was kind enough to fill us in on what to expect this year out of the Texans, including what players he believes are in store for breakout campaigns. We also shared a few laughs after he found out that a fantasy publication ranked him No. 125 out of 125 receivers for the 2010 season and what transpired immediately before he called us, when he and his mother had to go to the pound after their dog ran away. (He was amused, although she wasn’t.)

For more on David, check out his Twitter page, whiteout89.

The Scores Report: Hi, this is Anthony.

David Anderson: Hey, this is David Anderson calling in.

TSR: Hey David, how are you, man?

DA: I’m good. I’m sorry, man – my mom lost her dog and we had to go to the pound.

TSR: Oh, no! Is everything all right? Did you find her dog?

DA: Yeah, it’s not the most gracious place to be – the dog pound.

TSR: I bet. How long did it take you to come up with that excuse for being late for our interview?

DA: No, no! We just found it – it’s my mom’s golden retriever, Houston. Now I’m all set – I promise!

TSR: (Laughs) I’m just giving you a hard time!

DA: (Laughs)

TSR: How has the offseason been?

DA: It’s going, It’s going. This is my last trip – I’m at Manhattan Beach right now. It’s kind of like my favorite beach, so I’m out here for about a week to workout and train and then it’s back to Houston.

TSR: Does training camp begin in about a month for you guys?

DA: Yeah – July 30th.

TSR: What do you guys generally do in between OTAs and training camp?

DA: Well, since we can do whatever we want, some guys use that time to get their last hoorays in: see some friends and family, maybe get in one quick travel trip. But you have to stay in shape, so you can’t go running all over the earth and expect to come back and compete. Wherever you go, you have to make sure you have some place where you can go get after it a little bit.

TSR: That always seems to be a topic of discussion around this time of year. You always hear about an offensive or defensive lineman ballooning up right before training camp and getting into their coach’s doghouse right off the bat.

DA: (Laughs)

TSR: How important is it that NFL players maintain a healthy lifestyle even when they’re off and free of their team’s restrictions?

DA: It’s essentially our job. Coach Kubiak always puts it, “Hey, you can show up out of shape all you want but you’re going to lose your job.” Some guys expect to come back in tip-top shape, while others need to either lose a couple of pounds or gain weight. It just kind of depends on where you are. It’s funny, when it comes to the first day of weigh ins, everyone is always a little stressed because you don’t know if you’re too high or too low. It’s kind of an odd day, but it’s fun.

TSR: I was checking out your Twitter page earlier and I saw that one of the fantasy magazines gave you no love. You had a receiver rank of 125 out of 125? What is that?

DA: (Laughs) So I’m at Frys Electronics and I’m flipping through the magazines because Andre (Johnson) is on the cover, and I’m like oh, they rank all the wide receivers. I’m flipping through and I’m like nope, not in the top 40. That’s okay, I’m not the top receiver on my team. I think to myself, well, I’m the third receiver on the Texans – a legitimate third receiver in the NFL. I have to be in the top 90, right? Nope, not top 90. Top 95? Nope, not there either. Top 100? Nope. Top 105? Nope, keep flipping the pages. Top 110, 115, 120…finally I get to the last person and it’s me at No. 125. I was cracking up laughing because it was so funny!

TSR: Not that you want to throw out any names, but there had to have been some receivers on there where you said to yourself, come on, I’m better than this guy.

DA: There were guys ahead of me that didn’t even play last year!

TSR: (Laughs)

DA: I think Mike Williams was on there!

TSR: (Laughs) Nooo! No, he wasn’t. You’re lying.

DA: Yes! I was like, what the hell?

TSR: You were ranked behind Mike Williams?

DA: (Laughs) There were rookies on there and guys that aren’t even illegible on the list. I was like man, this is brutal!

TSR: (Laughs) There’s like guys in wheelchair football leagues that are ahead of you.

DA: (Laughs) I think (Matt) Schaub was ahead of me – in case somebody wanted a tight end.

TSR: (Laughs) That’s too funny. Speaking of Schaub, he throws you two touchdowns two years ago, you do Conan’s “String Dance” and then he doesn’t throw to you last year. What’s the deal there?

DA: We’ve talked about that because when you watch the offseason cutups, quarterbacks are shown how many guys they missed that were open. I went to him and I said, based on all the routes I ran that were open, I should have had about 70 catches and eight touchdowns if you looked at me when you were supposed to. He started laughing.

TSR: (Laughs)

DA: But you know, sometimes you’re just second or third in the progression. I think on two of Owen Daniels’ touchdowns I was wide open, so if he doesn’t get open, I guess I’m scoring. I think I would have had way more touchdowns last year if they would have just come my way. I had three plays called my way two years ago and I scored on two of them and I think this year I had 12 and I didn’t score on any of them. So, some of it’s just luck and what the defense runs.

TSR: If you look at your career numbers, you’ve progressed every year and I think that’s a testament to the Texans matching the Broncos’ offer for you last year when you were a restricted free agent. I guess in terms of touchdowns, you just have to take a back seat to the selfishness that Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels show.

DA: (Laughs) Yeah, I think that’s something we always stress though. Everyone has a role and my role is third downs, slot receiver and that’s something the team needs. I would love to say I’m in the Wes Welker role, but he’s an every down player and they throw him 100 balls a season. That’s something I’ll probably never see when you have guys like Andre around. I’m trying to get away from too much of the comedy shtick, but I like to think I’m a good locker room guy too.

TSR: Right.

DA: But the key, I guess, is to know who you are in order to have success in the NFL. I can’t be Terrell Owens. I can’t be Calvin Johnson, so I just have to be me and that’s who I’m going to be.

TSR: Talk about last year and what the process was like when you signed with the Broncos only to see the Texans match it later. Obviously you had interest in Denver because you signed with them as a restricted free agent, but did it mean a lot to have Houston match the offer?

DA: That was kind of a weird period because I went to Colorado State, so Denver was going to be awesome. I was really excited because they had new coaches and they really seemed like they wanted me. Houston, on the other hand, I had a good year but I wasn’t even activated for all 16 games so I was wondering what their plans were for me the following year.

TSR: Right.

DA: But it kind of made them show what their plans were when they brought me back. It was kind of nice that they wanted me around, although the bad thing I did was read all the blogs.

TSR: Uh, oh.

DA: Yeah, I don’t think I’m ever going to do that again. I went online and was like, well, let’s see if the Denver fans like me. I went to their blogs and they didn’t have anything nice to say about me; calling me a midget…why do we want this guy…we don’t need him…keep him in Houston. I’m like, okay, they don’t want me there but let’s check out the Houston blogs and see if they miss me. I looked at what they wrote and they’re like, ship him out of here! I was like, oh goodness, I’m never doing this again.

TSR: (Laughs) Well, don’t feel bad. I write for a blog and I get called a moron on a daily basis.

DA: (Laughs)

TSR: Fans can be so over-the-top sometimes and ridiculous. If you’re not a superstar catching 97 balls a game and scoring 50 touchdowns then you’re going to get ripped.

DA: Oh yeah, right? If I’m not getting them any fantasy points then they’re not going to show me any love.

TSR: (Laughs) Yeah, now if you get them fantasy points then you’re a freaking hero.

HOUSTON - AUGUST 22:  Wide receiver  David Anderson #89 of the Houston Texans celebrates his first period score as Owen Daniels #81 and Mike Brisiel #65 looks on of the New Orleans Saints on August 22, 2009 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

DA: (Laughs) Every time I’m with Owen, people always come up to him and start saying how great of a fantasy year they were having until he got hurt. It’s almost like they want him to apologize to them for getting hurt and ruining their fantasy season! I’m always thinking to myself, yeah, I’m sure that was the first thing on his mind as soon as he got hurt: Damn it, I screwed all those fantasy owners.

TSR: I was interviewing Owen a couple of months ago and we were talking about that same thing. He was the No. 1 villain of fantasy owners last year – mention his name and people freaking cringe.

DA: (Laughs) Oh, I know. At least one person says that to him whenever I go out with him in Houston and I just think it’s funny. He always just tells them to pick him up again this year.

TSR: (Laughs) What else is he going to say, right? What will it take for the Texans to take that next step and make their first playoff appearance? Because it seems like you guys have been right on the cusp the last two years now and the core is certainly in place.

DA: I think last year was a good year for us because we had to deal with disappointment at a 9-7 season. Before that, we were lucky just to win seven games. My rookie year we were terrible at 6-10 and we had two years at 8-8, but we were two very different 8-8 teams. That 9-7 team last year we probably gave away three or four victories, so we look at our team and we know we have a lot of room to grow. If we can scoop up a couple of more wins and obviously play better against the AFC South, then we’re looking at a very successful season. We’re excited and just like you said, we’ve got a good core and everyone’s another year older. Everyone has another year under their belts and expectations are high. You know, if you’re not trying to win a Super Bowl, then why are you playing?

TSR: Give me one offensive and one defensive player on the Texans that you think is ready for a breakout season.

DA: I think Steve Slaton is ready to have a big year. I think with how coaches have gotten on him about what he needs to do, and after last year with the injuries, fumbles and the drafting of a running back this past April, he kind of had a reality check. He’s running hard and running well and if it’s not him, it’s (Arian) Foster. I think our running backs are going to have a good year.

TSR: All right, and defense?

DA: And defense, I think (Bernard) Pollard is going to come back with a vengeance and DeMeco (Ryans) is going to play well. But let’s go with Glover Quin, one of our cornerbacks. He’s been playing really well and he understands the defense, so I think he’s going to have a good year.

TSR: Speaking of cornerbacks, I asked Owen Daniels this question when I spoke with him and I’m interested in your take as well. What kind of player did you guys lose in Dunta Robinson? I’m sure you went up against him in practice countless of times – what kind of impact will his departure have on your defense?

DA: He’s a leader and he’s a hitter. It doesn’t look like he can because it looks like Lil Wayne or somebody running around out there, but he can hit, he’s physical and he makes plays. I think that’s what the NFL has come to be about. You understand that your corner is going to lose now and again, but you just hope that they make more plays than the receiver does. He was somebody that always seemed to come up with the big play and that’s something we’ll lose.

TSR: What’s the one corner in the NFL that impresses you the most? Whether it be cover ability, tackling, or the whole package, who’s the corner that always stands out to you?

DA: Well, because I’m in the slot a lot, it always ends up being someone different. I never match up against (Darrelle) Revis or Nnamdi (Asomugha) because they’re always outside guarding Andre, although they should be guarding me.

HOUSTON - AUGUST 25: David Anderson #89 of the Houston Texans runs on the field during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Reliant Stadium on August 25, 2007 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

TSR: (Laughs) I don’t know man, your fantasy projects for this year say 125 out of 125 so I’m not buying that.

DA: (Laughs) That’s true. But you’re always aware about those teams that run the 3-4 and have all of those crazy nickel pressures because rarely is a slot guy ever one on one with a defensive back. Usually it’s a rolled coverage or a two-man-type coverage or something like that where I have to get open, so it’s always those wily vets that the Ravens pick up or the Jets get inside. They always know what they’re doing and make it look awkward, because it’s never like it is outside where it’s me versus you. In the slot, it’s different.

TSR: That’s a good point and that’s something I didn’t think about when I asked the question, so I blew it, David. And I apologize.

DA: That’s okay. It doesn’t have to be all football, you know?

TSR: (Laughs) Well, I really appreciate your sitting down with us and I’m glad you found your mother’s dog.

DA: (Laughs) So how about this, we’re at Manhattan Beach and she chains it up to the tree and I’m like, mom I don’t know if this is the best idea because he’s going to get all tangled up. She said no it’s not, but I told her I’d bet her $100 that the dog is going to get tangled up by the time we come back. We come back and I told her that it wasn’t tangled up, so she says – I told you, you owe me $100! I said yeah, he isn’t tangled up because he ran away.

TSR: (Laughs) He’s gone!

DA: (Laughs) She was like, that’s not funny! Yeah it is, mom.

TSR: Well, we both had to deal with disaster today because about a half hour before you called, my phone rings and thinking it was you, I went to grab it quickly and knocked my iced tea all over my desk. So…horrible news all the way around today.

DA: (Laughs) Where are you located?

TSR: I’m in Chicago.

DA: Ah, Chicago – how’s it out there right now?

TSR: It’s hot, although it’s been raining a lot. It’s good weather today though.

DA: I’ve never been to Chicago, but Owen is from out there and he’s always trying to get me to come up and go to a Cubs game.

TSR: Yeah, he went to a neighboring high school. We never played each other in football, but it was fun to talk to him about the area.

DA: Yeah, he’s a good Chicago guy.

TSR: Are you out in L.A.?

DA: Yeah, I grew up in Southern California and I went to Thousand Oaks High School, then Colorado State and now I’m with Houston. I was raised in the Valley and I don’t know if you remember the ’94 earthquake in Northridge, but that shook our house down so we took off for another city about 20 miles down the road. My mom has been there ever since, but it’s an older city and I always head to the beach every chance I get.

TSR: I remember the ’94 quake and I remember the ’89 quake because I’m a San Francisco Giants fan and they were playing the A’s in the World Series that year. Are you a Dodgers fan?

DA: Yep.

TSR: Oh, no.

DA: Yeah, I’m wearing a Dodgers hat right now.

TSR: I can’t believe I talked 15 minutes with a freaking Dodgers fan.

DA: (Laughs) I’m not a true-blue Dodger fan though. For the amount of games I should go to, I don’t so I need to get out there a little bit more. They got hot recently, but then we had that disaster against the Yankees.

TSR: Yeah, I thought the Giants would take advantage of that when they faced the Dodgers, but typical Giants baseball struck – no offense. Two runs isn’t going to get it done.

DA: No, sir. (Tim) Lincecum can throw heat though.

TSR: Yeah, the pitching staff is great, but we need the offense to pick up so we can get back to the postseason. Anyway, once again it was great talking with you David and I wish you the best of luck.

DA: My pleasure and sorry again for being late.

TSR: No sweat! Thanks again.

DA: All right, take care.

TSR: You, too.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

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