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Quotes: Texans vs. Saints post game

Posted Aug 25, 2013

Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media following the Texans vs. Saints preseason week 3 matchup.


HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK
T DUANE BROWN
K RANDY BULLOCK
DE JARED CRICK
TE OWEN DANIELS
WR ANDRE JOHNSON
QB CASE KEENUM
P SHANE LECHLER
SS DANIEAL MANNING
NT TERRELL MCCLAIN
T DEREK NEWTON
NT EARL MITCHELL
QB MATT SCHAUB
S D.J. SWEARINGER
RB BEN TATE
QB T.J. YATES

HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK (Transcribed by Tiffani Walker)

(on any injuries) “Other than a few nicks, we’re checking out (TE) Garrett (Graham).  The last play of the half he got a little hip flexor.  He is the one we are kind of checking out right now.  But other than that we just got some nicks and stuff, so we came out ok.”

(on if checking him out means an MRI) “Checking him out.  I don’t know. That’s what they told me before I left.

(on if he’s worried)  “No I’m not.  Because he said he could have gone.  He wanted to play in the second half and I told him no.”

(on the running game this week) “I felt good. I wanted to get (RB) Ben (Tate) somewhere between 10 and 15 carries.  What did he carry? Like 12 times maybe?  Eleven or 12 times?  He looked good.  He looked very good.  Obviously he’s only been our one healthy veteran back.  But I think Ben is ready.  I think he’s going have a really good year.  I’ve been impressed with his camp.  I thought (RB) Deji (Karim) did some good things there in the third quarter.  Then obviously in the fourth quarter there throwing the ball and trying to get ourselves back in a position to win.  We moved the heck out of the ball, it’s just scoring enough points.  We have to be better in the red zone and those types of things.”

(on the first team offense)  “We’re moving the ball well. We have to keep the focus.  We get off to such a good start. We missed a couple plays on the first drive.  I think we had a 280-yard half in this league, which is excellent, but you’ve got to have some points to show for that.  That is a disappointing thing.  We jumped off sides one time, dropped a couple balls.  But we got the ball moving.  We’ve just got to get more out of it right now.  But I felt better about us running the ball.  I liked their tempo.  One of the good things about tonight, we had a ton of snaps.  I think my offense played 40 snaps in the first half, and I think the defense played 32.  There was a lot of football played in the first half.  So it was good.”

(on K Randy Bullock)  “He’s gaining confidence is what he’s doing.  Every week he’s gaining confidence as a young kicker in this league.  We talked about this game being an important game.  ‘How are you? Are you ready to go?’ And boy did he step up.  Really excited to see his progress and (P) Shane (Lechler) got to get in there and hit a couple balls, so that’s good.”

(on the receivers being so young behind WR Andre Johnson and how QB Matt Schaub has dealt with the younger receivers)  “I think he is gaining more and more confidence in them.  I mean (WR) Lestar (Jean) continues to make plays.  (WR) Keshawn (Martin) is doing goo d things and had a chance to make a couple big plays. I just feel like right now [this is] the most confidence we’ve had as far as, ok, Andre comes off the field and we keep doing what we do.  Nothing is different and I think those kids have gained confidence.  We really have a tough, tough call.  (WR Alec) Lemon continues to play well for our team and do some good stuff. We’ve got (WR DeVier) Posey coming back; he had a great workout today.  We ought to have to good group behind Andre, probably as good as we’ve had.”

(on not completing lots of balls to other receivers aside from WR Andre Johnson)  “I’ll tell you a little secret, he’s going to throw it to him some more. That’s what we do.  We’ll have to sit down and game plan them, and try and find a way to get 80 the ball.  I think we’ve been distributing the ball a lot better and I think we have confidence across the board in what we’re doing.  In a lot of ways, it’s kind of a compliment to the other guys that Andre can still get the ball that much.  I hope that doesn’t go away.”

(on RB Ben Tate looking good due to the offensive line play and if he feels better about the right side) “We are more firm on the right side right now with (G) Brandon (Brooks).   I just think that that’s what’s happened.  I told you all that (T Derek) Newton is making progress as a player.  I think we’re just a little bit more balanced in what we’re doing. Obviously (G) Wade (Smith) is missing, hopefully we get Wade back here.  We have to battle through that. I don’t feel one sided. I feel like we’re back to balanced in what we’re doing.”

(On QB Matt Schaub’s play)  “I thought he played good.  He missed a few throws.  Getting his legs going and playing 40 plays.  I thought right before the half he missed a couple.  I’m always coaching quarterbacks with their feet.  I said some things about his feet and those types of things.  But I think he’s had a good preseason and he’s moved his team.  He’s ready to go.  (QB) T.J. (Yates) came in and was excellent and played well. I think (QB) Case (Keenum) played well.  We had a couple plays we could have made for him that could have been the difference.”

(on the pressure the front seven put on Saints QB Drew Brees)  “The thing that excited me, you’re sitting there and (DE) Antonio (Smith) is obviously not here, and we don’t play (DE)   (Watt).  I talked to the team about (DE Jared) Crick last night and (DE Tim) Jamison and then you watch them go out and play like starters.  That’s every encouraging for our team.  That’s part of this business.  Opening night we’re going to be without one of our excellent players so those guys are going to have to step up.  So to see those guys do some good things was encouraging.

(on if he was satisfied with the first team on both sides of the ball)  “I wouldn’t say that.  I think offensively, like I said, we have to finish some things.  Defensively, we are giving up too many big plays in the first half of each of our preseason games.  That’s not all first team, but in the first half of our three preseason games, we have given up some movement of the ball.  A couple 100-yard half’s, which is very good in this league.  We have to eliminate that.  But we have been battling through some situations trying to get some guys to the season, but I think that will make us better when it comes time to go.  Some young players getting a chance to play.”

(on any concerns with DE J.J. Watt) “None at all. We talked about letting him rush the passer this week and then what we went through with (DE) Antonio (Smith) late in the week, we just said, ‘no, we’re not going to do it.’  He’s had an incredible camp.  We know what we’re going to get from J.J. and we’re going to make sure he’s there.”

(on the play of the cornerbacks)  “I think we are giving up too many big plays.  And I think J. Jo (CB Jonathan Joseph) will be the first one to tell you, and (CB) Kareem (Jackson) from that standpoint.  We are a man-coverage football team.  And those guys get put on an island quite a bit.  We’re trusting them to make those plays. And I know they will.  I think they’ve both had good camps.  And obviously you’ve got to have a short memory in this business.”

(on the lack of snaps having something to do with poor tackling during the preseason)  “I always feel like our tackling improves as we go through the preseason.  I know looking at, especially some with the second group, I know we had some poor tackling, but I have to go back and look at the first group. I know we got beat on a couple screens and those types of things.  But, it’s something that’s got to improve for our football team.  And obviously it wasn’t good enough tonight, especially in the second half/.”

(on the fourth game of the preseason – is he where he wants to be )  “I feel good about who has been out there.  The guys that have gone through camp and have been out there, yes, I feel really good about that.  But I do have some concerns about some guys that we are counting on that have not been through camp, and there is nothing they can do.  I mean from (RB) Arian’s (Foster) standpoint, or (LB) Whitney’s (Mercilus) standpoint, those types of things that concerns me because they are both very young players in what they do.  But we have to do what we have to do to.  But the guys that have been through the camp and been there every day, I think they’ve had a very good camp.”

(on QB T.J. Yates)  “I think T.J. has answered a challenge in a lot of ways. He has been pushed and it has made him better as a player.  I think we maybe go back a couple weeks in camp and T.J. struggled a couple days and he and I had a big sit down talk about just his approach and what we’re doing.  And since then he has been really, really good.  It continues to be a very difficult decision.  I think they’re both playing well (QB T.J. Yates and QB Case Keenum) and I’ll split them half’s this week.  We’re going to have three good ones. I know that.  I think they’ve all done their job.”

(on if QB Case Keenum starts next week) “My expectations would be to start Case and let him play the first half, and (QB) T.J. (Yates) the second. Or I may swap quarters. I don’t really like to do that.  I would rather let a guy get his rhythm.”

(on if they are trying to get WR Andre Johnson more involved along the goal line) “One of the things that happens in the red zone, is that Andre gets attention everywhere, and he gets extra attention down there.  He’s always involved with what we’re doing.  But, we have to beat coverage, wherever coverage goes to go with the ball, we have to do that.  But, we were 2-for-5 or something in the red zone tonight, so that’s the difference in winning or losing.  Wasn’t very good.”

(on injuries leading up to week one v. San Diego)  “I’ve got to see (LB) Whitney (Mercilus) come back on the field. He hasn’t come on the field yet.  Obviously (RB) Arian (Foster) has had a good week of work.  (WR DeVier) Posey has had a good week of work.  Those guys are ahead of the game.  But we’ve got to get Whitney back out there.  (G) Wade (Smith) should start to work on the field this week.  So, that is a process and we go from there.  And then obviously (S) Ed (Reed) is leaving tonight to see his surgeon.  We’ll see where we are at in the middle of the week.  I know we are very, very close, and hopefully its sooner than later.”

TACKLE DUANE BROWN (Transcribed by T.D. Durham)
(on playing against the New Orleans defense and finishing drives in the red zone) “Against a defense like that, it was very encouraging heading into the regular season. The only thing that we needed to do was finish drives. Getting into the red zone and getting into touchdown territory. We have to convert those field goals into touchdowns. That’s the only thing. Because playing against a team like New Orleans, you can have three field goals, four field goals and then a couple of big plays and they get back in the game. I think we moved the ball very well, but just trying to finish those drives with touchdowns instead of field goals.”

(on playing against a playoff contender like New Orleans) “It was great. It was great going against them. We were able to get the most reps that we’ve got all preseason against a great front seven and a great defense overall. I think it’s good for our team and it’s good for me personally facing some good competition over there on that D (defensive) line. It’s good for our team as a whole. They always play us tough every game we’ve played them. We expected that. This game wasn’t any exception.  I thought we performed pretty well.”

(on if this game makes him feel better about where the offensive line is heading) “Absolutely. The run game is something that we put a point of emphasis on all week. We wanted to get our ground game established and not have to drop back so much. We came out smoking. Everyone was firing off the ball, very physical. (RB Ben) Tate did a great job of running and that’s very encouraging for us heading into the regular season. We also passed the ball well. We moved the ball very effectively. Only bad thing I had to say was not finishing in the red zone. Not getting touchdowns. But very good performance overall I think.”

(on the Texans’ passing game getting over 300 yards in three straight games) “It’s awesome man. All of our quarterbacks have done a great job of dropping back.” 

K RANDY BULLOCK (Transcribed by Trevor Caswell)
(on the importance of touchbacks) “It’s important. I had one that was five or six yards deep in the end zone that they brought out, so it’s important that I continue to drive the ball in the back of the end zone to make it easier for our coverage team.”

(on K Randy Bullock’s progressing rhythm and accuracy) “I think it is just confidence. The more I have had the opportunity to work here and get reps in front of the team here in pre-season, even in games, I think it has helped a whole lot with confidence and everything moving forward.”

(on P Shane Lechler holding the ball and his experience) “It helps a whole lot. It is a security blanket out there. I have (LS) Jon Weeks and (P) Shane (Lechler), who have both been doing it for a very long time. They are both very good at what they do, so it makes it a lot easier on me. I don’t have anything to worry about. The ball is going to be there whenever it’s my opportunity to do what I need to do.”

DEFENSIVE END JARED CRICK (Transcribed by Matt Bodiford)
(on getting this much preparation for the season) “It’s crucial to get these snaps in. Especially in a starting role to get the feel of the game, and the speed of the game going against other teams starters. Come regular season, you’ll be going against the best. It’s good to go against that kind of talent.”

(on the feeling of the first team defense) “You know we’re gelling together, especially us younger guys up front. You know with (DE) Antonio (Smith) and (DE) J.J. (Watt) being out, I thought Timmy (DE Tim Jamison) and I did a great job of stepping in and filling in with the communication and knowing our roles. We can keep on improving through practice into Thursday, and then into the regular season. I think we’ll be great defensive linemen.”

(on the pressure put on the quarterback at a unit) “I thought we did a good job. You know they resorted to going to screens and stuff like that. I think that was probably due to the pressure we were putting on. You know we have great pass rushers on this defense. It’s nice to see them going to work. If we can keep doing that into Thursday down in Dallas, we’ll be good.”

TIGHT END OWEN DANIELS (Transcribed by Adrian Jones)
(on what the offense needs to work on before the beginning of the regular season) “The next two weeks we need to continue to progress and get better in all areas. I think if we look at tonight we want to finish drives better and (score touchdowns) when we are in a position to do that. To drive down the field all the way and only get three points out of it. It is easy to that team to get right back in the game. Finishing drives and getting touchdowns is going to be big for us.”

(on the continued success of the passing game during the preseason) “The quarterbacks have been doing an excellent job. Everyone has been doing a pretty good job catching the ball, and obviously the (offensive line) have been protecting well for us. Everyone has been doing a great job in practice and it has been translating over (to the games). That’s what we want to see. We have two really good backup quarterbacks. They have done a heck of a job these past couple weeks. It is fun to watch.”

(on how to finish drives with touchdowns more often) “Making sure we don’t have any lost yardage plays. That is always to come back from when you are closer down to the red zone area. Penalties also hurt in those situations. Erasing those mistakes and staying in normal down and distances and just continue to do what we do. We know it is important to get touchdowns instead of field goals.”

WIDE RECEIVER ANDRE JOHNSON (Transcribed by Adrian Jones)
(on takeaway from today’s team performance) “I mean, it is a game. You play to win. We just try to make the best of the opportunities. We got a lot of opportunities in the first half of the game. I just did what I could.”

(on amount of playing time during a preseason game) “We’re just playing. We are given opportunities and we try to make the best of them. They work us a lot in practice. Whether it is preseason or regular season we are trying to win.”

(on readiness of first team offense for the regular season) “We will continue to work through next week. You can never be satisfied with where you stand. The regular season is a marathon, not a sprint. We have to continue to get better as a team.”

(on readiness of entire offense for the regular season) “I think we have to become more consistent on third downs. We had a few third downs that we should have converted that we didn’t. I think just being more consistent overall, having blown drives and things like that. We had some dropped balls today which is rare. We have to eliminate stuff like that.”

(on today’s performance of RB Ben Tate) “He ran the ball well. He has been having a great (training) camp. Nothing has surprised me about what he is doing. He has been working his butt off. I am a big fan of Ben.”

(on the chance to run a two-minute drill during today’s game) “When (the Saints) had the ball, I was looking up at the clock, hoping we have a chance to get our two-minute drill in during the preseason. You don’t do just do something like that in practice and go into the regular season not having done it during a real game. It was great to have that happen. We handled it well. Of course you would like to (score a touchdown). But we got points, and that was a big thing. If the situation was different and the game was on the line, we would have had to go for it and try to win. But it was big for us to drive the ball down (the field) like that.”

(on today’s performance of K Randy Bullock and P Shane Lechler) “Those guys are going to be great for us this year. (The Saints) only returned one kickoff today I think. It is great when you can make a team need to go 80 (yards) every time. It is a great thing.”

QUARTERBACK CASE KEENUM (Transcribed by Matt Bodiford)
(on his performance today) “You know, it wasn’t my best. We put ourselves in a chance to win the ballgame there, and I missed a few throws. Missed one really important throw there on fourth down. You know I’m disappointed. I’m competitive and I want to win. Preseason or not, I want to go win. We had a chance to go tie it up, and go into overtime. You know you learn from it, go watch film, and we had a guy, (WR Alec) Lemon ran a great route and I’ll hit it next time.”

(on where he feels he is in the quarterback competition) “There’s no telling. You know I think we both got a lot better, and progressed. I’ve gotten a lot better, and you look at the film there’s a lot of ways I can get better. I’m not really worried about it.”

(on potentially starting against the Dallas Cowboys) “I’m excited about that. To be able to go play, really that’s the closest I’ll ever play to my hometown. That’s a really good opportunity for me, to go prepare as a starter and start the game. I know it’s a short week, but we’ll cram it in and get it going. We’ll go out there and see what happens.”

(on getting extended minutes) “Yeah we’ll get multiple situations. Tonight, everybody got their own little situation that they were in. Mine was in the fourth quarter with two minutes. To be able to start a game get a rhythm going, and keep it going for a while will be nice.”

PUNTER SHANE LECHLER (Transcribed by T.D. Durham)
(on his first time kicking for the Texans in a game) “I was a little bit nervous for my first shot here in Houston, and it worked out good.”

(on being nervous) “Yeah, I mean, that’s part of it. I think when that nervousness leaves, it’s time to stop playing.”

(on where he thinks he’s at after having a chance to do some work in tonight’s game) “I think I’m ready. I’ll see. I’ll put some work in again this week and then we’ll have the long break before we go to San Diego, so I’ll get plenty of work then. But as far as game situations, I’ve gotten two balls and I felt good with both of them and we’ll see. You don’t want to get a lot of work in games, but I got two punts tonight, so it’s going to work out. I like where I’m at.”

(on if he will kick against Dallas) “I haven’t heard. That’s going to be up to (head coach) Gary (Kubiak). I’m happy with it either way. I did want to get two balls at least tonight. That was the plan, and that worked out well. It’s one of those things. You can’t emulate the same things in the practice field as you can on game day. So it felt good, but one or two more probably wouldn’t hurt me.”

(on playing in preseason given all the years he’s played in the league) “You’re right, exactly. I just needed to feel of the flow of the game and when everybody is staring at you for the first time, you want to react right and it felt like it worked out.”

(on how strange it felt to punt for someone beside the Oakland Raiders) “It did feel strange. It’s kind of been a learning process this whole time on how everything has felt from day one. From the day I met with (general manager) Rick Smith and signed the contract until now, it’s been learning for me. I’m still getting to know everybody here. There are a lot of players on this team right now. But it’s going good. I’m happy. I couldn’t be more happy then being here right now.”

SAFETY DANIEAL MANNING (Transcribed by T.D. Durham)
(on New Orleans’ game plan against the Texans’ defense) “Their game plan was more getting us out, spreading us out and screening. Where as we ran a lot of 1’s. A lot of guys backs were turned. It was a great game plan for them. I think we had a great game plan, we wanted to have a lot of cover-1s, and we ran a lot of that.”

(on how the team game planned for New Orleans) “I mean, like I said, we game plan certain formations and certain routes predicated on what we are going to call. And after that, it’s preseason. We didn’t go through a thorough game plan against this team like we would in the regular season. And that’s the thing that a lot of guys have to understand, I think, for most of the veteran guys that we do around here. But for the young group that we have and we brought in, have to come in and step in. You don’t want to get that mindset across for them to see that, so you have to play all those plays all the way through as if it was the regular season. And that’s the thing that I think the coaches are trying to convey over to the young guys.”

(on if the intensity was amped up in the third preseason game) “Yeah, I mean, for myself, and a lot of guys, I go out there and I just play. But it definitely stepped up more. When you’re playing against a real guy in (QB) Drew Brees, he’s definitely going to make those calls and checks. And in the past, certain things that we didn’t do because we were just in training camp, he forced us to do and we had to make certain calls.”

(on the third preseason being against a higher octane offense) “It’s always like that, but I like the way they set it up and planned out a team like that for going into the regular season. It’s the third game; you want to go against high caliber offenses and a type of quarterback like that, speaking defensively. Offensively, I think they had a great team too. They give them different looks as well. They have a lot of big guys, a different defensive coordinator that they have. So I think we all had a challenge, even on special teams. Those guys – it was a different vibe out there.”

(on if he’s been impressed by WLB Willie Jefferson) “Yeah. I mean obviously he’s out there with the ones and taking lot of snaps. Barring injuries and all, I think the guy still deserves a chance to come out there and play with us, and rightfully so. He put pressure on them ever since he got in – he’s definitely holding up. I’m glad he’s a part of this team. He can only get better.”

NOSE TACKLE TERRELL MCCLAIN (Transcribed by T.D. Durham)
(on the Texans needing a backup nose tackle, and if that’s him) “It can be. Just have to keep showing up and making plays, and hopefully that will become me.”

(on showing his speed running down a running back) “I’ve always had the speed, but y’all just ain’t know about it. I just had to go on and show it out there and show that the big boy can move a little bit.”

(on how good of a journey this has been) “It’s been great. I have to thank the Lord. I also have to thank (General Manager) Rick (Smith) for giving me another chance to come in and show what I got. I just have to take my opportunity and take it to another level.”

NOSE TACKLE EARL MITCHELL (Transcribed by Roman Petrowski)
(on if the defensive line was using reps today to prepare for the Antonio Smith suspension) “You know, I’m not really sure what’s going on upstairs, but you know it’s really good to see you know just our guys getting more reps. You’ve got guys like (DE Tim) Jamison and (DE Jared) Crick and (DE Earl) Okine and you know they’re all getting reps at that defensive end spot so they all getting the opportunity to show what they got.”

(on what he expects to see from both DE Tim Jamison and DE Jared Crick) “No doubt. I mean I played with them you know for the entire time I’ve been here so I know what they are capable of. So, they’re great players and you know whoever is in there it really doesn’t make a difference because you’re gonna get a lot of production from both of them”

(on if he accomplished everything he wanted to during preseason) “I just really wanted to just come and start off strong and just make sure I feel good going into the regular season. I feel like, you know, I’ve done well, and there’s a lot of goals that I want to continue to accomplish. So I’m just gonna try to keep doin what I’m doing.”

(on if he accomplished everything he wanted to during preseason) “Defense as a group, you know, I just felt like we just needed to communicate a little bit better. Just the little small things that we can just work on. You know, nobody’s perfect but we can definitely get better.”

TACKLE DEREK NEWTON (Transcribed by Trevor Caswell)
(on today’s game being the most important in August) “You have to play every game the same, no matter how many reps you get. It’s not all about the different teams you play. You have to play every team the same. Every team plays different, but at the same time, you can’t let that affect how you play. You have to play your game and not their game.”

(on being on the first offensive line unit) “I feel pretty good on where I am at right now. I just have to continue to work day in and day out and I know I am going to get better. I just have to come in and work hard every day.”

(on the offensive line as a group) “We are doing good. Everyone is communicating with each other. That was the big thing that was our main focus. Me and (RG) Brandon (Brooks) are doing good and the offensive line as a whole are doing good. We are preparing for a great season this year.”

QUARTERBACK MATT SCHAUB (Transcribed by Cali Roper)
(on why running game was working so well) “It was important for us going into this game after the first couple of weeks to get the running game going and to feel good about it in San Diego, week one. The guys did a great job all week understanding their assignments because of so many defensive fronts that the Saints will present to us. They handled it. (RB) Ben (Tate) did a great job of reading those blocks and making the right cuts. It was great to see him get in the secondary.”

(on confidence in WR Keshawn Martin after misconnection in tonight’s game) “I have a ton of confidence in what he is doing. With just watching him work every day and watching how he went about his business in OTAs throughout training camps, I am not going to shy away from him. He has been making plays for me and I am going to continue to go to him.”

(on running game being as good with LG Wade Smith being back) “I think it is going to be as good as it’s always been. Anytime you get those guys healthy with Wade and (RB) Arian (Foster) being full strength, I am very confident that we will be hitting them all cylinders.”

(on his pre-season overall performance) “I felt it was good. I felt progression through the three weeks of pre-season were good. I was proud of my normal “snap count” as you could call it, that Coach (Gary Kubiak) puts me through each year. It was good. We led some scoring drives but would have liked to score more sevens especially on a two-minute drill. We had it down in there. We handled the clock in the game situations the right way to get three before the half but I felt it was overall pretty good.”

(on if team is where it should be for beginning of season knowing starters won’t play Thursday night) “I know offensively as a unit we are where we want to be. After the third game, walking out of this building knowing that we are probably not going to be getting any time on Thursday. We are going to let a lot of the young guys play. I feel like we are where we want to be heading into week one. Absolutely.”

(on if team is ahead of where they were at this time last year) “Yeah, I think we are right there, if not a little bit ahead. With how many veterans we have in the lineup coming back that have been in the system and have been with us. I feel like personally, last year coming back from my foot injury, it was basically three weeks back on the practice field this point from that. Having gone past that, this year, where we are at is definitely further along.”

(on usually having to preserve rights for fourth down, how it feels with weapon P Shane Lechler) “It’s great to know that he is there for us. If we do in fact have to punt that he is going to pin them down in the red zone or kick a 60 yarder, and really flip the field for us. Even if we are backed up or we don’t get the first down, he is going to flip the field for us anyway. But the less he is on the field for us the better.”

(on seeing as much confidence in the team as head coach Gary Kubiak) “I sure do. I feel like we could go out there with five wide receivers and move the ball up and down the field. I have that much confidence in each one of those guys. Obviously we have a lot of play makers, tight ends, and running backs. So, it’s hard to take them out of the game when you have (TE) Owen (Daniels), (TE) Garrett Graham, (RB) Ben (Tate), and (RB) Arian (Foster). You want to keep your play makers on the field, but I have total confidence in those young receivers. We’ve had so much time on task working with them in the summer and in camp. (WR) Lestar (Jean), (WR) Keshawn (Martin), and (WR) DeVier (Posey) are coming back. I’ve had a year with those guys and we like what (WR) DeAndre (Hopkins) is bringing. I feel very confident in them.”

(on TE Garrett Graham seems to keep getting open) “He does. He has a knack for finding a way of getting open. We get some good match ups with him. With all the attention that (TE) Owen (Daniels) is getting and the receivers outside, he is getting some favorable match ups. Especially in scrambled situations, when they do a rise they find a way to get some dead spots and get open for me.”

(on being on same page with (WR) Lestar (Jean) meaning anything to do with chemistry) “That has nothing to do with chemistry. It just has to do with what routes being called versus what coverage they are running. That, basically is what dictates where the ball goes throughout our progression. So it has nothing to do with chemistry.”

SAFETY D.J. SWEARINGER (Transcribed by T.D. Durham)
(on how his mentality has changed from the first preseason game until now) “Yeah, it’s changed a lot from game one to game two because of reps. Experience comes with reps, and I’ve been getting a lot of reps. I went into today with a lot of confidence from the last two games and the practices I’ve had. Before, it was just building that confidence with my reps.”

(on taking bad press last week, and if it affected him at all) “Not at all. I ignored all the press. I left last week in the past and just focused on this week. And that’s what I’m going to do for this week and just focus on Dallas.”

(on if he’s looking forward to Dallas, or focusing on the start of the season) “Yeah, Dallas is the next step, but day by day I have to get better at my craft. At just defense, and just understanding everything and just getting better and better every day.”

(on things he has to get better at) “I’d say coming in balanced and tackling. Coming in balanced and tackling. And my eyes – eyes just keying on the right things.”

(on playing special teams) “Special teams, I like playing special teams, especially the defensive side. And the offensive side too – you can lay a block on somebody. So special teams, I like playing special teams. I’m an important role in special teams, I have to love doing it.”

(on what he takes away from playing an all-time great in QB Drew Brees) “It’s great. I studied him tremendously, a whole lot, in film this week. I saw a lot of things that you won’t see in the college level. And it’s just great to study him and going against him.”

(on how precise QB Drew Brees can be) “Most definitely. Whether the DB (defensive back) has the wide receiver covered or not, in his eyes, he’s never covered, because he pinpoints the ball so well and he’s so accurate. So it was good going against a Pro Bowler and Hall of Famer like him.”

RUNNING BACK BEN TATE (Transcribed by Stephanie Weaver)
(on his performance and the running game) “We just had a big emphasis coming out tonight.  The big emphasis was on running the ball and getting back to that.  We thought, as with other preseason games, even though we didn’t play much, we felt as though we hadn’t run the ball well enough.  I felt we definitely had to step up as a unit, and we did that tonight.”

(on how he feels about where he and the rest of the running game is with RB Arian Foster coming back) “I feel good.  I feel good coming out of this third preseason game.  I’m right where I want to be.  I’m feeling good, excited, and ready for the season to get going.”

(on how he feels about his game work load) “Yeah. I really wasn’t worried about how much I got the ball in the first couple games at all.  With this game, I was amped up and pretty ready to go.”

(on RB Arian Foster being ready to play against the San Diego Chargers) “I haven’t really watched him. I’ve been busy focusing on me and focusing on practice. I haven’t really watched him work at all.”

(on his expectations for the running game to be effective to start the season) “Of course. Why would it not be?”

(on how he feels about the right side of the offensive line) “Did you see us run today? I feel good about it.”

(on his chemistry with FB Greg Jones) “Good because we had a lot of work, not necessarily in games, but all during summer camp and OTAs. Me and Greg are always talking, and he wants to know how I’m thinking, and I’m asking him what he’s thinking. We are always on the same page, for the most part, with just about everything. I was with him on the touchdown run. I was right there with him. Me and him, we communicate a lot. We have a good chemistry right now.”

(on if he prefers the I-formation or a one-back set) “It doesn’t matter.”

(on if he set out to prove something with his performance) “Yeah. I was definitely out there to prove a point tonight, and I felt like I got my point across.”

QUARTERBACK T.J. YATES (Transcribed by Adrian Jones)
(on his personal performance throughout the preseason) “Just managing the offense. In this offense, you have got to do your job. Give the ball to the open guy and (the offense) will run smoothly. Don’t make it too big, don’t think too much, and we have our run game going it really helps out. It opens up everything, with a lot of open guys out there.”

(on competition with QB Case Keenum with one preseason game remaining) “It has been neck-and-neck this entire time. Both of us have been playing some good football. Case did a really good job in the fourth quarter, moving the ball and putting us in a position to score. Through this whole process I have been trying to keep the mindset of ‘I control what I control.’ If I try to get caught up in anything else it just won’t be any good.”

(on upcoming preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys) “It’s good. I am excited to play more than just a quarter or a couple of series. It will be good to get out there and get into a full game rhythm other than just knowing what quarter you are going in and working a couple of series.”

(on difficulty of that mindset as a quarterback) “Yes. There are a lot of outside factors as far as media and other people at practice, and you start to look into how many reps is somebody getting over another person. Once you start counting those things and looking into other stuff, it will just get you in the wrong mindset. Every day I just worry about myself and continue to go out there and perform.”

(on whether the competition with QB Case Keenum has brought out his best performance) “I think so. It makes you have to been on your game at all times, no matter if you are in the game or in practice or in drills, or even meetings, you have to be on top of it at all times. If you are in a competition you know you are being evaluated nonstop. It definitely makes you have to perform.”

(on performance of today’s game) “I tell you it’s the run game. Once we get that run game going, it opens up everything; the keeper game. You get some wide open guys downfield and it gets you into a rhythm. I don’t have to worry about completing a pass to get the guys going. We can get the run going and get the defense on their heels and keep them guessing.

(on receivers being open downfield often during today’s game) “Absolutely, especially down in the red zone. We had (the Saints’ defense) guessing. There were a couple of options on every single play.

(on connection with WR Lestar Jean) “It has been great. We first started off out first preseason game together back years ago, actually 3 years ago now. He is a great receiver and has a good feel for the game. He knows how to find the little niches in the defense. He is one of those receivers you like throwing the ball to.”

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