On Wednesday, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the Miami media via a conference call. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(On Andre Johnson and if still has anything to work on) "I mean obviously he is a hell of a player, as good as I have ever been around. He has been special the last couple of weeks. I think he is going to continue to get better. What year is this for him? Six or seven? For me, since I have been here, he has played his best football the last two years. So he has gotten better for me each and every year. I don't see any reason that doesn't continue to happen. Very hard worker, takes good care of himself, studies football awfully hard. When you have those traits you tend to play a long time or play well for a well long time. So I think he is well on his way."
(On where he has seen the most growth by him as a player and as a person) "I think really in his knowledge of the game. I always told him since I got him when you are that type of player obviously people try to game plan to take you away. The thing we have to build to do, we have to call on you to go play in a lot of spots and do a lot of things so you can't just lock down on one. He has worked really hard and we have been able to move him all over the place and not confuse him as a player. I think his overall knowledge of what we are doing; his knowledge of the game has continued to get better. His work habits have been the same since I have gotten here. That has never changed, his talent or work habits. But I think his knowledge of the game has gone to a new level."
(On the Dolphins defensive front) "I think [in] the last month or so for us it will be the best pass rush we have faced. Obviously create big problems for you on the edge with Joey [Porter] and Jason [Taylor] and what they have done in their careers. But I think they are getting great push up front. We have been throwing the ball quite a bit and keeping our quarterback in one piece is essential to this football team. So that challenge will be our biggest challenge this week."
(On with both teams at 7-7, what he anticipates the atmosphere to be like Sunday afternoon) "I am sure the intensity level is (going) to pick up. We are both playing for our playoff lives. Whoever comes out of there with a win will still be alive. That is where you want to be in this business. You want to play in those games. I think [Dolphins head coach] Tony [Sparano], the job he has done with that football team has been exceptional. We always seem to have great games with them and we have a big challenge ahead of us. We need to get some guys healthy here throughout this week, get them all in one piece so we can be at our best on Sunday, but I am sure things are fixing to pick up a little bit."
(On how long it takes a quarterback to learn how to throw a touch pass) "I think you just have to play. Quarterbacks develop when they play a lot of ball. It's like the young man we have here [Matt Schaub], he's played his best football for us this year. He's still, I want to say he's at 37, 38 starts in this league. That's not a lot of starts. You don't develop all the tools and everything until you get those starts under your belt and you start playing every week of every season. It's repetition, and anybody who's in this league has talent, but repetition is what's going to make you better, and make you as good as you can be in the long haul."
(On his ability to throw the touch pass when he was a quarterback in the league) "I had no choice but to throw touch passes, I had no arm [laughter]."
(On if he helped John Elway with his touch pass in his career) "I can't take any credit for that. John had a big, big arm, I think we all know that. He made all those big plays. I think his development in all those other areas just came from him playing a lot of football. There's nothing he couldn't do. As he went through his career, when you play as long as he did, he got better at everything. Every player has a strength and has something that they could work on to get better. The good ones find a way to correct it and a way to work through it."
(On if having favorable takeaway numbers is a teachable mindset for a defense) "We've played better defense this year than we have in the past few years. We started very slowly this year, and our defense has played pretty darn well the last 10, 11 weeks. I think it's a mindset, our coordinator Frank Bush has brought an intensity level to the group, and getting after the ball. We've improved in those areas, but the problem is on our side, on the offensive side of the ball, we've given it up too much. Even though our numbers are good on the defensive side of the ball, I think we're still a minus two as a football team, and what you want to do as a football team, you want to be in the 'plus' area. Those teams that are plus five, plus ten, in that area, are usually teams that keep playing in January. It's something we've been battling, and we're going to have to protect the ball well against you guys. I think that can probably be said for every week."
(On if he is concerned that being the only team the Dolphins have never beaten may be tough to maintain) "Does it concern me? You bet it does. You guys have a hell of a football team, and we have our work cut out for us from stopping the run, to how physical a football team you are, to protecting our quarterback. You have one of the best returners in the game that can break a game wide open, and we're coming on the road. There's a lot of things there that make it very, very difficult, but we're going to try to have a good week here and come down there and be at our best on Sunday. We're looking forward to coming down there, I have a lot of respect for Tony [Sparano], the organization, and the football team and the job he does."