Head coach Gary Kubiak and the Texans are after win number 6 of 2009 Sunday in Jacksonville.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the Jacksonville media via a conference call on Wednesday. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(the last time you played the Jaguars, your injury situation wasn't exactly great. Has it improved any?) "I don't know if we're any more beat up than most people in this league at this time. Through the year we've lost our two guards. We lost our two starting guards I think in week two or four. I can't remember exactly what week we played you guys, I want to say it was three. So we lost our two guards, we lost our tight end obviously, Owen (Daniels), about three weeks ago down in Buffalo and we lost our free safety. So just playing through those things and that's part of this league. You've got to find a way to work through those things and have other people step up, but at this time in the National Football League everybody usually has their share of those problems."
(your team has lost three games in a row. Do you see yourself as out of the playoff hunt now or barely hanging on? How do you view that at this point?) "I think anything can happen in this league. There are obviously a bunch of people bunched up from that standpoint and we're behind them, obviously with our past three weeks but the thing we're trying to stay focused on is just getting our next win. We've been in a couple of really close ballgames a few weeks back and then this past week of course obviously we played very well for a half and very poorly for a half, so we're trying to right our ship right now and trying to find a way to win our sixth game."
(it seems that during each game there's one period where you guys just shoot yourself in the foot and last time I think it was between the third and fourth quarters. Is that a fair assessment or not?) "Are you talking about this past week?"
(this past week and the trend the past couple of weeks) "If you go back three weeks ago down in Indianapolis we struggled offensively in the first half, played very well in the second half, but games in this league usually go like that. Teams have good players and everybody is striving for the four perfect quarters and consistency, but we've been in very good football games and late in the games have had the lead in two of those games in the fourth quarter and let it get away from us. So obviously we're looking for some consistency throughout the football game but we've got to find a way to make those plays in the tight games."
(based on your film corrections that you've able to see are you able to determine if there is one thing that is holding you back or is a combination of things?) "I don't think it's one thing but if there's an obvious that jumps out we've been a very big penalty team the last three weeks, and we'd been pretty good up until that point and then all of a sudden these last three weeks we've really gave up a lot of yardage from that standpoint so that's got to stop number one. You can't play the Colts and give them 120, 125 free yards. They're tough enough to stop as it is and we've made it even tougher on ourselves."
(Steve Slaton isn't having quite the year he had last year. Is he in a sophomore slump?) "I think he's figured out how tough this league is. He obviously had a great year as a rookie and got off to a slow start this year, put some balls on the ground and trying to work through that. Obviously it hasn't been as clean as it was last year for him but I think he's played very well the last two weeks. Since we came off our bye he's been very consistent and played very well this past week for us. So I'm hoping he hits his stride again here in the back half of the season, but he's a young player that is finding out that it's very difficult in this league, every year is difficult, nothing's easy, and he'll work through it. He's a good kid. He works very hard at what he does and we need him playing well to be successful."
(would you say that the fumbles early on are what really was holding him back or is there something else you've been able to determine?) "No, I wouldn't say there's anything else. We lost two guards, that may have something to do with it. We haven't run the ball as well so as a football team we have not run the ball nearly as well as we did last year and have had to make some adjustments. But when you put the ball on the ground a few times obviously you can lose a little confidence, but I think he's played back to his confidence and he showed that last week. Like I said he did his part last week."
(do you even believe in sophomore slumps?) "I've been in this league so long, to say it's one particular year that there's a slump or not I just think guys that have great, great rookie years come back and realize just how difficult it is to come back. I told Steve this year I said, 'You had a 1,200-yard rookie year, probably your next 1,200 will be your toughest yards because you're no secret anymore and that's the way this thing works so you should keep working, keep your chin up, keep your nose down and have good work habits and I know you'll have a great career.' But there's nothing easy about this league."
(Matt Schaub seems to be having a pretty solid year despite some of the offensive woes. Can you asses for us what's going on?) "Numbers-wise he's up there with some of those top guys in the league and he's gotten better each year that we've had him. I think he's a fine player and he's got a fine, fine future. The thing we have to do with him is try and eliminate some of these turnovers. We had three turnovers in the second half and when you're playing a Peyton Manning team and you give them three possessions off of turnovers that's like shooting yourself in the foot, so that's something he has to improve upon. He's got to protect the ball on game day but he's obviously I think becoming a fine quarterback in this league."
(it looks like Rashean Mathis may be out this weekend. Does that make it easier for you to game plan?) "They don't change what they do defensively. They present a lot of problems for you because they're kind of running two different schemes, a 3-4 front or a 4-3 front. Jack's teams always play good defense and they've been very solid. They always give us problems so regardless of whose out there we're going to have to play well against their defense."