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Quotes: Tuesday practice

Posted Dec 3, 2013

Members of the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars spoke to the media Tuesday.

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
T Duane Brown
QB Case Keenum
OLB Whitney Mercilus
SS D.J. Swearinger
DE J.J. Watt
Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley
Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback Chad Henne

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(opening statement) “We really had a jog-through, but the only guy limited, once again, was Greg Jones. Other than that, everybody else practiced and was back on the field. OD (Owen Daniels) did work today on the field, not with the team, but on his own and had a really good day. Obviously, he’s not going to play this week, but he made a lot of progress so we’ll see where we’re at heading into the weekend.”

(on TE Owen Daniels not practicing with the team today) “Correct. Kap (Geoff Kaplan) and they worked him out.”

(on what he learned about the Jaguars after playing them two games ago) “They’re playing extremely hard. I think they played they really well, especially this past month. They got after us pretty good. (We) really struggled to move the ball, struggled in some protections and stuff. Like I said, what have they won, three out of their last four? Something like that. Gus (Bradley) does a good job. He’s a hell of a football coach. Getting started there, he’s got their mindset the way he wants it. You see a team that’s playing hard and doing a good job. They’re reaping the benefits of that here in late in the season. Very impressed.”

(on how important it is to get TE Owen Daniels back this season) “Boy, I wish we had him back about seven or eight weeks ago. But it’s important because we used the IR tag on him or whatever that short-term IR tag. I think it’s important to Owen. This would be year eight, right? He’s been here with me from day one. It’s important to him to get back and get his feet wet so to speak. He was playing so well and he’s got a lot of good years left in him. I think it’s important. I can’t speak for him, but I know for our team, it’s extremely important. Hopefully, we’ll have him back here for the last three weeks.”

(on where RB Ben Tate is right now) “I think what’s happening is Ben’s taking advantage of an opportunity. First off, he’s playing through some great pain for his teammates. I think we all understand Ben’s in the last year of his deal and that type of thing. He’s busting his tail, doing good things, had a great game last week. Seems to be getting better as he gets healthier. Proud of Ben and what he’s done for the team, going through a tough situation. If not, we’d be down to a rookie free agent back. So I appreciate what he’s pushing himself through.”

(on where K Randy Bullock is right now) “Yeah, well actually both of those guys have kicked well. But if you take that, what was that three-week span with Randy was kind of rough. He’s come back and history tells you in the National Football League, usually young kickers are going to have a struggle at some point. The ones that make it through it are the ones that kick for 10-12 years. If it’s any indication the way he’s worked through his troubles this year, he’s got a bright future.”

(on how the team has adapted to the short week) “They’ve been good. They’re pretty slow. We’re out there practicing less than 48 hours since we’ve played our last game, so that’s pretty tough on guys and their bodies. But they’ve had a little life. They’re bouncing around today. We’ll practice a little bit tomorrow morning before we get on the plane. I think it’s about me getting them mentally prepared and making sure that physically I leave them alone and let them recover from the game. But they’ve got a job to do to get ready to play mentally.”

(on if you can get caught up trying to win so much instead of focusing on how to get there) “First off, winning is the most important thing. That’s the way I’ve answered that the last couple of day y’all have asked me. There are things that go with winning, making the plays at the right time, getting some big turnovers, making big plays in a football game as a team. Like last week, we’re sitting there, what was it 24-21 and then it was 31-28, so we had two leads in the fourth quarter and we needed to make a big play in one phase or the other to hold on and beat a good football like that. We need to do that and we haven’t done that in these previous six weeks.”

(on if stuff can get lost for players since they’re trying to get a win so badly) “I think it’s only human that you think about that because of what you’re going through. This is 30 years for me in the National Football League and I’ve been through a few tough ones, but I think the thing that’s really frustrating for us right now is there has been a lot of good things going on, but yet not finishing, not feeling good at the end of the day. That’s what we all work for. If anything, I think it’s kept us going, it’s kept us driving to, does it mean your mean you’re pressing at sometimes? I don’t know. I think it’s human that you do when you get in some of those situations. But we need to press a little bit. We need to stay on the grind and find a way to get it done. I think they’ve done that. I think they’ve worked extremely hard, but we’ve just got to make the plays.”

(on playing with intensity) “Yeah, I wasn’t on the field for Oakland or Jacksonville, but I know, just for me speaking for myself, this past weekend, our intensity was wonderful on the sidelines. Everybody was into what was going on. Even when we had adversity, everybody was there to pick each other up. Thought that we were responding all day long a s football team. But at the end of the day, you don’t get to smile and hand everybody a ball and say, ‘Boy, that was a great effort.’ We came up another play or two short. I thought our energy last week was very good.”

(on how to keep the energy going with the playoffs being out of the picture) “No, that’s what we do. Heck, believe me, it doesn’t matter whether you’re 10-2 or 2-10, you’re up there working the same hours, you’re practicing, you’re battling, you’re doing the same thing. Nothing’s changed other than the fact that it’s very difficult to work through the situation. But as a pro, as a coach and as a player, that’s your responsibility and you wouldn’t be in this business if you haven’t worked through these things before or you don’t have the belief that you’re going to work through this. I have no doubt that we’re going to work through it, me personally and this football team. That’s what keeps you going. If you’re going to stick around our business, you’ll probably get a chance at both ends of the stick. So find out what you’re made of. This is a very difficult time, but guys are pushing themselves as best they can.”

(on if FB Greg Jones will be a game-time decision this week) “No, Greg hasn’t been practicing much anyway, just really on Fridays for me. He’s been pretty beat up. I would say, if tomorrow if he’s right back where he is on a normal Friday, he’s going to play. What we were doing the last two days is not that important for Greg. (He) knows what he’s doing. Just I’m trying to get him to gameday, but we’ll see.”

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on the progression of QB Case Keenum) “He keeps making strides. Sometimes it’s one forward and one back, but last week he made some plays. He missed a couple, but that’s the good thing about him, when he misses a play, he understands why or looks at the film and understands why and progresses from there. That’s why we’re counting on him to keep getting better every week.”

(on if the first half against the Patriots was QB Case Keenum’s most encouraging half of football) “I thought Indy, the first half, was very good against Indy. He understood what was going on there. We moved the ball well in the second half; we just didn’t get as many points. We stalled and got a field goal. I think he’s done some things throughout. Consistency is the big thing, but that’s the big thing with the rest of us too.”

(on if they are able to add much to the offensive gameplan during a short week) “We wish we could add something in a couple of days, but certainly we don’t do a whole lot other than our base gameplan. We change formations. We change a little thing here or there, but basically the terminology and the verbiage is something that our players can draw from based on the concepts that they know. We took some of the stuff that we did not use in the game and carried that out and added a couple of things based on what we thought we can progress, looking at the Cleveland game, in a short amount of time and just making sure our players know what they’re doing.”

(on having the run game to set up the pass game and if that is moving closer to how they want their offense to be) “That’s certainly what we love, but I think that starts early. We make some plays early and confidence is a huge part of the game in anything you do, whether it’s running the ball or throwing the ball. You, as a player, if you feel confident then you perform well. I think that’s a part of everybody as a group. When we have some success early, then you feel confident about that. We’ve got to find that and keep moving the ball.”

(on the change this week from last week with RB Ben Tate) “I don’t know. I think we just started out, just like I said, it was a confidence issue. We started running the ball well. We found a crease and he did a good job. They did a great job up front of getting on their guys and not letting them off. I couldn’t tell you beyond that. To me, it was a job of making some runs early, being confident about it and just keep pressing the issue.”

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on preparing for the Jaguars on a short week) “Yeah, we just played them two weeks ago. Obviously, both teams know a lot about each other, what we did last time against them, what they did against us. So you have to work on the things that they were successful against you and then realizing that, hey, they’re going to try some other things. So we’ve got to get prepared for that.”

(on what the defense did last week against the Patriots and what needs to be fixed for Jacksonville this week) “We played really poorly in the third quarter and the first of the fourth quarter. Then, we played like we did in the rest of the game. Unfortunately, they made two 53-yard field goals the last two drives that we had a chance to win the ball game. We’re disappointed in that, but we’re looking forward to this ball game.”

(on DE J.J. Watt’s numbers not having been the same as last year, but what kind of season he’s had) “J.J.’s probably the top defensive linemen in the league. I think everybody can see that from the way he plays. I don’t know about all of the numbers. He’s really hitting the quarterback a lot of times this year. He hasn’t had as many sacks, but he’s had a lot of hits on the quarterbacks. He’s still getting a lot of tackles for loss. He knocked down a ball again last game. He’s consistently a great player every game.”

(on how much opposing teams are trying to do against DE J.J. Watt to slow him down) “Last week, the Patriots, every time, they brought the center to his side no matter where he was. We moved him around a lot and we’ve been doing that. Every time, they did a good job of turning towards him every play. We have to continue that.”

(on how DE J.J. Watt handles trying to adjust to what other teams are doing to him) “Well, J.J’s a really smart player. He can tell you what’s going on on the field. A lot of them come off and they can’t tell you who’s blocking them or that kind of thing, but J.J’s real sharp. He says, ‘Hey, this is happening.’ We say, ‘OK, do this or do that or go ahead and do what you’re doing.’ He’s really good about that.”

(on ILB Darryl Sharpton leading the team in tackles and what kind of season he is having, especially with ILB Brian Cushing being out) “Yeah, Darryl’s come in and done a really great job for us as far as being a physical run player and he calls all of the defenses for us. I think he’s had a good year.”

(on how ILB Darryl Sharpton has filled in since ILB Brian Cushing has been out) “Well, you can’t replace Brian Cushing. It’s one for one certainly. Any time you lose a playmaker like Cushing, that’s going to hurt you some. But I thought we’ve played pretty well in all spots and Darryl’s come in and done a good job.”

(on Patriots QB Tom Brady’s touchdown pass to TE Rob Gronkowski) “We ran a stunt over there and they blocked it. Yeah, the guy made a great catch, but he was going to throw to him early and we had him covered. He stayed with Gronkowski and Gronkowski made a (catch) off of his shoe tops. If you give a guy that long, he’s going to make plays. That’s why he’s such a great quarterback. A lot of quarterbacks would have brought the ball down or not thrown it.”

(on the decision to use ILB Jeff Tarpinian in passing situations more) “Well, we try to take some of it off of Sharpton. He has been playing every single play every single game. Tarp is a good pass defender. He had him (Rob Gronkowski) short on that play (the touchdown pass). It wasn’t like he got beat deep for a touchdown. He was on him and then they had him. Tarp’s done a good job for being here what three weeks or four weeks.”

T Duane Brown
(on how he likes this short week life) “Not too much. Usually you get a few hours to rest, a day or so to rest, but that’s been eliminated this week with our game on the road on Thursday. But it’s part of the business. We’re all professionals and we know how to handle it.”

(on if the short week is easier since they played the Jaguars 10 days ago) “That helps from a mental aspect of it, the preparation and putting in the game plan. You’ve got a pretty good idea of what you’re going to face. Mentally, I think it’s easy to have that quick turnaround, but the physical aspect of it is totally different.”

(on how he goes about pushing through things physical this week) “Try to sleep as much as possible. Pretty much go about the same routine, cold tub, massages, things like that to try and hurry up and recover as quick as possible.”

(on how much respect they have gained for the Jaguars after that first meeting) “We have had respect for them. You’ve got to have respect for any opponent you have. They always play us tough. We’ve gotten the best of them over the years, but it’s always been tough physical games. We’ve always had respect for them. We lost to them at home. You always gain a little bit more respect for any team that does that. We know we’re going to have our work cut out for us this game, going on the road out there on Thursday night.”

(on the running game against the Patriots) “We saw some things on film that we thought we could take advantage of. They do a great job of moving guys around, but we knew if we could stay with our blocks up front that are running backs could have success. We’re going to have to do that this week as well. I think Jacksonville has a bigger front than New England did and guys are a little more physical. So it’s going to be a little tougher, but we definitely have, like always, make it a point of emphasis to try to get it going early.”

QB Case Keenum
(on he ever gets to watch the defense and specifically DE J.J. Watt and the season he’s having) “Yeah, we tried to watch the defense in between looking at plays and doing a little bit. I try to ignore a little bit about what’s kind of going on and stay in my mindset, and stay, ‘OK, what do I need to do this next series? If they score here, if they do this’, I can’t really get into too much of that. But I just try to count on no matter what happens, going out and we’ve got to score a touchdown. But yeah, big plays obviously you can hear it when it happens and we watch the replay. So it’s impressive.”

(on his progression, particularly against the Patriots last week) “You know, I feel good. I feel like I’m seeing the field well. Especially in the second half, I felt like I did a good job of just kind of seeing the defense and taking what they gave me. Our guys did a pretty good job of running routes and offensive line was doing a great job of protecting. I’m just going to continue try to continue that momentum into this week.”

(on what he learned about Jacksonville from the first game) “Learned a lot. Obviously, we watched the film and seeing what we can do well. We’ve got to try and keep doing that and fix our problems, fix our protection problems, fix my problems with as far as going through reads and knowing my right reads and recognizing defenses. Now, instead of just having reps of seeing it on film and against the practice, a practice card defense, I’ve got real live reps against it and it’s still pretty fresh. Just trying to continue and get better and improve upon what we did last week.”

(on improving his competition percentage) “Yeah, I’m not looking at so much as percentage. Every time I throw the ball, I think that that puts pressure on defenses. When you’re just every time you’re dropping back to pass, you’re looking for completions, whether that’s down the field or a lot of little short passes. That makes them tackle somebody every play. So not necessarily just looking at a percentage, but just every time, just hey, ‘Completions, completions, completions.’”

(on his comfort level with the check down process and not going deep every time) “Yeah, there’s a lot of stuff that has gotten better, but still stuff that has to get better. The first third down against the Patriots, I had DJ (Dennis Johnson) as a check down and kind of floated a ball. That’s one where I have good protection and I can set my feet and put it on him and let him go. No telling if you get that guy in space. That’s what we’re trying to do. So continue to work on little stuff like that and being mindful of that stuff.”

(on just playing football versus having to think through things) “Yeah, you know, it is like you said, there is a moment where the structure of my reads and my thought process just kind of comes naturally and that’s when I feel like I’m in the zone or seeing the field. And not having to, I guess one way of putting of it, is not having to think too much and just reacting and playing. So yeah, there’s that little zone that sometimes you get into and I try to get there as much as possible.”

(on what the short week is like for him) “It’s nice. I kind of was telling somebody when we were going out to practice yesterday, I guess it’s kind of like a basketball schedule. You just have your shoot arounds and then you go play. So I kind of enjoy it, besides the fact of being a little more sore. We’re a little close to the game. But just going and playing, and trying to use some momentum from, offensively, just how we were rolling pretty well, running the ball and having a good mix up of run and pass. Just trying to keep it going to the next week.”

(on if he can imagine how hard this would be to learn all of this as a rookie and start the first week of the season) “I couldn’t imagine. I know it’s hard for me right and I’m doing my absolute best. Obviously, for me, my scale of, my personal how am I doing is based on winning and losing. So it’s a tough deal right now, but that’s why I keep looking forward. It would be tough. I think this job is tough for anybody. If it were easy, everybody would be doing this.”

(on not having lost many games in college and how difficult it is losing now) “It is tough and I take each one really hard. Like I said, I’m looking forward. I feel like quarterbacks, good quarterbacks have amnesia. That’s cliché, but you forget about what’s happened. You learn from it, you store it away and don’t make the same mistake twice. But you’ve got to keep moving forward. You’ve got to keep getting better. I’ve been told multiple times by many friends and other peers on the team, co-workers on the team here, players, players on other teams, and guys I’ve played with, some who have been in the league for a while, that it’s a grind. You have to keep grinding; you have to keep plugging away, and keep moving forward. That’s what I’m doing right now. I’m just trying to get better each week.”

(on if there’s an added responsibility to feel the need to help a guy so that he can get a job either here or at another place) “No, I’m not thinking about it on that scale. I’ve battled my whole life. I’ve battled to get a scholarship coming out of high school. I battled to win the starting job there. I battled to win games at U of H. I battled to get a spot here. And I’ve battled to make the team.  And I’m going to battle each week because I’m competitive and because I want to play my heart out for the guy next to me and I want to play my heart out for this team and for this city. All that other stuff is just, it’s not important. It’s just side extra stuff.”

(on how important it is to finish as strong as possible to show everyone that he can be a reliable starter for this team next year) “Yeah, again, I feel like that’s kind of along the same lines as not trying to think too much like that. At the same time, I feel like finishing the season strong would give us some momentum going into the offseason and next year. I don’t even know all of the possibilities and how everything outside of the football field works. You guys know more than I do I guess is what I’m trying to say, outside stuff. Yeah, I think it would be great for the team just moving forward and starting this week.”

(on how nice it was to see RB Ben Tate break out last week and if he feels like he’s setting an example for guy playing with broken ribs) “You know, I think he’s incredibly tough. I said it when it happened that he came back in. It was great to see him get going and find a rhythm and get into the zone and get into the end zone. But playing in his zone or his sweets spot, I think that that shows, if anything, as far as being an example, I think more so it shows guys, about him and how much he cares about us on this team and how much he cares about this team and this organization, and winning. He puts a lot of that stuff before himself and before literally his own feelings. I’ve got a lot of respect for that guy.”

OLB Whitney Mercilus
(on if there is too much pressure to try and get a win as opposed to getting back to the basics) “It could be. I can’t say for sure. We’re doing all that we can. We’re out there at practice trying to get every play perfect. Whether we mess up, we do plays over again. We beat each other up. Shoot, we’ve kept our bodies fresh some weeks. There’s no answer.”

(on what they learned in their first meeting with the Jaguars) “Caught me by surprise for sure, definitely. Personally, I think throughout the weeks of us losing, I think we’re the better team no matter what and things like that, but, at the end of the day, it’s whether you win or lose, obviously, we’ve lost time after time. Against the Jags, it was a little disappointing.”

(on if losing to the Jaguars last game gives the team a chip on the shoulder for this game) “Yeah, I would say so. Of course, we’re expecting what they’ve been doing for the last few weeks, especially what they did against us. We’re just going to go there and do our best.”

S D.J. Swearinger
(on the Jaguars offense and what they learned from the first meeting) “The quarterback impressed me a lot. He gets the ball out on time and hits his receivers. Ace (Sanders), my boy, he did some good things. (Maurice) Jones-Drew, it was good to play against him. A good offense. We’re working hard this week to stop them.”

(on how he’s dealing with what’s going on right now with the team) “You’ve just got to ignore it and play ball. We’ve got to try and get better and find a way to win. That’s what we’ve been trying to do.”

(on the keys to tightening up the defense considering what happened in the second half of last week’s game) “Just staying calm, playing the game and letting the game come to us instead of trying to do much or trying to do somebody else’s job. Just settling down and being relaxed and playing football.”

DE J.J. Watt
(on what teams are trying to do to game plan for him and the success he is still having) “Yeah, I expected it coming into this season that teams are going to give me just about every single challenge I could possibly see. That’s part of being a good player in this league, you have to expect that teams are going to try and find ways to stop you. You just have to look at it as a challenge. You have to find a way to break through it, find a way to make a play, find a way to get a hit on the quarterback and do whatever you can. But I see it as a sign of respect and as a challenge. And I enjoy it.”

(on going up to coaches in between series and telling them about what he’s seeing) “Yeah, it’s all part of the game. You have to be able to understand what’s going on and dissect what’s happening, so that you can come back and try and get it fixed. As a player, that makes you good, too. You have to realize what’s happening and what kind of blocks you’re getting and how to play them properly. That’s part of my game that’s evolved over the past two years. With experience, I’ve definitely gained a lot of knowledge and I’ve gotten a lot smarter. So my instincts are getting better because I’m quicker with recognizing schemes and blocks and I can adjust on the fly. That’s part of the reason I’ve had success in my short time in the league.”

(on how the team is handling the short week against Jacksonville this week) “A short turnaround, it can go one of two ways. But I think, for us right now, we need it because you can get back out there on Thursday and try and get this taste out of your mouth. It’s a chance to go play a football game and obviously hopefully get a win and get on the right track. I’m looking forward to just getting back out on the field. That’s what I like about a quick turnaround.”

(on what learned about the Jaguars from the first meeting) “They’re a good football team. Obviously, they came in here and they won a football game on the road. They’ve played well. You need to go all four quarters. You need to play good football. We just need to make sure that we do the right things.”

(on how difficult it is to accept that this team has the worst record in the league right now) “Yeah, I think that’s a pretty self-explanatory answer. But yeah, it’s not where you want to be. That is for darn sure.”

(on what people don’t understand since they are out here trying to get a win) “Every day, you’re putting full intensity, full effort, full energy in. Every game, full effort, full intensity, full energy. That’s the only way that I know how. I go out there with the same intensity. We all go out there with the same effort. You’re playing with the same enthusiasm. You’re trying to have just as much fun because that’s the way you know how and that’s the only way that I know how to play the game, is hard as you possibly can with as much an emotion, as much intensity, as much excitement as you possibly can. That’s what you have to do.”

(on what it takes to adjust from a short week from a physical standpoint) “You have to take care of your body, do a great job taking care of your body. Obviously, you need to do a great job all year leading up to this because it is tough. It’s an extremely tough turnaround, especially when you’re going on the road. But if you’ve been doing a good job all year taking care of your body and you do a good job in these couple of days, it’s not impossible and you can do a good job. I feel like I’ve done that and my body will be just fine.”

(on the positives and negatives of seeing an opponent so soon) “Positives, you obviously have a game of film that’s very recent that you can watch. Negatives, there’s not a whole lot of other film in between the games. But it’s a familiar opponent and they are seeing the same film that you’re seeing, and it’s a quick turnaround. But in a situation like this where you lost a couple of weeks ago, it’s a chance to go out and get back on the right track and maybe get a win back. And that’s the goal. That’s when a short turnaround is nice is when you can go back out there and get that taste out of your mouth.”

Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley 
(on going 3-1 in the past month and what the difference has been) “Well, you know what? We really haven’t changed our philosophy or our approach differently than we did in the beginning of the season or, for that matter, back in OTAs or minicamp. So I think that’s been the key for us. Our team really feels the consistency and I think all of the attention has just been on truly getting better and sometimes that’s hard when you’re 0-8. Your mind can wonder. You can get on other things. And you may not get better every day. I think that’s been the key to us is that we really have in practice and you’re seeing signs of us getting better and it’s carrying over to the games.”

(on if winning games and getting the ball rolling and if that can help change the mentality of everybody) “I think we tried to keep the focus, I know this is unique, away from winning. We really just tried to challenge our guys on getting better. But not to be naïve, without a doubt, when you have some victories that go along with it, that validates it. And I think the players feed off of that. The challenge for me, as a coach, is just to stay true to our convictions and what we’re all about, and keep them in that mindset so that we continually get better.”

(on the progression of QB Case Keenum) “It was impressive now, the New England game, when we watched it. Just where they are as a team and what they’re going through and to come out a very competitive, as a team, (they) played hard, played with great effort. It’s a credit to Coach (Gary) Kubiak and to his staff and to the players. They fought their tails off and it was very evident on tape. I think, with Case, you see him competing and there are some different things they’ve done in the New England game that we saw in previous games. I think they’re fitting his style a little bit more. Every game that he plays, you see him getting better and better.”

(on his thoughts on playing the Texans in such a short period of time and if that’s an advantage at all) “As in the NFL, every game is different. What we saw a couple of weeks ago is going to be different than what we saw on Thursday. I would say probably the same for them as well. So each game has its own personality. I think, for us, when you do have a short week to prepare, like we have, to have played them so recently, it does help in the preparation a little bit because you can refer back to some of the things you saw. But I think that can be dangerous as well because teams change as the weeks go on.”

(on how impressive DE J.J. Watt has been) “He’s so disruptive and we saw it first hand in our game. He is a guy that you have to be aware of where he is on the field. Like I said earlier to you guys, to run to him or run away from him or how to protect against him, it creates issues for us, in our run game and our pass game. We have to have great awareness of where he’s at, but I think we have to be careful to stay true to who we are too. We can’t put so much emphasis on him that we kind of lose what we’re trying to do. That’s always a challenge, but he’s so disruptive (that) it’s hard not to go there.”

Jacksonville Jaguars Quarterback Chad Henne
(on going 3-1 in the past four games) “We just kept believing. We kept getting better each and every week. We’ve been able to, offensively, just been able to run the ball, which has helped our offense out tremendously, especially in the play action and some of the passing game. Being able to run the ball has eased a lot of our sorrows away.”

(on what was preventing the team from being able to run earlier in the year) “A lot of things. We weren’t blocking well. We weren’t hitting the right holes. A lot went into went it. We kind of went back to our basics. We’re just running a couple of run plays that we feel comfortable with and just mixing up our formations and personnel, and just executing that way.”

(on the advantages and disadvantages to playing the Texans two times in three weeks) “It’s a tough defense. It was definitely a big physical game for us. Obviously, it’s a great defense and the advantages are that you know what you’re going to get. Just having one game away, there are not a whole lot of changes that are going to go on, especially in a short week like this. It’s just mano-a-mano, and just go out there and play ball. Whoever wins the one-on-one matchups is going to win.”

(on if it benefits them to just go out and play and not worry as much about scheming) “Absolutely. That’s how it is every week. Certain teams will scheme and do different things. We’ll have some different wrinkles than what we did two last weeks ago. Other than that, it’s just run our base plays and whoever wins the matchups will win.”

(on if their team ever got down on themselves earlier in the season when they were struggling or if they knew it would be a longer process) “There was a never a down time. Gus Bradley’s a positive motivator. We built our program on executing our positives and playoff off the positives. We understand our negatives, but we preach the positives. We just kept getting better each and every week even though it didn’t show in the scores and wins and losses. We felt we were getting better as a team.”

 

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