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Texans Quotes: October 17

Posted Oct 17, 2013

Read quotes from Texans players and coaches from Thursday.

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
T Duane Brown
RB Arian Foster
WR Andre Johnson
QB Case Keenum
DE Antonio Smith
S D.J. Swearinger
RB Ben Tate
QB T.J. Yates

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(opening statement) “Guys that did not practice today, (Darryl) Sharpton, (Arian) Foster, (Matt) Schaub, (Tim) Dobbins and Greg Jones is sick. That’s our group of guys that did not practice.”

(on what’s wrong with RB Arian Foster) “He has a sore hamstring from yesterday and he could have practiced, but we just held him (out). He’s really been a two-day-a-week practice guy anyways. I don’t have any big concerns. I expect him back out there tomorrow.”

(on whether QB T.J. Yates or QB Case Keenum looked better today) “Well, here’s what we’re going to do. First off, like I told you guys, I visited with our trainers and our doctors last night and Matt (Schaub’s) got a ways to go. Matt will not play this week. So there’s your big news early. We made that decision last night. We’ve got an extra week next week to get him healthy and hopefully we can get him good and healthy and coming back in a few weeks here. With that being said, Case is going to start the game. I told the team that this morning. I told them they’d be the first ones to know. I made that decision last night. I talked to both of the guys this morning. I wanted to operate today and tomorrow with him getting the majority of the reps and the team knowing what’s going on. So that’s the way we operated today.”

(on how QB Case Keenum has looked to give him confidence in him) “He’s given me confidence throughout camp. It’s not like he’s done something in the last two weeks. He had a really good camp. As you all well know, it was a tough decision for me between him and T.J. (Yates). They both played extremely well during training camp. He continues to go and we’re struggling, and we’re looking for a spark. I think he deserves an opportunity to go out there. It’s a tough place to play. It’s a tough place to get your first start and all that good stuff. But I’m not sending out there by himself. I’m sending him out there with his football team and the guys understand that.”

(on QB Case Keenum’s reaction to finding out he would be the starter this week) “His eyes got kind of big, but he’s excited. He’s a competitor and he’s a very confident young man. We went out there today and I thought he practiced really well. He’s been in big games, a lot on his shoulders, big stage, played in a lot of football games. I know it’s a tremendous opportunity. It’s what you work for as a kid. You get into this league and you look for an opportunity and, all of a sudden, here’s an opportunity for him very early in his career. We’re excited for him as a football team.”

(on how the team reacted to QB Case Keenum being named the starter today) “They reacted good, went out and practiced. That’s a part of football. The biggest thing I always to do is I want them to know first, and so we talked this morning and told them exactly what we’re doing. Obviously, T.J. (Yates) is disappointed, which he obviously should be, but he’s a pro and he promised me that he’ll be ready to go this week. And I know he will. But we went out there and had some good energy at practice.”

(on if he’s talked to QB Case Keenum about when he made his first NFL start) “Case was probably about one year old when I had my last start, so those times are gone. I’ve got confidence in him. I think we all understand Matt (Schaub) is going to help him a lot. Matt and I talked last night and I want him to help him. T.J. (Yates) will help him. He’s got a lot of people, but the bottom line is you’ve got to go play and react. That’s what we trust. We trust his reactions. He’s going against one of the top defensive football teams at their place, all of that. We just want him to go out there and react. That’s the reason he’s on this team because of what he’s capable of doing when he gets in those situations. He’ll get ready to do his part and everybody needs to do theirs.”

(on if the team feeds off of QB Case Keenum’s energy) “I think there’s no doubt about that. I think guys do. He has a knack for making some big plays and doing some things moving around and those types of things. But I think the football team understands his situation too going into the game, They’re all smart enough to know how well they’re going to have to play to help him be successful. There’s a big onus on our defense. Big pressure on our guys up front. I told the guys that from the beginning of the week and that’s the way it should be. This young man has to go in there and try to handle it all and keep everybody headed in the right direction and I believe he can.”

(on playing in Kansas City and if that made him hesitate to start QB Case Keenum) “I didn’t hesitate. I just felt like we need a spark. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t think I was doing the best thing for the football team and we’ve got to get this thing turned and headed back in the right direction. He deserves an opportunity to do that with his work. We’ll put him to work.”

(on QB Case Keenum being an unknown and if that gives the team an advantage) “Well, guys will prepare. You can sit around all week and say this or that. I’m more concerned about our team understanding what we need to go do and what we’re fixing to go do. Coaches are smart. They find ways to go study guys. But we’ve got to go run our offense and that’s what case has to do. He’s got to run our offense and get us in the best possible position to do what we do. I just want ever body moving forward from this morning at eight o’clock and understanding where we’re going.”

(on what more he wants to see out of the defense) “Yeah, they haven’t given up many yards. That’s how you get ranked. We’re up there very much. We’re going to have to improve against the run. We did play some running quarterbacks (recently). We’ve played runs that have run the ball a great deal because of the games that we’ve been in. I think that’s essential this week. We’ve got the Chiefs and their moving quarterback and of course (Jamaal) Charles. So it’ll start with that and we need to play better in the red zone. All three phases of our team have to improve a great deal this week compared to last week for us to have a chance to be successful.”

(on the defense’s struggles in the red zone) “Yeah, there are some things. You go back and you continue to work on them. This is a hot and cold league how it runs. For three or four weeks, we were the number one team in the red zone offensively and we’ve moved to the middle of the pack in just two games. You can make up a lot of ground one way or the other. It’s just about staying focused on what you’re doing. Defensively, we do some extra work and obviously it's a big work day for us on Friday in the red zone. It’s something we’ve got to improve right now on both sides of the ball.”

(on the team’s recent struggles on offense in the red zone) “One of the things offensively that I’ve always believed in, as a coordinator and coaching my players, I think offensive football in the red zone is about little plays. Three and four-yard gains in the red zone are huge because you’re always keeping yourself in an unpredictable position. But when you’re third-and-eight at the eight or you’re third-and-10 at the 10, that field gets really small. And that’s what taken place with us the last two weeks, a lot of eight-man drops, a lot of stuff like that. When those things start to happen, you’ve got to make some off-schedule plays. So we’re going to have to do that offensively.”

Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips
(on his thoughts on QB Case Keenum starting) “I’m worried about Alex Smith playing. That’s what our concentration is on. We know it’s a big challenge this week. They’re undefeated. Their offense has been doing a great job for them, not turning the ball over and controlling the football, making plays. That’s our full concentration.”

(on if Alex Smith is a different player than he was in San Francisco) “I don’t know a whole lot. I know they won a lot of games in a row. They won in the playoffs with him. He’s having a great year. He’s really played well obviously. I don’t know how much difference there is except that he’s always been a good quarterback but he’s really taken it to another level.”

(on what aspect of SS Danieal Manning’s game they will miss most) “Danieal Manning was a real force out there as far as the running game is concerned. Also, it’s hard to have a big run when he’s back there because he’s going to make a tackle. Even though they sometimes break the line of scrimmage, he’s still going to make plays and he can cover. He’s like a corner as far as coverage-wise. You can utilize that as far as your gameplan and how you match up with tight ends and so forth. We haven’t been hit a lot, and a lot of people get hurt, by tight ends catching the ball, that kind of thing. You haven’t seen that a whole lot from us.”

(on FS Shiloh Keo starting in place of SS Danieal Manning) “D.J. (Swearinger) will start and play. Shiloh will play in our dime stuff. If Shiloh needs to, but basically Shiloh is a free safety and D.J. is a strong safety, so D.J. is taking his place.”

(on what he has seen from SS D.J. Swearinger to where he is ready to start) “He plays fast. He’s a quick learner. He makes mistakes but he corrects them. Whenever it is, in the game or practice, whenever, he’s really gotten better and better as he’s gone along. I think he’s ready to play so that’s a good thing for us.”

(on the red zone defense) “It’s about keeping them from scoring and we haven’t done that well enough when they’ve gotten in the red zone. Outside the red zone, we’re probably the best in the league. We’ve probably given up the least touchdowns outside the red zone, but once they’ve gotten down there, we haven’t made enough plays. Part of it was we started really bad. The first two games, even though we won those games, we were last in the red zone then. I think we’ve gotten better but it’s still a point of emphasis for us.”

(on if there are certain things they work on to improve the red zone defense) “Oh yeah, there are things that we work on all the time. Unfortunately, some of the plays they’ve scored on, we’ve worked on those plays. We’ve got to do a better job of reiterating those plays over and over. A couple of them are so called trick plays and we fell for them, so we can’t do that.”

(on RB Jamaal Charles) “Jamaal, I know a lot about him. He’s from the area where I went to school and high school and I’ve been back there several times. I’ve been to his camp in the summer when he has all the kids there. He’s a great kid. He’s certainly a real talent. He’s probably one of the most explosive runners in the league, if not the most right now. Adrian Peterson, certainly, is the most powerful explosive guy, but this guy can score at anytime from anywhere on the field, kind of like Chris Johnson was a couple of years ago.”

(on Rick Dennison talking about how penalties and mistakes were driving him crazy and if there was anything driving him crazy defensively) “I don’t know. Some people say I’m already crazy, so I don’t know who’s driving it. No, I think I’m like everybody on our team. We just have to play up to our potential. We’ve been very close, but we haven’t done that. It’s about winning games. The past is already gone. We’re 2-4. We know that, but we can be 1-0 this week. This could be a huge win for us. This is the biggest game of the year for our team and our guys know that.”

(on if Alex Smith is a tough quarterback to rattle and force into making mistakes) “Yeah, he takes care of the ball. That has been their formula, which has been our formula. They’re doing a good job of not giving the ball way and making plays when they need to make plays. Yeah, he’s done a great job with them.”

(on if the only reason SS D.J. Swearinger is starting is because he plays strong safety rather than because he’s ready) “D.J. is ready to play, but he’s been playing strong safety. That’s what he practices all the time and what he plays. (Shiloh) Keo has been coming in for Ed (Reed) some. You’ve see him come in, but when he comes in the game he comes in for Ed and not D-Man (Danieal Manning). The position, coverage-wise, D.J. is a lot closer to a cover guy, like Danieal, and he’s played the same position.”

(on if FS Shiloh Keo started for FS Ed Reed early in the season simply because SS D.J. Swearinger wasn’t ready to play yet) “No. No, they play those positions. That’s their main position. D.J. is ready to play. I think D.J. is going to be a good player. We’ve thought that all along. I think he’s risen to another level as far as him being ready to play. I think he’s going to be a good player. That’s the other thing. I think he’s going to be a good player for us.”

(on his thoughts about QB Case Keenum getting his first start at Arrowhead) “It’s a big challenge for a young player. I think everybody has confidence in him, I know that. I know we do. It reminds me a little bit of the Tony Romo story, you know? Hopefully it ends up that way.”

(on if he has drawn any comparisons between QBs Case Keenum and Tony Romo) “He’s got some moxie. That’s what Romo has, besides being a talent and you have to have talent certainly. I’m hoping that it works out the same way because Romo came in and was an instant player.”

(on a young player making his first start of his career on the road) “That’s probably the hardest thing you’d have to do. They’re going to try and take advantage of that and put pressure on him, but they’ll put pressure on anybody. We’ve got to play good on defense.”

(on Arrowhead Stadium) “It’s the loudest stadium. I think they set the record last week or whatever. It’s a fun place to play because it is so loud and the crowd gets into it so much. You just have to quiet them down. You have to get ahead and quiet them down. That’s part of the challenge any time you’re on the road.”

T Duane Brown
(on his thoughts on QB Case Keenum starting this week) “Very exciting opportunity for him. I think he’s got what it takes to lead us to victory. He’s worked hard and I think he’s made a big jump from last year to this year. He’s got a lot of talent/ he has a big arm. He’s mobile and looking forward to it.”

(on WR Andre Johnson saying QB Case Keenum has an aura about him) “As a young player, especially as a young quarterback, you don’t find many guys with that kind of demeanor that he has. He has a very intense player. He’s poised and he’s calm with his decision making, but he gets fired up. He gets fired up for big plays. He gets fired up to try to hype the offense up. It’s different from a young player, but it’s very exciting to see as well.”

(on QB Case Keenum getting that fired up in practice) “Yeah, he gets fired up. Big time throws he makes, he gets excited about it. If he happens to make a mistake, you can tell he’s not too happy about it. He enters the huddle, he’s pretty vocal. It’s good to see I think. He is a natural leader. Like I said, I’m excited to see him on Sunday.”

(on how the meeting went this morning when Head Coach Gary Kubiak told the team that QB Case Keenum would be the starter this week) “You could tell it was a tough decision for him to make, but we all had our minds up that whoever was the guy, we were going to stand behind him. Us upfront, we’re going to do our best to protect him. We expected them to lead us to victory. So when he said Case was the starter, we’re getting behind number seven.”

(on how the team reacted when Head Coach Gary Kubiak announced that QB Case Keenum would be starting) “It was a very quiet meeting. He had the floor, so you’re not going to cheer or boo or anything like that. We knew what kind of tough decision it was going to be. Like I said, we all have our faith in whoever the quarterback was and, in this case, it’s case Keenum. We’re going to ride with him.”

(on the job the offensive line is going to have to do to keep QB Case Keenum out of trouble) “Well, the best way to negate their pass rush ability, that’s what they specialize in is pass rush ability, to negate that, you have to run the ball. So us up front, Arian (Foster), Ben Tate, we have to get the run game going and get it going early and often. That’ll make his job a lot easier. When it’s time for him to pass the ball, we’ve got to sit him down up front and give him all the time he needs to make it happen. I’m looking forward to this week. It’s going to be a tough challenge going up there and coming away with a win, but we have what it takes and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”

RB Arian Foster
(on QB Case Keenum being named the starter this week) “It’s a great opportunity for him. That’s the direction our Coach chose to go in, so we’re going to ride with him.”

(on QB Case Keenum maybe offering a spark to the team) “He’s a young cat, so he gets real excited out there. I think he brings another element of his legs to the game. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do.”

(on if QB Case Keenum can spark the rest of the team with the way he plays) “There’s no telling. I’m not sure. I’m going to continue to go out there and play the game I’ve been playing since I was a kid.”

(on the importance of the running attack being at its best this week with QB Case Keenum starting) “I think it’ll be beneficial if we have two elements of our offense going. That element of our offense going. Just being there for him. Handling our business in the run game because, when you run the ball well, it obviously opens up things in the passing game. I think it’s important.”

(on what he remembers from his first start) “It was against New England. It was the last game of the season I think. I think we had a little playoff push if somebody would have won or lost, something like that. I just remember thinking, ‘This is the NFL. It’s big-time ball, but it’s still football. This is your chance. Just go out there and don’t try to make the stage any bigger than it already is. Yes, this is the highest level you can do it on, but it’s just a game. You’ve been playing this game for a long time.’”

(on his business deal with Fantex) “Due to Security laws, I’m not allowed to comment on it right now.”

(on if a change like this at quarterback can give the team a spark) “It’s highly possible. Football is a game of emotions, so it could take, I’ve seen one play turn an entire season around, one game turn a season around. I’ve seen one play or one game ruining or not ruining, but just going into a spiral and downfall. That’s the kind of game football is. We’re just going to continue to play. If something like that happens, it’s obviously a plus.”

(on his health and if there’s any concern for Sunday) “No, I’m all right.”

QB Case Keenum
(on his thoughts when he received the news that he would be the starting quarterback this week) “At the time, I was very happy. It was something that I’ve always wanted. Like I said yesterday, it’s something that I’ve worked for for a very long time and to be in the same city that I’ve been in for the last six or seven years, it makes it even more special. All that aside, I’m excited to go out and play a football game again. I love playing this game. I have a lot of respect for it. I have a lot of respect for Kansas City, from what I’ve seen on film, so I’m excited to go out and have a really good test against a really good football team and really good defense this weekend.”

(on the realization that his dream is now real) “Yeah, it is real. I have to pinch myself every now and then. It’s exciting. It’s what I wanted, what I’ve wanted for a long time, what I’ve worked extremely hard for. What a lot of people don’t know that I’ve done, there are a lot of stuff out there, there’s been a lot of time and a lot of effort and sweat coming back from injuries. Just like everybody’s football story. I think everybody has overcome a lot of things and it’s a moments like this that makes it worth it. It’s moving on. It’s a small, little celebration I guess you could say, but it’s on now. It’s time to go work. It’s time to go help this team. It’s a big one this Sunday and I’m excited to go out there and do that.”

(on if he thinks he can help provide a spark to the offense) “I’ve tried to bring a lot of energy this week. I’ve tried to concentrate on having fun. I know this is all of our jobs and we all care a whole lot about our jobs and being successful and sometimes getting too wrapped up in that and pressing a little more. I think we need to make sure to remember to have fun because we’re playing a game. It’s our job, but it’s our job to go out and play a football game, which is pretty sweet. I’m just trying to make sure this week, every day, we’re having fun, bringing good energy and I guess that’s kind of a spark.”

(on WR Andre Johnson saying that he has an aura about him) “Andre doesn’t say a lot and when he does, you listen and it means a lot. Anything that guy says I take it to heart. Having him say something like that about me is special. It means a lot. It means a lot to have the guys have my back. I think it’s a big part of this game and a big part of this position so I think it’s going to be key going into this week.”

(on how his teammates have interacted with him since he was named starter) “It’s been good. I think everybody has been very congratulatory. Just like I said, it’s every football player’s story is overcoming a lot of things and there are highs and lows and getting to where your goals (are). You have goals and you have steps to goals and anytime somebody reaches ones, you’re happy for them. They were very happy for me and I think we’ve all kind of moved past that and on to Sunday and looking forward to Sunday.”

(on how challenging it is to not having not played in a meaningful game in a couple of years and doing so against a great defense) “Every game I’ve played, for myself, I make it mean the most that I possibly can, so you can say it’s unmeaningful, preseason or whatever, but I use the same process and I use the same process every day in practice. It means just as much to me, every rep I take. Obviously, the games are definitely different. I guess I can officially say I thought about this earlier: this is going to be the best NFL defense I’ve ever played. I think it’s going to be a big test.”

(on the toughest stadium or environment he’s ever played) “It’s hard to say. We played the Saints last year in preseason. The toughest crowd, I know we played at Oregon, at Alabama—there are a lot of tough places—Oklahoma State when they were ranked. Dallas, this past preseason, was a cool atmosphere.”

(on if he ever doubted if he would get the chance to start a NFL game) “Everybody has doubts. I think that is part of being human, just like how we’re not all perfect. I think we all have doubts that creep up, but you just keep pressing. I didn’t let them affect me. I let them slide off and you just keep pressing you. You keep working. You keep striving for what you want. I’ve had a lot of people tell me I can’t do a lot of things: I’m too short, this or that. You can’t believe a lot of that stuff, even if it’s coming from your own mind, doubts that you have. Just keep pressing, keep working and that’s what I tell all kids. I tell all high school kids coming out of high school, ‘If you want to go to college, there are a lot of ways. It’s not necessary for you to be the biggest recruit.’ Even coming out of college, I don’t think you have to be drafted. You just have to be given an opportunity and you need to be ready when you get that opportunity.”

(on if it bothers him that people say he’s too short) “No.”

(on how much it helps him to find out he’s a starter before Sunday) “It helps me for reps. I’ve always said that being a backup quarterback is extremely hard because you have to prepare with a lot more mental reps because you’re not actually getting the reps and still be called on to perform at a high level just like a starter would be. Being able to prepare like a starter all week and getting the practice reps into those looks that we’re going to see on Sunday is a tremendous help.”

(on if there was a time that he thought he wouldn’t be able to play anymore after he tore up his knee in college and if he has taken any time to reflect upon how far he’s come) “I can’t really. I don’t have enough time this week to do that. There were times, it was tough, for a long time there. My rehab process was pretty tough. To be where I am now, if you would have told me that then, it makes it all worth it. That’s one thing that (Gary) Kubiak has said a couple of weeks ago, you don’t know where you’re going to be so you have to work with faith of knowing where you’re going to be, not necessarily knowing. It does make it that much more sweet this week.”

(on Kevin Sumlin’s excitement and what it means to hear from former coaches) “It means a lot. I’ve had great coaches throughout my career. I haven’t checked my phone. I just slid through and I had a whole bunch of texts, but I saw I a lot of my old coaches texting, including him. It means a lot. That’s one thing; I’ve had a lot of people believe in me. Like I said, I’ve had a lot of people who didn’t believe in me, but I’ve had a lot of people who have. He’s definitely one of them. Every coach I’ve had, playing to prove them right means more than to prove those other people wrong.”

(on how excited his dad was once he received the news and how his family must feel) “I think they’re probably busy getting hotel rooms and flights and all of that stuff squared away.”

(on if his family hadn’t planned on going to Kansas City yet) “I think they were tentatively.”

(on if he has followed QB Drew Breese career and if he has ever considered him to be an inspiration) “Yeah, I actually ironically read his book before I hurt my knee. He went through some serious injuries with his shoulder obviously. The name of that book was ‘Coming Back Stronger’. I took a lot of lessons from him and how he worked and how he came back from what he came back from. I’ve watched a lot of film on him and watched his mechanics and decision making. It’s very impressive and something that I think the way he gets it done is definitely a lot of lessons to be learned from that.”

(on watching QB Drew Brees on film and seeing how he throws and the things he does in the pocket to make plays and what he looks for) “Moving in the pocket and finding throwing lanes and anticipating where receivers are going to be. That’s just know the defenses and where your guys are. He’s very good at that.”

(on if it is hard to see behind an NFL offensive line) “It’s different. My receivers are taller so I can see them better and they’re faster. It is what it is, man. I’ve tried to grow, but I think I’m done.”

(on the noise level in Arrowhead Stadium) “I think we’ve practiced all week with the noise. Doing that and working with silent cadence I think is going to be big. We’ve really worked a lot on the operation. I think operation, being able to get us in the right play, calling plays in the huddle, getting us out of the huddle with the right personnel, snap count, and all of that stuff reduces penalties and kind of creates fluidity in the offense. So I think that’s going to be huge this week.”

(on how the first conversation went with him and QB T.J. Yates following the announcement that he would start) “It was good. T.J. said, ‘Go out there and get ‘em.’ That’s kind of the basis of it.”

(on if he plays well this week and if he thinks he has a chance to be the starter going forward) “I’m not looking forward. I’m looking at Sunday and that’s enough on my plate right, I think, before thinking about anything else. I’m looking to be the best quarterback I can be this Sunday and help my teammates win.”

(on the doubts and tough emotional side of rehabbing from injury)  “I was talking more about like back when I was hurt. That was a tough time. That’s a tough time for any athlete who’s been hurt. You can rehab as much as you want, but there’s a different side to the emotional side of it that kind of affects you a little bit differently.”

(on if he tries to go out and prove people wrong) “I try to not listen to that stuff. It doesn’t hurt, I guess you could say. Like I said before, I try to play to prove everybody right that’s believed in me from the beginning, my parents, my coaches, my friends, teammates that I’ve had more so than playing to prove people wrong.”

(on if he was surprised that he was named the starter) “I don’t think you can say that I’m surprised or not. I don’t know if that’s the right word. I was definitely pleased. It’s something I’ve really worked hard for and, in my mind, I felt like I can do it. So no, I guess you could say I’m not surprised in that way. I don’t want to sound cocky or anything like that, but I believe in myself and I believe in my abilities. I believe in what I can do. I think I can go lead this team as a quarterback. That’s what I intend on doing this Sunday.”

WR Andre Johnson
(on his reaction to QB Case Keenum being named the starter) “He’s been working his butt off. It’s an opportunity he’s been waiting for him. He has it and I’m sure he’ll do well with it.”

(on if he feels like QB Case Keenum is ready) “Yeah, I do. I don’t feel like we could have went wrong with either guy. Like I said yesterday, I can’t make that decision. Both of those guys have worked their butts off for this opportunity. The bad thing about that is only one guy can get chosen. But at the same time, they support each other and rally behind each other. We’re behind both of them. We’re going to go out and do what we need to do try to win Sunday.”

(on how much more comfortable it makes the team now that a decision has been made about who the starting quarterback is going to be this week) “Like I said yesterday, it didn’t really matter to me. I felt comfortable with both guys. We knew a decision would be made sooner or later. It’s made now, so we’ll just roll with it.”

(on his immediate thoughts when he found out that QB Case Keenum would be starting) “It didn’t matter. Like I said, I don’t have a problem. I knew it was going to be either Case or T.J. (Yates). I felt comfortable with both of them, so it didn’t really matter. I didn’t really have a preference or anything like that. Both of those guys are going to go out and play for us and they worked their butts off for this opportunity. Only one of them was going to get the decision, but Case got it and we’re rolling with it.”

DE Antonio Smith
(on if QB Case Keenum be the spark the team needs) “All of us is that spark. You can’t just put that job or that much pressure on Case. All of us are the spark. It’s all of our jobs this week.”

(on WR Andre Johnson saying QB Case Keenum has an aura about him) “They’re offensive player, so they’ve got an extra feel for each other. As a defense, we’re just feeling our aura this weekend. He was doing his thing, completing all of his passes. I don’t think I can remember a drop, maybe one dropped pass this week of practice. If you’re doing that, you’re having a good couple of days.”

(on if he’s been a part of a team where something drastically changed because of a key position change) “I’ve seen that happen. Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner. Yes, I’ve seen it happen both ways. Kurt wasn’t playing good and Matt came in and balled out. The next year, Whis (Ken Whisenhunt) came and Matt wasn’t playing good and Kurt came in and the rest is history. I’ve seen it before. It definitely can happen.”

S D.J. Swearinger
(on how excited he is for his first NFL start this week) “Very excited. It’s a dream come true and it’s humbling. I’m ready to get out there and get the job done.”

(on how he felt when he was told that he would be the starter and how ready he is at this point) “I feel ready. I thought, especially after the third game, I thought I was ready to really get in there and start plying. Now, it’s finally here and I’m just ready to get out there and get after it.”

(on when he was told he would start) “Coach told me Monday. My DB Coach (Vance Joseph) told me Monday.”

(on if his preparation changes now that he’s a starter) “Yeah, you do. As a starter, you’ve got a huge responsibility. You’ve got to make plays. You’ve got to know what you’re doing and you’ve got to get the job done at the end of the day. That’s what I’ve been preparing to do. I’ve been preparing well and I’m going to do that.”

(on if he can give an example of something that’s easier now than when he first got here) “Just flowing with the defense. Earlier, I used to have to think. I used to have to think, ‘OK, I’ve got this, I’ve got that.’ Now, it comes naturally with my studying habits. It just comes natural now when we’re making calls. I just go play ball.”

(on how much he’s going to miss SS Danieal Manning back there) “I’m going to miss a lot. I miss him sitting beside me. He sat beside me all of the time. I’m going to miss him tapping me on the side, ‘You should do this. You should do that.’ You’re going to stay in touch for sure.”

(on being known for his confidence when he get here and how all of the learning he had to do impacts that attitude) “Well, you’ve got to have confidence in knowing you can learn something, knowing that you can get the job done, knowing that you’ve got to learn these things to be the best player you can be. It was a challenge for myself. The confidence, it just helped me. It helped me know I can learn the defense and be good at it.”

(on the challenges the Kansas City offense presents) “It’s a huge challenge. Jamaal Charles is one of the fastest backs out there. Alex Smith is a great quarterback. They’ve got some great receivers. It’s going to take a team effort, the pressure, linebackers, us locking down in the secondary. It’s going to take a full-team effort and we’ll be ready for it.”

(on if he prides himself on stopping the run) “Oh, yeah, definitely. Since little league, that’s always been prideful to me just hitting and taking on running backs and wide receivers crossing the middle. Me playing strong safety, I think it fits my style of play. When they told me I would be starting at strong safety, I gave them a smile and said, ‘I’m ready.’”

(on improving the red zone defense) “Just buckling down and making it known we have to get off the field. They cannot get in our box and we’ve got to take pride in people not scoring us. We’ve got the number one, yeah, so what? But they’re scoring on us in the red zone. We’ve got to take more pride in the red zone.”

RB Ben Tate
(on what the offense can do to help QB Case Keenum) “For one, keeping him upright. Keeping the pressure away from him. Doing our jobs on first and second down and not putting him in tough situations, third-and-longs, things of that nature. We all just have to rally around him. We all have to do our job and let him do his. I think we’ll be fine.”

(on the importance of him and RB Arian Foster taking pressure off of QB Case Keenum in the run game) “I think that’s going to be important for first and second downs that we have positive plays, and try to stay away from as many third downs as possible. When we do, to keep it short yardage, under three and five, stuff like that. I think if we do that, then I think he’ll be OK. I think he’ll be OK regardless.”

(on how frustrating it has been to be third-and-short and the team getting penalties) “It’s tough. It’s tough because, like you said, we’re always moving the ball or doing something and then we just keep shooting ourselves in the foot. It’s frustrating and it gets old. It gets old real fast. We’re a lot better than that and we have to come out and start playing with more discipline. We are a disciplined team, but on Sundays, I don’t know what it is, we’re just not showing it.”

QB T.J. Yates
(on his thoughts when he heard QB Case Keenum would be starting) “As you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly happy, but that’s Kubs’ (Gary Kubiak) decision. And I support Case and I’ll do whatever he needs to help him out and try to help this team get a win.”

(on if he was surprised that QB Case Keenum was named the starter) “A little bit, yeah.”

(on if Head Coach Gary Kubiak gave him any reason why he named QB Case Keenum the starter this week) “Yeah, he told me he was going with a gut feeling, trying to give the team a spark.”

(on how his role has changed) “It hasn’t really.”

(on if he’s talked to QB Case Keenum) “Yeah, went about business as usual during practice. I talked to him a little bit. I told him I was happy for him. Go out there and take full advantage of his opportunity.”

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