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Houston Texans

Kubiak answers questions


The Texans left a lot of points on the board in Tennessee on Sunday. They also left a lot of questions unanswered as to how they are going to fix their offensive woes. Head coach Gary Kubiak began providing some answers on Monday.

Schaub still the starter: Matt Schaub struggled in his first two starts, throwing a total of five interceptions and posting a quarterback rating of 51.7. With Schaub under center against Tennessee, the Texans were just 3-15 on third downs and 1-6 in the red zone. But no one on the team is pointing fingers or hanging his head.

Just about every offensive player has accepted blame for Sunday's loss to the Titans, starting with Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson who dropped two touchdown passes.

"In order for us to get to where we want to be, we have to finish those drives that we didn't finish yesterday and make those plays," Johnson said. "The two plays I had, those are plays that I've made over and over. I just didn't make them yesterday, and like I said, I take full responsibility for it. That's something that I won't have happen again. I'm pretty upset about it, but at the end of the day, I have to move on with it. I can't let it linger."

That's exactly what head coach Gary Kubiak wants his team to do – move forward – and the Texans will do so with Schaub as the starter.

"When I look at the big picture, if I felt like one player was the reason that we were not succeeding, then that's easy," Kubiak said. "I don't see it that way. I see a lot of reasons why we're not succeeding and we all need to fix those issues."

{QUOTE}In fact, the head coach said after reviewing film that the quarterback made some "tremendous plays" which would have given the Texans the lead in the first half.

"I thought we should have actually been up at halftime had we made some of those plays, or come up with some of the throws that he had made," Kubiak said. "He had his mistakes, but he also did some good things that would have given us a chance to be in position to win the football game. There's a lot of mistakes. It's not one guy."

Yes, he should have challenged: Kubiak said he wished he had challenged a 37-yard completion to Titans receiver Justin McCareins in the first quarter. The Texans coaches didn't get the replay in the play booth, and from Kubiak's position on the sideline it was difficult to see that McCareins was out of bounds.

"Our technology is whatever the visiting team gives us in the booths," Kubiak said. "So we've got TV up there. Sometimes we do get the replay; sometimes we don't. So you have to make decisions. Unfortunately on the long pass, we did not see it until after they had went up and snapped the ball. That was a decision you just had to make off the cuff and I wish I'd a made it. I wish I'd have thrown it because it definitely would have come back.

"You know, it's hard as a coach up there and looking all the way across the field and you're trying to decide on an inch or two. That's very difficult, but that's the way you go about it. And sometimes when you're on the road, when there are tight plays like that, sometimes it's tough to get the replay. And that's pretty smart on their part."

Safety Will Demps was on the sideline during the play and encouraged Kubiak to throw his red flag, but Kubiak said he went with his gut on the play.

"I know Will was hollering at me that I should challenge it," Kubiak said. "It's just your gut whether you do it or not. So it's just a mistake not to do it. I wish I would have done it."

Slaton now the starter: Rookie Steve Slaton has been named the top running back on the team after turning in a 116-yard, one-touchdown performance against one of the best defense's in the league.

"The one big play he made early in the game was really a single effort," Kubiak said of Slaton's 50-yard run in the first quarter. "We didn't block the play very well. He came out of the pile and took off and had a great effort at the end of the play too to get some more yards tack on for the penalty."

Slaton also proved himself in pass protection, even taking on mammoth-sized defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

"(He) played well in the pass game, picked up some blitzes," Kubiak said. "One time he had to step up and pick up Haynesworth on a gap call, just very, very impressive. Very few mistakes. I think one or two mistakes. I just love his effort.

"Even the last play of the game, his effort chasing the kid (Titans CB Cortland Finnegan) down the sidelines was tremendous. He's got a chance to be a fine player. It will be interesting to see how he comes out of this first game plan, that many plays and taking some of those hits that he took and seeing how he responds this week. But he deserves the opportunity to right back out there this week."

Kubiak said he expected Pro Bowl running back Ahman Green to practice this week, but he did not know when Green would be ready to play.

Mario can be moved around: The Texans' defense looked stale and slow in the first half, allowing Titans quarterback Kerry Collins to make plays with his feet and the offense to come up with 255 yards and the three touchdowns.

In the second half, the Texans hardly missed a tackle, holding the Titans to 88 yards of total offense and a field goal. Houston also got creative. Defensive coordinator Richard Smith lined up defensive end Mario Williams next to DeMeco Ryans at linebacker. Williams was able to harass Collins in the second half and drop into pass protection to keep Tennessee's offense honest.

"I thought our spinner package in the second half caused them some problems and made them get rid of the ball," Kubiak said. "And, as always, just causing havoc and making the quarterback make a quick decision is as important as walking out of the game with sacks."

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