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Texans Quotes: November 27

Posted Nov 27, 2013

Read quotes from Texans players and coaches as they spoke with the media on Wednesday.

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(opening statement) “Guys that did not practice today – (Darryl) Sharpton’s a normal Wednesday off. Wade Smith’s a normal Wednesday off. Antonio Smith is taking care of some personal business, so he’s excused from me. Starling is not back yet. Kareem practiced on a limited basis, so took a step forward today. We’ll see where we’re at tomorrow.”
(on how CB Kareem Jackson looked today) “He looked pretty good in what he did. Pretty cold day out there and hard to get going. We only had him take a few reps. We challenged with the ball a little bit, so it was a step in the right direction. We’ll see. We’re going to have to kind of work him through the week, bring him a long more a little each day, but we definitely need him.”
(on what the team has learned about from the Patriots in the last two meetings against them) “Well, we were in two really big games with them last year toward the end of the year, which meant a lot from a positioning standpoint and then the big playoff game. They’re an excellent football team, extremely well coached, a lot of big time players. They were missing a few of them earlier in the season. They’ve gotten a lot of guys back. They’re healthy and in position to make their big run right now and playing extremely well. It starts with their leadership. Their head coach is tremendous. Their quarterback has been tremendous for many, many years. And then defensively, they’re probably as a tough to deal with as there is in football from the standpoint of getting ready to play them, complexity standpoint. Just a tremendous organization, been very successful for a long time.”
(on what he thought about the Patriots comeback win last week) “Yeah, it was amazing. The thing it shows you is the great composure they have. They’re in the moment all of the time. Early in the season, they won some low scoring games. They have some guys now. And now, here they go and come back from 24 the other night. If you’re going to be good in this league, you’ve got to be able to win all kind of ways, offense, defense, special teams. And they’re built that way and they believe that way. They don’t feel like they’re ever in a bad situation because their quarterback’s got control of what’s going on and answers the bell every week.”
(on where he’ll coach from this week) “I have every intention of being on the field.”
(on if the doctors will let him coach from the field) “I hope so. I think I’ve got probably a better chance than I had last week. That’s the way I’d answer it right now.”
(on what one part sets Patriots QB Tom Brady a part form other quarterbacks) “Leadership. I’ve played against him so many times. Of course, in Denver, I was in some huge games against him in the playoffs and various times. But just leadership. You watch him just handle the group. You go back this year and you look earlier this season, some of the young guys he’s playing with and having to control the ship until he got some of his other guys back. That just tells you how strong he is and in total control of what’s going on at all times. When you sit there and do it for, it’s got to be about 14, somewhere in there, 13-14 (years), that’s what’s the Hall of Fame’s all about, when guys do that week-in and week-out for that long, and he’s done it.”
(on Patriots QB Tom Brady playing better recently and if something changed) “No, they haven’t changed anything. Somebody told me our passing yards are more than theirs. Nobody would ever believe that. But I think you just watch their team evolve this year and you watch what was going on with their team early in the season with some young, young players he was playing with. They’re waiting on Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), a couple of other receivers were out, they lose (Vince) Wilfork, they’ve got some things going on. So they went out each week and found a way to win that game, whether it was a low-scoring game, run the ball defensive game or whatever. They hung in there until they got those guys back because they knew they were coming back. It’s just the way their season has progressed. But right now, what you see is fully loaded and loaded for bear, so to speak, whatever that is, because they’re all back in place right now.”
(on if the Patriots defense doesn’t get enough credit) “There’s no doubt about that. I think that they’ve, like last year, I want to say defensively, they were ranked defensively somewhere after 15, in there, but I think they were the best team in the red zone all year long last year. If not, they were top. They don’t give up points. They just, they make a lot of big plays on the ball. They’re very aggressive defensively. They’ll take some chances. Losing the big guy inside, they’ve hung in there and they’ve got some young guys playing extremely well. But I think, defensively, for me as a coach and coordinator for years, as tough a team to prepare your guys to play as there is.”
(on what a victory against the Patriots could mean for the rest of the season) “Yeah, no doubt that. I talked to the team about that this morning. Obviously, we’ve been struggling and it’s been very difficult. We’ve got to work our way out of this thing. There would be nothing better than for us to play our best this weekend and we’re going to have to, in all honesty. Our guys understand that. We’re back to work today. We’ve got some big challenges to prepare for. We’ve got some distractions in Thanksgiving and those types of things. Trying to push through and getting ready to play these guys makes it pretty tough.”
(on how QB Case Keenum is progressing under center compared to in the shot gun) “Yeah, that’s a good question. What we’ve tried to do is obviously when we got started, he went to the pistol. We did some things there in the pistol. We took him back under for a while. We’re continuing to find out what he does best and take a hard look at everything we changed offensively a little bit to try to fit some of his strengths that we think. So it has come back to doing a little bit of both and we’re trying to sort through that and see what we think he does best. But that is something we’ve been juggling here for about five weeks.”
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on being in a lot of close games recently and if that’s more frustrating or encouraging) “Any time you lose, you’re not that encouraged. We’re very frustrated. We need to find a win. We need to play better, so that we can win. I think everybody in the building is frustrated, on top of the board. Frustrated with myself and trying to do something to help us win. We’re all trying to do that.”
(on if this team has the confidence that they’ll be able to tie or win the game when they have the ball in the last drive) “We hope we do. We’re just not getting it done. Confidence or not, we have to execute. That’s the thing that we’re missing. We’re just not executing when need to. In those situations at the end and there’s a lot of critical situations throughout that game that we’re not getting it done. But we keep working at it.”
(on if they have to do different thing to shake things up or if it’s just stay the course) “I think each person will do that a little different. For me, it’s a challenge. A challenge that let’s change, let’s re-think, let’s make sure that we’re putting our players in the right position. What I try to do every day, whether or lose anyway. Certainly, it’s more critical when you’re not pulling the games out, when you’re not making the plays you need to.”
(on the Patriots defense being a tough defense to prepare for) “Well, they’re big and physical. They’ve had some injuries up front, but they’re still big and physical, and they’re multiple in what they do. That’s what makes them very difficult. They seem to be able to change what they do on a week-to-week basis. So the structure is something that we’re preparing for. Don’t think that they’ll change it that much, but know that you have to beat man coverage and you have to be physical, and you have to be patient and protect the quarterback.”
(on former Texans and now Patriots DT Chris Jones) “He’s a fine player. We thought he was fine player when he was here and he certainly has performed. He’s made some plays. He’s gotten to the quarterback. He’s done a lot of good things for them up there.”
(on if it’s tough to see the position Head Coach Gary Kubiak is in right now) “He takes a lot on his shoulders and that’s the way he always is. It wouldn’t be matter if we were losing at a card game. He would take a lot of pressure upon himself, which he doesn’t need to. We’re all a part of it. We’re not adding to the solution. We just try to keep supporting each other and letting him know that we’re fighting through this. We’ll all stick together the best we can and make things happen. We’ll get it turned around. We’ve just got to keep battling and keeping everybody focused on, rather than the big picture, let’s go to the details. Let’s make sure we understand that what we do, technique and assignment wise, controls the big picture.”
(on QB Case Keenum scrambling out of the pocket early) “I don’t know what to make of it, but I can tell that’s basically what he was doing. He’s just got to let it go. He’s got to pull the trigger when he knows what he sees. For whatever reason, he was a little hesitant. We’re working through that.”
(on helping QB Case Keenum with pulling the trigger faster in the pocket) “All I know is he certainly wasn’t pulling the trigger as soon as he needed to last week and that’s part of the thing that, we’ll get him to do that. That’s part of offensive executive and everybody’s got to be the same way. I think we’re working on it and making sure he has a great week of preparation to get that done.”
(on the Patriots defense and why they’re hard to prepare for) “I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball, obviously. I know that certainly he presents a lot of different things that can happen with the defensive package the Patriots themselves (have). The way they interchange personnel is enough to keep you busy. So we’ve got to trust, linemen have got to trust what they see. The back’s got to trust himself on the read and protections. And the quarterback’s no different.”
(on what he thought about the Patriots comeback win last week) “I did not watch it. Obviously, looked at the tape and, when I look at the tape, I only look at one side. They were impressive on that side. They had a couple of field positions problems you’d say early on the defensive side. And they certainly did a fine job at the end.”
(on if he sensed the game up there last year on Monday Night Football and the team seeming like they haven’t been the same since, and if that is merely coincidental) “Oh, I don’t buy into that at all. We’re not playing very well. We’ve had spurts and there’s a continuity. It’s just a matter of being consistent, but I don’t think there’s any one point in time where you can say that.”
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips 
(on if QB Tom Brady is the best quarterback he’s ever had to coach against) “Yeah, Bobby Layne was pretty good now. I didn’t coach against Bobby Layne. I guess I should’ve gone further back than that. The Four Horsemen were really tough to stop. Yeah, he (Brady) is one of the all-time great quarterbacks. There is no doubt about that. It’s proven every week, the way he’s played, the Super Bowls he’s won. He’s been the top quarterback or at the top of quarterbacks every year for a long time.”
(on having been through some tough years as a head coach in Dallas) “Rough? Yeah. They fire you in the middle of the year, that’s pretty rough.”
(on the team having to stick together when the outside world  is against them) “Obviously there is a lot of criticism, and probably rightly so in a lot of them because our record reflects what we are right now. You still have to have pride in what you do. You have to play for each other. You have to coach the best you can coach. My dad always said that saying, but I learned it the hard way. We were here with the Oilers and lost three straight years in the playoffs to the team that won the Super Bowl. Then on New Year’s Eve, we got fired. I thought I was a good coach then. I realized that they fire all kinds of coaches, whether you’re good, bad or indifferent. You coach as hard as you can. You play as hard as you can. I think as bad as it sounds sometimes, these are really big challenges that if you overcome those, it makes you stronger. The mental toughness that you have to have can come through in times like these.”
(on how Gary Kubiak has navigated through the criticism) “Kub, with the health problems too, I think the team is playing hard. The effort is there. We’ve got to execute better obviously, and I know he’ll say the same thing. We’ve just been so close, so many times. It seems like a tailspin where it just keeps happening to us in a different way almost every time. He’s kept the team together well. I think they work hard. I think it says for the character of the people that we have here, they’re not pointing fingers. They’re not looking at the other guy saying, ‘Hey, what’re you going to do?’ They’re trying to do it themselves. I think that message still comes through. I still see the enthusiasm at practice. We’re determined to win this ballgame. I know we’ve been saying that every game, but that’s what we’re trying to do every ballgame and I think our guys think they can and will do that.”
(on what advice he has given Gary Kubiak when dealing with times like these) “Each person is different in those things. Like I’ve said, I think Gary has handled it well. I think he’s handled it well with the players. I think he’s doing what he needs to do.”
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus saying he was thinking less last week and just reacting) “We told him to let it go, basically. Whit is a guy that tries to do everything perfect all the time. He gets upset with himself if it isn’t. Those kinds of personalities need to let it go sometimes. They just need to go and play and not worry about anything. That’s what we asked him to try and do. After the ballgame, he said that’s what he did. He made a couple of mistakes and I told him, ‘Hey, those are mine. If you’ll just play as hard as you can play, we’ll practice you and get those mistakes right. But if you’ll play as hard as you can play and not worry about if this guy goes here and then what I do when this one.’ He knows what to do and he did it well last week. I think it was one of his best games.”
(on how the secondary has played with the loss of SS Danieal Manning) “I think Manning was a key guy. You just don’t see the big plays. When running plays breakout for long gains, Danieal could really run and really tackle. I think obviously that hurt us some. We still played well in spots certainly. We still don’t feel like we’re hurting as far as pass defense or run defense overall, but anytime you lose a great player like (Brian) Cushing and Manning and people like that, it’s going to hurt you some.”
(on how CB Kareem Jackson looked at practice today) “He looked alright. He did practice some, so that’s a positive.”
(on the play of DT Chris Jones) “We picked him. I thought he was a good pick at the time and obviously it was. We have a lot of good players in our front defensive line, but I think he’s done well. I’m glad for him. He’s a hard worker. I’m glad he’s done well.”
(on if the Patriots offense looks like their offenses of old with TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Julian Edelman and WR Danny Amendola all back and playing) “Yeah, they’re back to where they were. Early in the year, you could see, with just new receivers and not the big target, the big tight end target, I think they would probably tell you they struggled a little bit offensively early in the year. They’re hitting on all cylinders now. They have, the last several games, been dominant on offense, like they have been year after year. They look like themselves.”
(on if the Patriots have been able to compensate for the loss of TE Aaron Hernandez) “I mean, (Rob) Gronkowski and all three guys mentioned (Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola), they’re all really good players. He’s used to throwing to those people. Amendola has fit in well. He’s an option route guy that they had with (Wes) Welker, so he’s fit in well. Other guys can make plays. Gronkowski, you can really tell, it’s been a big difference. He’s got a guy to go to in time of need.”
(on Bill Belichick) “I have great respect for them certainly. (Bill) Belichick is a great coach. He’s been that way since I coached against him when I was the head coach in Buffalo. He’s always been an outstanding coach, as a coordinator and as a head coach.”
(on how much the Texans learned about themselves after losing twice to the Patriots in 2012) “Last year’s team is a different team than this year. Each year is a new team. They had a different team earlier in the year than they do now. We do too. It’s one game at a time and study your opponent and get ready for what they do and what they like to do. They have some tendencies that we try to take advantage of, but they’re a strong offensive team. Everybody knows that.”
(on the Patriots running backs) “They have a stable of running backs. All those guys can run with the football and catch it. The quarterback can get it to any player, that’s the thing that they do so well. Any kind of matchup, whether it’s running game or passing game, they can take advantage of it.”
(on if the Patriots still run as many hurry up pass plays like they did in 2012) “They run some. Hopefully, our crowd will get into it and they won’t be able to call it as quickly here. I think we will. We’ve got great fans here. They’ve shown up through hard times and we’re asking them to help us this game, and I think they will.”
(on his thanksgiving plans) “I don’t have any. I’ll be in the house watching football. That’s about it.”
(on the Patriots defense) “I think they’re a very good defense. I think they play very well as a group. It’ll be very challenging for us. They rush the quarterback, have a great cornerback in (Aqib) Talib, who will probably be following me around. I know when we played them last time, he did. Like I said, it’ll be a challenge, but, at the same time, you see teams go out and make plays on them if you go out and do what you’re supposed to do. That’s just the big thing, if we go out and do what we’re supposed to do, then we should be able to hit our plays.”
(on maybe being matched up with CB Aqib Talib and what he can do) “I think he brings a little bit of both to the game, he can play physical, he mixes it up pretty well. He’s a big cornerback. I went against him twice last year. It was a good challenge. Lot of respect for each other. That was something we said after we went against each other. I think he’s one of the top guys in the league in my opinion. You like going against guys like that. You get to see what his game is and it’s a challenge. You like to go against the best.”
(on how devastating the losses were to the Patriots last year and it seeming like this team hasn’t been the same since) “Well, they were games we just didn’t win. We went up there and just didn’t get the job done. That’s pretty much it.”
(on not being able to pull out the close games recently and if that’s more frustrating) “That’s always frustrating when you lose. You always wonder what you could have done better to change the outcome. Any time you lose, it’s frustrating.”
(on QB Case Keenum saying he was hesitant last week and if he saw that, and if there was anything with timing) “I can’t really comment on that. I’m not back there going through reads and stuff. I just try to get open and have him throw me the ball. You’ll have to talk to him about that one.”
(on how QB Case Keenum has developed in the five weeks he’s been start) “I think he’s done well. I think sometimes he struggles, but that’s part of it. At times, I struggle and I’ve been playing this game for a long time. Every time you go out, everything is not going to be peaches and cream. It’s going to be tough at times. For him, he’s just starting. So people are going to throw a lot of things at him and they try to figure out what he does well and try to stop him from doing those things. For him, it’s a little bit tougher because he has so much coming at him at one time in such a short period of time. But that’s part of it. He’ll learn from it. I think every game he’s played, he’s learned. He’s tried to make adjustments and, so far, I think he’s done a pretty good job.”
(on if he’s had any conversations with QB Case Keenum about having struggles and them not being a big deal) “For him, usually you don’t have to tell him that. After every game, he’s always saying, ‘Man, I’ve got to do better, play better. I’ll play better for you guys.’ He’s hard on himself. You don’t really find many young guys that come out and tell you stuff like that. It just shows what kind of guy he is and how bad he wants to win, and how bad he wants to help this team.”
(on if he appreciates QB Case Keenum’s attitude about trying to do better) “Yeah, you definitely appreciate that attitude. Right now, he’s our quarterback and he’s leading our offense. You want your guy leading your offense to have that kind of attitude.”
(on how much a win against the Patriots would do for this team) “It would get everybody out of this funk. It would just lighten the mood up around here. I think it’s going to make everything just so great, but I think it would change the mood a little bit because we haven’t a game in so long. Sometimes a win can cure a lot of things. I think it would be big if we were able to do that.”
(on how to get out of this losing streak) “Same as every week, head to the grindstone, continuing running. We’re still searching for that win and get out of this losing streak. Right now, I think the intensity level is still at an all-time high. Nobody in this league would have ever imagined that we’d be on a nine-game losing streak. For us, it’s just about getting back to the basics and do what we do and play winning football.”
(on what he learned from playing the Patriots twice last year) “Every snaps counts. You have to go over and cover every basis because Tom Brady, he uses every weapon that he has in his arsenal. As a defense, we have to game plan and try to utilize everything that we have from a defensive standpoint to give him different looks.”
(on how CB Kareem Jackson looked today) “I think he looked great today. Obviously, we didn’t have on the pads or anything. That would be the biggest challenge for him, running around and getting hit and things like that. From a physical standpoint, I think he ran around well today.”
(on how hard it is to disguise that the defense is doing against somebody like Patriots QB Tom Brady) “It’s not hard at all. You don’t want to get too far over the top with trying to disguise and that putting you in a bad spot on a particular play or a particular down and distance. So for us, from a disguise standpoint, you have to kind of mix it up some because you don’t want to throw in too much where it gets you off your normal game plan also.”
QB Case Keenum
(on if he has surprised that they haven’t won in any of his starts despite being competitive) “I’m very surprised. We go in each week expecting to win. That’s definitely one of the words you can use to describe not winning.”
(on what he has focused on most this week) “I’ve focused this week on trust. That’s kind of been my one word that can encompass a lot of things in that arena. Trusting my preparation, trusting my reads, trusting what I’m seeing, trusting my pocket and trusting a lot things. Even when things aren’t going well, obviously I want to be perfect, but I know I’m not. I know things are going to come up and I’m going to make mistakes. They’re going to make plays and it’s about continuing to trust through those mistakes and through those things and not become hesitant after that.”
(on struggling to bounce back after poor lays in the last game and how it affected him) “There are probably a lot of things. One thing, making sure I focus on my fundamentals and focus on the process. that’s something that I have to do consistently. I think any little bit of a misstep and an inch here or an inch there, a split second a ball is late in this league, is a huge difference. I’m focusing on my fundamentals and focusing on the process, focusing on things that I’ve always done well. I have to continue to do that. I can’t just take that stuff for granted.”
(on how much WR Andre Johnson has helped his learning and development) “It’s helped a lot. He’s not just a force on the field, but off the field just as a guy that guys can lean on. You know what you’re going to get out of him. You know what type of leader he is. He is somebody that everybody trusts and respects. He wants to win. I think being a leader like that, just the example that he sets for all of us off the field and on the practice field, being that type of guy is huge. It’s something that I definitely try to model my work ethic like his because he’s one of the best in the game and that’s ever played. Being around a guy like that, I’m just trying to brush shoulders and let some of it rub off.”
(on what he’s learned most over the past five weeks of starting in the NFL) “Just to keep grinding, keep working, keep plugging, keep pushing forward, keep looking forward while learning from your mistakes and what’s happened. I’m still look forward. At the same time, not looking too far forward. Looking at what’s going on right now. I’m looking at today and just continuing to do that day in and day out. I think that’s important and one of the biggest things I’ve learned.”
(on if the NFL is more difficult now than he thought it would be when he was a kid) “I guess when you think about it as a kid, you’re just thinking about playing football. When you get here, I think you realize that it is the best of the best. It’s hard to say. I haven’t thought too much about that. I’ve got a lot of other things I’m thinking about. It is different in a lot of ways and it’s the same. It’s football. It’s throwing and catching and blocking and tackling. It’s just a whole lot bigger and faster guys doing it. It’s the best in the world doing it. I think anybody, whatever you do, you ought to want to see how you stack up against the best. That’s what I see every chance I get to go out and do, is competing and showing what I can do against the very best because I feel like my game and what I can do, my abilities. I feel like I deserve to be here. I think that it’s kind of measuring yourself up against everybody else. That’s part of competition and part of what makes this game great.”
(on his thoughts on Patriots QB Tom Brady as a quarterback) “The list is pretty long there. Obviously, what he’s been able to do. I respect Tom, just how competitive he is and you can see all over his face. You can see it in his teammates and how he interacts with those guys. I think that alone, just being the fierce competitor that he is, I enjoy watching that and watching him do what he does.”
(on what stands out about the personality and off the field stuff of Gary Kubiak)  “There’s a lot. There’s the working side and how hard he coaches and what he expects of everybody, and what he expects of his quarterbacks. He sees a lot more and knows what we’re capable of. Maybe even past what we think or what we know because he’s seen a lot. Like I’ve said before, I think he’s one of the best quarterback coaches around. Off the field, I think he’s a great guy. I’m proud to know him and I’m proud to play for him. I’m proud to be on his team and I respect the heck out of him.”
(on if Gary Kubiak has been steady through the tough points of the season) “Yeah, as steady as some of the crises we’ve had and a lot of that’s not even football related, just with personal life and all of that stuff. But he’s always been the same guy, the competitive nature and the competitive drive. Just in the short time I’ve been here, I know he holds himself and everybody else to the highest standards.”
(on his progression under center) “That’s been good. I think we started off, at Kansas City, a lot of shotgun. It kind of depended on the game plan and what we want to do. We’ve been able to mix it up. It’s just different plays and different formations and different personnel’s. Even thinking about under center, you don’t have to catch a snap, so there’s that half-second of looking down to watch the ball that you take your eyes off the defense. When you’re under center, you can keep your eyes up field and see what’s going on. There are benefits to both. I think I feel comfortable going either way.”
(on if he plays on getting see of the Houston Cougars game at Reliant on Friday) “I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead. We’re trying to figure out thanksgiving plans. We have a game on Sunday, too.”
(on needing a win against anybody but if a win against the Patriots would add an extra boost) “For different people, yeah. For this team, I think it’s the next team. It’s the next opponent up. But yeah, going against somebody that has kind of set the bar in the AFC for the last however man years is definitely something that you can look at. We’re taking it as it comes right now and we’re taking it one week at a time. We can’t put any more importance or meaning to one week or the other right now.”
(on if he sensed any change in the locker room after the game against New England on Monday Night Football last year) “It’s been a while. I don’t remember any specific changes. I know that was a tough loss, but I don’t remember anything in particular.”
(on trying to help the offense out) “We’re just trying to play hard every time we go out on the field. Just give our offense a chance. We know what they can do, what their capabilities are. So we know that they just have to get into a groove and we’ve got to give them enough chances to do that.”
(on how much the defense is drawing on the past two times that they played the Patriots for this game) “A lot. There’s a lot to look back at and learn from. They didn’t do much of anything different than they did to us last year, done to any of the other teams. They’re very successful because they’re very consistent and they execute very well. If we want to win, on defense, we’ve got to be very competitive. We’ve got to come up with some big plays.”
(on the Patriots comeback win last weekend) “You kind of had a sense that that game was going to come close toward the end. The weather had a big factor in it as well. It was definitely fun to watch.”
(on if it’s a coincidence that the team hasn’t been the same since playing at the Patriots on Monday Night Football last year) “I don’t think so. For some reason, since I’ve been here, we had had trouble finishing the season strong, losing a few games toward the end of the season, which doesn’t help in going towards the next season. We’re looking to change things this year.”
(on if a win against the Patriots would give the team a boost for a strong finish) “Yeah, we’ve got still a lot of good teams that we still have to play. We’re trying to improve ourselves every week still. This team still has a lot of pride to play for. We’re still going out there and putting it on the line, so what you see on Sunday is the best football we’ve got. We’re preparing as hard as for any time as we are for this team.”
(on what his thanksgiving day plan is) “Practice. I’ll be at football practice trying to win a game.”
(on if he has any thanksgiving traditions) “Normally try to spend it with family, friends. But my family is in Wisconsin. My brothers are both at Wisconsin. My parents are going to be up there with them. I’ll be here. I’ve had a couple of invites, a lot of invites, so I’m very fortunate that I’ll have plenty of good meals to eat.”
(on Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick saying that you can’t run at him or away from him and his thoughts on that) “Well, I appreciate that very much. Obviously, any time you get words like that from an opposing coach, it’s a great thing. There’s plenty of great things you can say about their organization, the way they do things and the way he coaches and the way their players play. The respect goes both ways.”
(on Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick saying his batted balls are down this year because quarterbacks have to throw away from him) “Maybe that is it. I don’t know.”
(on if he’s not getting as many balls thrown his way this year) “I don’t know. I haven’t really done that statistical analysis.”
(on if it’s a coincidence that the team hasn’t been the same since playing at the Patriots on Monday Night Football last year and what his reaction is) “None.”
(on if the compliments opposing coaches give him will mean more to him when he’s done playing) “Yeah, of course. I have great respect for anybody in this business because I know how hard it is to make it in this business. But people who have had success and people who have seen a lot of players play, obviously I respect their opinions and it’s great to hear things like that. But yeah, some day, I’m going to sit back and I’m going to look and I’m going to read newspaper articles and I’m going to hear what people had to say about the way I played. And I’m hopefully going to appreciate it. That’s what you do in this league, you try and earn people’s respect. You try to do it the right way. You try to do it with your play on the field and the way you work, and how hard you attack each day. Hopefully, that’s the way I’m earning my respect and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
(on what he learned from the way Patriots QB Tom Brady operates after playing him twice last year) “he’s a very good player. He is as advertised. He’s a great player. He’s very smart. He know his system very well. He has a great control of his players, his team and he knows how to make plays. He’s a winner. He’s obviously done a lot in this league and won some championships. He’s a very good football player.”
(on wearing letterman jackets last year against the Patriots and if he regrets that now or if it was an in the moment thing) “I said it then and I’ll say it now, I don’t think it had any effect whatsoever on the football game.”
(on Patriots QB Tom Brady’s ability to move around in the pocket even though he’s not very mobile)”Yeah, he’s a good quarterback and he moves well and he gets out of the way. He finds throwing lanes. The best do that. The best find ways to make plays when it may look bleak and, if they have a good situation, they know how to capitalize.”
(on how to stop the Patriots fast-paced offense) “Know your plan and be prepared. You have to know exactly what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to execute it. Obviously, that’s something that we’re ready for. And we’re practicing and making sure that everybody knows exactly where they’re supposed to be and how they’re supposed to play.”
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(opening statement) “Guys that did not practice today – (Darryl) Sharpton’s a normal Wednesday off. Wade Smith’s a normal Wednesday off. Antonio Smith is taking care of some personal business, so he’s excused from me. Starling is not back yet. Kareem practiced on a limited basis, so took a step forward today. We’ll see where we’re at tomorrow.”
(on how CB Kareem Jackson looked today) “He looked pretty good in what he did. Pretty cold day out there and hard to get going. We only had him take a few reps. We challenged with the ball a little bit, so it was a step in the right direction. We’ll see. We’re going to have to kind of work him through the week, bring him a long more a little each day, but we definitely need him.”
(on what the team has learned about from the Patriots in the last two meetings against them) “Well, we were in two really big games with them last year toward the end of the year, which meant a lot from a positioning standpoint and then the big playoff game. They’re an excellent football team, extremely well coached, a lot of big time players. They were missing a few of them earlier in the season. They’ve gotten a lot of guys back. They’re healthy and in position to make their big run right now and playing extremely well. It starts with their leadership. Their head coach is tremendous. Their quarterback has been tremendous for many, many years. And then defensively, they’re probably as a tough to deal with as there is in football from the standpoint of getting ready to play them, complexity standpoint. Just a tremendous organization, been very successful for a long time.”
(on what he thought about the Patriots comeback win last week) “Yeah, it was amazing. The thing it shows you is the great composure they have. They’re in the moment all of the time. Early in the season, they won some low scoring games. They have some guys now. And now, here they go and come back from 24 the other night. If you’re going to be good in this league, you’ve got to be able to win all kind of ways, offense, defense, special teams. And they’re built that way and they believe that way. They don’t feel like they’re ever in a bad situation because their quarterback’s got control of what’s going on and answers the bell every week.”
(on where he’ll coach from this week) “I have every intention of being on the field.”
(on if the doctors will let him coach from the field) “I hope so. I think I’ve got probably a better chance than I had last week. That’s the way I’d answer it right now.”
(on what one part sets Patriots QB Tom Brady a part form other quarterbacks) “Leadership. I’ve played against him so many times. Of course, in Denver, I was in some huge games against him in the playoffs and various times. But just leadership. You watch him just handle the group. You go back this year and you look earlier this season, some of the young guys he’s playing with and having to control the ship until he got some of his other guys back. That just tells you how strong he is and in total control of what’s going on at all times. When you sit there and do it for, it’s got to be about 14, somewhere in there, 13-14 (years), that’s what’s the Hall of Fame’s all about, when guys do that week-in and week-out for that long, and he’s done it.”
(on Patriots QB Tom Brady playing better recently and if something changed) “No, they haven’t changed anything. Somebody told me our passing yards are more than theirs. Nobody would ever believe that. But I think you just watch their team evolve this year and you watch what was going on with their team early in the season with some young, young players he was playing with. They’re waiting on Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), a couple of other receivers were out, they lose (Vince) Wilfork, they’ve got some things going on. So they went out each week and found a way to win that game, whether it was a low-scoring game, run the ball defensive game or whatever. They hung in there until they got those guys back because they knew they were coming back. It’s just the way their season has progressed. But right now, what you see is fully loaded and loaded for bear, so to speak, whatever that is, because they’re all back in place right now.”
(on if the Patriots defense doesn’t get enough credit) “There’s no doubt about that. I think that they’ve, like last year, I want to say defensively, they were ranked defensively somewhere after 15, in there, but I think they were the best team in the red zone all year long last year. If not, they were top. They don’t give up points. They just, they make a lot of big plays on the ball. They’re very aggressive defensively. They’ll take some chances. Losing the big guy inside, they’ve hung in there and they’ve got some young guys playing extremely well. But I think, defensively, for me as a coach and coordinator for years, as tough a team to prepare your guys to play as there is.”
(on what a victory against the Patriots could mean for the rest of the season) “Yeah, no doubt that. I talked to the team about that this morning. Obviously, we’ve been struggling and it’s been very difficult. We’ve got to work our way out of this thing. There would be nothing better than for us to play our best this weekend and we’re going to have to, in all honesty. Our guys understand that. We’re back to work today. We’ve got some big challenges to prepare for. We’ve got some distractions in Thanksgiving and those types of things. Trying to push through and getting ready to play these guys makes it pretty tough.”
(on how QB Case Keenum is progressing under center compared to in the shot gun) “Yeah, that’s a good question. What we’ve tried to do is obviously when we got started, he went to the pistol. We did some things there in the pistol. We took him back under for a while. We’re continuing to find out what he does best and take a hard look at everything we changed offensively a little bit to try to fit some of his strengths that we think. So it has come back to doing a little bit of both and we’re trying to sort through that and see what we think he does best. But that is something we’ve been juggling here for about five weeks.”
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on being in a lot of close games recently and if that’s more frustrating or encouraging) “Any time you lose, you’re not that encouraged. We’re very frustrated. We need to find a win. We need to play better, so that we can win. I think everybody in the building is frustrated, on top of the board. Frustrated with myself and trying to do something to help us win. We’re all trying to do that.”
(on if this team has the confidence that they’ll be able to tie or win the game when they have the ball in the last drive) “We hope we do. We’re just not getting it done. Confidence or not, we have to execute. That’s the thing that we’re missing. We’re just not executing when need to. In those situations at the end and there’s a lot of critical situations throughout that game that we’re not getting it done. But we keep working at it.”
(on if they have to do different thing to shake things up or if it’s just stay the course) “I think each person will do that a little different. For me, it’s a challenge. A challenge that let’s change, let’s re-think, let’s make sure that we’re putting our players in the right position. What I try to do every day, whether or lose anyway. Certainly, it’s more critical when you’re not pulling the games out, when you’re not making the plays you need to.”
(on the Patriots defense being a tough defense to prepare for) “Well, they’re big and physical. They’ve had some injuries up front, but they’re still big and physical, and they’re multiple in what they do. That’s what makes them very difficult. They seem to be able to change what they do on a week-to-week basis. So the structure is something that we’re preparing for. Don’t think that they’ll change it that much, but know that you have to beat man coverage and you have to be physical, and you have to be patient and protect the quarterback.”
(on former Texans and now Patriots DT Chris Jones) “He’s a fine player. We thought he was fine player when he was here and he certainly has performed. He’s made some plays. He’s gotten to the quarterback. He’s done a lot of good things for them up there.”
(on if it’s tough to see the position Head Coach Gary Kubiak is in right now) “He takes a lot on his shoulders and that’s the way he always is. It wouldn’t be matter if we were losing at a card game. He would take a lot of pressure upon himself, which he doesn’t need to. We’re all a part of it. We’re not adding to the solution. We just try to keep supporting each other and letting him know that we’re fighting through this. We’ll all stick together the best we can and make things happen. We’ll get it turned around. We’ve just got to keep battling and keeping everybody focused on, rather than the big picture, let’s go to the details. Let’s make sure we understand that what we do, technique and assignment wise, controls the big picture.”
(on QB Case Keenum scrambling out of the pocket early) “I don’t know what to make of it, but I can tell that’s basically what he was doing. He’s just got to let it go. He’s got to pull the trigger when he knows what he sees. For whatever reason, he was a little hesitant. We’re working through that.”
(on helping QB Case Keenum with pulling the trigger faster in the pocket) “All I know is he certainly wasn’t pulling the trigger as soon as he needed to last week and that’s part of the thing that, we’ll get him to do that. That’s part of offensive executive and everybody’s got to be the same way. I think we’re working on it and making sure he has a great week of preparation to get that done.”
(on the Patriots defense and why they’re hard to prepare for) “I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball, obviously. I know that certainly he presents a lot of different things that can happen with the defensive package the Patriots themselves (have). The way they interchange personnel is enough to keep you busy. So we’ve got to trust, linemen have got to trust what they see. The back’s got to trust himself on the read and protections. And the quarterback’s no different.”
(on what he thought about the Patriots comeback win last week) “I did not watch it. Obviously, looked at the tape and, when I look at the tape, I only look at one side. They were impressive on that side. They had a couple of field positions problems you’d say early on the defensive side. And they certainly did a fine job at the end.”
(on if he sensed the game up there last year on Monday Night Football and the team seeming like they haven’t been the same since, and if that is merely coincidental) “Oh, I don’t buy into that at all. We’re not playing very well. We’ve had spurts and there’s a continuity. It’s just a matter of being consistent, but I don’t think there’s any one point in time where you can say that.”
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips 
(on if QB Tom Brady is the best quarterback he’s ever had to coach against) “Yeah, Bobby Layne was pretty good now. I didn’t coach against Bobby Layne. I guess I should’ve gone further back than that. The Four Horsemen were really tough to stop. Yeah, he (Brady) is one of the all-time great quarterbacks. There is no doubt about that. It’s proven every week, the way he’s played, the Super Bowls he’s won. He’s been the top quarterback or at the top of quarterbacks every year for a long time.”
(on having been through some tough years as a head coach in Dallas) “Rough? Yeah. They fire you in the middle of the year, that’s pretty rough.”
(on the team having to stick together when the outside world  is against them) “Obviously there is a lot of criticism, and probably rightly so in a lot of them because our record reflects what we are right now. You still have to have pride in what you do. You have to play for each other. You have to coach the best you can coach. My dad always said that saying, but I learned it the hard way. We were here with the Oilers and lost three straight years in the playoffs to the team that won the Super Bowl. Then on New Year’s Eve, we got fired. I thought I was a good coach then. I realized that they fire all kinds of coaches, whether you’re good, bad or indifferent. You coach as hard as you can. You play as hard as you can. I think as bad as it sounds sometimes, these are really big challenges that if you overcome those, it makes you stronger. The mental toughness that you have to have can come through in times like these.”
(on how Gary Kubiak has navigated through the criticism) “Kub, with the health problems too, I think the team is playing hard. The effort is there. We’ve got to execute better obviously, and I know he’ll say the same thing. We’ve just been so close, so many times. It seems like a tailspin where it just keeps happening to us in a different way almost every time. He’s kept the team together well. I think they work hard. I think it says for the character of the people that we have here, they’re not pointing fingers. They’re not looking at the other guy saying, ‘Hey, what’re you going to do?’ They’re trying to do it themselves. I think that message still comes through. I still see the enthusiasm at practice. We’re determined to win this ballgame. I know we’ve been saying that every game, but that’s what we’re trying to do every ballgame and I think our guys think they can and will do that.”
(on what advice he has given Gary Kubiak when dealing with times like these) “Each person is different in those things. Like I’ve said, I think Gary has handled it well. I think he’s handled it well with the players. I think he’s doing what he needs to do.”
(on OLB Whitney Mercilus saying he was thinking less last week and just reacting) “We told him to let it go, basically. Whit is a guy that tries to do everything perfect all the time. He gets upset with himself if it isn’t. Those kinds of personalities need to let it go sometimes. They just need to go and play and not worry about anything. That’s what we asked him to try and do. After the ballgame, he said that’s what he did. He made a couple of mistakes and I told him, ‘Hey, those are mine. If you’ll just play as hard as you can play, we’ll practice you and get those mistakes right. But if you’ll play as hard as you can play and not worry about if this guy goes here and then what I do when this one.’ He knows what to do and he did it well last week. I think it was one of his best games.”
(on how the secondary has played with the loss of SS Danieal Manning) “I think Manning was a key guy. You just don’t see the big plays. When running plays breakout for long gains, Danieal could really run and really tackle. I think obviously that hurt us some. We still played well in spots certainly. We still don’t feel like we’re hurting as far as pass defense or run defense overall, but anytime you lose a great player like (Brian) Cushing and Manning and people like that, it’s going to hurt you some.”
(on how CB Kareem Jackson looked at practice today) “He looked alright. He did practice some, so that’s a positive.”
(on the play of DT Chris Jones) “We picked him. I thought he was a good pick at the time and obviously it was. We have a lot of good players in our front defensive line, but I think he’s done well. I’m glad for him. He’s a hard worker. I’m glad he’s done well.”
(on if the Patriots offense looks like their offenses of old with TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Julian Edelman and WR Danny Amendola all back and playing) “Yeah, they’re back to where they were. Early in the year, you could see, with just new receivers and not the big target, the big tight end target, I think they would probably tell you they struggled a little bit offensively early in the year. They’re hitting on all cylinders now. They have, the last several games, been dominant on offense, like they have been year after year. They look like themselves.”
(on if the Patriots have been able to compensate for the loss of TE Aaron Hernandez) “I mean, (Rob) Gronkowski and all three guys mentioned (Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola), they’re all really good players. He’s used to throwing to those people. Amendola has fit in well. He’s an option route guy that they had with (Wes) Welker, so he’s fit in well. Other guys can make plays. Gronkowski, you can really tell, it’s been a big difference. He’s got a guy to go to in time of need.”
(on Bill Belichick) “I have great respect for them certainly. (Bill) Belichick is a great coach. He’s been that way since I coached against him when I was the head coach in Buffalo. He’s always been an outstanding coach, as a coordinator and as a head coach.”
(on how much the Texans learned about themselves after losing twice to the Patriots in 2012) “Last year’s team is a different team than this year. Each year is a new team. They had a different team earlier in the year than they do now. We do too. It’s one game at a time and study your opponent and get ready for what they do and what they like to do. They have some tendencies that we try to take advantage of, but they’re a strong offensive team. Everybody knows that.”
(on the Patriots running backs) “They have a stable of running backs. All those guys can run with the football and catch it. The quarterback can get it to any player, that’s the thing that they do so well. Any kind of matchup, whether it’s running game or passing game, they can take advantage of it.”
(on if the Patriots still run as many hurry up pass plays like they did in 2012) “They run some. Hopefully, our crowd will get into it and they won’t be able to call it as quickly here. I think we will. We’ve got great fans here. They’ve shown up through hard times and we’re asking them to help us this game, and I think they will.”
WR Andre Johnson
(on his thanksgiving plans) “I don’t have any. I’ll be in the house watching football. That’s about it.”
(on the Patriots defense) “I think they’re a very good defense. I think they play very well as a group. It’ll be very challenging for us. They rush the quarterback, have a great cornerback in (Aqib) Talib, who will probably be following me around. I know when we played them last time, he did. Like I said, it’ll be a challenge, but, at the same time, you see teams go out and make plays on them if you go out and do what you’re supposed to do. That’s just the big thing, if we go out and do what we’re supposed to do, then we should be able to hit our plays.”
(on maybe being matched up with CB Aqib Talib and what he can do) “I think he brings a little bit of both to the game, he can play physical, he mixes it up pretty well. He’s a big cornerback. I went against him twice last year. It was a good challenge. Lot of respect for each other. That was something we said after we went against each other. I think he’s one of the top guys in the league in my opinion. You like going against guys like that. You get to see what his game is and it’s a challenge. You like to go against the best.”
(on how devastating the losses were to the Patriots last year and it seeming like this team hasn’t been the same since) “Well, they were games we just didn’t win. We went up there and just didn’t get the job done. That’s pretty much it.”
(on not being able to pull out the close games recently and if that’s more frustrating) “That’s always frustrating when you lose. You always wonder what you could have done better to change the outcome. Any time you lose, it’s frustrating.”
(on QB Case Keenum saying he was hesitant last week and if he saw that, and if there was anything with timing) “I can’t really comment on that. I’m not back there going through reads and stuff. I just try to get open and have him throw me the ball. You’ll have to talk to him about that one.”
(on how QB Case Keenum has developed in the five weeks he’s been start) “I think he’s done well. I think sometimes he struggles, but that’s part of it. At times, I struggle and I’ve been playing this game for a long time. Every time you go out, everything is not going to be peaches and cream. It’s going to be tough at times. For him, he’s just starting. So people are going to throw a lot of things at him and they try to figure out what he does well and try to stop him from doing those things. For him, it’s a little bit tougher because he has so much coming at him at one time in such a short period of time. But that’s part of it. He’ll learn from it. I think every game he’s played, he’s learned. He’s tried to make adjustments and, so far, I think he’s done a pretty good job.”
(on if he’s had any conversations with QB Case Keenum about having struggles and them not being a big deal) “For him, usually you don’t have to tell him that. After every game, he’s always saying, ‘Man, I’ve got to do better, play better. I’ll play better for you guys.’ He’s hard on himself. You don’t really find many young guys that come out and tell you stuff like that. It just shows what kind of guy he is and how bad he wants to win, and how bad he wants to help this team.”
(on if he appreciates QB Case Keenum’s attitude about trying to do better) “Yeah, you definitely appreciate that attitude. Right now, he’s our quarterback and he’s leading our offense. You want your guy leading your offense to have that kind of attitude.”
(on how much a win against the Patriots would do for this team) “It would get everybody out of this funk. It would just lighten the mood up around here. I think it’s going to make everything just so great, but I think it would change the mood a little bit because we haven’t a game in so long. Sometimes a win can cure a lot of things. I think it would be big if we were able to do that.”
CB Johnathan Joseph
(on how to get out of this losing streak) “Same as every week, head to the grindstone, continuing running. We’re still searching for that win and get out of this losing streak. Right now, I think the intensity level is still at an all-time high. Nobody in this league would have ever imagined that we’d be on a nine-game losing streak. For us, it’s just about getting back to the basics and do what we do and play winning football.”
(on what he learned from playing the Patriots twice last year) “Every snaps counts. You have to go over and cover every basis because Tom Brady, he uses every weapon that he has in his arsenal. As a defense, we have to game plan and try to utilize everything that we have from a defensive standpoint to give him different looks.”
(on how CB Kareem Jackson looked today) “I think he looked great today. Obviously, we didn’t have on the pads or anything. That would be the biggest challenge for him, running around and getting hit and things like that. From a physical standpoint, I think he ran around well today.”
(on how hard it is to disguise that the defense is doing against somebody like Patriots QB Tom Brady) “It’s not hard at all. You don’t want to get too far over the top with trying to disguise and that putting you in a bad spot on a particular play or a particular down and distance. So for us, from a disguise standpoint, you have to kind of mix it up some because you don’t want to throw in too much where it gets you off your normal game plan also.”
QB Case Keenum
(on if he has surprised that they haven’t won in any of his starts despite being competitive) “I’m very surprised. We go in each week expecting to win. That’s definitely one of the words you can use to describe not winning.”
(on what he has focused on most this week) “I’ve focused this week on trust. That’s kind of been my one word that can encompass a lot of things in that arena. Trusting my preparation, trusting my reads, trusting what I’m seeing, trusting my pocket and trusting a lot things. Even when things aren’t going well, obviously I want to be perfect, but I know I’m not. I know things are going to come up and I’m going to make mistakes. They’re going to make plays and it’s about continuing to trust through those mistakes and through those things and not become hesitant after that.”
(on struggling to bounce back after poor lays in the last game and how it affected him) “There are probably a lot of things. One thing, making sure I focus on my fundamentals and focus on the process. that’s something that I have to do consistently. I think any little bit of a misstep and an inch here or an inch there, a split second a ball is late in this league, is a huge difference. I’m focusing on my fundamentals and focusing on the process, focusing on things that I’ve always done well. I have to continue to do that. I can’t just take that stuff for granted.”
(on how much WR Andre Johnson has helped his learning and development) “It’s helped a lot. He’s not just a force on the field, but off the field just as a guy that guys can lean on. You know what you’re going to get out of him. You know what type of leader he is. He is somebody that everybody trusts and respects. He wants to win. I think being a leader like that, just the example that he sets for all of us off the field and on the practice field, being that type of guy is huge. It’s something that I definitely try to model my work ethic like his because he’s one of the best in the game and that’s ever played. Being around a guy like that, I’m just trying to brush shoulders and let some of it rub off.”
(on what he’s learned most over the past five weeks of starting in the NFL) “Just to keep grinding, keep working, keep plugging, keep pushing forward, keep looking forward while learning from your mistakes and what’s happened. I’m still look forward. At the same time, not looking too far forward. Looking at what’s going on right now. I’m looking at today and just continuing to do that day in and day out. I think that’s important and one of the biggest things I’ve learned.”
(on if the NFL is more difficult now than he thought it would be when he was a kid) “I guess when you think about it as a kid, you’re just thinking about playing football. When you get here, I think you realize that it is the best of the best. It’s hard to say. I haven’t thought too much about that. I’ve got a lot of other things I’m thinking about. It is different in a lot of ways and it’s the same. It’s football. It’s throwing and catching and blocking and tackling. It’s just a whole lot bigger and faster guys doing it. It’s the best in the world doing it. I think anybody, whatever you do, you ought to want to see how you stack up against the best. That’s what I see every chance I get to go out and do, is competing and showing what I can do against the very best because I feel like my game and what I can do, my abilities. I feel like I deserve to be here. I think that it’s kind of measuring yourself up against everybody else. That’s part of competition and part of what makes this game great.”
(on his thoughts on Patriots QB Tom Brady as a quarterback) “The list is pretty long there. Obviously, what he’s been able to do. I respect Tom, just how competitive he is and you can see all over his face. You can see it in his teammates and how he interacts with those guys. I think that alone, just being the fierce competitor that he is, I enjoy watching that and watching him do what he does.”
(on what stands out about the personality and off the field stuff of Gary Kubiak)  “There’s a lot. There’s the working side and how hard he coaches and what he expects of everybody, and what he expects of his quarterbacks. He sees a lot more and knows what we’re capable of. Maybe even past what we think or what we know because he’s seen a lot. Like I’ve said before, I think he’s one of the best quarterback coaches around. Off the field, I think he’s a great guy. I’m proud to know him and I’m proud to play for him. I’m proud to be on his team and I respect the heck out of him.”
(on if Gary Kubiak has been steady through the tough points of the season) “Yeah, as steady as some of the crises we’ve had and a lot of that’s not even football related, just with personal life and all of that stuff. But he’s always been the same guy, the competitive nature and the competitive drive. Just in the short time I’ve been here, I know he holds himself and everybody else to the highest standards.”
(on his progression under center) “That’s been good. I think we started off, at Kansas City, a lot of shotgun. It kind of depended on the game plan and what we want to do. We’ve been able to mix it up. It’s just different plays and different formations and different personnel’s. Even thinking about under center, you don’t have to catch a snap, so there’s that half-second of looking down to watch the ball that you take your eyes off the defense. When you’re under center, you can keep your eyes up field and see what’s going on. There are benefits to both. I think I feel comfortable going either way.”
(on if he plays on getting see of the Houston Cougars game at Reliant on Friday) “I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead. We’re trying to figure out thanksgiving plans. We have a game on Sunday, too.”
(on needing a win against anybody but if a win against the Patriots would add an extra boost) “For different people, yeah. For this team, I think it’s the next team. It’s the next opponent up. But yeah, going against somebody that has kind of set the bar in the AFC for the last however man years is definitely something that you can look at. We’re taking it as it comes right now and we’re taking it one week at a time. We can’t put any more importance or meaning to one week or the other right now.”
(on if he sensed any change in the locker room after the game against New England on Monday Night Football last year) “It’s been a while. I don’t remember any specific changes. I know that was a tough loss, but I don’t remember anything in particular.”
OLB Brooks Reed
(on trying to help the offense out) “We’re just trying to play hard every time we go out on the field. Just give our offense a chance. We know what they can do, what their capabilities are. So we know that they just have to get into a groove and we’ve got to give them enough chances to do that.”
(on how much the defense is drawing on the past two times that they played the Patriots for this game) “A lot. There’s a lot to look back at and learn from. They didn’t do much of anything different than they did to us last year, done to any of the other teams. They’re very successful because they’re very consistent and they execute very well. If we want to win, on defense, we’ve got to be very competitive. We’ve got to come up with some big plays.”
(on the Patriots comeback win last weekend) “You kind of had a sense that that game was going to come close toward the end. The weather had a big factor in it as well. It was definitely fun to watch.”
(on if it’s a coincidence that the team hasn’t been the same since playing at the Patriots on Monday Night Football last year) “I don’t think so. For some reason, since I’ve been here, we had had trouble finishing the season strong, losing a few games toward the end of the season, which doesn’t help in going towards the next season. We’re looking to change things this year.”
(on if a win against the Patriots would give the team a boost for a strong finish) “Yeah, we’ve got still a lot of good teams that we still have to play. We’re trying to improve ourselves every week still. This team still has a lot of pride to play for. We’re still going out there and putting it on the line, so what you see on Sunday is the best football we’ve got. We’re preparing as hard as for any time as we are for this team.”
DE J.J. Watt
(on what his thanksgiving day plan is) “Practice. I’ll be at football practice trying to win a game.”
(on if he has any thanksgiving traditions) “Normally try to spend it with family, friends. But my family is in Wisconsin. My brothers are both at Wisconsin. My parents are going to be up there with them. I’ll be here. I’ve had a couple of invites, a lot of invites, so I’m very fortunate that I’ll have plenty of good meals to eat.”
(on Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick saying that you can’t run at him or away from him and his thoughts on that) “Well, I appreciate that very much. Obviously, any time you get words like that from an opposing coach, it’s a great thing. There’s plenty of great things you can say about their organization, the way they do things and the way he coaches and the way their players play. The respect goes both ways.”
(on Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick saying his batted balls are down this year because quarterbacks have to throw away from him) “Maybe that is it. I don’t know.”
(on if he’s not getting as many balls thrown his way this year) “I don’t know. I haven’t really done that statistical analysis.”
(on if it’s a coincidence that the team hasn’t been the same since playing at the Patriots on Monday Night Football last year and what his reaction is) “None.”
(on if the compliments opposing coaches give him will mean more to him when he’s done playing) “Yeah, of course. I have great respect for anybody in this business because I know how hard it is to make it in this business. But people who have had success and people who have seen a lot of players play, obviously I respect their opinions and it’s great to hear things like that. But yeah, some day, I’m going to sit back and I’m going to look and I’m going to read newspaper articles and I’m going to hear what people had to say about the way I played. And I’m hopefully going to appreciate it. That’s what you do in this league, you try and earn people’s respect. You try to do it the right way. You try to do it with your play on the field and the way you work, and how hard you attack each day. Hopefully, that’s the way I’m earning my respect and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
(on what he learned from the way Patriots QB Tom Brady operates after playing him twice last year) “he’s a very good player. He is as advertised. He’s a great player. He’s very smart. He know his system very well. He has a great control of his players, his team and he knows how to make plays. He’s a winner. He’s obviously done a lot in this league and won some championships. He’s a very good football player.”
(on wearing letterman jackets last year against the Patriots and if he regrets that now or if it was an in the moment thing) “I said it then and I’ll say it now, I don’t think it had any effect whatsoever on the football game.”
(on Patriots QB Tom Brady’s ability to move around in the pocket even though he’s not very mobile)”Yeah, he’s a good quarterback and he moves well and he gets out of the way. He finds throwing lanes. The best do that. The best find ways to make plays when it may look bleak and, if they have a good situation, they know how to capitalize.”
(on how to stop the Patriots fast-paced offense) “Know your plan and be prepared. You have to know exactly what you’re supposed to do and how you’re supposed to execute it. Obviously, that’s something that we’re ready for. And we’re practicing and making sure that everybody knows exactly where they’re supposed to be and how they’re supposed to play.”

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