Head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media Monday afternoon after the Texans 27-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on reactions after watching film) "There were some good things that happened. On special teams I thought we were very solid. I know (K) Kris (Brown) missed that field goal, but our kickers did an excellent job of keeping them bottled up. (P) Chad (Stanley) punted the ball extremely well, we covered well. But our kicking game was solid. One of the things in our kicking game that's been, I guess, a distraction or something that's hurt us is we've had penalties and stuff. We've been kind of sloppy and we talked about it Saturday night, about being cleaner in the special teams department, and we were that. On the defensive side of the ball, I thought we played extremely well. (We) had a lot of good things going on up front. I thought our back end played extremely well, made some big plays, no bigger play than (DE) Antwan (Peek) stripping that ball and (CB) Petey (Demarcus Faggins) doing the same thing. Those turnovers were huge in the game. And then on the offensive side of the ball I really think it was just about consistency. We didn't hurt ourselves, we ran the ball effectively even though it took a lot of persistency to do that and we protected (QB) David (Carr) well. Just really from a team's standpoint it was a clean effort. We didn't do things to hurt ourselves, I think we had three penalties in the football game. That's where we're at; we've got to play that way. We've got to play clean to have the best chance for us to be successful and we did that yesterday."
(on what was done better in regards to running game)"Really, I think there was a period in the third quarter where we really weren't running the ball good when you went up to that point. We kept plugging, we ran a crack-toss, we called a blitz, which just seemed like it kind of maybe loosened them up a little bit and kind of got us excited with what was going on. Late in the game I thought we ran the ball pretty well, late in the game. One of the things that we'll be able to take a look at as an offense is we left a lot of yards on the field, too. (RB) Wali (Lundy) will see that as a young runner, there were some more (yards) out there. We ran the ball because we stayed after the run. What allowed us to do that is the ball game, the way the ball game unfolded, a lot like Miami. We were running the ball well against Miami, but it was a close ball game, our defense was playing well so we stayed after it and finally some good things happened. I think that's kind of the way it played out yesterday."
(on G Steve McKinney as a starter again) "No, we're going to play all three of those guys. You know, we're going to continue to play all three of them guys, I see all three of them as starters and we will continue to operate that way. (G) Fred (Weary) played well, Steve came in and played well, and all three of those guys will continue to play."
(on McKinney being hurt) "He has been. He's had some issues. I wouldn't say that he has one issue that he's hurt, he's out; it's not that type of thing. He's battled his body; he's been doing this a long, long time. I just felt like we needed to give Fred an opportunity, we felt Fred had played good against Dallas. I see them all as starters so they're all going to all continue to play."
(on having an offensive lineman that's not injured) "No, they're all pretty beat up. (G) Chester (Pitts) has been fine."
(on RB Wali Lundy's possible future as a starter) "Well, definitely he's going to play. We're going to continue to play guys. I don't get too caught up in the starter thing. We're going to continue to play a lot of players and continue to search with this football team. If you're part of the 53 on this football team you're going to get a chance to prove you can help us win, let me say that. Did Wali definitely step up to the plate and play well yesterday? He did. And we've got (RB) Ronnie (Dayne) and we're going to continue to give Ronnie looks. We've got Chris Taylor on the practice squad, who, I think before this year is out you're going to see him play some. But, you know, we're going to continue to look at those players. I think we've gotten better because we're playing a lot of guys. You look at the defensive side of the ball yesterday, (FS) Jason Simmons had no idea was going to start until Saturday morning and played extremely, extremely well. (S) Guss Scott, we have the kid a chance to play this week, he stepped up and did some good things. We're going to get better when we have players like that step up and play well for us. And we're not afraid to give all of them an opportunity to play."
(on the importance of building on Sunday's win) "It's extremely important and I think our players, when they see different guys step up and have something to do with us taking a step forward, that's positive for our football team. To see Wali (Lundy) step up and play like that, (FB) Vonta Leach played a little bit for us and did some good things. I just talked about the defensive side of the ball; I mentioned another young man, (DT) Anthony Maddox who played for us inside, played extremely well. (LB) Kailee (Wong) coming back in the game, those type of things. (CB) Lewis Sanders was our special team's player of the game. So there are some different things going on week to week and there were a lot of positive things from that standpoint; a lot of guys chipping in, a lot of guys having a lot to do with us playing a little better."
(on DE N.D. Kalu playing inside despite lack of experience) "No, we suited seven. We're going to try to get them in the best spots. (DT) Anthony (Maddox) played some inside, played outside. N.D. played some inside, played outside. We're going to rotate them guys around, try to keep four fresh ones on the field, but there are going to have to be some guys who are going to have to do both and those are the two prime candidates to do that."
(on meaning of playing well and having forced turnovers) "It means a lot. We're finding out that if we turn the ball over and we're sloppy from that standpoint, our team's got a tough day ahead. When we do protect the ball and the fact that they added a couple of turnovers for us, that's what gives us an opportunity. I think I saw statistics where when this team wins the turnover battle, they're 14-8 over a period of time. And that holds true throughout the league, but with our football team right now that's essential, we have got to protect the ball. Now we've got to find a way to go do that on the road. We haven't done that on the road, our two outings we've turned the ball over and got ourselves in a hole. So that's a challenge we've got starting this week and going for the next three weeks."
(on CB Demarcus Faggins' play) "(CB Demarcus) Petey (Faggins) played well. He tackled extremely well, I don't have the exact number of plays that he played, I want to say somewhere around 35, somewhere around that neighborhood right there. I know Kailee (Wong) played 18 to 20. But Petey had an impact, he played well, he makes a big play on that ball knocking that ball out. He was an impact player, but I really liked the way he tackled. For a guy who hasn't played in a long time he tackled extremely well."
(on LB Kailee Wong's return and how they might affect LB Shantee Orr) "He (Wong) was fresh, that helps. There's no bigger motivator in sports than competition and we talked about that back in training camp. The better competition you create on your football team the better you get. I just know that Kailee and Petey brought something to our football team last week from a leadership standpoint and was a big help for our football team."
(on playing four quarters) "It's easy to say you're looking for four. Everybody's looking for four quarters every week. In the National Football League that's the ultimate when you can get it done throughout the whole football game because there is usually momentum swings. Everybody's got players, the thing that was impressive yesterday was we were able to fight through some adversity through the third quarter which we've had experienced throughout this season and find a way to play really good football in the fourth quarter. We should be able to build off of that. I said yesterday, we have a lot of challenges as a football team and I think our guys kind of understand our challenges. That was one of them, we got through that yesterday. The next one, now we go on the road, can we play clean on the road? Can we go out there and not hurt ourselves and play good football? And then find out where we're at. So, we're going to have many of those and we're going to have to step to the plate and answer to those challenges to become a better football team."
(on QB David Carr's growing comfort level with the new system) "David's getting better. It's interesting, because what was he yesterday 25 of 38? Very solid performance, two touchdowns, had an opportunity for a third during the fourth quarter, but that's from a rating standpoint all that's really good. The great thing right now with me with David is I can call him in today and I could show him how he could play better. That's very encouraging. David's performance is always going to be linked to his footwork, his eyes as a player, his overall commitment in every phase of the game and I can show him, even though there's some good numbers coming up, some good things happening, it's exciting for me to sit down with him and say, 'Okay David if we can get better at this then you're going to play even better'. And I like the way he's working and he's doing some good things, but I see a lot of room for improvement and I see a guy willing to make that improvement so for me, working with him, it's exciting because I know he can play even better."
(on preventing mentality letting down after 27-7 win) "I wouldn't expect that to happen, if anything I hope it builds confidence around here. The guys felt good about the way they played yesterday, they played a very good football team. This team was 12-4 last year, a solid playoff team; they dominated a couple of football teams this year so we should feel good about that. But the biggest thing is we have to understand why we played well. That's the biggest thing and I think if you do that then you're headed in the right direction. One of the hardest things, it's easy in this business when you don't play well and get beat to be hard on yourself and watch film and say 'I'm going to get better.' We've got to teach this team when good things happen to still look at the film and still be hard on ourselves. Because like I said, if I'm Wali, I'm feeling good today, but I can show Wali where there are 50 or 60 more yards on that field. That's the way we have to approach ourselves for us to continue to get better."
(on LB DeMeco Ryans) "You know, he's been exceptional. We're asking him to do a lot, and he's become a leader on the defensive side of the ball. I just was talking to him about a half an hour ago. I saw him in the hall and ask him, 'How are you doing?' because this season gets long for a rookie. And he smiled and said, 'We're not even half way, coach.' But he's an exceptional player, and the thing that adds to him as a player is he's an exceptional kid, which I have told you allover and over again. The future is very bright, and he has a lot of guys in this room, from a team standpoint, that are looking at him as a leader at a very young age. That's very encouraging for our team as we move forward."
(on whether Ryans is playing better than expected) "He has been very good. We knew he was a good player. Did we think we were going to have to put him in that role this early in his career as we went to training camp? No. As you guys remember we went and got a mike linebacker before we went to camp. DeMeco just stepped up and played so well that we just said, heck let's let him take it and run with it. So he's been everything we thought, but he's probably been a lot more too."
(on whether he has ever seen a rookie take such a leadership role)"You know, I can't say I've ever seen one entrusted with that position and how much he has taken on with our defensive football team. But this is the role he needed to play for this team. With our situation and where we're at, he needed to play that role, and he taken it on and been exceptional. For the future of the team to think that he will be in the middle for this football team for a long, long time, leading this defense, that's very encouraging."
(on Ryans compared to Denver MLB Al Wilson) "They're a lot alike as players. They're a little bit different. DeMeco is really a low-key guy. He plays the game with a lot of intensity, but from a personality standpoint, he's more low-key personality, doesn't really talk a whole lot. He lets his actions speak. Al's more a vocal-type of leader. How they got to the ball, their passion to play the game, the one thing I have been so impressed with him, and just watching Al when I was in Denver. Al was a big-time student of the game and DeMeco is too. Usually those good mike linebackers are your best students in the classroom because they've got to get everybody lined up and everybody going the same direction."
(on having an offensive line that is beat-up but still playing well) "That's very important, and its one thing to have guys that are nicked up and you're a 5-0 football team or a 6-0 football team. It's another thing when you nicked up and you're struggling and you're battling like we have been and have guys step to the plate and play like they did this week. Like (T) Zach Wiegert was beat-up with the elbow, with the knee. (G) Steve (McKinney) is beat-up. (T) Ephraim (Salaam) has battled a groin for a couple weeks. Those guys played their best game as a group, and those are the type of steps we have to take to get better as a football team. And that rubs off. That rubs off in that locker room. That rubs off on every player down there."
(on possibly changing the halftime routine to improve the third quarter) "Yeah, we're doing everything we can. We actually spent a lot of time on that this morning discussing our process and what we've done. Our halftime, I've been doing that since I've been in pro football. I have never changed; we're talking about changing some things. We thought we had changed a few things a few weeks ago, but we'll keep searching. Anytime something's not working we'll evaluate it. If somebody has a better idea we'll go do it. When we looked at it from a defensive standpoint, you look at them coming out, they make a big third down and we have a penalty. But we really settled down after that and we fine the rest of the way. On the offensive side of the ball, we were three and out twice. And really we were three-and-out because we dropped the ball (and) we had a bust in one of our protection schemes. So there are reasons why it happens. If you watched it and you couldn't figure out why it happened or you couldn't show a player this is why this happened, then it would really bother you, but the reasons are there. But we played through them, and I like the way we played through them yesterday."
(on how much he has seen on film from Tennessee) "I've watched quite a bit today. They're playing really well. Of course they are off this past week, but for them to into Indianapolis and to go into Washington and play the way they played the last two weeks. (Titans Head Coach) Jeff (Fisher) has got a young football team. He does a great job. They are doing a great a great job with (QB) Vince (Young) and the way they are bringing him along. And they're probably running the bal as well as anybody in football right now. They'll be fresh, and playing there it'll be a tough go."
(on the focus that many people in Houston will have on this game) "Well, I understand how much his (QB Vince Young's) presence is felt here in this city, and playing at the University of Texas. He's a great kid. I know him, and he's a fine player and a great kid, and I know he has a lot of fans here and family here. It'll be an exciting for both football teams. But they're doing a heck of a job with him, both (Offensive Coordinator) Norm (Chow) and (Head Coach) Jeff (Fisher) are doing a great job to play a rookie quarterback and to have him playing the way he's playing. He played really well last week. Their future is very bright with their football team, and they're doing a great job with him as they move toward that future."
(on the Texans similarities with the Titans) "Yeah, I think we're both very young football teams, you know. I have a lot of respect for the job that (Titans Head Coach) Jeff (Fisher) does. I think he's one of the top, top coaches in the National Football League and has been for a long time. And they play with a lot of emotion and just looking at their last two outings, watching what they did. They had a chance to win as Indianapolis, which not many people do, and to go into Washington and pull that game out the way they did; they are playing extremely well. So it'll be a tough, tough game."
(on the next challenge of getting a win on the road)"Yeah, I think it definitely is, and it's a focus for us right now. As we went into the game the other night, the night before, Saturday night as we talked – we sit down and we talk as a team all the time about the next day – what do we have to do on offense, defense, special teams—really our focus this last Saturday night was let's worry about us. I know we're playing Jacksonville, but let's worry about what we're doing, let's clean up what we're doing, and let's find out what the result's going to be. And we did that. We cleaned up our football. Now we have to be able to go on the road and do the same type of thing in an environment that's not friendly to us, in every phase, offense, defense and special teams. Like with (QB) David (Carr), and I talked to David, David has got to go play on the road and not turn the ball over, not have turnovers, play a clean solid football game like he has played some here at home to give us the best chance to win. So, yes, I think it's the next big challenge for this football team, and that challenge is going to happen here for this for a three week period, so we won't be back for a while."
(on the relief of having a working run game)"Well, it felt very good. The thing that felt good is after you start to run the ball you could see that some of our boots and play actions and those type of things, we made some plays doing that. And I think as players you know we want to do those things with (QB) David (Carr), and we have not done those successfully. And you say why. And you're able to go back and say here's why: if we run the ball we'll be able to do those type of things. That was encouraging. That was the most space, I think, we had to be able to run the football. When you look at the game film the job that our guys did upfront, and like I said, now our back has to look at that and say I'm going to go get some more; there's more there. And if we'll do that we'll continue to get better running the ball."
(on whether he has spoken to DE Mario Williams about the comparisons to Titans QB Vince Young that are coming) "I really don't worry about him with that. He's a well grounded kid. I had a long talk with him today out in the hall. He did some really good things yesterday, and he's getting better every time out. But he can still play so much better; just learning the pro game and the consistency and understanding situations, down and distance, what people are trying to do to him. He's got so far to go and can get so much better, but he's very well grounded. He listens, he takes coaching, he listens to other players. Some of our veteran players like (DT) N.D. Kalu has done a great job with him. So I think he's fine with those things; I really do. I don't think that's a distraction because he's a strong person. I think he just worries about playing football."
(on the game injuries) "You got me. I don't have it in front of me. We came out pretty clean other than (S) Glenn (Earl) was a big surprise going into the game. We though he'd be able to play, and he wasn't able to play. (FB) Jameel Cook sprained an ankle, but we think he'll be fine. Other than that I think we're okay."
(on whether any of the players that were out last week will be back) "It looks like (TE Jeb) Putzier will—we'll test him tomorrow—he should be back. (DE Jason) Babin, I think Jason could have played. He had back spasms and missed that time. After Thursday and Friday we decided to go with seven linemen, so that was just a decision. But he could have played; if we would have made him active he could have played. He'll be okay."
(on DE Antwan Peek coming off the field slow) "No, I just think he got a little wore out. He rushed the passer a few times. I think he's okay. He's alright."
(on any roster moves)"We're bringing (G Mike) Brisiel back today, back to our practice squad. He's doing fine and he was released today to go back to work, so we'll bring him back to our practice squad."