Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard said his team was picking up the intensity as they prepared to host the Texans.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio and quarterback David Garrard spoke to the Houston media via conference calls on Wednesday about their upcoming home game against the 3-2 Texans.
Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio(on how good the AFC South has been this year) "Through the first part of this season, it's been very strong. I think when you look at all four teams, they have had good quarterback play and all four teams have a strong defense."
(on how their running game has been this season) "It's coming along a little bit. We started a little slow. I think Tennessee had something to do with that. They have a pretty good front. It's coming along. Of course, the Houston Texans have a pretty good front, too, so we'll have a big challenge this week to get it going."
(on what he has seen from QB Matt Schaub so far) "It looks like they did their homework and they got the right guy to fit what they want to do. He's done a nice job in their offense spreading the football around, making quick decisions, being accurate. He's completing over 70 percent of his passes. It looks like he fits in for exactly what they was looking for."
(on QB David Garrard's performance so far this season) "David is obviously the trigger man. He's done a nice job directing our offense and helping us get off to a 3-1 start in the first quarter of this year."
(on what the key to their run defense last week against Kansas City) "Well, it was the same key when we didn't have success in the first ball game. I think it comes down to basic fundamentals of fitting right, shedding blocks, tackling, swarming the football, and doing things like that. I think anytime you limit a team as much as we did, I'm not sure that's a realistic goal to have. I think we want to slow people down, but certainly limiting the number of carries helped."
(on what he credits the Texans success last year to) "I just thought, given not a whole lot of last year is going to impact this year, but I give them credit. I thought that they were well coached and they came out and executed well and beat us. They beat us both times and they earned that. That's in the record books. Going forward, we respect what they're putting together there and know it's going to be a strong challenge for us. We're just getting prepared to go out and compete on Sunday."
(on does it change anything by how well the AFC South is playing overall) "I'm not sure what that has to do with playing this game. It's obvious that there are four strong teams in the AFC South that are going to be fighting all year for rank and order and how things are going to go. Four good football teams, two of them are getting together this Sunday."
(on the Texans defense) "The bottom line is I see this as a very strong challenge for our football team. I think they're good across the board. I think they've got a very strong defense that starts with their front, Mario Williams, Amobi Okoye, very strong football players. DeMeco Ryans is doing a great job in the middle for them. Dunta Robinson is a real, real good cover corner. They've got a good nucleus of players there and they play well together and have an aggressive scheme. Offensively, (Matt) Schaub has done a great job for them. He seems to fit their system well. Ahman Green is a very talented back. We know that Andre Johnson is a Pro Bowl caliber, a real elite player in this league and I think their tight end Owen Daniels has done a heck of job and become a real play maker. They've got skill people that we need to contend with and an aggressive defense and I think their special teams headed by Joe Marciano does a heck of a job. I played for Joe many years ago. I know he does a good job with his unit."
Jaguars QB David Garrard(on to what he attributes their 3-1 record) "I just think everybody's real hungry. We came out the gate, stumbled a little bit and I think we knew we were a little bit better than that. Guys made it a point, especially on the defensive side, to shut down the run game as they know how. And that's one of their big things and they really didn't appreciate the way that the ball was ran on them and so they started shutting the run down and the last few games, they've been doing a great job of that. And offensively, we've just been continuing to try to get better and better each week and to really go through what the coaches have been teaching to us all week long, and guys are really buying in."
(on if they've been watching a lot of film on DT Amobi Okoye) "Yeah. All those guys. They have a really good pass rush, and we need to make sure that we focus in on those guys and not let them take us out of our game plan because we believe we can do a lot of things, regardless of who we're playing. I know my o-line will be ready to step up to the challenge."
(on what went wrong in his last game against the Texans when he threw four interceptions) "Well, it was a lot of crazy things (that) happened. First one was I was being hit at the same time when I had a slant wide open. Two times, I put the ball in (WR) Matt Jones' hands and the ball squirted through and got to the defensive player both times. And then the last one was just trying to make a comeback, and that one was definitely on me not putting the ball in the right spot. But a quarterback knows when he's just blatantly throwing interceptions, and so that game interception-wise didn't really hurt my confidence or anything because I felt like I was going to the right places and putting the ball in decent spots, but the one at the end there was definitely on me."
(on if they up their intensity level when they play the Texans) "I definitely think we have to make sure we step our game up, definitely this week. For whatever reason, like you said, we've been getting beat by those guys and we just have to do our jobs. We can't worry about what the past is and what's happened years ago. We have to focus on the now. And we believe as long as we're prepared and hungry, we can beat anybody. So it's really on us and what we've got to do and not fall into the things that have happened in the past to us."
(on Jaguars DT John Henderson saying the Texans own them) "Well, I'm sure he's just trying to get some guys fired up. I don't think the Texans own us; I don't think anybody owns us. I think we own ourselves and if we don't play well, it's usually because we're beating ourselves. And so we just have to make sure that we don't take anything for granted and that we're ready to go, ready to go with the game plan, what the coaches have put together for us and like I said, guys need to be hungry."
(on if he gets excited to play the Texans) "Well, since I haven't played a whole lot in my career, I get excited to play anybody, no matter who it is. So I'm always fired up each week because I count it as a blessing when I'm out there playing. So no matter who we're playing, I'm always going to be fired up."
(on every team in the AFC South having a winning record) "I just think it's been the maturation of the whole division. There were years where a few teams might not have been that good and there were years when we weren't that good and I think it's just been the building process with all the franchises getting good guys, having drafts early and then now those draft picks are finally starting to be elite players and I think it's really coming full circle for this division. The Colts have always kind of been up there at the top, so we're finally catching up to them and trying to make a name for ourselves, this division."
(on if every AFC South team looks at the Colts as the measuring stick and team to beat) "Well, you have to. They've been up there for so long. They're definitely the ones that everybody in the league is trying to beat. They just won the Super Bowl last year. And with them being in our division, we have to definitely do everything possible to keep up with them. They're the leader right now; they're even leading it at this moment. So definitely everything is normally geared towards beating the leader, and they happen to be there, so we have to definitely be geared for that."
(on if the AFC South shouldn't be overlooked at all) "Definitely. With being one of the only divisions with a winning record, you have to take note of that and you have to be conscious of it. So we're happy to be where we're at right now, but we know we've got a long road ahead of us and there's no easy games and we've just got to be ready week in and week out."
(on what stands out most from playing the Texans last year in either game) "Just the way they bring it. They're always coming relentless when they play us, even when I'm watching them play any other team. They're doing a great job, just a solid team and we need to make sure in all phases that we're ready to go."
(on his rapport with WR Dennis Northcutt) "Yeah, Dennis is just a smart, smart guy. He's an older vet that knows what's going on. He's a good teacher out there on the practice field. During the game, he's really working with the younger receivers, something that we've needed here the last few years. And I know that when he's running routes, I know he's going to do the right thing so I can always count on him to be there and be in place. And he works real hard during the week staying after with me, working on routes that he feels like he needs to work on and I'm always happy to be there to work with him. And he just gives you a lot of confidence when he's in the game and running routes. You can always feel like you can rely on him to be in the right place."
(on what's been slowing down their running game) "Well, I just think it's like I said: when we're not doing the right things, then we're holding ourselves back. And we need to just be on one accord offensively. If one guy is not blocking down, hitting the right guy, they're a little late or if they're going the wrong way or something, then that's going to bring all other 10 guys down. So we have to make sure that we're all on the same page doing the same things, and I think that's been pretty much the most part on why we haven't been able to get it going. We have had glimpses of it and we know that we do have great talents back there, and I'm sure they're going to be ready to go this week. And I know our o-line and receivers are going to be ready to do their jobs so that we can spring them more."