Capers press conference

(Opening statement) "Our game Saturday points out what a fine line there is to winning a game in the National Football League. I thought our guys went out and fought extremely hard. Really it was anybody's ballgame until they hit that touchdown pass, the 36-yarder, with 2:37 to go in the game. The game started out, we went three-and-out which was really our only three-and-out of the game offensively. And they went down and scored a touchdown. We fought back and went into the locker room with a 13-10 lead at halftime. Both teams fought in the third quarter and they ended up scoring with about 4:07 to go to make it 17-13. We go nine plays our next possession down to the 20 yard line and miss a 38 yard field goal which would have made it 17-16. Then basically we come back in the first series of the fourth quarter and hit Andre on a 53-yard touchdown pass to go up 20-17. The next series, we got them in a third and ten situation, we had Garrard in the grasp and looked like we were going to get the sack, but he made a nice play, got out of there and hit Smith for a 20-yarder. They go on down to score to go up 24-20. We take the drive, go down to their 30 and with about six minutes to go in the game, we line up to kick another field goal. I'm thinking at that time whether to go for it on fourth down or to go ahead and kick the field goal to make it 24-23, we have timeouts left and six minutes to go in the game. I thought that was the right decision but we missed that field goal. Again we get them in third and eight, hit the quarterback, the ball goes up in the air and it looks like we're going to intercept it, and we get called for illegal contact. And then from that point, they went down and scored, made it a two possession game and we threw the interception and they scored again. The final score was not really indicative of the way the game went.

"Looking at all three phases of our team, our special teams, which has been a constant for us this year, had some breakdowns there that we normally hadn't had.  The best part of our special teams is our kickoff coverage unit continues to do a good job and held them inside the 25 yard line in terms of their drive-start.  Our punting game only had one decent punt, the other one wasn't so good.  They punted twice and had two good punts.  The two missed field goals were critical for us because we had a chance to make it a 17-16 game and we had a chance to make it a 24-23 game.  Coming away with neither one of those was significant.  We had a critical roughing the punter by one of our young players early in the game, which you certainly don't want to have.  We gave them a chance to line up and go again.

"Offensively, I thought our effort was very good.  I thought we played fairly physical on offense.  The thing that we did a good job of that we had a harder time with earlier in the season, was we made some big plays in the passing game.  David made some excellent throws, Corey Bradford had a 33-yarder on a fade route early in the game, and we came back and hit him on a 50-yarder for the touchdown.  And we hit Andre for the 53-yarder.  On the day, we averaged over eight yards a pass.  David did a good job of managing the game at the line of scrimmage in terms of the run/pass.  And we converted 54 percent on third downs which was one of our better days on third down. 

"The negative things, we've got to continue to work to eliminate the negative plays.  We had four sacks.  We had some more chances for big plays that we didn't make.  You saw David hit Andre where he had one foot in and one foot out.  We came back immediately after that and had his fingertips on another one.  Really, the worst part of our game was the start of the game where we had the sack fumble on the first series.  After that, we moved the ball fairly well against one of the top defenses in the league.

"Defensively, we had a lot of opportunities.  One of the things we have done, is we've done a better job of getting pressure on the quarterback.  We had three sacks and hit Garrard a few times.  But we didn't come away with any takeaways.  I counted four legitimate chances for interceptions.  When you're playing a team like Jacksonville, with their style of play, you've got to get takeaways.  We had five defensive penalties that were very critical.  Their first touchdown was set up by a holding call.  Rather than them having to kick a field goal, they hit the touchdown.  We had an interception, where we got called for roughing the quarterback and illegal contact.  We had an offsides and a number of plays that came in critical situations.  The one where we hit the quarterback and the ball was up in the air, we thought we were going to intercept it but we got called with illegal contact there.  When you're going into the game with Jacksonville coming in here playing for a playoff spot, we're going to get their best effort. Normally when we play these guys it's been a tough, physical game and it really wasn't much different on Saturday.  It's too bad the score ended up the way that it did, but it was one of those games right up until two minutes to go in the game, that it was anybody's game.  We certainly had our opportunities.  You can't have critical penalties and when you have your hands on the ball, you've got to make those plays.  And you can't miss a couple field goals in a tough, hard-fought game.  You've got to make sure you convert your opportunities.  They just converted more of their opportunities than we did.

"As far as the injury situation goes, Gary Walker got hurt on the first play of the game.  He severed his triceps tendon and he'll have surgery on Wednesday so he'll go on injured reserve for this last week.  Jonathan Wells has a thigh contusion and will probably not practice on Wednesday.  But we think he'll get better as the week goes on.  Domanick Davis again will not practice on Wednesday and we'll just have to evaluate where Domanick is to see if he can come back and play this week.  Travis Johnson was deactivated.  He strained his back in practice on Friday.  It's getting better and we're going to have to monitor his situation because of our defensive line situation.  With Gary going down on the first play of the game, and with only five defensive linemen active, we played the game with four defensive linemen. So Alfred Malone came up from the practice squad and factored heavily.  He played over 25 plays which we didn't anticipate doing.  Frank Chamberlin had the hamstring, we held him out last week.  We hope he'll be able to go in practice on Wednesday.  Steve McKinney has a thigh contusion and Chester Pitts had some back spasms.  I think the major ones would be Gary and we'll have to see where Domanick is."

(on if this is an awkward week for him) "Not really.  I don't look at this week any different than any of the others.  Our job is to come in here on Wednesday, go to work and get our team as prepared as we can to go out and play to the best of our abilities.  One thing I'll say about this team is that they've done an outstanding job of coming back in, being professional and focusing on what we have to do to get ready to go play.  I think our play has been indicative of that.  I feel bad about the game Saturday because we had so many opportunities but we didn't convert.  That's life in the NFL.  That was a team coming in here with 10 wins.  They've beaten us twice but we've been right there and had opportunities in both games."

(on how he remains calm under pressure and duress) "I think this is a game of discipline.  If you lose your poise and composure…If there's a call you disagree with or something, your initial response is always to be very reactive to it.  But the minute I do it and I turn around and see half our sideline start to do it, I know that's an indication of the way I responded to it.  Because they're going to always look to you as a coach and the leader of the team, and respond the way you respond.  I think that's counterproductive and really hypocritical of me to ask our team to respond one way and have me respond another way.  Actions always speak louder than words, so that's the challenge.  There's going to be weeks where there's a lot more distractions than other but you can't let distractions affect the way you play on Sunday."

(on how owner Bob McNair has been with him) "He's been tremendous.  Anybody that knows Bob would expect him to respond supportively.  He's obviously disappointed in the results we've had like all of us are.  Bob is as steady and supportive of an owner as you can have in these situations."

(on defensive line situation) "We're going to have to monitor Travis (Johnson). Obviously we ended up shorthanded Saturday. We were down to four after the first play, so if Travis doesn't look like he's totally ready to go then we'll have to take a look in terms of maybe signing another defensive lineman. Obviously you can't go into the game with just four active linemen. I spoke with Travis today. He's feeling a lot better, but we might have to work him on a limited basis. He's listed on a limited basis for Wednesday, and we'll see how he does. The best thing would be to have Travis back, healthy and ready to play this next game."

(on defensive end Alfred Malone) "You never know what to expect. A guy comes from the practice squad and ends up going out and playing more than 25 plays. He ended up with a sack, and I think he was active. Like with a lot of these young guys, we put him out there in situations that he really hasn't much work at. It's easy to get all upset because you don't want to see a roughing the kicker penalty in that situation. Really it was a situation where he shouldn't have been rushing, but he came free and like most good football players do, he was trying to block the kick. So in fairness to him, he hadn't been it that situation on the practice squad."

(on if ever experienced situation where team wants a win but fans want a loss) "Well I think probably the last month or so there's probably been a lot of that sentiment. When you're a coach or a player, you never think about that kind of stuff. You want to go out and win every week. I've had people before say, 'You're winning too many, too fast.' And you laugh. From a coaching standpoint, what do you do? Your job is to try to win every week, so I think there's probably a lot of that sentiment outside here. But if you polled our football team or our coaching staff, we want to go to San Francisco and finish this season out – as difficult as it's been – on a positive note."

(on what he expects from team this week) "Beginners are many, finishers are few. We'll find out what kind of finishers we are. To me the way you finish any task is indicative of character, professionalism and the approach that you take. I admire the approach that all our players have taken the last four or five weeks of the season. I think you'd be hard-pressed to say we haven't been a far more competitive team. We played much better football over that period of time than we did earlier in the season, and that's a credit to them in terms of holding on to that rope and not giving in. This is an evaluation business. This is a production business, and you'd like to play your best to finish off the season."

(on if team's attitude is a credit to his coaching) "I don't know if it is. But when you're going through a tough year, the most challenging part is keeping the focus and concentration that comes easy when you're winning. I've been with a lot of teams who have been strongly in the playoff hunt, and it's a totally different environment. It's more of a challenge, from a coaching standpoint, to make sure your team doesn't drift off course. So it has to be constant reminders, and you have to talk a lot about the importance of putting your signature on your play because that's part of your identity. Your credibility is tied in there."

(on if he's proud of team's work ethic) "I am proud of them. I think this time of year you look at the number of teams that are out of the playoffs and you see some pretty lopsided games. From the very beginning, I made a statement that our credibility be tied in with how hard we played no matter what the situation was, whether it was the first play of the game or the last play of the game, if we were ahead by 20 or behind by 20. I can look you in the eye and tell you that I don't think efforts been an issue for this football team. Efficiency of execution and making some critical plays as the game was Saturday was basically the major issue. It wasn't effort. Guys were fighting. I can say with conviction that I don't think there are any quitters on this team because they would stand out."

(on quarterback David Carr) "I think David's improved. I said half way through this season when everyone was asking about David Carr, 'hang in there and ask me about it at the end of the season.' Just knowing David for the past four years, he's a pretty steady guy. He works his way through the ups and the downs. A week ago you saw the first half the way he handled things from the line of scrimmage. Yesterday wasn't much different from what we've been doing, he was just doing a little more of it because he didn't want all the verbiage out there. He was doing it in the huddle, and he was making most of the decisions in the game yesterday. And I think other than a couple of times where they got the ball out of his hands on the first series and another time maybe on a three-step drop where he could have thrown the ball away, he was making good decisions. I thought he played a good football game. It was good to see him get the ball up the field and make some big plays. He ends up with a 107 quarterback rating. I think David's last month has been on the upswing, and that's really positive."

(on Carr this season) "Like anything, you have to adapt and adjust as you go through the season to what you think that your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you can and can't do. It's no different with a quarterback in terms of getting a feel for how much time you to have to get rid of the football and tying that in with your receivers getting open. If they're playing against press coverage does it take a little longer than if people are playing off, of if you're playing a team that's going to do more five or six man rush? I think David has matured as the seasons gone on. If you think back to our opener against the Buffalo Bills, we struggled tremendously. In our first series here against Pittsburgh, they knocked the ball out. But there's been less and less of that."

(on what he likes most about Carr) "I think the way he's hung in there. He hasn't wavered. You go through ups and downs and times of frustrations, and it becomes easy to give in and make excuses for yourself. He's not a guy that ever makes an excuse. He looks at himself and what he can do better, which for a young player I think is the most important thing. It's a lot easier to look outside and say, 'if we only we'd done this or had that.' You never hear David question the scheme. He's a bright guy. We ask him what he feels comfortable with, and what you've seen the last couple of weeks is us putting a lot more on his shoulders in terms of doing things. And he's done a good job of that because he's plenty bright enough to do it."

(on key to Texans' struggles since 2004 finale) "Well I think it can happen really easy in the business. I think number one you start out and your schedule is difficult early. The lack of continuity. As I looked at the beginning of the season, obviously we've made progress from four to five to seven. Everybody wanted to talk about the playoffs, but having been through this before I know there's a tremendous jump from being a 7-9 team to a 9-7 team even. There were three teams that were 9-7 that didn't make the playoffs. As I looked at our team, I though we had a chance to be our best team, but I didn't know what it was going to be record wise. We got off to a tough star, and there was a segment there early where we didn't have Gary Walker after the Pittsburgh game for quite a while, who is arguably is one of the best, if not the best, defensive players on our team. There was a segment there where we had an awful hard time getting Andre Johnson and Domanick Davis on the field at the same time, which over the last couple of year's have been our biggest playmakers. It's continuity, getting into a rhythm. I felt after the Cleveland Browns game, our poorest outing was the Kansas City game. Other than that, we've had a chance to win every football game we've played since then. We haven't won as many as we'd wanted. But with little things here or there, a little more momentum or continuity, we could have won six or seven games."

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