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Capers' season-ending press conference

Head coach Dom Capers

(on the season and how the team responded to adversity) "The first step in developing into a winning team starts with work ethic and attitude. It is something that we've placed a lot of emphasis on in the first two years. I think this season we're just coming off of has been a big test for all of us. One of the things that happens to you is you get to know a lot about each other. This is a game that's going to reveal how a person's put together. You get a chance to see how they handle the ups and downs of the season. We've certainly faced a lot of challenges this past season, starting with the number of injuries that we've had to overcome, then, of course, the tough, hard-fought losses that we've had here during the course of the year.

(on what this season's adversity has challenged) "It challenges two things; it challenges your courage and it challenges your character. Your courage gives you a chance to pick yourself up and comeback again. Your character always determines how you respond to those situations. I'm proud of the way our team has responded throughout the season. They've hung in there together and they've fought as hard as any team that I've been around through some tough situations. They never let go of the rope and really that's always a major concern.

(on how the team stepped up against the Colts) "I certainly tried to keep my finger on the pulse of the team heading into the last game of the season knowing that we had a Colts team coming in here playing for the division championship. We knew we were going to get there very best; they had so much at stake. Yet, we knew we were playing our last game. These guys never backed off one bit and they accepted the responsibility of going out and playing with the kind of effort that we played with.

(on the character of the players) "Going through the course of the season, I think that we had some stand-up guys on this team that accepted responsibility for their jobs and they never made excuses; they never pointed fingers; they never placed blame when things went against us and I think that's significant. I think that's a good foundation to start with and build on."

(on this season's close games) "I think this season was a great example of what a fine line there is between winning and losing in this game. If you look at our wins, we won by one down in Miami in the opener; we won by two up in Buffalo; and the other three wins came by four points. So it just shows how close our wins were. Our losses--we had five losses. Basically, our last three losses in this stadium were by three on a field goal yesterday; by three on the touchdown on the fourth-and-10 situation against Tennessee; by three in overtime to New England; by five to the New York Jets when we led the whole way there and they scored with 1:26 to go; and by seven at Cincinnati. The common denominator between all five of those games is we had leads in the fourth quarter and we were not able to hold those leads."

(on what the team has learned) "I think we've learned a lot as a team. I think we've learned number one that we can compete with the very best. I think we've learned that you always have a chance in this league as long as you keep fighting no matter what the situation is."

(on losing players to injury in yesterday's game) "To me, the significant thing about the game yesterday is we lost three players very early in the game that were significant players in our game plan. Demarcus Faggins was a guy we had matched up on Marvin Harrison, and we lost him to a fractured fibula. Then we lose Jason Bell with a neck injury and that took us out of about 50 percent of our defense because we didn't have four underneath cover guys. So, we had to adjust during the course of the game. We lost Junior Ioane; he only played I think about six plays in the game. We lost him to a torn ACL. We lost Antwan Peek for quite a bit of the game with bruised ribs. The guys hung in there and one thing I do know is that we have a bunch of fighters on this team. That's comforting as we head into this offseason and head into next year."

(on learning from the season) "The biggest thing we have to do is we've got to really learn and draw from our experiences this year. Nothing stays the same. Every team in this league is either going to get better or they're going to get worse. There is no easy way. As much as you'd like to snap your fingers and make it happen, immediately it just doesn't happen. It's a step-by-step process you have to go through. There are no quick fixes, but I do believe that we've established a good, solid foundation."

(on the offseason and the future of the team) "The next challenge is to attempt to get our injured players back healthy again. That's the first step of the offseason, and then having a good offseason in terms of acquiring more talent for this team. To me, the most positive thing is--if you can get the right kind of people with the right kind of work ethic and attitude, it's a good foundation to build on. And I think we have that foundation to build on."

(on his outlook on the team's expectations) "You have to take things step-by-step. I put up a step-by-step chart. Basically, the first step is to win. There are 32 teams in the league and every week there 16 games. There are going to be 16 winners and 16 losers. So you have to move into that top-16 category. The next step is playoffs and you have to become one of the top-12 teams to move into the playoffs. The next (step) is division champs. You have to be one of the top-eight teams to be a division champ. Then you go to AFC Champs and you have to be one of two teams. Then, the Super Bowl Champ is one team. So, it's a pyramid."

(on next season) "I think we have to go to training camp a better football team than we are today. Again, I shared that with the team today. We have to have an outstanding offseason. When you put that grid up there, you say now we have to move into the top 16 teams and then hopefully the top 12 (teams). The only way you're going to do that is you have to try to establish a standard where you are going to do all of the little things that maybe your competitors aren't willing to do. For me, it's all about how high you set the bar because every time you set it a little higher, then your standard has to go higher and you have to make more demands on yourself and more sacrifices. I think we have a group that will do that.

(on the Texans' offseason) "We spelled out our offseason program in great detail today. They know exactly when we leave here what's going to be asked of them in terms of when they come back and when we start; what we're going to do; what segment we'll do with the weight room and the conditioning on the field; when we'll start working on football technique; when our mini-camps are; and when they have time off. We try to be very specific in those regards. I think you can make a big difference on your team in the offseason."

(on the coaches' jobs) "A big part of our jobs as coaches is we have to develop what we have here right now. When we bring new talent in we have to go to work to try to fit that into the scheme and then decide what we can and cannot do."

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