Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio and quarterback Byron Leftwich spoke to the Houston media during a conference call Wednesday afternoon.
*Head coach Jack Del Rio *
(on the Jaguars and Texans rivalry) "I'm not real concerned with that part. I am just concerned with just preparing hard to play hard. (They are a) division opponent and we have a lot of respect for why they're doing down there and we're just trying to get ready to come down there and play some good football."
(on the crown noise in Reliant Stadium) "I think all the stadiums can get loud when they get filled up and people get excited. We were in Washington D.C. not long ago and they had over 90,000; that's pretty loud. Indy's pretty loud, and of course Houston can be loud. All of the places when you travel and you're on the road, it can be an issue, and you have to be able to address it and you have to be able to handle it."
(on whether he thinks the Texans defense is improving) "What I see is some good, talented, young players. I really think that (DE) Mario Williams is an aggressive, relentless guy with long arms and good speed. I think he's going to be a really good player that we're going to have to contend with for years to come. We certainly are getting prepared to block him. I think (LB) DeMeco Ryans has done a nice job filling in in the middle there, and has showed why he was such a good player there at Alabama. We've played against (CB) Dunta Robinson. I liked him coming out (of college), and he continues to be a real good cover corner for them. So they have some good young player in place there that I know from a defensive stand-point they have to be pleased with."
(on why he thinks Houston's run game has struggled) "I don't know. It's a long season. It's still early in the year, and I know that they certainly would like to be able to run it, and we don't want them to run it. So that's certainly going to be an important part of the game."
(on whether he think Houston's pass game is a bigger threat now) "Well, I think (QB) David Carr has done a nice job of getting a grasp of a new system, and I think that in a lot of ways it's suited to what he does well. He makes quick decisions, get rid of the ball, gets on the perimeter of the defense some, and I think he's number one in the league right now with completion percentage. He's got some weapons. Bringing in (WR Eric) Moulds, a guy that's been to several Pro Bowls and putting him opposite of (WR) Andre Johnson who is one of the better receivers in the league. It gives them a real good one-two punch."
(on whether he has any history with Coach Kubiak) "No, not really. (I) just met him through the coaching circles a few times, but I have a lot of respect for what they are doing down there."
(on what they worked on during the bye week) "Yeah, the bye week is really a time to, first of all, with us, with our football team, try and heal some. We've got a banged up team, so we tried to rest guys where we could. We tried to develop some of the younger player who we are going to try and lean on for the next 11 weeks and get them brought up to speed and ready to go because we're going to count on them playing quite a bit for us."
(on the atmosphere of Battle Red day in Reliant Stadium) "Yeah, it's always tough when you go on the read. The crowd gets into it and people get excited, and certainly as a road team it is one of the things you have to contend with."
(on their running backs) "(RB) Fred (Taylor)'s come back strong; he had the best offseason productive-wise, in terms of being able to work on his body and his condition and not having to rehab. It's the first time since we have been here that's been the case so he's off to a good start. I really feel like (RB) Maurice (Jones-)Drew has given us a explosive element to our offense and he's done some good things, scored a couple touchdown in the passing game as well as the running game. He's a good compliment to what Fred brings."
(on whether he feels QB Byron Leftwich continues to improve) "I do believe that is the case. (QB) Byron (Leftwich) has gotten better each year. I feel like this is his fourth year (and) that he is better this year than last year; he's continued to progress. He's getting through his reads quicker. He's getting rid of the ball quicker. He's doing a nice job directing our offense. He's just grown in all areas, as a quarterback. And we think his best football is still ahead of him."
(on WR Reggie Williams) "Well, I think the biggest thing with (WR) Reggie (Williams) is, one, you have to realize that prior to this year we had a guy named Jimmy Smith who was pretty good. So a lot of our passing game went through Jimmy Smith. Now that Jimmy's retired there were going to be opportunities for the other receivers to step up, and I really feel like Reggie's taken advantage of that. As an offensive staff, we've done a better job of doing the things that he can do and getting him the ball and allowing him to be successful. And then on his part, he's done a nice job of working at it and never losing faith and continuing to work hard in practice and those things. And now it's starting to pay off for him."
(on whether he feels like his team is getting closer to the Colts in the AFC South) "Well, you know I was asked that just a little while ago, and it's so early to worry about things like that. For us, we just want to focus on being a good football team and (there is) a lot of football left in this season. It's just too early to start looking at whether or now he can chase them down and all those types of things. Obviously, they have been on top and all the rest of us are chasing them, and right now we just have to focus on playing well as a football team."
**QB Byron Leftwich
(on history against the Texans)** "I think anytime you play within a division it's always tough games like that because when you play a team in your division you play them twice a year and you begin to know each other. You begin to know each other's personnel; you begin to know the things that both teams like to do. I think that's why any time you play within the division it's going to be tough for both teams."
(on intensity of Houston-Jacksonville games) "Not really, I just think it's just tough because it's inside the division and when you play inside the division that's when records don't count. Records don't count, anything don't count, all that counts is knowing that team is going to come out and play with a lot of emotion, they're going to come out with a lot of enthusiasm and we've got to make sure we match it."
(on league-wide dislike for Jaguars in other stadiums) "I think because when we go on the road we're not intimidated by anything. We're a very physical football team and just go out there and play football. We might talk a little bit more trash, not me personally, but we might talk a little bit more trash than other teams, I used to and it's not a cockiness thing, but it's a confidence thing. It's just having fun with the Sunday and enjoying the Sunday and that's what we try to do every week."
(on head coach Jack Del Rio instilling that attitude) "I just think he wants that type of player to be here. You see over the years he got all the players that are here these are the type of players that are tough, physical, dominating guys and that's what he wanted, that's what he wanted his team to represent and that's why he brought these type of guys in here. But we just go out there and try to have fun and try to do what we can to win a football game."
(on who is the team leader in trash talk) "Well we lost Mike Peterson; I know that, everybody in the world knows that. He was number one, but we've got a lot of trash talkers, especially on our defense. Especially on our defense because those guys are so dominant that those guys like to talk a lot of trash, they just like to have fun with it. You know, believe me we lost Mike P. but somebody will take his place."
(on ranking Reliant Stadium on noise) "It's a tough stadium to play in because you know they're going to want to win their football game. Anytime you play on the road and the way the stadium's built it kind of makes it loud. Are they wearing red this week? It seems like every time they wear their red that makes the fans more excited. We've been in there before. We've been in there before and we understand what to expect. We've got to make sure we're ready to play."
(on running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew) "It's good to see those guys making the plays that they make. I mean, we all know the plays that Fred (Taylor) can make and we're beginning to see the plays that Paintball (Jones-Drew) can make. As a quarterback, when you see those two guys making the plays that they're making it kind of makes your job easier, not easy, it kind of makes it easier because the respect those guys are going to demand every week."
(on Jones-Drew as competitive motivation to Taylor) "Not really. If you know Fred and if everybody knows this team we know that Fred is the guy. Fred is the guy and it's great to see him helping out to see the things that he's doing, but at the same time on every team you also need two backs in this league because the running back is going to take a beating week in and week out and we've just got a great one-two punch right now."
(on the Texans defense) "I watched those guys and I see those guys playing well every week. You watch those guys early in those football games and they are in every single game just about but one. I haven't seen the offense, but their defense is playing well. The difference in the team being undefeated in this league and the team not winning a game is very few plays. We're not going to fall in that trap and understand and listen to what everybody's saying about those guys. We've got a lot of respect for those guys. What I see in film I see a lot, especially from their defense, is I see guys that are some sort of young, but at the same time they're beginning to make a whole lot of plays."
(on bye week preparations) "The bye week was important for us and what we tried to do during the bye week is get healthy because we were so banged up. We were so banged up going into the bye week, and the bye week came at the perfect time for us because it gave us the opportunity for some of our guys to get healthy. It's tough to win in this league; it's tough to play in this league when most of your guys are banged up. So we go that opportunity to rest. But now we've got to understand that we need to get back on the mode we were before the bye week. Making sure we prepare throughout the week and making sure we come ready to play on Sunday."
(on playing the Colts close and their recent acquisition of DT Anthony McFarland) "It don't matter to me, I can't worry about the Colts right now. The only thing on my mind is the Houston Texans. Anybody knows there's still a lot of football left and we need to worry about no other team, we just need to worry about the Jaguars and do the things that we need to do to be successful."
(on looking at the big picture and the Colts as the team to beat) "I think it's too early. Everybody understands that the Colts have won this division for the past few years. You're probably going to have to go through them if you want to win this division. At the same time you can't start to think about that at week, what is this week seven? We've only played five games, we still have eleven games left and I think if we get to worrying about the Colts game and worry about what we've go to do with the Colts, that means you're looking past the other teams that are on your schedule. We won't do that because we respect every team in our schedule."
(on Texans wearing red against them) "I don't know what that really means. I don't know if that's a coincidence or we're their homecoming game. But the jerseys don't matter, you know there's going to be a lot of red and you know those guys are going to come out ready to play. I guess it's a coincidence."
(on Texans feeling red jerseys as good luck charms against Jaguars due to record)"Ok, well, we'll see."