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Quotes: Thursday practice

Posted Sep 19, 2013

Read what head coach Gary Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and the the Texans said to the media after Thursday's practice.

Head coach Gary Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and several Texans spoke with the media after Thurday's practice. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.

Head Coach Gary Kubiak

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips

ILB Brian Cushing

RB Arian Foster

T Ryan Harris

OLB Whitney Mercilus

NT Earl Mitchell

FS Ed Reed

DE Antonio Smith

 

Head Coach Gary Kubiak

(on any injury updates) “(T) Duane (Brown) did not practice again today. (TE) Garret Graham did not practice. He’s got a sore hip on us this morning, so we held (out of) practice. (WR) Andre (Johnson) was full-go, took everything he would normally do on Thursday. All indications are he’s on to the weekend, so we’re good. OD (TE Owen Daniels) was back practicing today and J. Jo (CB Johnathan Joseph) was back full-time today. That’s where we’re at.”

 

(on FS Ed Reed practicing more yesterday than he has all year and how he did today) “I guess I should say it’s in the confines of what we’re doing personnel wise. It went good today. We were in pads, so this is the most aggressive we’ve had him in situations probably in practice. Another big step forward. All indications are heading in the right direction. We’re going to continue to watch him come out of a tough practice and how does he feel tomorrow? Is he sore as we head into the weekend? He’s really practicing well right now. That’s all I can tell you. He’s doing everything practicing well, so we’re heading in the right direction.”

 

(on the issue with TE Garret Graham) “He got a hip pointer about a few weeks ago, missed a little time in practice in the preseason and his hip got sore on him after (yesterday). He took all of the reps in practice yesterday and his hip got sore on him. OD (TE Owen Daniels) was off yesterday, so we rested him and kind of ended up alternating those two, so hopefully he’s back out there tomorrow. Hopefully, he feels better.”

 

(on if FS Ed Reed will be a game-time decision) “Yeah, I still feel that’s the fair way to go about it. Like I said, I can sit here and tell you all day how well he’s practicing. Our concern is when he wakes up tomorrow, does the soreness come back or anything like that that’s sets him back? As long as there are no setbacks, we’re headed in the right direction this weekend.”

 

(on if T Duane Brown will be a game-time decision) “Yeah, I think so. Like I told you yesterday, I have no problem; Duane can play football without practicing. He’s played a lot of snaps. He knows our offense better than anybody. He’s obviously got the sprained toe. It’s very sore. So we’re trying to keep him off of it. I don’t want him out there standing around for two-and-a-half hours watching practice, so we’ve left him inside and we’ll just push toward the weekend and see where he’s at.”

 

(on if WR Andre Johnson looked good today) “Yeah, he was fine. I just walked back over with him. Today’s the last hurdle I guess. It’s my understanding you see the NFL’s doctor one more time and then you’re passed. Hopefully, that takes place in the next 24 hours.”

 

(on the defense allowing a few long drives and then mostly stopping opponents and if he can reflect on that) “We’ve given up some early drives in games, obviously, last week. I think the one in San Diego might have been the second drive if I’m right or something like that. But no, we’re looking for, I’m not just saying defensively, consistency as a team. That’s what everybody’s trying to get to early in the season. We’ve been inconsistent. We’ve done some really, really good stuff and some stuff that’s going to get you beat week-in and week-out. It doesn’t matter if I’m talking offense defense or special teams. It’s no better weekend for us to play more consistent because this will be a very difficult place to play, very tough environment against the best football team in football last year. We’ve got our work cut out for us. That’s been our motto all week, let’s be more consistent and let’s play cleaner, all those things going on right now.”

 

(on how much RB Arian Foster has grown form the first game to the second and then where he is right now) “A lot. I can just tell in practice that he’s feeling is much better. Really, really working well. Arian’s a worker and he’s starting to look like himself, but it sure is nice the fact that (RB) Ben (Tate) is playing so well. I think that has helped him come along. We’ve been able to do it the right way with him and I think he’s making up ground probably quicker.”

 

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips

(on if he has a prediction for the Houston-Rice game on Saturday) “Rice has got a good team. Obviously, I’m pulling for one of them. I think Rice has one the slop bucket before. They won the slop bucket. We won the Bayou bucket. They’ve got a good program too and they’ve done a great job there too. I’ve got good friends coaching there and teaching there as a matter of fact, guys I went o school with. It should be a great game. I’m glad they’re playing here and I hope they have a great crowd.”

 

(on the challenges that Ravens QB Joe Flacco presents) “Yeah, Flacco obviously took them to the Super Bowl. He played tremendous in the playoffs and he’s a guy that they can out it on his shoulders. He’s proven that. He’s one of the elite quarterbacks in the league and became the way because he earned it. There were questions about (him). Of course, there were questions about (John) Elway) and that kind of thing. There were questions about him, but there are no questions now. That guy’s a heck of a quarterback.”

 

(on what he’s seen out of FS Ed Reed this week) “Yeah, Ed’s played a little more, practiced a little more, moving around better. We’ll see what happens this week. He didn’t target this game and say, ‘We’ll, I’m going to wait until this game to come back.’ I think he’s going to and we’re going to what’s right as far as his physical ability. If he’s ready to play, we’ll play him. But if he’s not, we’ll still have time to wait.”

 

(on how much FS Ed Reed would play this week if he plays) “He wouldn’t play a full game. Just throwing him out there, but certain situations I’m sure. Once he starts playing, we’ll work him back in and see how he feels. He’s made some good plays this week though. I will say that. He’s made some ball hawk type plays and that’s what you want to see from the guy. That’s what you feel like he had. That was a plus he had coming in that he’s that kind of guy. Well, he made a couple in today’s practice and one or two yesterday. So that’s an encouraging sign.”

 

(on if FS Ed Reed has talked about the Ravens offense’s tendencies) “No, not really. No, he hasn’t given us all of their audibles if that’s what you’re asking. No, not much. He helps the DBs (defensive backs) all of the time in the meetings. It’s what he sees, not necessarily what the Ravens are going to do. They’ve done a lot of good things obviously and able to execute. Like any good team, they have certain tendencies, but they have things that they can throw at you if you overplay those and they do them well.”

 

(on FS Ed Reed’s knowledge of the Ravens and if that’s a little overrated when it comes to giving the team information about it) “I personally think it is. Players have got to go out and play. Like I said, he knows what formations they run and what plays they run form. But they can run any play. They can run or pass. They can run the ball. It’s not really formation tendencies. Maybe audibles a guy could help you with. You don’t have time to learn all of a team’s audibles in one week. Players don’t learn them all, even offensively. It’s just personnel a little bit. He’ll tell you a little about what a receiver likes to run or offensive line, he can tell us a little bit about them. It’s overrated to a great extend I would think.”

 

(on the defense giving up several long drives and then shutting teams down for the most part) “I was encouraged again last week. Any time you have 10 drives where don’t make a first down, you’re playing tremendously well. Certainly, at those junctures. You look at it, we gave up 17 points. If you give up 17 points a game, you’re going to win. And one of them was a turnover we held them to a field goal. We’d like to play those other drives and maybe we will and, if we do, then we’ll be a dominant defense. We still haven’t given up 300 yards in a game. San Diego, they had 260 against us and they did better against Philadelphia. I think they had 500-and-something. We played pretty well. If we can just play those great plays and keep playing them, and maybe it can’t happen. I don’t know if you can have more than 10 three-and-outs in a game. The other series, you’d like to hold them down and we had a penalty and we had some things that we can clean up.”

 

(on playing well in the second half against San Diego and how to continue to play like that) “We played tremendously well the second half. We need to play really well the first half. I think that’s a key for us.”

 

(on what he’s seen from Ravens RB Bernard Pierce if RB Ray Rice can’t play) “He’s a good back. He’s come in and I think he’s averaging 90 yards the games he’s come in and played the full game for Ray Rice. Ray Rice is a great player certainly. If they don’t have him, they’ve got a good replacement.”

 

(on if the Ravens do different things depending on if RB Ray Rice is in) “Not the run game. I think the pass game is probably affected a little bit more. Ray Rice is such a great player. You can out him out of the backfield and he can run routes and he runs them like a wide receiver. They lose a little bit there, but the running game, they’re really strong with the big fullback and the power offensive linemen, and the pay action stuff is where they make a lot of big plays anyways. If they can run the ball and do play action, they’re still in their same offense.”

 

(on how surprised he is by ILB Brian Cushing’s number of tackles) “Well, he’s a really good player and he’s done well. You’re getting into my pet peeve here about tackle because, when they show them in the league, they show this guy makes this many tackles, and Cushing’s 33rd in tackle or something like that. But those are press box stats, which really bothers me. We’ve played two games and they count individual tackles, which I think they’re pretty close on, but assists are so far off and the total tackles makes it look like one guys and another guy, it’s like Cush, he’s got two assists. He’s got more of that on our account. I’ll give you an example, one team in the league has 66 assists and we have 10 and another team has 60. There are two teams that have only two assists in two games. What I’m saying is the press box at whatever game, Indianapolis has played two games at home and they’ve had 77 tackles and 66 assists, and the teams they’ve played have had 80 tackles and 50 assists in those two games. It makes it look like those teams’ players are making a lot more plays and it also makes us look like we don’t have people running to the ball and getting to the ball. We’ve got 10 assists. Then, we play San Diego and they’ve got 21 assists in our game and we’ve got six. That’s bothers me that they put out yardage, touchdown passes and all of those things, and those are accurate. But those assists are not accurate and, if I were a player, I would be upset about it because it looks like, wow, this guy is leading the league in tackling when you may have just as many tackles.”

 

(on how you make it more accurate to determine tackles) “Well, I don’t have the answer to that unless you go through the film and grade them all. I think the other part is don’t give any assists then. Just be accurate on the guy who makes the tackle because it’s so subjective. Like I said, we’ve got guys in the league right now who are way ahead of Cush (ILB Brian Cushing) and I know they’re not because he’s been in on assists when we look at our film. Coaches don’t do a great job either because coaches will give four and five give assists because we want them around the ball. We want them to get an assist if they’re close and on the pile. I just think it’s an inaccurate thing to say, ‘Hey, this guy is the leading tackler in the league or that guy is,’ when the press box is making him that.”

 

(on how many assists the team had last week) “Last week, we had four assists in the game total. In the last game, we had four.”

 

(on how many assists ILB Brian Cushing should have had last week) “I think we had like five. I think he had four or five. We had more than four assists in that ball game is what I’m saying and I’m sure we had more than six in the first game when San Diego had 21. It’s just an inaccurate thing. You can it’s my pet peeve because of the players, and it’s hits on the quarterback and those kinds of things. (DE) J.J. (Watt) had four hits on the quarterback in the first game. I graded that. I think they say it’s unofficial stat, but it doesn’t come out that way. It comes out like, ‘This guy’s leading the lead in tackles and this guy,’ and Cushing’s 33rd. I don’t think that’s true.”

 

(on how OLB Brooks Reed is playing and if he’s concerned that he hasn’t gotten any sacks) “No, we’ve been in the top of the league the last two years that I’ve been here and we expect to be again. We’re putting pressure on the passer. We knock balls down. We’ve sacked the quarterback. We’re averaging three-a-game, which puts you up at the top of the league. As long as those guys are getting pressure and beating their guy. The big thing is whether you beat your man or not because it doesn’t always turn out to be a sack, but it can be pressure. But it’s also just how any times you beat your man one-on-one. When they don’t beat their guy, we give them a minus. Now, whether they got a sack or not, some quarterbacks get rid of the football quick, some don’t. Some of them hold onto the ball and we’re going to get to those kind of quarterbacks more.”

 

(on if teams are double-teaming or playing DE J.J. Watt differently this year) “Well, the first game, the center went toward him all of the time because (DE) Antonio (Smith) wasn’t playing. He basically got doubled almost every play. He didn’t see as much last game because Antonio was in there, but still they’re aware of him. You’re aware of (Vikings RB) Adrian Peterson when you play them too. But those great ones, they still make plays and that’s what he’s done.”

 

ILB Brian Cushing

(on the 15 three-and-outs mixed with some long drives by opposing offenses) “We just have to knock those long drives out. We’re playing good besides that, but we’re giving up the big drives. We’ll figure out a way to eliminate it and get off the field, especially in third downs and critical situations: red zone and areas where we know we’ve struggled so far. The good thing is it’s only two games and we have a lot of room for improvement.”

 

(on the up and down results) “It’s very up and down. It probably has a lot to do with momentum and maybe a big play sparks it. So if we can do some stuff to limit that or just cut that out completely, that would help a lot.”

 

(on the statistics saying the team is playing good defense) “And we are. We’re playing good defense. It’s just those one or two drives a game that really elevate our stats and we want to cut those out directly.”

 

(on what he has seen from NT Earl Mitchell) “He’s a very good nose tackle. He plays with a ton of effort. He’s a guy that is going to give you everything that he has every play that he’s in there which is what you want out of anyone that you play with.”

 

(on John Harbaugh saying that Cushing was a force to be reckoned with anywhere on the field) “It means a lot. Like we were talking, you play for the respect of your peers, but what I liked about what he said is he talked about the pass and the run. I think I’m a very athletic linebacker that can kind of do pretty much anything and I take a lot of pride in that. I want to know that Coach sees that. That feels good. It feels good but I just have to have a good game against him to prove him right.”

 

(on if he reads what other people say about him) “Yes, sometimes.”

 

(on if he feels like through two games that he is a better player than he was before the injury) “I’m on the right path. It’s been a ton of training this offseason. In getting back, you’re working out every single day. Being older now too and knowing the defense, being Wade’s (Phillips) defense for three years now, where I can make plays, take risks and do that kind of stuff. I feel like I have benefited from that and feel like I’ve had my best start.”

 

RB Arian Foster

(on how much of a rivalry has this matchup become) “I’m not really big on rivalries and stuff like that, but I guess for the fans it has been pretty big.”

 

(on what is most impressive about the Ravens defense) “Just the fact that they reloaded the way they did and they are still solid and still have a lot of playmakers on that side of the ball.”

 

(on what Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil and the challenges they provide) “They lost (Paul) Kruger to Cleveland, and Dumervil and the other outside linebacker that they acquired filled in nicely. They are doing very well on that side of the ball.”

 

(on the one-two punch that they have at running back with himself and RB Ben Tate) “I think we’re effective running the ball.  We always have been.”

 

(on RB Ray Rice) “His versatility and his toughness.  He kind of runs with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder. He’s got that little man syndrome. He has that little extra oomph in there. And, plus, he’s one of my best friends outside of the team. Me and him are real good friends.”

 

(on playing against one of his good friends) “Man, you don’t really think of that when you are out there. Obviously I like to watch him run, but I hope he doesn’t do well.”

 

(on if he will communicate much with RB Ray Rice during the week) “We might. It’s not like, ‘Hey, we play you guys this week.’  It’s not like that.”

 

(on his comfort level after his injury) “I knew it was going to take a little while to get back in the groove and I feel like I’m starting to take steps in the right direction.”

 

(on if his body is feeling more flexible where he had the back issues) “No, it’s like getting in football mode.  It’s hard to explain, you just have to get a feel for the game back and you can only do that by playing.”

 

(on if he is at the point where he has the feel for the game back) “I’m approaching it.”

 

(on how have Matt Elam and Daryl Smith fit in to the Ravens’ puzzle) “They are doing well. They didn’t have a good game against Denver.  They know that. So they had to come out and have something to prove and they did that. That organization prides itself on playing good defense and that is what they do.

 

(on how it will feel going into Baltimore and not playing against Ray Lewis or Ed Reed) “Not really that different. Me and Ray (Lewis) and Ed (Reed) are good friends, I guess.”

 

(on Ray Lewis and Ed Reed being a big part of Baltimore’s past defenses) “Of course but you don’t really think about that. It’s not really something you dwell on.”

 

(on RB Trent Richardson being in the AFC South division) “I don’t go against them. It doesn’t really have anything to do with me. Part of the business, I guess.”

 

(on how it will feel if FS Ed Reed is back on the field for Sunday’s game) “I hope he gets a chance to play against his former team. That’s always probably a good feeling. Obviously, he played 11, 12 years there. You want to finish your career there and it didn’t happen that way. So you want to play against them and show them a little something. I don’t know if that’s his sentiment, but that would be mine.”

 

T Ryan Harris

(on how much playing both right and left tackle helps him) “It gives me a lot of confidence and I think having some time at left tackle, too, in the preseason increased that confidence.  Again, I’m just preparing to help my team win in any way that I’m called upon.”

 

(on how LT Duane Brown is doing) “He’s getting better every day. I’m just staying prepared and doing everything I can to make sure I’m ready to go in whatever situation I may be called upon.”

 

(on playing a lot in the preseason and then having to wait to get his chance) “Well I think in training camp it’s about having fun and doing the best you can. And going into the season, then it’s about preparing and waiting for an opportunity. It’s my seventh year in the League now, so I know that opportunities come if you’re ready and I’ll always be ready for mine.”

 

(on what Baltimore OLBs Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil bring to the table) “Clearly they’ve established themselves year after year, so you know you’re playing a veteran. But you’ve really got to bring your ‘A’ game. And really at this point, with the teams we’re playing with our schedule, that’s going to happen anyways. It’s a constant challenge for the Texans and we look forward to it.”

 

(on being ready and QB Matt Schaub having confidence in him) “I had a lot of fun last year. And again, I’m prepared for any situation I’m called upon and it’s exciting to be in the NFL. This is what you live for, the opportunities.”

 

(on how detailed his film preparation is this week) “I have a routine I follow that’s been successful in my years in the NFL and I just continue to do that. Again, each week you have to prepare to play and I’ve been able to do that.”

 

OLB Whitney Mercilus

(on if the defense takes it up a notch when it plays against a team like Baltimore that is known for its great defense) “We just notch it up all the time, no matter what. Honestly, we’ve played to our potential at times, not the way that we wanted to these last few games, but there has been glimpses. But coming this Sunday we want to show everybody that we are the top 10 defense that we are.”

 

(on how the defense can play more consistent) “It just goes back to preparation and all that we do during the week. Making our adjustments, especially during the game. Some teams, they’re going to come out with different schemes throughout the week that we probably haven’t seen yet or practiced against. So we make those adjustments during the game, at halftime and then come back out. Just keep the ball rolling.”

 

NT Earl Mitchell

(on if there are any memories he can reflect on from his days at North Shore High School in Galena Park, Texas) “Definitely. We had a lot of great players on that team and a lot of guys I looked up to. Being a part of that team was great experience.”

 

(on if he’ll get a chance to talk with former high school teammate CB Chykie Brown) “I try to keep in touch with Chykie (Brown). Chykie is a good guy. I’m going to get to talk to him after the game. That’s usually the times I get to check up with him the most.”

 

(on the mentality his high school coach instilled in him at North Shore High School) “A lot of things that we were taught at North Shore was perseverance. Going to North Shore and going through some of the things players went through previously, that was really what inspired them to really win the championship that year and just being a part of that was really big for them. I was just glad to be a part of it because I got inspired through it all.”

 

(on what it was like to have the entire defensive front intact last Sunday against Tennessee) “It’s definitely something to look out for. You’ve got a lot of guys on defense that you’ve definitely got to (account) for. That’s just something that you take pride in. They have to account for everybody on this defense. That’s something you just really have to take pride in.”

 

(on what they have to do on the defensive front to defend against Baltimore QB Joe Flacco and the deep ball) “You know he’s got that deep ball and he tries to get it downfield. He tries to make big plays for his team. That’s something that we’ve got to maintain and we’ve got to make big plays for us. We’re just the type of defense that knows we can only beat ourselves. That’s just really how we take it.”

 

(on how different it will be for the defense if Baltimore RB Ray Rice isn’t playing) “Honestly, it doesn’t really make that big of a difference because they have a lot of confidence in their backup. You watch him on film and you can tell they take a lot of pride in the way that he plays and he’s very similar to Ray Rice. We’re just going to pretty much just go do the same things we’ve been doing because we expect them to run the same stuff that they’ve been running because they’re very similar.”

 

FS Ed Reed

(on how he views the situation of whether he will play or not on Sunday) “Same way as I have been telling you. I got out there today and did some work, a little bit more as the week has gone by which is good. I get to do a little bit more getting to communicate with the guys because it is a matter of communication as well. I’m feeling a lot better and trying to push it a bit more to see exactly how I feel if I go full throttle.”

 

(on if he will be a game time decision again in Baltimore) “Yeah, most likely.”

 

(on how special it is to go back to Baltimore) “Oh man, it’s awesome. I never thought I would be in these shoes but it’s an awesome feeling to get to go back to see my brothers, see coaches and just talk to them a good bit about football. I know we are going about football and just family, that’s all in that short time period that we get to kind of catch up.”

 

(on Wade Phillips saying that he has made some ball hawking plays in practice) “I wouldn’t say it was ball hawking. I didn’t’ get catch the ball or anything, but like I said, I’ve been feeling better. I’m feeling a lot better than I have in the past.”

 

(on Gary Kubiak saying that Reed wanted to play last week and if that is any indicator of being out there this week) “That was because I talked to Coach and talked to my coach about not having this one be my first game because of the Field Turf. That was just what this was all about. I would much rather try to move on grass than play on Field Turf.”

 

(on how emotional this weekend will be whether he plays or doesn’t play) “It will definitely be different if I play. Being on the site where I know where we fought for so long with those guys, but there are different guys on the team now that I’m looking at. They turned the page too. The page was turned awhile back. It’s a different circumstance. Football, that is one thing I know. Football doesn’t change.”

 

(on if the Ravens ‘turned the page’ before he did) “I don’t know about that. It probably got turned at the same time. There is no bad blood on either side I’m sure. I talked to Ozzie (Newsome) after. I know how this business works. I see guys in my 11 years, 12 years now, come in and out of locker rooms and that is everywhere. I watch ESPN and NFL Network all the time. You see guys get cut and guys get released and guys get traded, like the Trent Richardson deal, who was just a first round pick a year ago. It happens. It happens. You’ve got to roll with the punches.”

 

(on if he sees a scenario where he would come off the bench or if he plans to start) “This ain’t basketball, man, coming off no bench.”

 

(on if he would expect to start his first game back) “We’ve talked about so many different situations, me and Coach Kubiak. We talked about 25 plays, 30 plays. I don’t know what the situation will be. I know Wade (Phillips) will want. He will want me for the long haul and that’s what I’ve been getting prepared for.”

 

(on Ray Lewis saying that Reed had become an ‘old soul’ while he was in Baltimore) “I was an old soul before I got to Baltimore, man. I grew up around my dad. My dad took me everywhere I went. I hung out with my uncles and older brothers. I’ve always been around the older people per se. Baltimore helped me grow. It definitely helped me grow because I was there for 11 years of my NFL career. How could you not grow being around great players, being around young guys, helping them and them helping you and being around great coaches. I was around a lot of great coaches around there from my first year with Donnie Henderson, Dennis Thurman, Mike Nolan, Rex Ryan, Coach (Brian) Billick, Coach (John) Harbaugh. Me and Coach Harbaugh used to have a lot of talks. Coach (Dean) Peas, Coach (Chuck) Pagano. I could name all the coaches that went through there to help me grow and be the player and coach that I am. I learned a lot with the detailed coaching that we had up there. There was a lot of structure but we had a lot of great things. That we did up there. Being here now, you get to see things differently with how we operated up there versus how we operate down here.”

 

(on what advice does he have for his coaches and teammates and what he expects to face against the Ravens) “The game is no different than any other week. There is a reason why we have that sign (One Focus) up right now. You just concentrate and try to execute as best as you can. This game is about execution. It’s not about one individual player. It’s not about me playing for me or anything like that because we haven’t talked about that. I know these guys. They probably want to, but this is the ultimate team sport. This is not about one player and it’s definitely not about me going back and winning one for the old Gipper.”

 

(on Ray Lewis being put in the Ring of Honor and if he envisioned his own return to be similar to how Lewis’ is) “I came into the NFL in 2003 and I was hearing, ‘Not for Long. Not for long. Not for long. NFL: Not for long.’ My locker was by the free agents in that locker room. I would watch guys come and go. I didn’t know how it was going to pan out. I saw Peyton Manning get traded. I knew Joe Montana went to Kansas City. I knew Jerry Rice went to Oakland. I played against him in Oakland. I was a huge 49er fan growing up, and the Saints. I saw a lot of stuff and knew about the business coming from the University of Miami. That’s the reason why I stayed five years. I didn’t know how it was going to happen. After my second contract, I would’ve thought I would be there, but even then, you just don’t know. I kind of knew about free agent stuff when Ray went through it. It’s the business and I learned a lot being around Ozzie (Newsome), talking to Ozzie a lot. You just never know what’s going to happen.”

 

(on Ray Lewis saying he hasn’t had time to process the Super Bowl run and whether or not he has) “I lived it up. It was in New Orleans. That’s where I’m from and for it to be with Ray, his last game, and with Anquan (Boldin), Joe (Flacco), those guys, we had a special team. We went through something that I said after the game was out of our hands. It was truly God’s work that was working within us because we went through a lot. From the start, I remember Torrey (Smith) losing his brother so that is a lot of connections that we had with that team. I was saying it that year that we were on that road. I’m telling these guys the same thing because I feel it.”

 

(on how his communication is with his teammates out on the field) “I’m just getting more reps, man. The communication has been good in the meeting room. It’s just different when you get out there and things are going a little faster. It’s been good. I pretty much know the playbook for the most part. You still might have some M.E.’s (mental errors) out there but you try to minimize that by communicating. The communication is getting better and it’s process. This season is a process. We’ve got a ways to go.”

 

DE Antonio Smith

(on what changes if RB Ray Rice doesn’t play for Baltimore on Sunday) “Not much. That little young running back (Bernard Pierce) they’ve got can run. He’s doing a good job on film so I wouldn’t say much changed. They’ve both got breakaway ability. They’re basically the same back other than (Pierce) is just a little bit bigger.”

 

(on going back to Baltimore for the first time since the 2011 AFC Divisional loss) “I like that stadium. It’s going to be fun. It’s always fun to play challenging games. If we can keep that weather away, that’ll be nice.”

 

(on if Sunday is a chance for Houston’s defense to show that they’re the “top dogs” against Baltimore) “Well we’ve been trying to show that these past few years, since (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) has been here and becoming one of the best defenses in our division. It gets to the point now where you’ve got to check the stats, who out-statted each other in these past three years. It’s always a challenge when you’re going against a team that’s know for defense and having a great defense, you want to step up to the challenge and be a great defense as well. The Raven teams in the past have set the bar pretty high, them and the Patriots, they set the bar pretty high on what’s excellent defense.”

 

(on if Baltimore QB Joe Flacco frustrates him) “No. I like (Joe) Flacco. He’s pretty cool. He gets back up when he takes a hit. He keeps a smile on his face. He’s got a nice, funny mustache. He’s cool with me.”

 

(on the biggest threat Baltimore QB Joe Flacco presents) “He’s got an arm, man. And he can make almost every throw. When he’s on, he’s on. He can get off sometimes, but when he’s on, he can make every throw. He’s got a pretty strong arm.”

 

(on what FS Ed Reed has told him about Baltimore this week) “That’s G-15 classified. We can’t give that type of stuff away.”

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