Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and quarterback Matt Schaub spoke to the Nashville media via conference call on Wednesday about their upcoming home contest with the Tennesse Titans.
Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on if QB Matt Schaub's arrival in Houston quieted the talk about passing on Vince Young in the 2006 Draft) "I don't know. Vince is a local legend down here, very well respected and deservingly so. He's got a lot of fans down here, so that's just part of it. We're just trying to get our guy better and play better football. How much this town thinks of Vince, what he did at the University of Texas and growing up here as a kid, that is all, like I said, well deserved and they think a great deal of him."
(on if Schaub has performed well enough) "Well, he has done some good things. We have a long, long way to go. He's a young starter in this league. He's had about eight starts under his belt now. He's making strides. He's got a chance to be, I think, a great player. He's doing some really good stuff. There are some things we've got to clean up for our team to get better, but he's battling and hopefully we just continue to get better."
(on success passing the ball with starting WR Andre Johnson out due to injury) "I think that is a credit to young players. In this business, sometimes you don't know what you have until you give some of these kids a chance. One of the keys to our football team getting better was some young receivers stepping up and playing well for our team. They've been given an opportunity. Kevin Walter got a chance to become a starter, and he's taken full advantage of that; he's played well. Of course Andre (Johnson) has been out for a month. André Davis has stepped in and made some plays. David Anderson has made some plays. Of course Jacoby (Jones) has been out. When guys get opportunities in this league, they step up and let you know that they have been taking care of their business and they're ready to play. It's just a lot of credit to those kids staying focused and getting ready to go."
(on the positive attitude even with Johnson out) "There is no doubt it's very encouraging. I've been doing this a long time, and it's funny how many times it will happen. You start worrying about losing a player and what is going to happen at this spot, and then a lot of times guys will step into that spot and play extremely well. Other guys are worried about what is going to happen there instead of taking care of their job. That's been my deal with our team – you stay focused on your job and these receivers are going to step in and do their job. They have. They have really been impressive."
(on Johnson's status) "I think he is day-to-day. He ran hard yesterday for the first time. He ran a little bit last week. We'll find out where he is at today, as far as all the cutting and all those things it takes to play the game. He is doing well. Physically he is very, very close, but we're also going to smart and play him when he is 100 percent ready to go."
(on what has affected the outcomes of their games more, their opponents or their own play) "We have definitely fallen off. We have hurt ourselves. We've been turning the ball over all year. Even the games we've won, we turned the ball over. Anytime you turn the ball over in this league, it's hard to win. It has even been difficult in the three (wins) we were able to get, because we were battling, by turning the ball over. Last week (at Jacksonville) we went down there and hurt ourselves. We struggled in the red zone offensively. Defensively, we had the ball run right at us last week. There is no excuse. We should have had ourselves in a lot better position in the first half last week, we didn't. [The Jaguars] got after us in the second half. No excuses, we've been hurting ourselves. We're going to have to play a lot better to give us a chance this week."
(on the difficulty of preparing for both QB Kerry Collins and Young) "We're going to prepare for Tennessee's football team, for their offense and what they do. You always have to prepare for everything; that is just part of the business. That is no different any week with anybody you're playing. You have to take a look at what they've done and how they've done it and get your football team ready to go. From the standpoint, the work is the same. We have a ton of work to do this week, not unlike any other week."
(on the status of RB Ahman Green and the rushing attack) "Well, we haven't run the ball very well at all. Of course, we haven't had [Green] him; we got him back last week. I don't think he is quite himself, but he did come out of the game okay. That is encouraging. Hopefully he continues to get better. We have struggled running the ball for various reasons, but we're going to keep battling and keep doing it. It's a point of emphasis as something that we're going to have to improve upon as a team to get better this year."
(on his impressions of RB LenDale White) "He's a big load. To me, Tennessee is a lot like the team we just played. They've got two backs back there that are very capable of beating you. They're committed to the run. They're going to run the ball, so you've got your work cut out for you up front. I'm very impressed with the player he has become. I've been really impressed with the kid out of Colorado (RB Chris Brown); I really liked him coming out. When he is healthy, I think he can be as good as anybody. Then you add the fact that Vince can run around, and you've got a very difficult team. As far as rushing the football, they do a great job."
(on his impressions of CB Cortland Finnegan) "It's just like I said. It is amazing when you lose great players or you have to replace guys, you give young guys a chance and it is amazing how they will step up. I think it's a credit to (Titans head coach) Jeff (Fisher). Jeff has always done a great job with players that seem like they come out of nowhere and are very effective players for his football team. I think that is a credit to the job he does as a coach and his staff. They've always produced players like that."
Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on if he has provided a presence on the Texans offense that had been lacking in previous seasons) "I can't comment on how it's been in the past couple of years, because obviously I haven't been here. I just bring my style of leadership that I'm accustomed to and the way I feel things should be handled, as far as the quarterback duties go. But there are a lot of leaders on this football team bringing in guys like Ahman Green. A guy like Andre Johnson that has been here, he's a very good leader for our team. We have a lot of talent. It was just a matter of bringing the right attitude and changing the mentality."
(on being the starter in Houston now, as opposed to being the backup in Atlanta) "You're the guy and you go out each day in practice and you're preparing and gameplanning. You're getting the reps – you're not just sitting back there mentally looking at everything and taking everything in, you're actually going through the mental gymnastics as well as getting the physical reps of the looks and plays that we're going to be running, and the gameplan. It allows you to go out and execute without just having to come in cold turkey."
(on how he feels about the team's success this year) "We're in a good position at 3-3. It's better than being 2-3 or anything like that. We're disappointed in the way we played last week (against Jacksonville) and the way things shook out for us. We just have to clean some things up. As a football team we have a lot of confidence about what we're doing and how we can go out and perform if we just clean up some of the mistakes we've had in recent weeks, and go out and play four consistent, solid quarters of football."
(on if the absence of WR Andre Johnson has allowed him to develop chemistry with his other receivers) "I think so. It has provided those other guys with an opportunity to step up and be accountable and be the guy in our passing game. We've had multiple guys step up and fill that role. We knew what they could do, given an opportunity. [That opportunity] presented itself in the fact that Andre (Johnson) hasn't been out there and we've had André Davis and Kevin Walter both step up in huge ways and both play a part in our passing game."
(on whether the AFC South is the best division in football right now) "I think so. I think if you look at the teams, our four teams are winning. They're playing well, winning on the road and just playing good football. It's still early, as you know. It's only into week seven right now. There's still a lot of football to be played. But I'd say it's one of the tougher divisions."
(on if he has been encouraging WR Andre Johnson to get back on the field this week) "Obviously, as a quarterback, I definitely encourage him. But the guy doesn't need any encouragement – he's doing everything he can to be on the football field as soon as he possibly can. He's a competitor. You look across the league at what some receivers are doing, knowing that he got off to such a good start and we're developing a good rapport, that he's just biting at the bit to get back out there knowing where he could be amongst the receivers in this league."
(on if he has noticed "Vince Young-mania" in Young's hometown of Houston) "Not too much. I haven't been here that long. I've spent most of my time here since March at Reliant Stadium, so I haven't really been out and about, and really gotten too much sense of it. But from what people tell me, he's got a strong support down here. It's his hometown. So that's understandable. Being in Texas, where he played college football and won the national championship, obviously they're going to embrace him here. That's the way it is."
(on if the Texans' quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan, a former teammate of Young's at Texas, has an allegiance to Young) (laughs) "I think our quarterbacks coach, they had their Texas days. But I think his allegiance is right where it is with the Houston Texans."
(on 27-year-old Shanahan, the youngest position coach in the NFL, working his way up so quickly) "It's great to work with Kyle. He's been doing a great job. He really knows football, coming from a guy that played receiver in college. He's got the pedigree with his dad (Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan). But he really studies the game and the position, and he knows defenses. He is wise beyond his years. It's been great to work with him."
(on whether his play has quieted the talk of Vince Young around Houston) "I don't know. That remains to be seen. What I try and do is go out each week and get as best prepared for the game to go out and play well on Sunday as I can, and let things happen the way they're supposed to. I'm not sure how that will all play out. I just have to focus on what I need to do to help my football team to win."
(on how happy he is to be in Houston, rather than taking over the Falcons at QB this season) "I'm definitely excited to be here, have a fresh start and be here with this organization. It's a young, upcoming organization with a lot of talent and a great coaching staff. It's been an excellent opportunity for me. Going back to Atlanta (in week four), it was great to see some of those guys. Unfortunately, things didn't happen to where we won that game. It was a unique experience to go back there and see everybody where I spent three years. I really learned what the league is all about from those guys. It was neat to go back and face them."
(on if Vinny Testaverde's success last week with the Panthers suggests that the game of football is made out to be more complicated than it actually is) "Sometimes. It is a complicated game, but when you break it down, you try and make it as simple as you can make it. That sounds easy to do, but it is harder than some may think. You look at a guy like Vinny Testaverde being able to step in there and win a ballgame and play as well as he did, that's a credit to him. He stays in shape and he's ready to go. He's played a lot of football, so he knows the game and he knows this league. He knows what it takes to win at this level."
(on what stands out about the Titans' defense on film) "Obviously, they're a very fast and aggressive defense. They love to hit. Their 'front seven' is tremendous, and is creating a lot of havoc for opposing offenses. That's their defense in a nutshell. Their 'front seven' is one of the best in the league, if not the best. Their back end, their secondary, they're playing well and holding down the back end well."