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Quotes: Monday press conference/open locker

Posted Jan 16, 2012

Read what Gary Kubiak and the Texans said to the media the day after the season-ending loss to Baltimore.

Monday morning at Reliant Stadium, the Texans spoke with the media after cleaning out their lockers and head coach Gary Kubiak held a press conference. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews. 

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
CB Jason Allen
NT Shaun Cody
QB Jake Delhomme
TE Joel Dreessen
WR Jacoby Jones
CB Johnathan Joseph
K Neil Rackers
OLB Brooks Reed
ILB DeMeco Ryans
QB Matt Schaub
FB Lawrence Vickers
DE J.J. Watt
QB T.J. Yates

 

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the team’s performance yesterday) “I just watched it briefly. I’ve been busy checking out players today and visiting with them as they move forward. I guess my initial reaction is the exact same thing. It’s just disappointing from a standpoint that we helped the team beat us. That’s the biggest thing. You play in any game, but playing in huge games like that, the one thing you don’t want to do is help somebody and when it’s all said and done, we did that yesterday. We did play great defense throughout the course of the day. We had four balls on the ground that we had a chance to get. We didn’t get any of those. That would have been nice. Offensively, we rallied big time and ran the ball extremely well, got ourselves back in the game, but we couldn’t make a play in the second half to be the difference. Special teams, we played pretty solid, except for the one big mistake and it led to a touchdown. Probably I guess what I’m saying is I thought about it the same way I did yesterday after the game.”

 

(on what happened on the first interception QB T.J. Yates threw in the fourth quarter) “Well, first off, I’ve seen somebody say that he checked into a play. I don’t know who wrote that, but that could not be further from the truth. T.J. ran the play we called. It came right after the two-minute warning. He ran the exact play that we called and his read told him to throw the go route if they played one safety. He did exactly what he was supposed to do. He just got a little lazy with his feet. He took two hitches and wasn’t able to keep Ed Reed at home and he covered a lot of ground and made the play. But the kid got the ball where it was supposed to go. It just got there late.”

 

(on if he would have thought the Texans would win if they held RB Ray Rice to 60 yards and sacked QB Joe Flacco five times) “Yeah, if we did that and didn’t turn the ball over four times. If you would have thrown that in there, I would have thought we’d have a tough time winning. To turn the ball over four times and get beat 20-13 on the road in the playoffs, it’s like I told the team, it just tells them what they’re capable of and how good a football team we have. There were some tremendous things that went on in the game as you just mentioned, but we offset those with our mistakes too. Big, big football game and usually whoever protects the ball the best comes out of there with a win. It seemed to hold true throughout the playoffs, so that’s the biggest disappointment.”

 

(on if he thought of getting the first down first and then going for the touchdown at the end of the game) “No, that would have made no sense to me. If we call a 5-yard pass and a ball gets knocked down or something, you never took a chance at winning the game. Yeah, we could have got a first down, but we had no timeouts, so we would have to hurry to the ball, probably would have had one play left in the game, so I just wanted to make sure we had a chance to get the ball to the end zone. That would have made no sense to me.”

 

(on if he thought about replacing WR Jacoby Jones on punt returns) “No, he made a mistake, but he’s also made big plays for us throughout the course of the year. I’m not going to give up on a guy because he makes a mistake in a game. Obviously, it was a big mistake. It can’t happen. There’s no talking around that or getting around that, but at the same time, a lot of guys made mistakes in games that come back and make plays. As a coach, you got to believe in your people. Your players got to believe in each other. You’re going to have mistakes, but hopefully you overcome them. We had our chance to overcome it. That’s the great thing. We had our chance to overcome it, but we didn’t.”

 

(on if he’s aware of anything that happened at WR Jacoby Jones’ house with fans) “I have no idea what you’re talking about, no idea. I don’t know what you’re talking about, so I will not address it.”

 

(on all the players being excited for next season) “The checkout process this morning has been extremely positive. Our guys are down with what happened yesterday, but they’re very upbeat about their football team. I don’t think in all my years in this business, this day comes no matter what, whether you win a championship or whether you don’t, you got to check players out for the season, I’ve never been around a group of guys talk more positive about each other, about their teammates, how good a locker room we had, what type of football team we had, how they can’t wait to go back and play with that group of guys. That’s what we’ve been after here in Houston and that’s why we took some big steps and obviously we took the biggest step this year that we’ve taken as a franchise, but I think it is also important, I also told the players, the biggest thing is do we come out of this thing hungrier next year? Obviously it felt great to play in these playoffs. We have a taste of that. We know what it’s like, but this will probably be our biggest offseason because we will have to step it up. If we want to get there and we want to win a championship, there’s another big step for us to take. I had some great meetings. I actually met with DeMeco (Ryans) and Andre (Johnson) together and we talked about that. Those are the type of guys that will have to lead the way when we get started here in a couple months.”

 

 

(on when they will start looking to adjust the roster) “The first thing you have to do is you have to evaluate first before you start talking about what you’re going to do different and how you’re going to get better. We’ll be in that process for a few days. As coaches, evaluating our players, I cross-reference with the coaches. I have defensive coaches study offense. I have offensive coaches study defense. I want to get everybody’s opinion on where we’re at. We have to do that first and come up with our evaluations there and then sit down as a staff, with Rick (Smith) and everybody involved with our football team, and start talking about where we go next and how we get better. What issues do we have? What do we have to do? Everybody has a role in the organization in how we go about it. The roles change kind of right now as far as Rick stepping to the forefront and having to get ready for the draft and all those types of things. Our process is in place. We’ll set our schedule and we’ll get to work on it, but the evaluation process has started as we speak.”

 

(on throwing a deep pass after the two minute warning and potentially leaving time on the clock for the Ravens even if they had tied the game on that play) “If I knew Baltimore was going to get ball then I probably wouldn’t have thrown there. That would be my first answer. I’m trying to win the dang game. I called a play. The coverage told him to throw it there. The kid did it. We could’ve done it a little better. I go out there to try and win the football game and call plays to win the game. I’d call the same play. I liked it. We just didn’t get it done.”

 

(on if it was necessary to throw a hail mary with 20 seconds left on fourth down) “It doesn’t mean it’s right, but here’s my thought process. Its fourth-and-4 or 3, we could throw a short pass. I think there was 20 seconds left in the game and get a first down. We had no timeouts. We would’ve had to sprint to the line of scrimmage, okay? We could possible get out of bounds. If we get that ball knocked down on fourth-and-4, then we took no chance at winning the football game. I wanted to win the football game. I told him to throw the ball to the end zone so that’s all on me.”

 

(on the image of the football team being soft being put to rest as a result of yesterday’s game) “Well, we played well up-front on both sides of the ball. Defensively, you’re right, and offensively we protected our quarterback. To go in that stadium and not have a sack and run the ball the way we ran it against that football team—you’re right. There are a lot of good things going on. I think people are always going to have opinions in this business. That’s okay. That’s part of it. You don’t do away with opinions or do away with notions that people have by playing one football game. You do it over a course of time. You do it over the course of a career. An organization, through a period of time, starts to get an identity and we’re working on ours. I think our identity has gotten better and it’s gotten better because of a lot of hard work and our players being committed to what they’re doing. That’s the most important thing that we continue to build on that identity. I’m not worried about what one game did. I’m worried about we’re doing in the long haul.”

 

(on why he met with DeMeco Ryans and Andre Johnson together and what was his message to them) “Well they happened to be standing in my door together, so that’s the biggest reason I met with them together. I had a lot of guys outside my door. The line was long, so I thought I could get two out of the way. It’s funny; I would’ve said the same thing to both of them. I just want them to know how much I think of them. That they are the leaders of this football team and I know guys are going to get away and take a break, but in a couple months from now they are going to be the guys that need to step to the forefront and make sure this football team is committed to taking another step forward. I wanted them to know that.”

 

(on what he talked about with Jacoby Jones) “We talked about the play a little bit. The young man is very down, but you can understand that. I continue to look at the big picture with things. I know how far he has come as a person and a player. He played very well for us when Andre was out through a nine-week period. He did a lot of good things for us. I know he would like to have that play back yesterday, but we’ll give him a chance to go get rid of it when we get going again. It’s difficult. There’s no good way to get beat. We win as a team. We lose as a team.”

 

(on the priorities will be in terms of personnel and the organization’s thoughts on Mario Williams) “I can’t even begin to go there as far as talking about our team and how get better and this and that. Like I said, I’m strictly in an evaluation process right now for me and the coaches looking at players trying to put a pecking order basically in how we think our football team finished the season. That’s our biggest priority right now. As far as Mario, obviously Mario is a tremendous player. He’s done a great job here. Those things will work themselves out. I know Mario wants to be with this organization and this football team. That’s part of the process. We’ll get going with the process, but Mario has always worked extremely hard and been a very positive influence with this organization and this team.”

(on his meeting with QB T.J. Yates and what he told him going into the offseason) “I had a couple meetings with T.J. We sat in my locker yesterday after the game for a long time; talked about the game, talked a little bit about life and we picked back up on that today in my office. What a situation to get put in. Start the last eight games for this football team and fifth round draft choice. We all know that story. I’m proud of him. He did a heck of a job. He made mistakes and we knew he was going to make mistakes. I told you all this yesterday, the biggest thing throughout the course of his eight or nine weeks is when he made mistakes, the mistakes were not turnovers. Yesterday, they were turnovers because of the group he was playing and how good they were. He’s got a great start on his career. He played a lot of football this year. You can see he is capable of doing what you have to do to be successful in this League. It will be interesting to see what he does with his experience, because it was a dang good one.”

 

(on the contributions QBs Jake Delhomme and Jeff Garcia made to the team this season) “We were in a horrible situation as a team and trying to figure out where we’d go. The most important thing we wanted to do is go find a couple of guys that could support T.J. very positively and could help us out in a tough situation. And they came in and did that. They were great in the locker room, great with the young man. They both worked extremely hard many, many hours to try to catch up with us in case they were put in a position to play. I just appreciate what they did. Neither one of them needed to come here from that standpoint but they did it for us and I appreciate it.”

 

(on what he is most excited about with the defense moving forward) “The biggest thing you got to look at is the young players and how they played. I mean, when you look at the way Brooks Reed and J.J. Watt ended these last five weeks and to think, these two guys are rookies and what’s ahead of us. Danieal Manning and what he brought to the team, Johnathan (Joseph). I think (Brian) Cushing had as good a year as any linebacker in football and I told him that this morning. I think DeMeco (Ryans) was back playing like DeMeco of a couple years ago the last five or six weeks of the season. I could go across the board but we should be able to hold the group together. They should only get better under (defensive coordinator) Wade’s (Phillips) scheme and the coaches as we move forward. We get an offseason with them. It’s exciting across the board and probably the biggest thing is the young influence that’s been on our football team.”

 

(on how important it is to get Mario Williams re-signed to prevent a holdout) “You worry about things you control. I can’t control that. Those things will work themselves out. Everybody has a job to do in the organization. (general manager/executive vice president) Rick (Smith) and (vice president of football administration) Chris (Olsen) and those guys will go to work on that part in this time of year and the things they have to do. They have done a tremendous job; the help they went and got u, as a football team last year, was absolutely tremendous. We’re sitting here. We’re dealing with a great player. We’re dealing with a class young man and we all know we’d like him to be a part of our football team. We’d like that done tomorrow but that’s not how it works. It’s gonna take some time and we’ll just let the process take care of itself.”

 

(on the resiliency of his football team and what he will take away from this season) “I take the power of team is what I take out of it. It’s just amazing when you get 53 guys going in the same direction, what they can do. A lot of things that happened to us this year can easily send you in the wrong direction. It made us stronger. It made our locker room stronger. It made the whole group stronger. We could very well still be playing. We’re not this week, but we could very well still be playing. As I said, it was a very positive move forward. It is still a very difficult day. When you cut the film on, it’s a very difficult day. But you’ve got to be able to use that to propel us as we move forward. Very proud of the effort, very proud of the work that was put in.”

 

CB Jason Allen
(on if it’s weird that the season is over) “Yeah, it definitely feels weird. I was thinking back just last week and saying to myself, ‘There’s only eight teams playing right now.’ It definitely was a big step for this organization, for this team here, but we’re not satisfied. We feel like we made some progress getting to where we did this year and it’s a great team, a lot of great players, a lot of great chemistry among the players, coaches, guys all throughout the organization. I honestly say this is one of the better places in the NFL to be and hopefully I can continue being here in the future, but that’s in the future and we’ll just leave it at that.”

 

(on how he would rate this season overall) “From a scale of one to 10, I would say an eight. Just think about all the adversity we had losing a lot of key players and still doing the things that we did do, very positive. Not only does it carry over on the football field, but in everyday life, having adversity and continue moving and being successful the way we were with the issues that we dealt with.”

 

(on how it felt to see all the fans waiting for the team last night) “It was amazing seeing the support. The fans supported us throughout the whole year, win or lose. They’re some of the greatest fans in the NFL. We wanted to win for them so bad and wanted to make it to the Super Bowl and AFC Championship. We came up a little short, but don’t necessarily take it as a loss, but take it as a lesson. Having that experience getting there definitely is going to pay off for us in the near future.”

 

NT Shaun Cody
(on if the team is in position to go further next year) “Yeah, definitely. We got a lot of great talent, coaching staff. I think everything’s pointed in the right direction for this team and what they want to do. The future’s bright, I think.”

 

(on what they were talking about on the plane after the game last night) “It’s hard to really sum up the season right away right when it’s over. I think it takes a few weeks to kind of depressurize I guess and really look back and see what happened.”

 

(on how it felt to see all the fans waiting for the team last night) “It was awesome. You kind of know what kind of city Houston is and what kind of fan base you have when after a loss, fans show up like that and support you. It means a lot as a player and you realize the fans have your back and know what you’re going through.”

 

QB Jake Delhomme
(on what he learned about QB T.J. Yates from yesterday’s game) “You learn one, that Ed Reed is very good. You got to know where he’s at on every play. The kid’s learned more these last six, seven, eight games, whatever it is that he’s played than I promise you he did all year long. The kid won a playoff game. That’s so hard to do. You look back at the history of this game, there’s many quarterbacks, some decent quarterbacks that have never won a playoff game. This kid, what he learned this year, he can take with him forever and it will make him that much better. He’ll know what he needs to work on in the offseason, physically, because it’s very demanding. It’s totally different than college and just things of that nature, how fast the game is and I think you’ll see a guy that’s going to play quicker than anyone else in the preseason next year whenever he does get in.”

 

(on if this is like his daughters falling off their bike for the first time) “Yeah, you get back and go. That’s what you do and I think that’s something that you learn. If you have a mistake in a game, you don’t worry about it right then and there. Worry about it the next morning. You got to go and play. That was something I was lucky enough to learn from a Kurt Warner playing with him in NFL Europe. That’s the mindset you have to take. If you make a mistake in the game, you can’t play shell shocked. You go back and play and I think he did that. He took chances yesterday.”

 

(on where he goes from here) “I’m going to go I-10 East. That’s where I’m going to go. You know what, I’ll be honest with you, you never want to say never, but to end on a note like this, for me, this game of football has been fantastic for me. The NFL’s been awesome and last year, it just wasn’t a fun experience playing up in Cleveland for me, got hurt and just the way things were, the way that things were run, it was just a total disconnect between the front office and the coaches. For me, to come to a place like this where everybody’s on the same page and to see the way these guys work, it’s been great. If I’ve left this game, I’ve left it on a high note. You think about a lot of things coming back last night. My last pass I’ve ever thrown, if this was, was a touchdown, so that’s kind of cool.”

 

(on him still saying ‘if’ in regards to playing his last season) “I’m being very realistic. I turned 37 last week. I’m not moving my family. I’m not going somewhere to start over. I’m not doing that. This kind of just fell into my lap, so to speak. You certainly don’t think you’re going to get the injuries that this team had. Who knows? If this is the end, which most likely it is, it’s been pretty nice.”

 

TE Joel Dreessen
(on how it feels to be cleaning out his locker) “It’s tough. It hurts bad right now. I’d so much rather be coming in here to lift weights and go to meetings and get ready for our season to continue. It hurts bad right now.”

 

(on how hard it was for him to sleep last night) “I never really sleep much after games. We had our chances to win that game and it’s tough to swallow for me still.”

 

(on leaving today compared to past seasons when they had losing records) “You can sit here and say that we made it to the second round of the playoffs, our season was a success compared to previous seasons, but I think the heart of a champion, the winner mentality that’s been installed around here, once we overcame those obstacles and were where we were, the goal was to keep on winning. I don’t know. Whenever your season ends and you’re not holding up that Lombardi trophy, I would say it hurts.”

 

WR Jacoby Jones
(on losing the game Sunday at Baltimore) “It’s something you take and you feed off of it and let it make you more hungry, and you go back to work. Like I said, it’s more fuel to the fire. We’ve got to find that next step.”

 

(on what his teammates told him after his muffed punt at Baltimore) “A lot of them were saying they’d rather have a player that’s aggressive than somebody that’s just passive, but it’s still a decision that I made and I’ve got to live and learn with it.”

 

(on the difficulty of dealing with the muffed punt since the game ended) “Like I said, it’s something I’ve got to live and learn with. It’s a decision that I made; I’ve got to grow up and learn from it. It’s a mistake I made with being a football player. Some people don’t understand.”

 

(on how long it will take him to get over the game) “Quick. I’ll get over it. Like I said, I made a mistake; I apologized to my teammates; it’s something I’ve got to grow from.”

 

(on what his coaches said to him) “Well, they thought as an overall season, they thought it was my most consistent season as a professional. I think I grew from that and learned, mentally, too.”

 

(on whether he is staying in Houston during the offseason) “We have to come back for the [offseason] workouts, yeah, but I do train in New Orleans, so I will go home and train first, but I’ll be back. I ain’t going nowhere, trust me. No matter what (anybody) says, I ain’t going nowhere. Believe that.”

 

(on whether it stings to know the team was so close to winning the game) “Yeah. That’s the thing that hurts, but like I said, that’s going to make us more hungry. It’s something we want to come back from.”

 

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on what his emotion is today) “I guess it still hasn’t set in. This is the first chance you get to come over here, get back in the locker room and reality hits you, so it still hasn’t set in. I haven’t had much time to think about it, kind of had to sleep on it last night.”

 

(on the defense outplaying Baltimore’s defense yesterday) “We always said the best defense on the field would win the game. Things didn’t work out in our favor and unfortunately we didn’t come up with the win. This game is a team effort and we didn’t make enough plays at the end of the day to win the ball game.”

 

(on if the loss will take a while to get over) “I guess it’s a little bit of both because you can take a lot of positives from that game. You say a lot of things that we didn’t come out with the win, this and that, but we had a lot of guys that were injured throughout the season. We started a rookie quarterback, which isn’t an excuse, but whoever’s been to the playoffs, they know the elements of a playoff game and the atmosphere of a playoff game and what it takes to be successful. That’s our first trip there in the playoffs as a Texan and we’re looking forward to going there many years to come.”

 

K Neil Rackers
(on what it’s like the morning after) “It’s still fresh, but you go back to work. You got a choice to make. You can shut it down or you can go back to work. The character on this team, I’m pretty sure guys will take a couple weeks and go back to work.”

 

(on if the loss was tough to swallow) “It really was. It’s hard when you feel like you beat yourself, not necessarily they beat you. I think that’s what makes it a lot more difficult. We don’t bang a ball off the bar yesterday and we’re going down to win the ball game. That’s how close this League is.”

 

(on the mindset of the team) “Obviously guys are disappointed and excited about the future. They saw what this team is capable of. They saw how we measure up to a lot of what are considered premier teams in this League. I think it only gets better from here to be honest with you. Guys are excited about getting back here next year and going to work again.”

 

(on being a free agent) “I want to be a Texan. Great organization, great teammates, obviously great ball club. We can’t control what happens there. The business side of it is what it is. If the Texans want me and I’m back here, I would love that.”

 

OLB Brooks Reed
(on playing well in place on OLB Mario Williams) “Mario, we could always use him. He’s the best defensive player we’ve got and we can always use him. I’m just looking forward to next year and really putting the past behind me and looking forward to training with this team and getting better.”

 

(on how unsatisfied he is that they were close to going on the next round) “Yeah, we know for how much adversity we went through, to know that we could be that much better with a full force of guys of healthy guys. It really goes to show that with all the guys we got, we could really take this thing a lot further and be a much better team. It was just unbelievable to think how far we went with just the amount of injuries we went through.”

 

(on if this makes him hungry for next season) “Oh yeah, we were all talking about that. We’re looking forward to next year and what it has to offer.”

 

(on making the playoffs in his first season) “I feel extremely fortunate to be in this situation and to be on this team. First year playoffs, that’s just crazy to think about.”

 

ILB DeMeco Ryans
(on how it feels for the season to be over) “It’s tough. It’s come upon us too early. We were really looking forward to coming in and practicing this week, but it was disappointing.”

 

(on if he’s taken time to savor the season) “You look back on the season, it was a good season for us, but still not satisfied with the way it ended. We just expected more out of ourselves, but I’m proud of the way all the guys fought through all the adversity we faced, all the injuries this past season. We had a lot of young guys step up and play big time for us. That’s encouraging for the future of our team and the direction we’re headed.”

 

(on if he’s looking forward to next season more than he has in the past) “I feel like it is. We feel better where we’re headed now than we’ve been in the past because of just the guys in this locker room, the players that we have. I feel really good about us moving forward.”

 

(on what needs to change to go further next year) “We were there this past year. It’s just staying healthy. I think just staying healthy kind of hurt us a little bit this year, but we were still right there into things. I think we have good group.”

 

QB Matt Schaub
(on what his emotions have been like the past few weeks) “It’s been hard. It’s tough to be standing on the sideline and watch your team play. It’s part of football, so I try to be as much the supporter and help guys out with the game plans through the week, on the sideline with adjustments, help T.J. (Yates) out and just try to do as much as I can from that standpoint. But it was definitely hard to not be out there.”

 

(on if there’s any question if he’ll be ready for training camp) “No, there’s no question about that. I’ll be ready in OTAs and doing stuff then. It’s a process with the foot with all the wait and all the stuff you got to do moving around side to side, laterally, but it will be fine. I’m not worried about the rehab process. We’re going to just jump right in and continue to progress as I have already.”

 

(on if he talked to QB T.J. Yates after the game) “Yeah, I talked to him a little bit, but it’s something you got to let settle in. You can’t just go and talk right away. You got to let him piece through things. But he played well. He got put in a very tough situation the last month and a half, but he handled it so well and it’s going to help him going forward, to grow as a player and pull from this experience he’s had. It’s going to help his career down the road.”

 

(on the job that Head Coach Gary Kubiak, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison and quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp did with QB T.J. Yates) “The coaches did an outstanding job. With all the adversity we had with injuries and things that have taken place this season, to be able to put together plans to attack opposing defenses with the weapons that we have is outstanding. It really goes unnoticed a lot of the times the job that coaches do with type of defenses we were facing and getting guys ready to play. They did a phenomenal job.”

 

(on how bittersweet it is that people said the Texans could have won if he was playing) “I don’t know if bittersweet is the way to go. It’s tough because I know what we’re capable of as a football team and to not reach those goals or that potential is hard. But we have the right pieces here and we’re going to be right in this position for many years. Our goal and what we see in the near future is to have yesterday’s game here at Reliant Stadium.”

 

(on yesterday’s game showing that the Texans are not soft) “Well we haven’t been a soft team for many years. People think that, but you can’t be the type of team or the type of running team we’ve been the last couple years and be soft. That label is false and just it’s not even used or thought of in that realm. We’re a team that’s going to be reckoned with. We’re going to make some noise here for many years and we’re just anxious to get back out there to be honest with you and get ready for next season.”

 

(on how important it is that RB Arian Foster is re-signed next year) “Well he’s a huge part of what we do running the football and in the pass game also. You can see what type of damage he can do there. He’s a big part of what we do and we got to have him around and out there for our team.”

 

(on if this is the most optimistic the team has ever been going into the offseason) “Absolutely. We have that taste of what it’s like to play in January and I think everyone likes the taste and we want more. We’re hungry. We’re going to have a great offseason, I know it and we’re going to make sure we’re right back here next year. Guys are anxious and excited to move forward.”

 

(on if he’s had any time to reflect on the season) “It comes with time. We’re less than 24 hours from the last game, so it’s hard to do that right now. But it’s something you take the next few weeks, think about it, let it sink in, digest it, what took place this past season. Then review it, look at it and then we get ready to go.”

 

(on how impressed he is that the team regrouped after he went down) “Yeah, it just shows the perseverance of this team and the mental toughness that we have. It’s next man up. You look at the season, you look at how many games (Andre Johnson) ‘Dre missed, when I went down, Mario (Williams) was out, we missed Arian (Foster) for a few games at the beginning. We’re a team. It’s the ultimate team game and when someone goes down or isn’t there, everyone’s got to pick their game up. Our defense played phenomenally all year long and our offensive line stayed together, which was huge. They’re the core of what we do. All in all, our tight ends played outstanding. It was just every piece of the puzzle was playing well.”

 

(on what defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’ scheme does to make things difficult on opposing offenses) “Just multiple looks, but they’re relentless. Our guys up front, they create a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. On the run game, we’re physical. Those guys inside played outstanding stuffing other teams’ run games, so they force them to throw. Then our cover guys, the guys we brought in, Johnathan Joseph, (Danieal) Manning coming in, Kareem (Jackson) played really well this year, GQ (Glover Quin) going to safety and what he did for us. We just had every piece of the puzzle working in concert and the pressures that we would bring on third down, it just makes life miserable on opposing offenses.”

 

FB Lawrence Vickers
(on if it’s hard that they were close to playing in the AFC Championship) “Yeah, I think that’s probably going to be the hardest thing to take once I get a chance to look at some of the games getting ready to come on and see the people who are playing. That’s when I think it’s actually going to hit me. Right now, it’s just stages you’re going through, ‘Dang, if I could have did this, if I could have done that…’ those type of stages or ‘Man, what if we would have won?’ Just those are the type of things you’re going through, but nothing we can do about it now.”

 

(on what tells him the Texans will be back in the playoffs in the future) “I would say just the camaraderie and the things that we have been through as a team, some of the things we overcame. You kind of have a good sense that it’s going to be a good team to come.”

 

(on if the team has confidence that the future is bright) “Absolutely, I feel like the future is very bright. I feel like we have some good things coming back. I feel like we got a little taste. We know what it feels like to be in the playoffs, so I think we’ll have a lot higher goals next year.”

 

(on how quickly the focus changed to getting back to work) “Absolutely, I don’t think nobody was ready to end playing football right now. It was a whole team vibe and it’s really just like ‘Wow, I can’t believe we’re not playing. I can’t believe we’re not at work today. We’re supposed to be at work today, working getting ready for whoever next week.’ This is going to take a while to settle in and we’re not getting a chance to do that.”

 

DE J.J. Watt
(on his rookie season) “It was fun. I had a blast. This organization is a lot of fun to play for. There’s a lot of great players, a lot of great guys. The owner, the GM, everyone around here is phenomenal, great to work with.”

 

(on if this was the kind of season he envisioned for himself) “In my mind I did. This is what I dreamed about, this is what I worked toward, so I wouldn’t say I’m surprised by it but I’m very pleased with it. Obviously, wish we could have gone a little bit further. But I’m happy with the way it went and I have a lot to look forward to. Moving forward, I’m going to work very, very hard to be even better next year.”

 

(on how getting into the playoffs leaves him hungrier for next season) “Oh yeah. Extremely hungry. There’s a lot of motivation headed into this offseason. You get a little bit of a taste and it’s not satisfying. You’re not satisfied with what you got. So now you want to go back and get the whole thing because you’re just not satisfied with what you got. I think that’s our entire team’s attitude and I think that’s what we’re using going into this offseason as motivation is we just don’t want a piece of the pie, we want the whole pie and that’s what we’re working toward.”

 

(on what about the team tells him that the playoffs weren’t a one-time deal) “I think the first thing is the disappointment in everyone’s eyes after that game. You could tell that nobody’s satisfied, but then also the type of guys that we have. We have a lot of high-character guys who are extremely hard workers, who put everything they have into this team. That’s how you know this isn’t a one-time thing. That’s how you know we’re going to be back here year after year.”

 

QB T.J. Yates
(on the loss) “It still stings a little bit. Kind of a weird feeling, knowing you’re coming in today and after you check out meet with the coaches, you’re kind of off. You just don’t know what to do. Got to sit down today, kind of figure out what I’m going to do the next couple months and just go from there.”

 

(on if he replayed every play from the Baltimore game all night long) “I tried to do a pretty good job of just forgetting about it but it’s hard when you see it on TV and talk about it with your friends and family and stuff. You kind of re-live it in your head a couple times, which makes it hurt even more. You just got to move on. You’ve got to learn from it. I have a lot to be proud of this season, a lot to learn from so I can move forward in my career.”

 

(on if his head had has stopped spinning from all he has gone through this year) “I really still haven’t had a chance to sit down and just think about all the stuff that kind of happened this year, how it happened and how much myself and this team went through. So in the next couple days I’ll have some time to kind of collect my thoughts and just think about everything.”

 

(on what he mulls over most from the Divisional game against Baltimore) “Individually, obviously, the turnovers hurt our football team and chance to win that game because we were in position to win that game a lot of different times. Our defense was playing amazing. Just that fact that a couple things that I did, personally, could definitely turn the outcome of the game is the thing that hurts the most.”

 

(on if he could have read his mistakes better in the game) “Yeah, absolutely. You can make better reads. You can make better throws. Obviously, every game you play, there’s a couple plays that you want back and I wanted a few back yesterday.”

 

(on why he threw into the end zone on the team’s final offensive play when they only needed a few yards for a first down) “We had a couple chances there early to move the ball down the field. That was the play called. We didn’t have any timeouts left, so if we did complete one inbounds we’d have to go up and not have much time left. We had to take a chance at the end zone.”

 

(on going from holding a clipboard two months ago to coming within a touchdown of beating the Ravens in the AFC Divisional game) “It was a wild season. Those first 10 weeks I didn’t have a jersey on and things happened pretty quick. In this League, you have to be ready to play at a moment’s notice. It was unfortunate circumstances but that’s what happened here this year. I was ready to play and had a great team around me that helped me.”

 

(on how much quarterbacks coach Greg Knapp and offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison helped him get ready to play) “So much. All season long, those first 10 weeks that I wasn’t playing, I was being quizzed and pushed and just as much as the guys out there on the field. Credit to them for helping me get ready mentally, knowing that I wasn’t getting the reps physically.”

 

(on what head coach Gary Kubiak said to him) “He was proud of me, the way I played and stepped in. He knows that I have a lot of learning to do and a lot of room to grow. He was proud of me but he knows that I still have a lot of work to do.”

 

(on how hard it will be to come back knowing that he is not the starting quarterback) “I’m trying not to think about that. I’m trying just to kind of look at the whole season from a standpoint and try to learn everything I can from it, how I carried myself, how I played out in the field and just try to get better from it.”

 

(on how excited he is to have a full offseason to prepare for next season) “It’s exciting. I’m going to take some time off to kind of just relax. But I’m excited to get back to work and start getting ready for next season.”

 

(on if this is the most exciting offseason for the team, given what can be in front of them) “Absolutely. We knew that this season, we could have had a lot more and we had the right formula and the right team to make a run at it. That’s encouraging going into the offseason.”

 

(on savoring the positive moments from the season) “Yeah, you can definitely take the positives out of everything you do, even after a tough loss, tough performance. Those fans have been great all year long, showed so much support even after the game last night, all the fans outside. That was something special.”

 

(on what he feels he learned most during the season) “It’s hard to narrow it down. I learned a lot. A lot about carrying myself as a player in this League. A lot about in-game situations and how to deal with certain things and how to deal with the defenses that I’m seeing and winning and losing. I can go on forever about how much I learned this season from everybody here that’s helped me and just from in-game experiences.”

 

(on if the season was extra special) “Absolutely. I had a very different situation this year and it was very special and I had a lot of people around me that helped.”

 

(on having full support from his teammates) “That’s something that’s even more special. To have the respect of the guys in the locker room is one of the most important things, I think, to have in this profession. You play for them and they play for you and that’s the toughest thing about the game yesterday, is I felt I let them down.”

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