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Texans Quotes: Wednesday

Posted Nov 6, 2013

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

Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips
Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
WR Andre Johnson
CB Johnathan Joseph
QB Case Keenum
SS D.J. Swearinger
RB Ben Tate
DE J.J. Watt
Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians
Arizona Cardinals T Eric Winston

Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips
(opening statement) “Injury report first. Darryl Sharpton and Wade Smith did not practice. They don’t normally practice on Wednesday’s. That was normal. Mike Mohamed has got a strained hamstring, so he did not practice. And Arian Foster has a back (injury). He’s with the doctors and that’s being diagnosed. That’s where we are as far as injuries are concerned.”

(on if QB Case Keenum will be the starter from this point on) “Well, yeah. Certainly, this ball game. I thin k he’s played well. I think he’s earned (it). We put him in there two games ago and said, ‘Let’s see what you can do.’ He’s made a strong case. I didn’t mean to say that (joking). I think he’s done well. He’s giving us an opportunity for big plays. I just saw on the board last week that, in the Kansas City game, he had six passes over 25 yards, which tied a team record. He had pretty close to that last game. He’s made quite a few big plays and certainly he’s hooked up with our number one receiver who, I don’t believe had any touchdown passes before this game, and threw three to him. Yeah, we want to keep looking at him and give him his opportunity.”

(on how it changes things for him to being named the Interim Head Coach) “Well, I get a better parking spot. I get closer up, but that’s about it (joking). I’m just keeping the seat warm. It’s certainly changes the game preparation this week, practice preparation and those kind of things. We’re keeping the same schedule as far as when we meet, when we go to practice, all of those things. I don’t want to change the routine that way. We are changing a few things in practice that we think will help. But we feel like we need to change something. It’s going the way we want it to go, so we have to change some things.”

(on how much it helps that he’s been a head coach before) “33 years, I’ve been either a coordinator on one side of the ball or a head coach. I’ve been in a couple of situations where I’ve been Interim Head Coach. I think experience helps. I hope it does in this case. I’m pretty familiar with what (to do). Besides having a good parking place, I get to be with the media a little more too (joking). That’s something I really missed, especially in Dallas (joking).”

(on making changes in practice and if that has more to do with him being in charge or how the team is doing) “It’s things that we discussed and say, ‘Hey, we need to do this different on certain days, these things more, these things less.’ That’s part of it. Like I said, we need some change. We’ve been really close when we’ve played really hard, but we need the results. I think if you say to the players, ‘All right, we’re going to do exactly the same as we’ve been doing.’ It’s hard for them to say, ‘Well, something’s still missing.’ I think change is good sometimes.”

(on if he’s been in contact with Head Coach Gary Kubiak about the decisions he’s making) “Yeah. Well, not on all that. He’s left it to me and he said do what you think. I appreciate him and I appreciate the McNair’s having the confidence enough in me to at least take over for a short amount of time.”

(on the biggest challenge he’s facing right now) “A lot’s been going on in my life and, I told the players too, we’ve lost some games, but there are tougher things than losing some ball games that people have overcome. And so we can overcome losing ball games if people can overcome some of the things that have happened. Certainly, some of the things that have happened with this team, with our coaches, even with our players.”

(on how play calling is affected without Head Coach Gary Kubiak since the team did not have lot of time to prepare for that against Indianapolis) “The offensive staff was always involved. Gary would call them normally, but Rico (Rick Dennison) calls some of them during the ball games anyway. What happened at halftime, we said, ‘Hey, Rico, do you want to be on the sideline?’ He said, ‘No, we just do it the same way. We call down and get the play call in.’ So that was our procedure and I think we’ll stick with that. I’m going to need a lot of help from offensive coaches, certainly, and the defensive staff because I have different duties.”

(on how the offense has opened up with QB Case Keenum) “I just think big plays. He’s made a lot of big plays. That’s a good thing obviously.”

(on how his responsibilities change during a game when he’s the Interim Head Coach) “The head coach’s in charge of making all of the game decisions, strategy decisions basically, whether to kick a field goal, whether to go for it, fourth downs what to do with it. A lot of it is offensive, but there a few calls. Like in the game last week, at the end of the ball game, it’s fourth-and-10 and, well, we’ve got two timeouts, do we want to punt the ball or try one play and try to make a first down? The percentages were against I felt like and I felt like we could get the ball back again. So we punted it. We could have had the ball on the 50, but we did have a penalty. But we still had a chance to tie the ball game. It’s just game-time decisions. There are all kinds of scenarios that come up and that’s a good thing that I’ve been in the league that long. I think I’ve seen a lot and hopefully can make the right decisions.”

(on what ways Head Coach Gary Kubiak’s presence will be missed the most) “He certainly puts together the game plan and has a big influence on that. That’s why I said, I think our offensive coaches will have to help us a little more in that area and then in the game itself. As far as calling the plays, everybody’s different. But with a young quarterback, you can’t do too much. You have to what he can do, with any player, any quarterback. That’s what I’m emphasizing with those guys is ‘Hey, the things he can do, let’s stick with t hose things and don’t veer off too much from that.’”

(on how impressive it is what QB Case Keenum has been able to do given the difficult circumstances) “Yeah, like I said, I think he’s played really well. He deserves the opportunity to keep doing it.”

(on how he views the running back situation going into this week’s game given RB Arian Foster’s health) “Well, Ben Tate, I told him he’s a tough son of a gun. He was really sore Monday and he had about 80 yards in the game. He’s got four cracked ribs. I asked him Monday, ‘You going to be OK?’ He said, ‘I’ll be there.’ I have a lot of confidence in him and that he’s going to play hurt, not injured. If he could get injured form that, bad injury, we wouldn’t play him. But is a situation where you can play and he did it. Some guys wouldn’t. I’ve had players; I’ve had really star players not play with ribs before. I commend him.”

(on if he’s good about the running backs, particularly with RB Dennis Johnson) “We’ve got three other backs on the roster and Johnson, I thought, from what I looked at, I thought Johnson gives us a good change up. He did a good job there. Then, we’ve got two other guys who are capable of playing, who have been working.”

(on if it was RB Arian Foster’s back that kept him out today and not the hamstring issue) “That’s correct, his back.”

(on if RB Arian Foster’s back had been hurting him leading up to the last game) “He had it about a week back. That’s it.”

(on having been an interim head coach before and what situation was the most challenging) “Most challenging? Well, my first time was in New Orleans. That was my first experience of being a head coach. Then, in Atlanta, we had a rough year because Michael Vick was out the whole year. When I came as interim coach, he came back and we won two out of the last three. I felt lucky there. I was actually an interim coach in the preseason one time with Dan reeves when he had a heart procedure. So I was one game there and we won that game. Didn’t count since it was the preseason, but I got a good parking spot (joking). I enjoyed that.”

(on becoming the Interim Head Coach for his father Bum Phillips in New Orleans) “No, it was a surprise to all of us, as really, I think most of the time an interim situation is. Certainly was this time, too. Like I said, I’ve had more experience since then certainly.”

(on if Bum Phillips gave him more of a heads up that he would be the Interim Head Coach) “No, no. Actually, he didn’t say, ‘Wade’s going to be the Interim Head Coach.’ The owner actually did that, Mr. (Tom) Benson, which I always appreciated that.”

(on the balance between coaching and becoming sick) “I was a coach as a kid, so I saw it with my dad. There’s a certain amount you have to do and there’s a lot of work involved. So hours are somewhat a factor, but I think it’s certainly just the person himself and how you handle those things. And whether these things are related, they may not be related. We just work at what we do and try to do the best that we can do. I think some people have problems with it obviously. A lot of stress involved. it’s not being President, but it’s pretty close as far as everything you do is bad or wrong. You get the wrong health plan or whatever it is.”

(on the mood at practice today) “I thought we had a crisp practice. That’s what I asked them to do. I told them attitude is really important at this time and everybody’s got to be accountable at this time. You have to show your teammates that you care and it is important to you. That’s what we are. We’re a football family and we’re accountable to each other. That’s my message to them and I thought they responded well.”

(on RB Arian Foster coming out early in two-straight games and if he’ll handle that different this week as a result) “Well, we’ve got to get the injury report first. He didn’t practice today.”

(on the kicking situation with K Randy Bullock) “We’re going to continue to go with Randy. He certainly knows and we told him, and everybody else knows. He’s got to get it done. That’s the bottom line is production. He started out poorly and started kicking really well. I think he got away from his technique a little bit last game and we feel like we can get him back to that.”

(on how much finishing will be emphasized this week) “That’s what you always (emphasize), especially in close ball games, that’s what you have to do. And that’s what I said, some of our practice stuff is going to be that way. There are things that we’re going to try to do to re-emphasize those things. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to address it.”

Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
(on if things were disjointed at halftime when Gary Kubiak went down and if affected their usual process) “Absolutely not, it did not affect what we did. Half the team and some of the staff were out there with good concern with Gary. By the time we got regrouped, we got it all done and we got our plays that we needed to run or we thought would start with in the second half, we got them up on the board. We explained them. We got it done. The information was in and out that Gary was down and that he was in an ambulance headed to the hospital. Everybody was concerned, but our focus was certainly for him, but also with getting on with the game.”

(on if there were any problems with calling plays and getting the plays in) “Absolutely not. He’s (Gary Kubiak) done that. He’s given it to me off and on for a few years, but he takes it back so doggone fast my head is spinning. He’s not very patient. He just likes to get them in and get them out. He’s very good at it.”

(on the main change in the offense opening up the last few weeks) “I don’t know. I think we’re just trying to work the ball downfield. I think we’ve tried that and for whatever reason it has opened up. Case (Keenum) has done a nice job with it. He’s getting on the edge and making things happen. People are playing the run game and we’re running the ball pretty well, but that’s always been the key to our offense—making them cover the entire field, not just the front but the deep pass. We’ll continue to try and do that.”

(on what changes for him now with Gary Kubiak sidelined) “It’s pretty much the same. I go through the process the same way that I did. I just don’t have anybody bouncing ideas off me and me bouncing off of them. I do have the staff and I have asked them to come up with a lot of things and to help me throw out some of the crazy ideas that we have. Gary usually does that in a heartbeat. He throws anything that I come up with out. The process will be the same. We’ll setup all the situations, our 1-10 calls in each of the situations. We’ll be able to go out there and operate fast, certainly working with Karl (Dorrell) very closely all the time. It will be no problem.”

(on if he has spoken to Gary Kubiak) “I will say this, I’ve spoken with him. He’s called me more than I’ve responded, but I did respond. He’s more or less just making sure everything is OK around here. He has great concern for the team and the players and the coaches. We just tell him to rest and relax. He has not really brought up any football facts. He just wants to make sure everybody is operating and that everybody is staying positive and that we’re up there grinding. He knows we’re grinding and he knows we’re grinders. Staying positive and working with players and keeping the players up-beat as we have a very good football, we just have to make those one or two plays. We sound like a broken record, but those plays are just not happening for us and we have to find them.”

(on how different of a play-caller he is compared to Gary Kubiak) “I’ve been with him for a long time. I can’t even count the years. I think I’ve known him for 30 years. We have the same philosophy on how to win football games. I would say just being around him for the last four years in this position, I think we will be very similar. I don’t know that we’re exact, but we’re very similar. I know he finds holes in the defense better than anybody. He’s just that good at it. Hopefully I can do a good job for our players to get them in the right spot.”

(on QB Case Keenum’s ability to run the play-fake) “I think he’s done a lot of good things and that is one of the many things. I think you have to give the credit to the backs and the line too. I think they’re selling it and we’ve really stressed on everybody working hard at it. As long as those guys are running great routes and we do a good job with our ball handling and selling it, we should be able to make some plays. We also have to make some plays in the run game to make sure that works.”

(on the play of WR Andre Johnson and finding the end zone on Sunday night) “It’s great. I’m so busy with what we’re doing, I looked at the scoreboard during pregame warm-ups and I saw no touchdowns and I couldn’t believe it. It was great and doggone it, we wanted to get another one for him in the second half and had one setup and it just went to a different spot. We’ll keep working and like I said, we always try to operate and get the ball to whoever is open but certainly he does a great job of getting open.”

(on who gives the plays to QB Case Keenum) “It’s always been Karl (Dorrell) in the sideline to quarterback. He’s got that. We’re always on the headset together throughout the game. You can ask anybody that has listened in, it can give you headaches. There are a lot of people talking at certain points in time, but Gary (Kubiak) always asks for advice on the next play, next series. Between series, when the defense is playing, we never watch the game. We’re always trying to figure out where we’re going next. We’ll do the same thing. That’s what we did the second half. I asked the staff what they liked. I told them what I liked. We’ll get a collection of plays and figure out which order and where we want to go.”

(on what he likes about watching the game from the coaches booth) “You can see the coverage. You can see there are certain advantages, you know, of how a safety is playing that you can find the different spots and what’s happening on the backside. There are a lot of eyes up there. For me, having been up there for a while, I never was up there (prior). My first two years, I was up there doing quality control and I was just taking notes. Then I was always on the sideline and I enjoyed the sideline. Now I’m kind of used to being up there and seeing the big picture of what’s going on. Again, we’re just going to stay the course of what we have going. I feel like our operation is relatively smooth and everybody knows their job and what they’re supposed to do, so we’re going to continue in that regard.”

(on RB Dennis Johnson) “I thought he did a really good job. Obviously, we have great experience with him through OTAs and the summer and he’s got a good burst. He looks fresh. We’ll just keep rotating him in and he gave us some good things. He’s a tough little kid and he’ll go up there and block you in pass-pro. He’ll do everything that we need him to do. I really thought he did a good job. It’s just making sure that he’s up to speed with everything that we want to do.”

(on if RB Dennis Johnson was a different player when he came back to the team) “I think one of the things we had an issue with him was ball security and he worked on that and focused on that in the game. It was never a problem and never even close to being an issue. I think he understands what to do and how to do it. I think he’s a talented player that is going to help us.”

(on if it has hit him how crazy the last few weeks have been) “Life is pretty unpredictable. There are twists and turns. I don’t know. I try not to reflect too much. I’ve got too much to do, you know? Then I’ve got a family that I’ve got to go home to and they keep me young, so I just keep my prayers for Gary (Kubiak) and keep talking to him and hoping he gets well. There is a little bit of reflection but I try to do my job more than anything.”

(on if he thinks about health concerns of coaching at all) “My biggest health concerns are my issues from bad joints from playing. I try to keep in shape, keep the pounds off. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes I’m not. Like I said, my family keeps me very young. So no, I feel like I work very hard at it. I try to do all I can, but I’ve run a lot of miles with Gary (Kubiak) too. Over the years, we’ve pounded some pavement together.”

(on if it surprised him that Gary Kubiak would have health concerns) “I’ve been around him a long time and never really thought he had an issue. That’s in the Lord’s hands too. I think he took care of him.”

(on if he has been given any indication how long Gary Kubiak would be out) “No. I have not. He said he was going to try and come by in the next few days, but that might just be him talking. I called him back and Rhonda (Kubiak) answered the phone and I was in a little bit of trouble, so I’m trying to stay away from that.”

(on if there is concern with RB Arian Foster’s back injury and if that will be something that will keep him out) “I have absolutely no idea. I knew he wasn’t practicing today so we rotate the other two kids in there with D.J. (Dennis Johnson) and see if Ben (Tate) can take a little bit. Four (cracked) ribs is a lot to ask of a guy, but he toughed it out. We’ll come up with some running backs. We’ll have a set. We’ll do all we can. We have a good line and a good system I believe and we’ll make our yards.”

(on how tough of a decision will it be if RB Arian Foster can’t go of who will take his place) “I think it’s the same as any other decision. There are generally 20-21 offensive guys and you want to make sure it’s the right ones. You try to plan for somebody getting nicked here and there but not disaster where two guys go down. We’ll make sure that our bases are covered so that we can keep continuing on with our gameplan and we’re not stuck in one personnel at all. I think, just through a week of practice and seeing where everybody is, we’ll make the right decision.”

(on the offense line playing well) “Yeah, I think they played their best game last week. I think there is a little bit of result of guys playing together. We’re keeping more healthy. We had some issues early and now they’re all staying together. We’ve never not played hard. We’ve always played hard, there’s no doubt about that, but they’re playing together. I think it helps too when you move the ball, there is adrenaline. There are some things going and everybody is very positive, we’re upbeat and working together. I don’t doubt that at all.”

WR Andre Johnson
(on what the last three days have been like for him) “Definitely different with the whole situation with (Gary) Kubiak or whatever. Just day-by-day we’re hearing that he’s getting better, so that’s all you can hope for, that he’s getting better. That’s pretty much it. Like I said before, I think his health is what’s most important. That’s the important thing for him right now.  We can take care of the football stuff until he gets back. Hopefully we can go out and get this win on Sunday for him.”

(on if he has been in touch with Head Coach Gary Kubiak) “No, I haven’t talked with him. I haven’t.”

(on how different practice was today) “I mean, it was different. (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) hasn’t missed a practice since he’s been here. Like I said, it’s been different every day because you’re used to a routine. Your routine kind of changes when the head coach isn’t around. But the energy at practice was good. Guys still went out and worked hard took care of business as they normally would. We were just working to try to win a game on Sunday. I think the most important part for him is to make sure his health is well and he gets back.”

(on what he thinks it will be like with Wade Phillips in charge of the team) “I think everything will pretty much run the same. We have a routine. We’ve been doing it for however many weeks. But I don’t think anything will change. I think everything will be fine. Guys will stick to their routines. Like I said, we’re trying to win a football game.”

(on how much confidence does he get from knowing that Wade Phillips has been a head coach before) “There’s confidence there because he’s been a head coach. I think it would be a little different if you had a guy that has never been a head coach. Like I said, everybody’s fine. We worry about our head coach, hoping that he can get healthy and get back here as soon as possible. As far as football, like I said before, it’s football. We have a routine. We’ve been doing it for a while and we’re going to stick to it.”

(on if it’s difficult for him to accept that this could be a non-playoff year for him at this point in his career) “Yeah. That’s frustrating. The expectation level coming into this season, we didn’t think that we would be in the position we are in now. That’s the crazy thing about this game, you never know what can happen and you’ve got to go out there and give it your all every week. If you don’t play the way you’re supposed play, you lose. Unfortunately, it’s just been going bad for us.”

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on how practice was today) “It was smooth.  Guys were energetic, guys had fun. We got a great work day in so things went pretty smooth without Gary (Kubiak) here today.”

(on where Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald ranks and what makes him so special) “I don’t get into the rankings just because rankings don’t mean anything when you play the game on Sunday. You can have a guy that’s supposedly the number one receiver in the League and he shows up and not have a great game. What I will say about him, he’s been doing it for a long time at the same level for a long time, so if that means anything. His play hasn’t dropped off. Last year he had a down year, for whatever reason that was but he was the same guy last year. You put the film on, he made tough catches. He stretched the field, ran after the catch, got in there and blocked when he needed to. He’s a complete receiver.”

(on what makes Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald hard to cover) “Great hand-eye coordination. He can go up and get any ball. He’s never really covered just because the quarterback kind of gives him a chance to go up and make a play on the ball at all times.”

(on if it will be strange not having Head Coach Gary Kubiak at the game on Sunday) “It will probably be different. Just for him not being around all week, by the time Sunday comes, guys kind of get the feeling that we have to go out and play a game and not think about it as much, with the distraction and things like that, with him not being here. I think  with the full week going through and we count on Wade (Phillips) for a full week, I think it will kind of tend to blow over a little bit as the week goes on.”

(on Wade Phillips being the interim head coach) “He’s still doing the same job. He’s just the interim head coach for right now while Kubs (Head Coach Gary Kubiak) isn’t here. He’s still calling the plays over there on defense for us. I’m sure Rico (Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison) is still calling the plays on offense, so it’s kind of the same schedule, just a different guy in charge right now.”

QB Case Keenum
(on what practice was like without Gary Kubiak today) “It was a little different. He’s kind of been our guy on the offensive side, somebody that we’re always looking at. You guys know where he stands there in practice; centerfield, as we call it, was a little bare. Our coaches do a great job. I think they’ve got a great plan for us. I’m really excited about our plan. I think it’s going to be a good week of preparation. I think everybody is going to step up. I think that’s what happens. Just like any job in this whole organization, if someone isn’t there, it’s the next guy up. We’re going to do our best and everybody is going to make up a little bit for him.”

(on if it is hard to not think about Gary Kubiak) “I think the fact that we know he’s doing well and getting better kind of puts everybody at ease. Obviously, we’re all still worried and would love to have him back out there just like normal, but to know he’s doing well is obviously comforting.”

(on Wade Phillips’ message to the team about family and accountability) “I think it’s huge. In a crisis time, I think you have to have a foundation. You have to have something that you hang your hat on. I think everybody in that locker room, we all know that we’re family and everybody cares about their family. When one of your family members is hurting, you come together and you pull together for that family member.”

(on if, as a quarterback, he is most affected by Gary Kubiak’s absence) “I wouldn’t say that. I think we’re all just as affected out there on the field right now. We all have our separate coaches and so we all kind of go through them. I couldn’t tell you or speak for any of my teammates really if anybody is going to be affected more or less than I am.”

(on how much of an advantage has it been to have a head coach who was a quarterback) “I’ve always said since I’ve gotten here, that he’s probably the best quarterback coach in the NFL. He does an extremely good job. I know he, and Karl (Dorrell) and Rico (Rick Dennison) have been my only quarterback coaches that I’ve had in the NFL so I’m probably a little biased there, but the standard that the holds us to is extremely high. I think we all hold ourselves to that standard but he pushes you to move it a little bit higher and maybe more than you feel like you can do. I think that’s what makes him special and that’s what makes you special, just being his guy. We all love playing for him. We all love going out and laying it down on the line for him, just because we know he’s doing the same thing every day for us.”

(on the availability of the deep ball the past two games compared to the rest of the season) “It’s a great thing that we have guys that can go down and make plays. I think we’ve had some great opportunities and they’ve kind of presented themselves in different situations as far as what coverages they’re playing and we can attack certain areas. It’s having guys like No. 80 (Andre Johnson) and you feel good about putting the ball up and letting him make a play. He does it more often than not, so you kind of keep looking his way when it’s crunch time. It is comforting to know you have guys like that that can go down and get the ball.”

(on the Colts biting on his play fakes allowing those deep passes to be there) “Yeah, I think being able to run the ball is huge, as far as biting on a play-fake and having a great running game that can create those mismatches in the backend and let guys like DeAndre (Hopkins) and Andre (Johnson) go down and make plays down the field for us that are huge.”

(on RB Ben Tate playing with four cracked ribs) “I think it’s incredible. That’s Wolverine and Superman stuff because to be able to go out and him make plays like that and still come out and run hard, especially how we rely on the running game, is huge. That speaks a lot to your teammates, to have a guy like that that is laying it down for us every play.”

(on if he has spoken to Gary Kubiak) “No, just like everything else, I’m trying to give him space and keep my head down and do my job. I know everything that is and can be done is being done so I’m just doing lots of praying.”

(on the whirlwind few weeks from being inactive until now) “Yeah, everything has been great except for you guys following me around everywhere I go. No, it has been happening pretty fast. Like I said before, I’ve tried to just keep my head down and just keep going forward and keep grinding. I’ll look up when the season is over and maybe think about some other things. This is why you play the game. There are all the extra things that come with it. I don’t see them as problems. I see them maybe as little inconveniences, but they’re good things. They’re not bad things. It’s better than not having anybody care or the other way around.”

(on if there is anything they need to work on with Rick Dennison in terms of communication before Sunday) “I think the coaches will do all that. We get the play call from Karl (Dorrell), so I think that they’ll do a great job with their communication and what they do. We’ll still be getting the play call through the headset and letting them know what’s going on and the on the sideline making adjustments, just like we do every game.”

(on Rick Dennison saying Gary Kubiak shoots down some of his crazy ideas and if he thinks that things will be any more experimental this week) “Who knows. I think there are probably a lot of plays that start off sounding pretty good during the week than never gets to us. It goes through the filter many times before we install it on Wednesday and Thursday morning. Who knows. There have been a lot of different things going on around here for the last few weeks, so we’ll see.”

(on if he is handling the relationship with QB Matt Schaub) “It’s been really good. Somebody else used the word awkward the other and by all accounts, from the outside it should be awkward, but it’s the total opposite. I used the example the other day, you kind of find out the most about a person when things are going wrong or when they’re kind of being put through the grinder, especially off the field stuff the past month that he’s had to deal with that nobody should have to deal with, and he couldn’t be a better guy through the whole thing. I’m extremely proud to know the guy and call him a friend because he’s still giving advice without me asking and talking plays and talking ball and just letting me know and being there for me with whatever I need has been huge. I couldn’t say enough about that guy. One of the best guys I know and I’ve been really appreciative and fortunate to have him in our quarterback room. I think we have a really good quarterback room.”

(on how much has QB Matt Schaub helped him) “How much? A ton. Every day, it’s constant. It’s in between plays during practice. It’s during the game on the sideline. It’s watching film in the mornings. It’s all of that stuff. It’s constant.”

(on if he will lean on QB Matt Schaub more this week with the absence of Gary Kubiak) “Yeah, I think we’ll all lean on each other more. Like I said earlier, I think everybody is going to have to step up their game. I’m definitely going to be looking to him. I’m going to be looking to Karl (Dorrell) and Rico (Rick Dennison). I think we have a great dynamic of coaches and players who communicate well with each other and I think that’s a big thing about being successful, letting everybody know how you’re feeling about certain plays and what you need to do or what I’m thinking about this play, so yeah, I definitely will.”

SS D.J. Swearinger
(on being thrown into the fire and a lot of things happening this season and if he can reflect on that) “Yeah, it’s a little frustrating. As players, this is the NFL. As pros, you’ve got to step it up. You’ve got find a way to get a win. You’ve got to rally the troops and come together, and find a way to win. That’s something we’ve been trying to do the last three weeks. We’ve just got to step it up another notch.”

(on if Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald is someone he’s always looked forward to going up against) “I was playing in the game was I was in high school. It’s going to be an honor playing against him.”

(on how Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips carries himself and what’s he like) “Coach is cool and laid back. He’s always going to tell you if you’ve done something wrong or make sure you know you’ve got this right. Just help you critique yourself on certain stuff. He’s a cool coach.”

RB Ben Tate
(on Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips saying how tough he is and that he already knows he’ll play on Sunday and if that’s just the type of player he is) “Yeah, I guess. I’m just going through grinding trying to do the best to my ability. Just keep going to help this team, like I said, finally get a W out there (after) six straight losses.”

(on Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips saying that he’s had star players in the past not play through injuries and yet he is) “I don’t know. I guess that’s a compliment to me. I’m just all in, trying to do this and get this thing turned around for guys like Dre (Andre Johnson), for guys who have been here, who experience losing. Since I’ve been here, I haven’t experienced anything like this until this year. It’s not something I’m used to and definitely want to get the taste out of your mouth. It’s time to get his thing turned around. That’s my main focus.”

(on the status of his rib injury right now) “I think they’re getting better. They’re different getting better. From last Wednesday to this Wednesday, it’s definitely a lot better.”

(on the situation with Head Coach Gary Kubiak being out and Wade Phillips being the Interim Head Coach) “That’s life. You’ve just got to roll with it and make the best of it. I think Wade did do a great job.”

(on what the last 72 hours have been like) “It’s tough. It’s tough, but like I just said, it’s life. You have to work with what we’re given to the best of our abilities. Coach (Wade) Phillips has been doing a great job with the defense. I wouldn’t expect him being any different in stepping up and filling for Coach (Gary) Kubiak until he gets back.”

(on Interim Head Coach Wade Phillips having a lot of experience) “Yeah, exactly. He’s got his thing down. He’s been a head coach before. So it’s not really anything I’m worried about.”

DE J.J. Watt
(on his thoughts about Head Coach Gary Kubiak not being here and Wade Phillips being the Interim Head Coach) “Obviously, we’re hoping that Coach Kub gets healthy as quickly as possible. Obviously, he has to take as much time as he needs to get healthy. But we have football games to win and Wade’s the Interim Coach, so we’ll do what he says.”

(on if it was weird today without Head Coach Gary Kubiak and if moving forward is just part of football) “It’s more just part of being a professional. You’re dealt certain types of adversity or dealt certain hands. You just have to go out there and play. You have to deal with the situations that come your way. And right now we’re dealing with a situation where Wade (Phillips) is our interim head coach and he’s a very knowledgeable guy and knows what he’s doing. We’re in good hands.”

(on what it’s been like to watch things unfold for Head Coach Gary Kubiak) “Obviously, you hope everything is good. That’s all you can hope for is the best. We get limited information, but all that we can hope for is the best.”

(on what it says about Head Coach Gary Kubiak that keeps checking about how the team is doing) “You know he’s thinking about football. Even as much as I’m sure the doctors are telling him not to and as sure as his family telling him not to, you know he’s thinking about it. I’ve been able to text back and forth with him a couple of times. You know he wants to be here. You know that’s just the type of guy that he is. He would get out of that bed to get over here as soon as he could. We just want him to get healthy and take as much time as he needs.”

(on CB Johnathan Joseph saying the leaders on the defense need to step up because of Wade Phillips having more on his plate as the Interim Head Coach) “Obviously, Wade’s going to have a little more to do, so we definitely need the leadership on the defensive side of the ball to help make up for that. And we have good defensive coaches who know what we’re doing. I don’t see much changing. I think that we just need to go out there and play good football. I think, in a situation like this, one thing that I sure as heck know would put a smile on Kubs’ (Gary Kubiak’s) face is a win. That would put a smile on a lot of people’s faces right now. That’s what we’re looking to do.”

(on how the last 72 hours have been) “It’s been a lot of different things. A lot of different things going through your head. Obviously, first thing is always the health of your Coach, which it sounds like he’s doing all right, so that’s the best thing. You just have to move on to the next game. It’s a real tough situation. You learn from your loss from things. We need to get it rolling. That’s what we’re focused on.”

(on if this season has really tested the resolve of this team) “It’s our job. Obviously, we’re not in a situation that you want to be in, a desirable situation by any means. You have to face adversity. We’re facing some tough adversity, but all you can do is, every single day, go to work and put in your best work, and stay as positive as possible. We’ve just got to keep fighting.”

(on how you finish games) “Play better. There’s no simple answer. If there was a simple answer, I’m sure we’d have it, but there isn’t a simple answer. We need to finish. We need to play better at the end of the game. Obviously, this week was a little bit different situation, but we just need to play a full four quarters of clean football. I think that’s one of the biggest things we do is play clean football. We need less penalties, less mistakes, just little things, little things that turn into big things.”

(on the challenges of the Cardinals offense) “They can do a couple of different things. They have a couple of running backs that can run well. Obviously, Larry Fitzgerald’s a fantastic wide receiver. They can get the ball to him. There are a few different things that they do. But from my perspective, it’s always what we do. It’s always you need to focus on what you do as a defensive. Like I’ve said too many times, we need to get takeaways. We need to continue to do that.”

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