Coach Gary Kubiak reviewed the Texans' loss to the New Orleans Saints and shared his thoughts on the game to the media Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
(opening statement) "I'll talk about injuries real quick. (T Cliff) Washburn's our biggest one. He's got a calf strain, he's going to miss some time, possibly the rest of the preseason so we've got a tough decision there to make and some adjusting to do. (DE) Tim Bulman's got a quad issue he's been dealing with for about two weeks and he's going to be day-to-day. We're going to shut him down for a couple of days, try to get him good and healthy going into these last two games as he competes for a job on this team. (TE) Joel Dreessen has a quad also, he'll be day-to-day. I think he will be back and ready to go this week, but Joel's just been getting a little beat up here these last couple weeks. I expect (CB Antwaun) Molden to return to full duty this week. If he responds well throughout the week, then we'd love to see him play in this game. (G) Chester (Pitts) should return to full duty and then (C) Chris Myers, what we're going to do with him, is he will go back on the field tomorrow, participate in certain portions of practice and then we'll evaluate how he comes out of the practice.
"Just talking about the game real quick, I was disappointed in our overall effort, as I told you all last night. New Orleans was much more physical than we were as a football team in all three phases. That was disappointing for me. We didn't stop the run and turned the ball over and those two things get you beat in this league week in and week out.
"Special teams-wise, (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) has a list, he's got 10 goals we try to reach every week, we didn't reach any of them, so that tells you how that went. There were some positives within the special teams. (P) Matt (Turk) punted the ball pretty well. (WR Mark) Simmons made some nice plays given an opportunity. (FS John) Busing and (TE James) Casey continued to do some good things on special teams. Our return game was poor, thought there was some more out there than we got, didn't have a chance on punt returns and, of course, we gave up a big play when we're trying to make some big plays, so that's how all the special teams went.
"Offensively, I think our first group continues to have a lot of positives. I think we've had four drives this year, two touchdowns, so that's very positive. (QB) Matt's (Schaub) playing pretty well, our guys up front have been pretty consistent even though we're missing two of our starters. Very impressed with (RB) Steve Slaton this week. We challenged him to get better at some of the phases of the game and I like the way he responded. If last night was opening day, Steve's ready to go. He played very, very well. Second group was very inconsistent. Of course, the turnovers. One bright spot with the second group, I really like some of the things I saw (WR) Glenn Martinez do here the first two weeks, not only offensively, but on special teams.
"Then, defensively it's just difficult to find any when somebody moves the ball like that on you. I will say this, I think (LB) DeMeco (Ryans), I'm impressed with how he looks right now, he looks like his old self from a couple years back as far as his legs and the way he's bouncing around. So I feel good about his direction and the camp he's having.
"Bottom line we weren't physical enough. We were very, very poor against the run. There were some missed assignments that also led to that. It's not the group that I've seen practice the last two weeks, so it's disappointing as we try to move forward here and move onto this week.
"We took a step back, I hate to say that because preseason is about stepping forward, but I got to be honest with our players and honest with myself. We took a step backward last night. It's disappointing but we've got to be able to rebound this week against, to me what I think is one of the best overall football teams in the league. Offensively, the way they can run the ball, the quarterbacks they have, with (QB) Brett (Favre) of course coming in here and then (QB) Sage (Rosenfels) on their team. Great players there.
"Defensively, I think they were number two or three in the league last year, excellent defensive football team. So I'm just looking forward to getting back on the field tomorrow and seeing if we can fix on these problems and seeing how our football players respond to last night."
(on updates for DT Travis Johnson and LB Brian Cushing) "Cushing will start to do drill work with (linebackers coach) Johnny (Holland). He will not practice per say so he'll work with Johnny after practice and we're kind of listening to him right now. We're hoping by the middle or the end of the week that he is ready to consistently work in drills. I think it'd be far reached to say that he will play in this game right now but we still list him day-to-day. Travis is ready to get on the field but we will do it on a limited basis, he will take certain portions of practice and then we'll see how he responds, a little bit like (C) Chris Myers so Travis and Chris will kind of be on the same plan this week."
(on DT Frank Okam this training camp) "Frank's had some bright spots. His conditioning level is better. He's become a better player but we're looking for that level of consistency and he was right in the middle of them last night as far as it not being good enough so he's battling for a starting job. He and (DT) DelJuan (Robinson) right there are battling for a job and there's a window there and his consistent play could very well land him a starting spot on this football team, but he's going to have to play better than he did last night and he knows that. But there have been some positives throughout this camp. He's moved forward as a player."
(on if any of the defensive line did anything to stop the run) "No, I'm disappointed across the board. I could point out a play here or there where some guys did some good things, but when you look at the overall picture and you give up 120 yards on 14 carries in the first half, it's kind of hard to sit here and say you found anything good. I would hope that they would feel the same way."
(on what QB Dan Orlovsky should've done on play he fumbled) "It's a very tough play to make. Don't get me wrong. He would have to make a super play. My point is, that I'm trying to make, and when I talk to him is with what we had called and what they were trying to do defensively, I would've liked his reaction to have been different on the play. Not trying to get outside of that contained player. Trying to pull up and get the ball to (TE) James (Casey). So it's more about a pre-snap read and trying to make a great play knowing that I as a coach had him in a bad situation, I'd like to see him try and see him bail us out right there and make a great play. It's something he'll learn from off the defensive look he got."
(on Saints RB Pierre Thomas' being wide open on his touchdown catch) "It was a busted coverage, busted on the back end. We were in a blitz coverage, zero coverage, nobody in the middle of the field and locked up incorrectly."
(on QB Matt Schaub's first two games) "He's played very, very well. What was he, 7-for-7 against Kansas City in those conditions? And then last night he was very effective. He's throwing the ball well. He has a great feel for the rush that's going on around him. Last night, New Orleans came after him some, so it's good for him to see some blitz. But, he's on his game. He's had a good camp. He's doing all the things he's done and doing them better right now. So, I look forward to him playing a lot of football this week, hopefully three quarters of football. So, he's getting himself ready to go. He's had a good training camp."
(on things the first-team offense can do better) "We need to run the ball better. Like I said, (RB) Steve (Slaton) ran the ball well last night with his limited carries but our football team and our offense is built around consistency running the ball. That is where our play actually comes from, those type of things. We got a little out of whack last night. We threw the ball too much. We were probably 2-to-1 throwing the football and that's not what we want to be. We want to be a 50-50 team. We've got to stay committed to that. This team, that we're going to try and run against this week, is as good as there is in football, so we need that challenge. But we've got to run the ball better. Us running the ball helps everybody on our team—defense, everybody."
(on if there are any starting jobs up for grabs) "Yeah I think we definitely have got some. Without sitting here and saying this one or that one, obviously we've got some very close battles going on in various spots on our team. What happens here over the course of the next two weeks will very well be the difference in some of those."
(on if the team should be turning over less players this year) "You would think so, with our veteran group we've put together, but we've had young guys contributing on our football team each year so I don't know. It would be hard for me to say exactly right now. I think there is still so much up for grabs these last two weeks. Time will tell."
(on who takes Washburn's spot in the lineup) "(T Jason) Watkins can go out there. (T Brandon) Torrey can go out there. We may experiment, move some guys around. I don't know. We're talking up there right now but the bottom line, most of this football game is played by your one's and a little bit by your two's. We'll play this more like a regular season game. It is a concern. It is a concern right now with our second group, a very inexperienced tackle playing opposite of (T Rashad) Butler. So, you may see us do some moving around with some veteran guys."
(on TE James Casey as a lead blocker so far) "He's doing pretty good. On third-and-one on the goal line, he had a poor play there, but he's shown the willingness to get in there and compete and do the job at the point of attack for a guy who's never done it. For basically a wideout in college, he's very flexible in what he can do. You saw him make a couple great catches and really get hit. His versatility is going to be a big part of this football team. We've got a lot of confidence in him. The thing that I'm most please with is how he's playing for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano). This young man probably got as many corrections in his special teams meetings the first two weeks of camp that I've ever seen and he has responded and done well and is carrying his own right now. So he is impressing his teammates with how he's going about his business."
(on if he had to give a pep talk to defensive coordinator Frank Bush after the game) "I had to give us all one. That was hard on all of us. It can't happen. It's going to be very difficult for us if something like that is going to happen so we've got to get that corrected."