Following are quotes from Head coach Gary Kubiak's weekly Monday presser and from Texans players on their end of the season thoughts.
**Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on most urgent offseason decision)** "Really right now the most urgent thing is evaluating where we're at and then formulating a plan along with that where we're going to go. That's what we have to do right now. These few days right now we're really just trying to put together our plan for our evaluation process that's going to go on for the next couple of months. But really, it's like putting together a game plan to get ready for free agency, got to set your priorities where you want to improve as a team and what you want to target as far as players, those type of things. Free agency, I think, would be the first thing to address along with our players and then start preparing for the draft and go from there I guess."
(on QB David Carr situation) "I know that's a big topic right now. All I can tell you is that David's going to be evaluated like any other player. You don't make decisions on players in this league and with your team quick. You make those decisions with a lot of people's opinions and a lot of views. As we sit down and reevaluate our cutups and watch our film and you get every coaches opinion. I'm a coach that believes that our defensive coaches need to be a part of our offensive situation. That's what we're going to be doing the next two days. I have the other side of the ball, I'll have our defense evaluate our offense. I want to hear what they say. I know to hear what they see. We'll go about it that way. He'll be evaluated like everybody else and that's going to take some time with everybody, along with him and then we'll decide where we're going to go next."
(on whether there are QBs better than Carr) "That's about any position on your team. In this business it's easy to look at your football team and say, 'We have to go get better at this spot.' Sometimes getting better at that spot is coaching better. You don't just make quick decision and change personnel and change this and change that. You've got to look at all your options, 'If we make this move, then what's our next option?' If we decide to change this player and that player, what's our next option? You might be staring at the best option if you just coach a little better and work a little harder. But that's part of the process with all of them, not just that position, that's part of the whole process."
(on assessing Carr reasonably considering injuries around him) "You're assessing what you're doing at that time. One of the things, 'Have we had a lot of injuries?' You bet. That brings up a good point because the number one thing we can't do in our organization right now is we can't sit here and move forward saying, 'Well if this guy comes back or that guy comes back…if this guy makes it back for OTAs.' We can't operate like that. I think we've made some mistakes this past year by counting on some situations that didn't pan out. We can't do that, we've got to move forward if some of these guys that are injured have been out, if they make it back and they're on that field and we're better because of that then that's a bonus. But we can't operate like that anymore. We won't get better if we continue to hold off or wait for some of those things to develop. You can't operate that way. It's just like during the season when you've got guys hurt you can't sit there and moan about it, you've got to go to the next guy and you got to make him play good. You've got to find a way to be successful. For us, me and (general manager) Rick (Smith), in operating with this organization that's not going to be part of the process anymore, we're going to move forward. Hopefully those guys that are beat up and have missed time and they do make us better, but we've got to move forward."
(on RB Domanick Davis' role in moving forward from injured players) "I'm not just going to put it in that situation. But we did address some of our needs and along addressing those needs we counted on some things to happen and they didn't happen. It just tells you right there you've got to live for the day today in this business. You've got to live for that week and that game and you better be operating that way because you just don't know when those things aren't going to happen. It can get you in a lot of trouble if you're counting on some things that don't take place. I feel like we can't operate like that right now. We've got to move forward."
(on T Charles Spencer) "You guys know what I think of Charles. I think we were on to a kid that was going to play left tackle for this organization for a long, long time and be very, very good. The most disappointing thing was losing that kid. I've said, I've told you that all along. Here's the situation where he's a very significant injury and as you're doing well he's doing great. Saw him yesterday morning before the game he was down in the pool and running on the treadmill in the pool. All that is very, very positive. If we go to solidify this offensive line, which we've had a hard time holding together in front of that process we say, 'Well Charles is going to be back. He's going to be 100 percent. He's going to be fine.' If we operate that way we're not going to get better because we aren't addressing the problem. So we've got to move forward and I'm sure counting on Charles and I hope he's there ready to go full speed. Because if he is we're going to be better, but we've got to operate assuming that he may not happen."
(on having low tolerance for injured players) "When you look at our situation I think we have to as a football team. With me and (strength and conditioning coach) Dan (Riley), our weight program, our training, we've got to sit down and look. We had guys miss a lot of time and maybe it's just a coincidence, maybe it was a bad year from that standpoint. But we've got to look at that, we've got to try to figure out why we've had so many injuries this year and so much time missed. I know from a coaching standpoint, players are battling you want players to battle injuries and play through nicks and bruises. That's part of being a good football team. Our injuries were pretty significant. They warranted the miss time, but that's another part of the process that we have to evaluate."
(on concern on losing Assistant head coach Mike Sherman) "I'm concerned because I think he's the best candidate out there when these bullets start flying in the NFL. It looks like there's probably going to be some movement with some teams and if he's not on top of the list, for whoever that football team is, that's a mistake. I think he should be a head coach in this league. I hope he's still with us. I'm sure counting on him. You all know what he's meant to me this year and what he's meant to our program, but as I told you all, whoever works here and works for us we want the best for them. If it's an opportunity for him we'll do anything we can to help him out."
(on plans to replace Offensive coordinator Troy Calhoun) "I'm going to take my time. I'm not going to get in a hurry. There's a lot of football still being played in the league this year. We'll wait and see what happens with the movements. I don't see any reason why the group that we have we can fill that void with the group that we have here. We're still going to add a coach or two, I'm sure that we will because of Troy leaving but we've got the guys to head into the right direction."
(on general manager Rick Smith's work) "I think he's made a great deal. First off, working with him he knows exactly what I'm looking for in certain situations with players and scheme-wise. I think that helps because it's not like Rick's waiting for me to come off the practice field and talk to me about a player. He would just go get him, he'd sign him and say, 'I signed this kid. He'll be out there tomorrow. I think he can help you here, help you there.' That's very positive. I think Rick's relationship with our players is something that's very positive around here. He's around them all the time, interacts with them a great deal. He's meeting with each of them guys today and I think that's brought some strength to our team and our organization. He did a heck of a job and you want a guy who is active out there every day and if you're not you're going to get caught because the only way to find those diamonds in the raw type of players are those guys who contribute that you never count on is the people like Rick and the scouting departing busting their tail."
(on evaluating himself) "I don't know. Believe me I've got a long, long way to go. I know that. I've learned a big deal this year. Probably the biggest thing I've learned, I think I said this yesterday, how different it is in this league week-to-week finding a way to win. I'm an offensive coordinator guy and selfishly that's what I focused on through my career, moving the ball. All of a sudden, you're a head coach you've got so many things you've got to worry about. And one of the things that I found out is that each week is a different opportunity and you're going to have to find different way to win games whether it be on defense this week, on offense the other week, or special teams. As a head coach you've got to give yourself and your team the best chance to win. I felt like I learned a great deal from that standpoint instead of saying, 'This is the only way we're going to do something.' I think we did a few different things and found ways to win a couple of games in different ways, when I look at Oakland and I look at yesterday. You've got to learn how to do that. I've got a long way to g. but I've learned a great deal and go back to work here and the second time around with the free agency and the draft, I feel much more comfortable today as we go onto approach those things. I think I was way behind when I got here last year. That shouldn't happen right now and I feel good about the offseason."
(on philosophy on draft) "That'd be really hard to answer right now. I think that's all going depend on where we are with our football team, and where we're headed, where we think our greatest need is with those players that are available. That can change year-to-year. Whether it's that need player at that position that you know he's a starter and he's going to contribute to your team for a long time. Or if there's a situation on the draft where you feel like you've got to take the best athlete available, I think that can change from time-to-time. We end up, we are eighth, that is correct? We'll see."
(on fulfilling the need for pass rushers) "There's no doubt, we've got to find a way to put some pressure on some people. We played a group yesterday that was missing a couple of guards and (defensive coordinator) Richard (Smith) dialed up plenty of zone gods trying to create pressure and that is one glaring thing that I've been looking at this morning, comparing progress, where there was progress and some things we didn't do well. One of the first things that I looked at was the fact that we didn't pressure the quarterback really well. we've got to figure out a way to do that and if we've got to be able to do that with four guys in this league if you're having to dial-up zone dogs and blitz in this league week–in and week-out, specially in our division in my opinion, you're going to get burned. So we've got to find a way to pressure the quarterback with four guys and that will be a big point of emphasis."
(on being judicious going out for players) "I think without talking cap numbers I think we'll be competitive. There's definitely more teams out there that have a lot more room than we do. I think one of the positive things that we've got going for us right now is that we've got players out there saying good things about our program. One thing that's happening in the NFL right now is that players have options and if they've got options of where they want to go play and where they want to further their career. Some players sign strictly on money and where there's the most money. But there's a lot of players that really are looking for an opportunity in a great city and an organization that is doing things the right way so I'm hoping that our reputation and our players, I'm asking our players to help us. In a lot of ways it's a recruiting process and I'm hoping that we will be very competitive whether that's signing one or two players or going after seven or eight, as you say, mid-range players. I don't know that right now, but I'm hoping that we be very competitive. I expect us to be."
(on whether he would like to trade to have more draft picks)"Well, I think that is the way you build a football team, but you know that is easier said than done. It's like after the draft when people say, 'Why wouldn't you move back or do this and get more picks?' All of those conversations are wonderful, but that's really a hard thing to get done; people don't just let draft choices go. That's how you build a football team; that's how you get players that you know are going to be with you for a while. So I think everybody in this business would love to have multiple draft choices, but it's not always that easy."
(on Broncos CB Darrent Williams' murder)"Yeah I did (hear about it). I really don't know what to say. He was a great kid, did a great job for us. I talked to a couple of coaches this morning, a couple of our players that know him very well. It's just very unfortunate. The kid had a great future."
(on the loss of Broncos CB Darrent Williams)"Like I said, he was a great kid. He came to us and did a great job. He was very outgoing. He had a bright, bright future. Heck, I had a conversation with my kid this morning. I think Darrent's a 25 year old, am I right, 25, 26? To have that type of future and have that type of so much to look forward to, it's just sad. I know it's extremely difficult on the organization and just…I really don't know what to say y'all."
(on 2006's highs and lows for him)"You know I answered this with Bob yesterday. And I am sincere when I say, and it might sound a little crazy, but the high for me was when we played Buffalo and they made those two big plays and it was 14 to nothing. And not very many people were happy in that stadium and it looked very, very dim. I saw a group of guys that all of a sudden kind of got over a little hump. The way they battled back, they never panicked, got back in the game, took the lead, was sitting right there to win that game. That was a big high for me that game because I thought we did something that good teams have to be able to do. The low came at the same time. It came whenever they scored with nine seconds left because I thought that we were fixing to get over a hump that day. And I always tell you that I don't think one play or one game get you over the hump, but I thought I saw something in our football team that day that was tremendous growth, and I would have loved to seen us finish it. But we didn't, but we kept plugging. I think the high and the low really happened in that ballgame that day for me."
(on what will be his offseason point of emphasis for the offense)"Well, I think it is obvious on offense. We have got to find a way to make some big plays. In this business it is so hard to sit there and march three and four yards a play and be that consistent. You have got to have guy that can get you on and off the field, that can make the big play. We didn't score enough points. In this league you've got to find a way to score some points. So I would say the point of emphasis is we have to find some playmakers. We have to find some guys that can step up and make some plays whether it is a back, another receiver. Somehow we have got to make some big pays and score more points because we definitely didn't do that this year."
QB David Carr
(on the 2006 season)"Wish it was still going; we had a nice little winning streak going. But you know, it was a learning process in a new system and getting everyone involved. We had some guys get bang up, but every team has some guys get banged up. But I like how we competed at the end. It was enjoyable. It was something that was fun to be a part of these last couple weeks."
(on whether he wonders about his future with the Texans)"If I'm going to sit around and think about that kind of stuff the next couple months it's going to be pretty miserable for my family and for everybody else. I did what I can do these last couple week, tried to win some football games, after that all of that is in the hand of the guys that make decisions. They're going to make decisions about every player in this room. I'm not going to be any different. I'm not going to worry about it."
(on why thinking about it would make him miserable)"Well, just thinking about moving and stuff and having to change teams. I love these guys. I think they're moving in the right direction. I think we're going to win some football games here. I think they're going to eventually win a Super Bowl here. I'd like to be a part of that, you know. And to think that I wouldn't be a part of that would be pretty depressing because I have a lot of good friends on this team. I have some guys that believe in me; I believe in them. I think we could do some good things together, and it'd fun to be a part of it."
(on whether he plans to talk to the front office so he doesn't have to wonder)"Well, I went up and talked to (general manager) Rick (Smith) and (offensive coordinator) Troy (Calhoun), and (head coach) Gary (Kubiak) was in a meeting, but I'm going to talk to him in the next couple days. And they were very positive about moving forward and just talking about the maturation process of the quarterback, and in this system it takes a couple years. But that is something that I don't want to hear. I want to just kind of win right now. But they were all very positive as far as the things they had to say to me. So it makes me feel good going into the offseason."
(on whether he would prefer to know one way or another now)"Honestly, the thing about it is I have a contract for the next couple years, and when I talk to them it's not something we really discuss. It's talking about the future, talking about getting better, talking about working with your receivers in the offseason, what routes you can work on, how you can get batter as a football player, Rick Smith just talking about how he can get better as a team, just leadership now that you know the system now, going into your second year in the system you can kind of assert a little more. I kind of felt myself doing that a little more in the last couple games because I felt comfortable with what I was doing. So all those things that we talked about are not about not being here next year; it's about the future and making this team a better football team and building on what we have at the end."
(on what it would be like to be traded)"It would just be another team; it's still football. I'd still have my family with me, so I mean the only hard thing about it would be just not being around the guys that I have been around for five years (G/C Steve) McKinney and (T Zach) Wiegert and those guys. You know that would be tough, but it would just be football for me."
(on how he feels he played this season)"In the entire season, not great. We only won six games. Ultimately the quarterback is tied to his record. We have to find a way to win more than six games. Obviously it was better than last year, but it still wasn't good enough to get us a playoff spot. Not very good."
(on what made the second half of the season better)"I don't know. Opportunities, (RB) Ronnie (Dayne) had a couple of touchdowns running down there. When you get down there along the goal line, I had a lot of touchdown passes down there early in the season, and the second half we ran a lot of them in, so all that, you can throw it, you can run it, you can do whatever you want, but all that matters is wins, and we didn't win enough games."
RB Ron Dayne
(on whether he is an unrestricted free agent)"Yeah."
(on whether he would like to play for Houston in 2007)"Oh yeah, definitely. We have a young team and a good team here. I'd definitely like to be here."
(on whether he feels like this season has rejuvenated him)"I feel good. I'm happy they gave me the opportunity and the chance to come play and show what I can do."
DE N.D. Kalu
(on whether he played more than he expected to)"That was my goal coming in. I didn't sign saying, 'Hopefully I'll be inactive and just pick up a check', but I am surprised that I got to play a lot of defensive tackle. And I'm surprised that I enjoyed it. I always watch what those guys did on the inside and I was like, I never wanted to do something like that, but once I got in there all the banging is fun. That's what makes it a little crazy and I loved it. Hopefully they like what I did and I'll be back next year."
(on how much he is concerned about his future with the Texans)"You don't dwell on it because you know it's a business. Being (in the NFL for) 10 years, you see people go and come, but I really enjoy being in Houston and I love playing football in Texas. You know, this is where I grew up, so I'd love ending my career in Texas and I don't like Dallas, so it has to be the Houston Texans. So hopefully they'll feel the same about me."
G/C Steve McKinney
(on whether QB David Carr will return)"I think it will all play itself out. It's a business. They will go through the evaluation process like they do (with) each and every player on this team. You know I guess we'll find out here in the next couple months."
(on whether this has been a strange season for him)"Oh, yeah, definitely. Any time you're changing positions and kind of bouncing around a little bit and you have injuries; that makes it tough. Those are some things that I haven't really gone through in my career; the first time this year. It all played itself out in the end, and I got a chance to go back in at center and help this team win a couple games."
(on whether he felt he showed he is still valuable)"I think so. I was able to get a chance to go on there and show them that I could still play, and regardless of the issues that I had physically, I was able to play through them, and play good and help the team win."
(on whether he thinks he will be at center next year)"I hope so. Hopefully I'll get at least a chance to compete for it."
(on the plan for his shoulder injury)"Going to get my surgery sometime in the next couple days and then hit the rehab. You know I don't plan on missing anytime."
(on facing an off season of rehab)"Yeah, and it's just another challenge for me. I take it on with a full head of steam. While it's not going to be a normal offseason, in the end I'll probably be better because of it."
(on the 2006 season)"A lot of ups and a lot downs, but in the end that was a great finish. You have to be real proud of these guys they never hung their heads and we finished the season the way we did."
(on looking forward to having a healthier season on the defensive line in 2007)"I do. I'm excited. I'd love to se (DE) Mario (Williams) play a full season healthy. Now with a year under his belt I think he's going to do a lot of great things. Him and (DT) Anthony Maddox next year in training camp and all of us just being together and spending that time and getting that familiarity with each other, I think will make us much better."
(on the importance of winning the last two games)"It's huge. It's huge just from a morale standpoint. You know, guys go into the off season believing that when they're going in to start work out and all of these things that we believe we can win. We know we can beat the Indianapolis Colts now. It's not a wondering if we can; we've done it. That we'll go into the offseason optimistic and that things can be a lot better."
RB Domanick Williams (formally Domanick Davis)
(on his rehab)"It's going good. It's going good. I had all the time I needed, and like I said, most of the guys are checking out, I'm checking in. And I'm going to be waiting on everybody else. I'm going to do everything I have to do to get myself back on the field. And it's going great right now."
(on whether he is starting the 2007 season now)"Right now."
(on whether is 100 percent yet)"I wouldn't say 100 percent, I mean, but it's close and it's on its way. It's going real good. My knee is allowing me to lift heavy weight without swelling up, and that was one of the biggest problems that I had. It's just going great."
(on how hard 2006 was for him)"It's been real hard. I didn't watch, not one game. It's not that I didn't care because if anybody cares I care. It was just my way of dealing with it because it would hurt me in another kind of way. I just focused on what I had to do to get myself back and then we'll take care of it when it's time."
(on changing his name from Dominick Davis)"And it will be number 31, Dominick Williams. I just had to make a change. I wasn't really a Davis the whole time, but I have kids of my own and I needed to do what was right."
(on more on the name change)"I just changed Davis to Williams. I wasn't really a (Davis). I was my older brother's Dad's last name and whatever happened I ended up with Davis. So now that I have kids of my own, a little boy and a little girl, 'Spike' (Dominick, Jr.) and Liana, I have to change my name to what it really is, and it's Williams."
(on his first year in the NFL)"Basically, it's a big-time learning experience. I was fixing a lot of things as far as the outside pressure and you know, myself with little nicks and bruises. So it was a big-time learning experience."
(on whether the comparison to other draftees got tiresome)"No, it really wasn't bad. It was just everything as far as being the first year. But like I said, I learned a lot from it and I look forward to the future."
(on what he learned playing through pain)"It's just a tolerance thing, obviously just being able to tolerate things, play through it. I have had a situation this year, but I was able to play through it and made it through the season."
(on whether he takes some pride in being the only Texans defensive lineman to start every game)"Yeah, like I was saying about playing through pain, being that I had a little, bad, I guess pretty bad, injury as far as… at least I didn't break anything. But for it to be in the position that it was at on my foot, obviously to play through it, I think my tolerance went up. I can play through pain."
(on whether he takes pride in having played through the pain)"Yeah, I mean I could have easily missed the last half of the season, basically, but I was able to play through it."
(on the pain of playing with plantar fasciitis)"It just hurts. I don't know; it's just one of those things where you wake up in the morning and you almost fall flat on your face because the first step is the worst. Everybody talks about the first step. If you ever talk to anybody that has it, they always talk about the first step in the morning. Sleeping in and boot and getting treatment…But going out there trying to play, as far as planting, trying to get off the ball, especially a defensive lineman, trying to get off the ball and things like that, you just have to fight through it."
(on what the doctors and trainers tell him will make it better)"Just resting it and massaging it, sleeping with the boot still, stretching my calf, my foot, and I'll be fine, probably in a month or so."