Texans head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the Indianapolis media on Wednesday morning.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and linebacker Brian Cushing spoke to the Indianapolis media via conference call on Wednesday. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on bouncing back from a tough loss) "The way I would answer that is, it's part of this league. I mean, it's part of your job. You're going to have opportunities to do that. Obviously, it's something we've got to come back and do this week against a great football team. But if you're in the National Football League and you can't get over a tough loss or you can't let a big win go, then you're going to have a hard time being consistent. We, as a team, are trying to become more consistent."
(on if it is tougher mentally or physically) "I think it's a combination of both. Anytime you play on Monday night, obviously, you turn around here today and you're missing a day of rest, and they have beat up bodies from a very physical game and things like that. So, you have to adjust a little bit. I think the approach includes a little bit of both."
(on K-Kris Brown) "We move on. Kris has made a lot of big kicks around here. Obviously, we expect him to make those. More importantly, he expects to make them. We support him. We move along. He has some extra work to do to get some things cleaned up. He's no different than any other player. I know he'll do everything he can to get it cleaned up. We have confidence in him, and we have to move forward."
(on the approach he takes towards the rest of the season) "My approach this morning with the team is that we have to figure out a way to win our sixth game. That's all that is important. We're playing the hottest team in the game, and what they've done here over the course of last season and this season has been incredible. We have to find a way to win number six, and we'll go from there. That's all that matters right now."
(on the Colts' 19-game win streak) "That's incredible in this league. The competition in this league, the coaching, the playing, the week-to-week grind, how tough it is to play on the road in this league, for them to do that, that's incredible. I've been doing this for a long time. I've been at it for 26 years. I remember being a part of a team that won 13 in a row in Denver starting the season. What they've done over the course of those 19 ballgames, and look at the last three weeks, the games they've won the last three weeks have been incredible."
(on S-Eugene Wilson) "He will not play. Eugene is done for the year."
(on who plays in place of S-Eugene Wilson) "We'll see. John Busing finished the game for us the other night. S-Dominique Barber has been out with an ankle. We're expecting him back this week. But you could see a variety of combinations back there."
(on LB-Brian Cushing) "We saw it in the OTAs after the draft when we went into our offseason work. You could just tell. He had played in a lot of big games, of course coming from that program (Southern California). (There's nothing) too big for him. He belonged from day one. To be honest with you, he missed most of training camp. He had the MCL sprain and didn't play in any preseason games, but ended up starting opening day. He's been exceptional. He's gotten better each week. In this league, one of the things you have to do to become a great player is start to see everybody over and over. He got his first taste of (the Colts) a couple of weeks ago and how difficult it is to play defense against (the Colts) offense. He's a fine young man, a good player and has a chance to be a great, great player."
(on not knowing exactly what they had with LB-Brian Cushing until the season started) "You knew he looked the part all through the offseason. We were so excited. We put him in as the starter the day he got off the plane in Houston. We put some pressure on him. We felt good. We go to camp and we get 10 days into camp and I think the injury happened. Obviously, we thought we were onto something very good with him, but then all of the sudden, we had a month to wait and see. He did start opening day against the (New York) Jets, and he has gotten progressively better each week. It's been very good on his part."
(on LB-DeMeco Ryans' effect on LB-Brian Cushing) "DeMeco deserves a whole lot of credit for this young man. DeMeco's done a great job with him, mentally on the field, those type of things, helping him on the field. He'd be the first one to tell you that. I think DeMeco is playing at high a level as he ever has played at for us. I think he deserves a lot of credit for bringing Brian along."
(on his defense searching for an identity) "We've made progress, defensively. We, obviously, started the season very poorly. We've gotten more consistent. We've gotten better. Obviously, there's another step for this football team to take on both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively, to get at the level (the Colts) are playing at as a football team. We've got some young players that are starting to play a lot of football together and with that, you should get better. We've got six opportunities here. We're going to have to be better each week to have a chance to win."
(on consistency being important) "I think it is. That's how you become a perennial team that's in the playoffs and has a chance to win a championship, when you get consistent in this league. We've played very well at times and poorly at times. We're searching for that consistency as an organization and a football team. We have to keep battling and find a way to find it."
(on if it drives him crazy to prepare for DE-Dwight Freeney) "He drove me crazy when I was in Denver, too. It's not just here. He's as fine a player as offensive coordinators try to scheme against in all my years in football. I think (Defensive Line Coach) John (Teerlinck) does a great job with him. He gets him rested. He finds him snaps in the game to get him rested, so he can get the quarterback in the right situations. He's a tremendous effort player in everything that he does. I think you're looking at a Hall of Fame football player. He's been special."
(on the Colts' winning their last four games by a total of 10 points) "I don't see much (wrong with them). To me, that's a mark of a champion. They, obviously, can go out and beat you 44-43, but they've proven over the course of the past month that they can beat you 18-15, whatever the score of those two games were against San Francisco and Baltimore. Of course, ours was a 20-17 game. A championship team finds ways to win, regardless of what they do. Obviously, they're tremendous on offense. They are the number one team from a scoring standpoint, defensively. I think the job (Defensive Coordinator) Larry (Coyer) is doing has been super. They are a fine, fine football team, and to me, playing as good as anybody's played in the game in a long time."
(on going up against former colleague Larry Coyer) "I respect Larry a great deal, a good man, great football coach. We had some good times there in Denver."
Linebacker Brian Cushing(on playing the Colts again so quickly and his thoughts playing them the first time) "A very fast, up-tempo team, (they) have the best quarterback in football. It's a team, from a defensive standpoint, that you're not going to shut down, but you just have to contain the best that you can and turn those touchdowns into field goals, turn those field goals into turnovers, and small things like that; just chip away slowly."
(on TE-Dallas Clark) "It's tough. He's just as good as everyone says. He's crafty, he's smart, he knows how you're going to cover him. He's not the biggest or the fastest guy, but he makes the best player. He's very smart, and you can tell him and Peyton have a real good relationship with each other, and they jell very well."
(on Coach Kubiak saying they had a good feeling from him right away, then him getting hurt in training camp) "I got that injury and it was frustrating because camp was going so well. I was learning things and trying to progress with everything, and I had a little setback. I wasn't able to get the physical part done, but the mental part I really was able to because that was all I was able to do, was just study film and watch the guys."
(on coming from USC and nothing seeming to phase him) "It's funny because everyone talks about the big stage. The players are definitely better, but the crowds are smaller, the places aren't as loud, and big-game situations, I've played in the National Championship, I've played in the Rose Bowl. I've seen the big crowds, I've been in the intimidating opposing stadiums. It's just football. When it comes down to it, it's 11 on 11, you can't worry about anything else."
(on leading the team in tackles and how much DeMeco Ryans has helped him) "DeMeco's helped me with everything. He's the guy that holds that whole defense down. He's the captain, he's the anchor. He's the guy that gets everyone in place and (tells them) where to go. There's no question, playing with DeMeco is fast forwarding my game and my knowledge already so much. I have a lot to owe to him … it's been great so far, and hopefully it will be for years and years to come."
(on Ryans not having a problem with losing the tackle battle so far to Cushing) "I don't know if he doesn't have a problem with it, but he's really taught me well so far. The biggest thing that we both want is wins. The tackles, that comes with the other stuff. We want to have a great defense and a great team."
(on being part of a team that is right there but hasn't yet gotten over the hump) "That's what's going to separates us from being a good team and a great team. We have to figure out how to separate, how to finish. That's what the great teams do, the last-second victories or making a big play here or there. We know that. We have to prove it consistently and we have to prove that we can make a big play and turn things around, get that last-second victory or win the games we're not supposed to sometimes."
(on the speed of the game in college and the NFL and how long it took him to get used to it) "I have, and there definitely is a difference. It's not anything drastic … I think the biggest thing is the knowledge and how smart every single guy is. You have to be on your job every single play. You can't make things up with physical talent like sometimes you could in college. Every team is loaded at every single position. These are the best players in the world, there's no question about that, so you have to be smart, you have to be physically talented, but on top of it, the biggest thing I think is you have to execute. You can't really have any missed assignments."
(on how successful the rookie linebackers from USC have been this season) "We came out of a great system, there's no question about it. With Coach (Pete) Carroll's defense and being under Coach Ken Norton Jr. there as linebackers coach, there's no option but to succeed. You have to take the knowledge of both of those guys, and along with the physical play and the way we push each other as linebackers at USC, every single guy wanted to be the best. We came in with the same plan of being a dominant defense, a great linebacking corps, and we did a pretty good job, but every single Sunday, we're watching each other, still pushing each other. No matter what this guy did, the next guy wants to do better, and we want to see the best happen for each other."