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Texans Quotes: December 12

Posted Dec 12, 2013

Read quotes from Texans players and coaches following Thursday's practice.

Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips
Defensive Backs Coach Vance Joseph
TE Ryan Griffin
DE Antonio Smith

Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips
(opening statement) “As far as practicing, Garrett Graham was really the only guy that didn’t practice today. Still has got a hamstring issue, but (Jake) Byrne and Shiloh (Keo), Greg Jones practiced, Wade Smith practiced. Everybody but Garrett Graham practiced.”

(on how TE Owen Daniels is progressing) “He’s still not practicing any. Certainly wouldn’t look for him this week. I think maybe they’re shooting for next week, but I don’t know for sure.”

(on if TE Owen Daniels will play if he can this season) “Yeah, I think he would. Yeah, sure.”

(on TE Garrett Graham’s status) “Well, he hasn’t practiced the last two days. We’re obviously worried about that. We’re down to two tight ends, but only one of them has played. And he’s played as a backup. (Ryan) Griffin’s really the only that’s played.”

(on if they’ll use extra tackles depending on how the tight end situation is for this week’s game) “Yeah, we have that in our package to be able to put a tackle in at tight end, those kinds of things. We still have a full back. We still have a two-back offense and we’d have to make some adjustments as far as two tight ends.”

(on if he ever thinks about how close this division could have been) “Yeah, well, when you win it two years in a row, you certainly think about those things as you go along. That’s where we are.”

(on what makes NT Earl Mitchell so unique for his position) “Earl’s very fast for a defensive linemen and has tremendous desire to get to the football. He makes a lot of assists. They’re not many defensive linemen, defensive tackles, nose guards that make as many assists as he does. He does a really good job at that because he’s relentless.”

(on what it’ll take to get the head coaching job) “That’s for somebody else to decide that. Like I said, that’s something I can’t worry about or even think about. I’ve been thinking about what we need to do. We worked on two-minute today. We worked on some things we hadn’t worked on. We worked a lot on the red zone, which we need obviously and the two-minute part. Just things that this football team needs right now for us to be more successful. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

(on how the team responded to having the refs at practice) “I think it just made everybody aware more. It’s something I think helps this week and we’ll continue doing that. We’ll continue the rest of the year doing that.”

(on if QB Case Keenum has improved in the hurry-up and two-minute offense) “Yeah. We actually repeated again today. We had to do it again twice because we needed, it wasn’t part of the schedule, but we wanted to do it again so he would get more comfortable with it. It’s something that he really did well in college. We’ve got get him on that page as far as we’re concerned.”

(on TE Ryan Griffin’s progress this year) “He’s done a really good job. He’s a really good pick for us, especially where he was picked. We’ve been able to utilize him in a lot of different ways, special teams and tight end. He’s made some big plays in ball games. His blocking’s pretty good. He’s a good young player for us.”

(on how much his experience as a head coach and interim coach helps him to handle what he’s going through now) “The head coaching part, you have the team and you kind of mold them the way you want to. You’ve got training camp, you’ve got the off season, you’ve got all of those things. So it’s really more your team. The interim thing has, we lost six out of the last seven at New Orleans when I took over. We lost 10 out of the last 12 when I took over at Atlanta. And now we’ve lost 11 in a row (and) I’m taking over here. So those aren’t great circumstances to step into. I don’t know how good Vince Lombardi could do in all of those situations.”

(on his strengths as a head coach) “I think I’m a winner first. The team’s I’ve coached have a very high winning percentage. That’s what I think.”

(on what went into him becoming a winner) “Because of my record. Well, I think part of it is experience. The teams I’ve had have good offenses and good defenses if you look into it. You can count in on them, but, as far as a head coach, my winning percentage is higher than, I think it’s 29th in the National Football League, in the history of the National Football League for 100 games or more. That’s why I said I go on my record.”

(on if he feels like there’s an age issue with head coaches given that there’s been a trend toward younger coaches) “I don’t know about that. I’d say no if I get hired.”

Defensive Backs Coach Vance Joseph
(on how special it is to get the opportunity to call plays this week) “Sure, it’s special and I’m honored by it. It’s going to be good. I’m excited about it, Wade (Phillips) is excited about it, the players are excited about it. It’s time to win a football game. That’s what it’s about, winning.”

(on the challenges of calling the defense against the Colts offense) “It’s challenge. It’s a multiple offense. They run the ball well. They throw it well. The quarterback is amazing. He’s a very smart guy. You can’t trick him. It takes solid football to beat that guy.”

(on how much calling plays this week can help toward becoming a head coach) “I’m a long way from that. That’s a long way away. I’m a DB coach right now and hopefully a coordinator in the future, and hopefully a head coach in the future.”

(on how much calling the plays this week helps towards becoming a coordinator) “A lot if it’s good. Again, it’s about winning. It’s about our team this weekend, not about me.”

(on if there will be a lot of back and forth between him and Wade Phillips about what plays to call) “Probably. He can override me when he wants. I’ll make the call. It happens so fast (that) he probably can’t a lot, but, in between the series, he can help me out.”

(on if he’ll be more aggressive as a play caller than other guys have been in this situation) “More aggressive than Coach Wade (Phillips)? That’s hard to be. I don’t know. Again, the works done during the week. Calling a game is really a group of us. We find the best calls for the best personnel and down and distance, and call them. Calling a game won’t be as hard as you think. All of the works been done during the week.”

TE Ryan Griffin
(on if he’s thought about how far he’s come this season) “Honestly, no. I really haven’t had a chance to do that.”

(on how far he’s come this season) “You know, I don’t think now’s the time. I can take a step back and look at all of that stuff after the season. I want to try to get better. Right now, it’s a week-to-week basis and it’s just all about the Colts right now.”

(on the opportunity he’s been presented with because of the way that things have worked out at the tight end position) “Absolutely. That’s something I’ll never take for granted. I’ve had many opportunities to get to this point and I’m not taking them for granted.”

(on if what’s gone on this year has made for an interesting rookie season for him) “Yeah, I don’t know how anybody else’s rookie year has ever gone before, but, here, with everything that’s gone on with the losses and the coaching change and the rookies getting in to trouble, it’s been a crazy year as far as I’m concerned (with) my first year in the NFL. There’s not much you can do, just keep grinding and keep doing what you do, just keep control of what you can control.”

(on if everything that’s gone on this season has made it harder to focus as far as picking up and offense or the way of life in the NFL) “It’s all tough. All of the stuff that’s happened this year hasn’t made it any easier. That’s for sure. It’s not like I can just sit here complaining and make excuses.”

(on the possibility of being the only receiving tight end option this week and possibility using offensive tackles to play tight end) “If we need Ryan Harris or (Andrew) Gardner to step in and play some tight end for us, then so be it. But yeah, I’ll be ready to catch the ball and block, do whatever I do.”

DE Antonio Smith
(on how the team has responded to the changes made this week) “I would say we’ve responded pretty good. Having fun out there in practice, everybody’s flying around pretty good I would say.”

(on what’s been tough about playing at Indianapolis) “I do not know. I don’t know if it’s a special something or one specific thing. We just have not been able to pull a win out of there.”

(on how much comfort he takes about being up on the Colts by 18 points at one time just a few weeks ago) “I don’t take any comfort in that because we ended up losing. I think that if we come out and play like that, that we’ll be able to get a jump on them and our thing is finishing. We need to get better at finishing. That’s been biting us in butt for I don’t know how many weeks. I can’t even count anymore.”

(on what the team did well in the first half against the Colts the last time the two team’s played) “It’s probably about the last time we really were having fun and making plays, flying around. I think we came out pretty excited for that game. We knew that, at that point in the season, that was probably going to be one of the top teams to contend against in our division. So it’s always a rivalry. They say Jacksonville’s a rivalry, but even in times when Peyton (Manning) was playing for them, I saw this more of a rivalry than Jacksonville. This game always is like an exciting one.”

(on what it’s going to be like with Vance Joseph calling plays on Sunday) “I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s going to be like. The meeting room already has got a little different feel to it. He’s just got a different approach than Wade (Phillips). I don’t know what to call it. It’s just a swag, a different type of vibe. I’ve been watching Wade in practice. He’s just down there chilling with the offense the whole practice. He hardly has been with us. It’s going to be different. It’s going to be new, but we haven’t done this yet. I’m looking forward to it being successful and being fun.”

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