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Quotes: Thursday practice

Posted Oct 31, 2013

Members of the Houston Texans spoke to the media following Thursday's practice.

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
OLB Whitney Mercilus
FS Ed Reed

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(opening statement) “Everybody participated in practice today. There were some guys a little bit limited. Ben (Tate) I think was listed as limited. But everybody did participate today.”

(on how RB Arian Foster is looking) “I would say where we’re at in the week, I felt good about what he did today. We’ve got to see where we’re at tomorrow. We had him set up to take so many reps. He took all of them. He went through the whole practice. We’ll see how he comes out tomorrow. We’ve got a little extra time on our hands because we do play Sunday night. At least we’ve taken some positive steps here with both of those (running backs) in the last two days.

(on how RB Ben Tate came out of yesterday’s practice) “He felt pretty good. We kind of did a trail run and some stuff to try to help him out. Today, he was a little sore this morning, but he got out and moved around with the guys and took enough of practice that he didn’t have to sit. I would say it was positive.”

(on RB Ben Tate’s toughness) “They’re battling their tail off. What Ben attempted to do for the team two weeks ago was incredible. But I think our whole team’s battling their tail off. With the situation we’re in, it’s been tough, but I watch them every day, watch them work. Our practice the last two days has been excellent/ The attitude has been very good. So we’re very positive and that’s just, to me, that’s a credit to the leaders on the team keeping everybody headed in the right direction and doing the right thing and the character of the people we’ve got. But yeah, that was something for him to pull that off and he made it through.”

(on practicing inside today because of the rain) “That’s been a flood for two days. It was good. We went inside, normally there are some guys on turf that don’t practice, but they did take some of their practice today. We did get everybody involved. Sometimes, some directions, change is good. But we’ve had two good days.”

(on the red zone difficulties) “Yeah, we’ve had red zone problems on both sides of the ball. I think, offensively, we went from like first or second after three weeks to down in the bottom. But that’s what happens when you go three or four weeks and you turn the ball over in the red zone, I don’t know how many, but I want to say five maybe six turnovers in the red zone. I’ve been through seasons without any. Last year, we had one or two all year long in the red zone. The minute you’re doing that, you’re giving up points and it’s very deflating for a football team. It’s been a problem. We’ve moved the ball, but you’ve got to capitalize on the ball movement and we haven’t done that.”

(on if red zone turnovers hurt more) “Oh, there’s no doubt. Physiologically, it just wears you out, to sit there and go down the field and put the ball on the ground or throw an interception, turn the ball over. We concentrated on it throughout the bye week and these first few days, on Monday, we did some extra red zone work against each other. We’ve got to improve down there as a team, not just one side of the ball.”

(on if it’s a coincidence that both sides of the ball are struggling in the red zone) “Coincidence, I don’t know what it is, but I know we’re struggling.”

(on the defense playing very well except in the red zone) “Yeah, it kind of looks the same. Offensively, we’ve moved the ball, but we haven’t scored points. Defensively, we’re number one in football, but yet we struggle in the red zone. Those things don’t normally go together, but, unfortunately, they do. That’s why were’ sitting here 2-5, too. We’ve got to keep going.”

(on why WR Andre Johnson doesn’t score more touchdowns) “Yeah, he gets a ton of attention down there. That’s not an excuse. As coaches, you try to do everything you can to get him the ball, but he does get a lot of attention. He’s also probably the reason why Arian (Foster) led the league in touchdowns last year because coaches knowing the attention Andre’s fixing to get, you kind of know where you want to run the football, too. So that helps you out. But no, we’ve got to find a way to get him involved. Jumps balls or something. We tried in Kansas City, had some things called for him, the ball went a couple of other ways. But he’s playing well and he needs some opportunities down there somehow, some way.”

(on calling plays for QB Case Keenum now that he’s seen him play in a game) “Well, I think I’m getting to know him more and more each day. Obviously, as a coach, you’ve got a big game plan and I learned from Coach (Bill) Walsh, you can give them all of the game plan you want, but it’s your job to do what they know and do what they do well. He’s got a big plan on his plate. I watch him throughout the course of the week and try to get a really good feel for what I know he’s confident with. I also, I’ve always done it with my quarterbacks, I give them my call sheet on Friday morning and I have them mark my call sheet how they like things. Between him giving me feedback and me watching him, we try to come up with the things he does best.”

(on how worried he is about Colts OLB Robert Mathis) “Very much. He’s playing everywhere if they get you in must-pass situations, not many people have blocked him this year. For a guy that’s not a big player, he can play power football, too, if you watch some of the plays he made against Denver in that game. We’re well aware. It’s easy to say you’ve got to go in and help this guy or chip this guy or do that, but they’re going to play Mathis enough places where it’s going to be very difficult. Us running our offense and not having third-and-12, third-and-10, those type of things, will help more than anything.”

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(opening statement) “I want to publically thank Joel and Victoria Osteen for having the memorial at Lakewood Church and all of the people. I want to make sure that gets out because it was really great for our family. I appreciate that.”

(on his thoughts on the standing ovation the Texans got during the memorial service) “This town is a football (town). They love their football. And we have great support. We know that and we’re going to try to live up to that support.”

(on if they can beat any team if they play up to their standard defensively) “Well, we’ve had certainly stretches where we’ve played tremendous ins several games. That’s why we’re statistically where we are. We lost two playmakers on defense, but the other guys have to come in and do their jobs. Some of our other playmakers have to make more plays.”

(on if they are capable of shutting down teams) “Yeah, you’ve seen it several times. Several games where they didn’t make a first down for a lot of series and no yards and those kind of things. We just have to continue to make plays and turnovers will certainly help this team. But we’ve worked hard at that. We had a lot of time to prepare for this team. They’re obviously a good team and the top of our division. So it’s going to be a big challenge.”

(on the linebackers and how they’ve responded without ILB Brian Cushing) “Well, we’ve had to play without him before. We feel good about the guys we have. I think they’ll come in and play well for us. We’ve got guys with experience and have played inside. That’s a good thing for us. We need to get some (Andrew) Luck this week and not have luck, but get some Luck this week.”

(on Head Coach Gary Kubiak saying ILB Joe Mays has stepped up vocally) “Yeah, I noticed also. I agree. Joe’s a pretty vocal guy. That’s his natural way of handling himself. He wants to jump in there and step up and I think it’s a good time certainly for that.”

(on if he’s concerned about depth inside) “Sure, any time you lose an inside backer like (Brian) Cushing, certainly, you’re worried about the depth and (Tim) Dobbins is gone. We have some other guys who I think can come in and play if they had to. We’re counting on the two guys we have.”

(on if they are better situated this year in Brian Cushing’s absence than last year) “Probably a little bit. Mike Mohamed did some good things for us and we brought him back. We have some guys that know what to do. The two guys in there, (Joe) Mays and (Darryl) Sharpton, they can play. They can play football. They’re not bad players themselves. As long as they hold up well, we’ll hold up well.”

(on who he would really like to see step up on defense) “Yeah, I think the whole defense overall. It’s our whole group just playing the game the way we play it and playing at our best. I don’t think it’s just one guy. I think it’s everybody stepping up. The two inside guys have a lot of pressure on them to play well the whole game, rather than splitting time. Having them play the whole game and the third down stuff will be key too.”

(on if QB Andrew Luck looks different than he did last year) “He’s a year older, as far as experience, so I think that’s helped him. He still makes tremendous plays. He can really throw the ball great and we know that. He can drop back in the pocket and he’s very accurate, but his off schedule plays are really outstanding and I think that’s what makes him really a great young quarterback.”

(on the Colts trying to establish a power run offense and if he has seen any change in their offense) “They run the ball. They’re up there in rushing stats, although the quarterback has rushed for a lot of yards so that also helps their running stats. They can run the ball well, so that helps their quarterback. Just like anybody, if you can run the ball well, it helps you.”

(on what the addition of RB Trent Richardson has provided the Colts) “Well it gives them two backs. (Donald) Brown is a good back. They’ve got two strong backs and they can alternate those guys and either one can play first or second down or third down.”

(on if the team has been unlucky this year) “I don’t know. It’s where we are right now, but that’s the past. We’re going forward. We’re looking forward to this game. This is a big game. This is a big game. Our fans are going to be behind us. We’re Battle Red. We’re going to have fire coming out of our backsides. I think it’s going to be a fun game. I think it’s going to be an exciting game for us.”

(on if there is a little bit of an unknown with WR Reggie Wayne being out) “Yeah, as far as preparation is concerned, they’ve been a three wide receiver first and second down offense. They run some two-back and some one-back offense with two tight ends, but they’ve been primarily three wide receivers. Whether they will stay with that, we just have to work on everything. They added a tight end, so we’re preparing for all of the things they’ve done so far. Normally, if we were playing them with Reggie Wayne, we’d say they’re going to be in a three wide receiver on first and second down most of the time, so let’s play these things. Now, we have to say well if they’re not in that, we’ve got to play this. If they’re in this, we’ve got to play this and if they’re in that, it’s a different dynamic without him. Who do you cover? Who do you double up? Those kinds of things.”

(on his thoughts on the NFL having a tribute to his dad this Sunday) “I didn’t know that. Don’t get me going there. It goes in waves. I appreciate that if they are doing that.”

(on the Texans players that were at the memorial service to support him despite never meeting his dad) “It really helped our family and everybody. It’s not something that you get over quickly. It’s a club you don’t want to be in but a lot of people have. We had a tribute the other night and that was really special for us. This game will be special for me too.”

(on what he will do with his dad’s blue boots) “I don’t know. We have a pair of bronze boots of his. If we could do something like that where they remain blue, the powder blue stuff, if you bronze them. I will obviously keep them. It was special for me.”

OLB Whitney Mercilus
(on how tough it is to stop a quarterback who is tough to bring down like Colts QB Andrew Luck) “Yeah, we saw that in the film room today. He’s impressive. He’s not going to take a sack. He’s going to try to get the ball out any way he can. You’ve just got to wrap him up and hope he keeps the ball and takes a sack.”

(on how more difficult it will be as a linebacker to play without ILB Brian Cushing) “It’s tough to say, but we’re kind of prepared for that because it happened last year. So we know exactly what we have to deal with and how we have to step up. Make up for that part with Cush missing, a lot of guys are just going to have to step up, like myself and Brooks (Reed) and just get the job done.”

(on the problems the defense is having in the red zone) “It just comes down to either one guy missing his assignment or something like that. If somebody missed one of their assignments, it screws the entire defense up. We’ve just got to get those things corrected. We’ve just got to play more stout, At the end of the day, that’s basically what the defense is.”

(on if it’s more about discipline in the red zone or being more precise) “Yeah, more precise and just make sure you don’t let teams score. It’s more of an attitude thing.”

FS Ed Reed
(on the challenges of facing Colts QB Andrew Luck who can run and pass) “Definitely challenges for a secondary, we have to make sure that we stay in coverage, stay on our guys. At the same time, you’ve got to be aware of where he’s at, if he’s running with the ball. I know our front-seven is not going to allow.”

(on if it’s tougher to game plan since the Colts won’t have WR Reggie Wayne for the first time) “He was a big part of their offense for many years. Obviously, I know that from being his roommate. But it’s the NFL, somebody’s got to step in. It’s just a matter of us recognizing who the guy is. I would think that all of them would have to fill that role. We just have to prepare for who’s going to be in there. At the end of the day, it’s all about us executing our game plan.”

(on his biggest memory of Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano from his times with him in the past) “Just being able to go over to his house. Him being like a father figure to myself and other players that were around him in college. Just how detailed of a coach he is.”

(on if he watched the Houston Rockets game last night) “I watched the end of it. I saw the end of it. That’s good for those guys to start of like that. Dwight (Howard) and those guys understanding they can still grow. It’s a long season. Right now, it’s just about getting to the playoffs, just growing as a team and being cohesive as a team. I think they’ll be all right.”

(on how to fix the red zone issues) “It’s got to be a real point of emphasis. It’s about executing and knowing what we have done wrong down there and not do those things. We’ve made a lot of corrections, technique stuff. It’s really got to be a point of emphasis and really driven in our heads to keep them out of the end zone and give them field goals. If we can do that, we’ll really be a contender. Right now, it’s about fixing those mistakes that we have.”


 

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