After Thursday morning's spirited practice against the New Orleans Saints, several Texans spoke to the media. Following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak Texans WR Jacoby Jones Texans FB Vonta Leach Texans LB DeMeco Ryans
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (morning practice)(on the practices versus the Saints) "Yeah, it normally gets real competitive, especially the second day because they get tired of beating on each other, too. It's almost like playing a game for three days and wearing on each other. But I thought it was pretty good, good competition. I think everybody's relatively healthy, and now we compete Saturday night."
(on teammates backing each other up during the scuffles in practice) "That's part of becoming a team. When your players are in a battle or whatever, you've got to always be there for each other. It doesn't matter if you're the Saints or Texans or who you are, in a team sport, you've got to always be there for your teammates. It's also about composure, too, so you've got to be able to keep those things under wraps and do your job."
(on who won't be seen playing on Saturday) "I just found out that (LB) Cato June broke his forearm this morning, so obviously he will not go, so I'll find out where he's at. Other than that, (LB) Chaun Thompson is a little iffy for us, but I'm hoping he'll be able to go."
(on if he likes seeing his players stick up for each other) "Well, I don't want to ever say you're glad to see guys out there getting in fights and stuff. Your team's got to be there for each other, but you've got to keep your composure because if you get somebody hurt in a fight or cost the football team during the game. This game's about competition, but ultimately, it's about keeping your composure and doing your job."
(on if he likes seeing that fire from his players) "You're trying to get me to say that. I like when my guys play hard, but I want them to keep their composure in what they're doing."
(on who will be playing on Saturday night) "We'll just up the ones. They'll basically play about a quarter-and-a-half of the game, then the twos will play about a quarter-and-a-half and then the threes will finish the game. Play count's probably going to be somewhere around 25 for the first group."
(on if RB Arian Foster will play) "Well, I saw how he looked this morning, and he looked like he was OK. Obviously, he's missed a lot of time, so we'll see how he comes out of today and if he's fine, then I'd like to play him."
(on LB Brian Cushing) "You know what, he's doing really well. He ran yesterday a little bit, I don't know if y'all have watched him. It's my understanding he ran a little bit today. He's on schedule; we don't have any doubts that he'll be ready to go opening week. Do we play him in the preseason next week or Tampa Bay? I think that's still up in the air. Our target date is to make sure he's ready to go against the Jets."
(on CB Dunta Robinson) "I haven't heard anything. We've just got to stay focused on who's here and get those guys ready to play. We've got to have this team ready to go in about, what's it now, three-and-a-half weeks away?"
(on DT Travis Johnson) "He's doing pretty good. What we were doing this week was getting (defensive line coach) Bill (Kollar) to work him after practice, so he's working more. We'll see how he comes out of that next week. If he continues to progress, we could very well see him out here next week."
(on if there were any heat related problems) "I think Mike Jones had a little heat issue, the wide receiver, but I think we're OK."
(on the tense practice) "Well, when you practice that long against each other, it's just part of it, but I thought we did a good job as coaches of keeping it under control. It's just very competitive."
(on if the fights during practice work to bond the team) "It's part of football. You've got to be there for each other, it makes your team strong, but at the same time, you've got to keep some composure and play."
Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak (afternoon practice)
(on if the team is done with two-a-days) "Yeah, we really are. That's right, I didn't even think about that, because when we get back we'll have one on Monday, one on Tuesday and then take Wednesday off and then get into our routine so yeah, you're right. It's been a good camp, very productive. The last couple of days have been excellent, speaking from my perspective. I think it's been great for our football team. New Orleans is a good team, good test Saturday night."
(on if he accomplished what he wanted to in camp) "Yeah, I think it's been very positive. The biggest disappointment for me right now is continuity on defense, we've been missing some players, you know. Obviously, (CB) Dunta (Robinson) not being here, part of what we're doing, (LB Brian) Cushing missing a great deal of time, having to move (LB) Zac (Diles) and those guys around, that type of thing. I didn't like that but I think we're better. We're better just because we've got some young players showing up and these young corners showing up but you'd like to have those guys working together on a constant basis."
(on LB Brian Cushing) "He's doing just fine. He's doing really well. We'll be smart so I think I'll just be checking with you next week. He is running, I don't see him playing next week, I hope I'm wrong but I don't see him playing next week but I have no doubt that he's going to be ready to go for the Jets. Whether we play him or not against Tampa, that will be a call that week."
(on his plans for the starters in this weekend's game) "We're putting a play count on them of about 25 plays so that's usually about a quarter and a half in this league so we'll see what happens. Bottom line they're going to play more this week than they did last week. Then after that we still got a lot of players to look at."
(on the notion that the fighting in practices with the Saints had a bonding affect) "Well, when we got started a few years ago, we started putting together a young football team that, to me, is growing up together and these guys are getting very close and they've been through some battles, they've been through some highs and lows. We have a good, close football team and they should be out there battling for each other. Now, obviously you don't want guys losing their temper and hurting the football team, you've got to keep your composure in this business but we know where our leaders are on this team and we've got some guys out there battling for each other."
(on how LB Cato June's injury affects the team) "Well, obviously it hurts Cato. He's battling to make this football team. A very experienced player that has been a big help to young guys and he brings winning to our team so we're going to miss that, he's going to miss a great deal of time. I think (head trainer) Geoff (Kaplan) told me that it could be 6 – 8 weeks, he's having surgery as we speak. I just feel bad that he's not going to be able to be a part of it right now."
(on WR Jacoby Jones) "He's doing his job. He has had a good camp. I was a little disappointed against Kansas City where he had some missed assignments. That has to go away but he will get three weeks here to prove to his team mates and this city that he belongs on this team and I expect him to arise to the occasion."
(on WR Jacoby Jones having to earn his spot on the team) "Yes he definitely does. Everybody does, not just him. I expect him to earn his keep. I think he is working toward earning his keep so we will see what happens."
(on health concerns) "No, just (LB) Cato (June) this morning and (RB Arian) Foster got through practice so I'm assuming that he will practice tomorrow morning. I would like to play him."
(on going against Saints QB Drew Breese) "He's a great player. I think he is one of the best quarterbacks in the past ten years to play in this league. He's a fine gentleman. I had a chance to talk to him this morning. Our defense will see a team that throws it around as good as anybody so it will be a good test for us."
(on problem with continuity on defense) "I didn't mean to say that it was a problem, I'm just saying that it's something that I think we missed throughout camp. You would like it to be fitting with everybody, everyday but that's just part of it."
(on the offensive line and its injury problems during camp)"Yes naturally those guys played together. When you look at our offensive line, they have so many reps together from last year. Defensively, we have some new players. We have (LB Brian) Cushing and (DE) Antonio (Smith) is coming in. Offensive line wise, I think we'll be fine. I think we found out that (TE James) Casey can play at a high level and we found out that (C) Chris White can play at a high level and that's good for the team. We also expect (C) Chris Meyers and (G) Chester (Pitts) back next week so we'll get right back to work."
(on G Chester Pitts returning next week) "Yes, we expect him to play next week."
(on G Casey Studdard pushing for a position) "He's pushing for a job on this team. Whether its (G) Chester (Pitts) or (G) Mike (Brisiel), he's pushing to play on this team and playing like a starter needs to play. That's very good for our football team. There's still a long way to go and we'll see how it pans out but he has done his part and has worked really well."
Texans WR Jacoby Jones
(on going against another defense) "You get tired of beating up on your own guys every day, so it feels good to get a look at different cornerbacks and different safeties. There definitely is a difference."
(on practicing against another team being a release) "Yes, because sometimes you get a chance to tee off against somebody else even if they tee off back on you, but that's football, though."
(on having New Orleans friends present) "It's a lot of trash talking. I go back home in the offseason and work out with a lot of those guys; Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson and Marques Colston and all those guys. A lot of trash talk at its best goes on."
Texans FB Vonta Leach
(on saying anything to the Saints before the fight) "No, nothing was said. I thought they took a cheap shot. A guy came off the (RB) Ryan Moats block and started swinging."
(on getting even) "Yes, we got even. We are not going to be pushed around or bullied. Our offense is not going to be pushed around and our team is not going to be pushed around. Stuff like that is a part of my job so I take it and run with it."
Texans LB DeMeco Ryans
(on the disputes out on the field between the players) "You get to pushing and shoving out there and things happen on the football field, nothing personal or serious."
(on who won the fight between he and Saints TE Jeremy Shockey) "I don't know, you tell me."
(on what happened between he and Shockey) "Oh, he just got to pushing and shoving on a little pass play, and I told my defensive guys that we're not going to just let them come into our house and think they can take over when they come to Houston. This is our house, and we had to let them know that, and we get a chance to do that again on Saturday."
(on FB Vonta Leach stating that the Saints were taking cheap shots and the Texans weren't going to put up with it) "Oh, no, you can't allow that. We're out here and we're a family. We have to stick up for each other, so if you have someone coming into your house taking cheap shots, then you have to defend yourself."
(on the Saints thinking the Texans were taking cheap shots) "No, I don't care if they thought it or not. Like I said, I'm just excited, and it gets us more pumped up to go out and play Saturday."
(on telling a reporter yesterday that there wouldn't be any fighting) "What can I say? A different day, a different set of rules."