Del Rio praised the work of Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and general manager Rick Smith.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio and running back Fred Taylor spoke to Houston media via conference calls on Wednesday morning.
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio
(on the incentive for his team this week with their playoff position already set) "Same as it is every week, to play good football."
(on what they want to accomplish this week) "I just want to put together a good plan and bring a lot of good energy and go out there and compete on Sunday."
(on if it's important to have some momentum going into the playoffs) "Well, we just think it's important to play well whenever we take the field."
(on if RB Fred Taylor and RB Maurice Jones-Drew are the best one-two punch in the NFL) "We like our guys. There are a lot of good players around the league, but we feel like our guys are special and certainly our team gets a lift from their production."
(on the lift the running backs give) "They've both been productive players, both explosive athletes, and both have the ability to score every time they touch the football."
(on if they are playing exactly the way he would like right now) "We've had a good, solid year thus far and we feel like our best football is still in front of us. We just want to keep improving as we finish up down the stretch."
(on how much better they can be considering the roll they've been on) "That's what we're going to try and figure. We're just going to keep working at it and striving for better and making the corrections on the things that need to be corrected and coaching them up and putting together the plan to the best of our ability and then going out and competing."
(on what QB David Garrard has meant to the offense) "Obviously, the clarity at that position has been big for us. I think (QB) David (Garrard) himself has really gained confidence and has done a nice job continuing to develop as a quarterback in the league. He's made the most of his opportunities and has really done a nice job."
(on if QB David Garrard has played better then he anticipated) "I think from a touchdown to interception ratio, it's been pretty outstanding. I don't know that anybody goes in predicting something like that. We're certainly proud of what he's done thus far."
(on if he has said how he will play his players) "No."
(on if he will let anyone know before or if it's a Sunday decision) "That will be something we take right up to the game. The bottom line is he (Gary Kubiak) is right about one thing, we only have so many guys. We have 53 guys and we take 45 into the game. We'll do the best job we can putting together a plan to go down there and compete on Sunday."
(on the roll RB Fred Taylor has been on lately) "He's really been incredible. I think historically, his strongest games have been in November and December and he's on another one of those tears right now for us."
(on the difference in the Texans now to when you saw them earlier this season) "I just think, just like the entire division we play in, I think it's strong from top to bottom. We've all been in pursuit of the Colts and I know the Texans and the Titans and ourselves, we have roster full of young, talented guys and we're doing the best we can to battle. I think they're a good football team and I believe that (general manger) Rick Smith and (head coach) Gary (Kubiak) do a nice job down there."
(on the leadership qualities of QB David Garrard before this season) "I think the thing that stood out about (QB) David (Garrard) is he has not had things go exactly how he maybe hoped they would, yet his character really showed through because he handled himself with a great deal of class. It was always team first and he continued to work hard and he gave himself an opportunity to compete. In the end, he ended up winning the job and he did that because of that approach, because he continued to work hard and to be good teammates, stay the course and think it's a good example for our entire football team to see how you handle things that don't always go the way you want, that you keep fighting, that you preserve, that you believe in yourself, and follow through and I think that commitment and that resolve is something that we all appreciate."
(on if QB David Garrard reminds him of another quarterback he's been around) "No, I think he's unique. I think he's special in that he has the ability to throw it, run it. He has a quick release. He's a good football player. I'd hate to try and make a comparison right now."
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Fred Taylor
(on the team's incentive with a playoff spot locked up already) "Just being a competitor, you never want to lose at all. I don't care what it's at. Considering we do have a playoff spot secure, I think it's really up to the coaches to make a decision on who's going to play how much or whatever, but bottom line, we definitely would like to win this one and would like to try to win them all."
(on if he is tired of being asked about the Pro Bowl) "(Laughs) I've been tired of being asked that question since last year."
(on the classy gesture by RB Willie Parker concerning the Pro Bowl) "Well, I met (RB) Willie (Parker) a year ago, two years ago, actually. Used to always hear things about him through (WR) Plaxico Burress, who was a receiver up in Pittsburgh; (he) used to always say that this guy is so fast, was undrafted ,he's going to be the guy to take over for (RB) Jerome (Bettis). And he always used to say how that guy at the time – that's all I knew him by was that guy – he wanted to speak with me, meet me, and eventually he ended up being Willie. We met a year ago working out in South Florida at the little facility where I go to train, Perfect Competition, and the very first day he was supposed to work out, he was two hours late (laughs). So I'm sitting around like, damn, who does this cat think he is? He's late. I'm trying to work out with him and I wanted to work out with him, just kind of get a feel for him, and we eventually worked out together that day and we just developed a relationship through the course of that offseason and we would stay in touch throughout the course of the season.
"And then this particular season, unfortunately his situation came about when he broke his leg. And I was leaving the team's Christmas party, he texted me, was asking me what's up, give him a call. I gave him a call, and we just spoke. (I said) keep your head up, just telling him to be positive, keep your head up. He asked me if I had that injury before. He told me that prior to him even breaking his leg, he did his broadcast interview the night before and mentioned to the guys that he would've easily considered allowing me to go to the Pro Bowl because he feels like I've always deserved it, I earn it, and all that different stuff, so just a class act by (RB) Willie (Parker). He's just a good person overall."
(on how bad he feels for RB Willie Parker) "You know what, it's very bad situation considering the injuries I've gone through myself, knowing that his team is definitely going to be in the postseason and you're like helpless. You can't do anything to help your team when it's crunch time, even for yourself. I mean, he's a back who was probably going to get in the next year or two or whatever – he's getting better each year. You can look at his stats. He's a guy that he busts his butt. When we worked out together, he'd bust his butt, so it's easy for me to understand what he's going through. But it's so hard for me to explain how I feel for him, because like I said, I've been down that road, and it's not good. You feel lonely, you feel like you let everybody down, and it's just a messed up feeling.
"And then now, we're going to be tied together forever considering it could possibly be my first Pro Bowl under certain circumstances. We'll always be tied together forever if that happens. So it's a raw deal, man. It's definitely sad, and I don't know, my thing is as a friend to try and keep him positive, keep his head up, because he has a lot of football left in front of him."
(on how this Jacksonville team compares with the 1999 14-2 team) "I don't think it's a fair comparison considering we made it to the AFC Championship game that year. Right now, statistically, it seems as if we're better and all that stuff, but stats really don't make a whole lot out of a team. I think if, if we make it to the AFC Championship game, maybe I can make some comparisons then, but right now, it's kind of unfair. We haven't done anything yet is what I'm really saying."
(on the one-two punch of he and RB Maurice Jones-Drew and if he is running as well as he ever has) "I wouldn't say that, that I'm running as well as ever. I mean, the numbers are up there and some good things have happened, but I wouldn't say this is the best that I've felt running the ball-wise. I don't know. I don't know what's happened these past five weeks but I'll take it, because if I did know of course I would've done it back in September. But (RB) Maurice (Jones-Drew) for me has been a blessing in disguise and he's helped me out in so many different ways. We're helping each other out. And I work out hard; I bust my butt in the offseason in so many different ways. I always feel like I deserve everything that I get on the field because I train so hard in the offseason.
"And I do agree with most people; I think we have the best one-two punch in the league. Even if we don't, I feel that way, and we're going to always feel that way. But good things have been happening. I've been being positive. The o-line, (FB) Greg Jones, they definitely deserve majority of the credit. Without them, we definitely can't do what we do, so we've just got to keep it up. Whatever it is out there, we've just got to keep it up."
(on if RB Maurice Jones-Drew is prolonging his career) "Actually, God is doing that. I think he sent (RB) Maurice (Jones-Drew) my way, and Maurice, he's a hell of a back. He's a back that he's going to be as good as he wants to be, considering he takes care of his body. And that's my job, to continue to put that in his ear, tell him you've got to do the small things; don't let it magnify and become something bigger than it should be. You've got to do the maintenance, take care of your body. You've got to eat right; that's how you get to prolong your career. He's going to be a great back down the road, and for myself, like I said, I do the small things, man, like I just mentioned. I work out in the offseason. I try and eat better. When I feel something nagging me, I don't try and tough it out, try and be a man about it. I let someone know so we can get it treated so it doesn't become something bigger, because we're not invincible and I think a lot of times that we think as players that we can muscle our way through anything and we'll let a small toe injury become a hamstring and then it affects your back and then it takes over your whole body. So it's just a matter of taking care of yourself down the road, and I think that's how myself and Maurice, we're going to both end up being successful the next few years."
(on QB David Garrard) "(QB) David (Garrard), he's a leader. He's a winner, he's a leader. He pays attention to what the coaches are telling him. He listens, and he has some swagger. He thrives on trying to fit the ball into tight coverages, and when he gets excited and you're seeing him speaking that way and playing that way, as a player, I want to go to war, I want to go battle with someone who's going to put it on the line like that each and every week, and that'd David. So he's done great by us this year, and I think he'll continue to get better."
(on if having one set quarterback has helped the offense) "Well, I think a lot of credit goes to coach (Dirk) Koetter, first of all, our offensive coordinator. We bought into his system. They do a great job, all of our coaches, at preparing us throughout the week, and he's putting us in situations, he's calling the plays, and us as players, we're executing them. The receivers are catching the ball downfield, they're blocking like crazy; the tight ends are chipping in, they're blocking like crazy and they're making those clutch third down clutches for us; and we're just hitting on all cylinders right now. We've just got to keep it up."
(on the Texans defense) "(A) defense that's very hungry. Young defense, has some outstanding players. (DE) Mario (Williams), he's definitely proven his worth with all the different sacks and how he's playing versus the run, and (LB) DeMeco (Ryans), he's plugging up in the middle. He's a hell of a middle linebacker. A little beat up in the secondary. I think once they become stronger in that area, they're going to be a defense no one wants to see, because right now I think they're giving you some different looks to kind of protect those guys back there. But their front seven is solid, solid as any other front seven in the league."
(on what team poses a threat in the AFC playoffs) "We'll cross that bridge when we get there. Every team's a threat. It's the NFL, you can be beat any given Sunday, so we want to focus on Houston right now and try and finish this one out strong, and then in the first week of January, we'll be able to take care of business hopefully and see who's on our schedule then and see what we could do."
(on the Texans-Jaguars rivalry) "Well, the Texans are a team it seems as if they almost built their team just to beat us, at least when they were beating us the past few years. They definitely come and they play as hard as they possibly can versus us, but maybe they play that way versus everyone, it's just unfortunate they were kicking our (butt), you know. And as far as the rival thing goes, I think we have the best division in football, period, and each and every week, each and every time, we get to knuckle up. Tennessee is a rival. Colts is a rival. Texans is a rival. It's just outstanding competition in our division ,and I consider each and every team in our division a rival or a rivalry game. It doesn't matter."
(on QB David Carr once saying neither team likes each other) "It's definitely true from my side. You get tired of that team just sticking you in the side, especially when you think you're supposed to beat them, but that's when I learned: Don't think that way, because this is the NFL, you can be beat by teams who the media or the line-makers when they make the underdogs or whatever. When you look at that stuff, it's like, damn, you think you can just go walk in somebody's stadium and beat them, but that's not always the case. So I don't doubt any team in the league. They're definitely worthy of beating anyone and they've shown the last few years. They've gotten better each year, each and every year, so right now, the Texans to me are a team that you don't want to catch on the wrong day, because they will kick your (butt) and they do play physical."
(on how he deals with being overlooked for the Pro Bowl and what he would advise DE Mario Williams) "I mean, the one thing I would tell (DE) Mario (Williams) is don't feel as if you're a snub. Don't get salty about it. Keep your head up, continue to work your craft and kick (butt). My thing has been over the past few years, maybe the Pro Bowl isn't worthy to have me. A lot of times, I feel I'm better than half the guys they've selected in my 10-year career anyway, so I don't really feel a lot of times that the Pro Bowl is even worthy of having me regardless of who's in it or whatever the case might be. But I know for a fact that I'm more worthy of a Pro Bowl and more than just Pro Bowl quality, so I take it that way: I take it in stride, I just continue to do my thing on Sundays, and it doesn't bother me a bit."