Kubiak praised the recent play of defensive tackle Travis Johnson.
In his weekly Monday press conference, head coach Gary Kubiak discussed his emotions in the aftermath of the Texans' last-second defeat at the hands of the Titans.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the possibility of having to play at a neutral site) "I don't know that much about it right now. There are some people that mentioned this morning about playing in Arizona, and it's been mentioned to me in the last hour that they may play Sunday night, may play Monday night, I don't know. I just know that we'll have to adjust. They'll figure out a time for us to play the football game. You're concerned for those people in California in those fires. I've been through that in Denver and that's a horrible thing, so you just keep them in your prayers and we'll figure out what to do with the football game."
(on what he went through in Denver) "They had some of the same issues in Denver at one time. We had coaches have to leave the field one day during practice. The fires were coming down from the mountains. It was about five or six years ago. We had a couple of coaches that their homes were very close to being lost, and I just remember how scary it was for their families. But everything worked out."
(on what he knows about QB Matt Schaub's injuries) "I just left Matt (Schaub) about an hour ago. He's moving around very, very slowly. All the tests were negative, all the x-rays were fine. He's really, he's just beat up. He's got an extremely beat up hip, a lower leg, he's got the thigh that he's been nursing for a couple of weeks. So he's just generally beat up but we think he's going to be OK. We will say that he's day-to-day right now and hopefully he's out there Wednesday and can do something, but he's just very beat up right now."
(on if QB Matt Schaub has to practice to play on Sunday) "Oh, Matt (Schaub) could play without practicing, I mean there's no doubt about that as far as game planning, knowing what to do and doing his job. I don't have any doubt about that, so we'll see."
(on if he would hesitate to start QB Sage Rosenfels) "No, absolutely not. I always look at it this way: you want to know if you put a player out there, he can protect himself. So that's your concern with Matt (Schaub). But, Sage (Rosenfels), he's a fine player, and if Matt can't go, we go with Sage, and if Matt's capable but we don't think he's 100 percent, then maybe he's the backup. I don't know; that'll play itself out, but we're sure hoping that he is somewhat available once we get to the weekend."
(on how he will handle WR Jacoby Jones this week) "I'll go back and do it just like we did last week. He'll take everything he's doing in practice. The expectations would be for him to go back and return punts and play some receiver. My thoughts after the game, what my intentions were, of course my emotions were high, but my intentions were that we saw early that there was concern of him taking a hit and holding on to the ball. We found that out on the first kickoff, so it just bothered me as a coach to sit there and see that, then we make comments on the headsets about it, you know, 'Did you see that? Didn't look like he was ready to take a hit.' He put the ball on the ground. He put the ball on the ground for us on the second play of offense, which we actually had designed a couple of balls to come his way because we wanted to find out. We didn't have the luxury of finding out last week; they (Jacksonville) didn't punt. So I was just kind of upset with myself from the standpoint that when we did see it, we should've stopped it right there, and we didn't do that."
(on if he anticipates any changes on the offensive line) "No, I don't anticipate any changes. We played hard. We battled. We played against a good front. Could we have played better? Yes, we can all play better; that's part of it. But I don't see anybody up there who's not battling, doing everything they could possibly do for us to win a football game. As far as Kasey (Studdard) goes, we'll see. Like I told y'all, I thought he had earned a right to get on the field some, but as of right now he'd still be listed probably as out this week until he makes some progress with the groin injury."
(on if there are any other injury issues) "The only other one is Shawn Barber. We're kind of evaluating him right now. It started with his shoulder. So we'll see. But everybody else, just in general, everybody's just beat up and disappointed coming out of the football game. But as far as anybody in particular, no, we're OK."
(on if QB Matt Schaub has a bruised hip) "Yes, he's got a real bad bruise on his hip and like I said, his lower leg, got a good shot on his lower leg, and of course the thigh that he's been dealing with. So just a combination of all those things."
(on if it's difficult to switch to a pass-first offense) "We're definitely throwing the ball pretty good. We haven't run the ball very well. It's not difficult to switch what you're doing. But I think it's obvious that it's not what's best for our team. Our team needs to run the football, and I think that's the way we play best. So it's a tough, tough challenge for us because when you're not running it, you want to do everything you can to win the football game so you end up throwing the heck out of the ball. But I think in the final analysis, we need to find a way to get back to running the ball, and the only way we're going to do that is if we just keep pounding away and hopefully find a way for it to get better. It's not going to get any easier; not this week."
(on if the struggling running game has been partially to blame for QB Matt Schaub getting hit hard) "I don't know. That probably has a lot to do with him being so courageous in the way he plays the game. We've been pretty successful in the play action pass and stretching the field. That's been a point of emphasis this year, to get more out of our passing game, to get some bigger plays. We're doing that. He's a big credit to that because he'll stand in there and take some shots to make a play. The other day, he probably needed to get rid of that thing a couple of times because he took one too many. There comes a point where you've got to get it gone and go to the next down, and that definitely held true yesterday in some situations."
(on what he's doing with the tight ends) "Well, it just kind of all depends on what we're doing game-plan wise. We knew we were probably going to have to throw the ball quite a bit against this football team yesterday, so we had a particular scheme that we were running that Jeb (Putzier) was involved in. We went to it early in the game, the first two plays of the game. Some of the things that Tennessee was doing drove us out of it. We came back to it later in the game, and he made a play for a touchdown. So it just really kind of all depends. We've had games that we've had four guys up, four tight ends up, because of our receiver situation. So it just really all depends."
(on TE Joel Dreessen) "He's doing a good job. He's playing well for Joe (Marciano) on special teams; I think he's got a chance in this league to really take another step. I see him a lot like (WR) Kevin Walter. He's a young player. To be honest with you, I think he's got a chance to be a fine, fine player, and really looking forward to his future. He'll be more involved with our team. He's doing a good job on special teams, excellent job. He's got a chance to play on the line of scrimmage, catch a ball. He can do a little of both."
(on what he learned about his team yesterday and what he focuses on after such a finish) "Our team's got a lot of heart, but I knew that. I mean, our kids play hard. They all played hard yesterday. I've been around games like that where you struggle, struggle and struggle, you just can't make the play to get out of a funk, so to speak. You can't find that play or two that gets you going. It was very, very difficult. But I've never been around a quarter like we had in the fourth quarter neither, so which one do you look at? You've got to look at both. You've got to figure out why it was happening for two-and-a-half quarters and then why it was so good for a quarter and a couple of minutes there. It's just a shame we're not making those corrections today with the win, because that would have been one heck of a win. And they were sitting there with 50 seconds left with a chance to get that done, so that's the biggest disappointment right there."
(on if the fourth quarter was meaningful) "You bet it was meaningful. I mean, we had the game won. We're sitting there with, to me, one of the best wins I would've ever been a part of, I had ever seen. One of the best character checks I would've ever saw. And that's what's hard today, because you're so close. And your emotions, we went from within about a couple-minute period there, being on top of the world to being right back down to why we didn't get it done in the first two-and-a-half quarters. But that's football. That's part of it. You're probably going to win some that maybe you shouldn't win, probably going to lose some that maybe you shouldn't lose. You just keep battling."
(on why he's so honest about himself after the game) "I'm pretty emotional after the game. I'll tell you what I think. That's the way I'm made. I feel a big responsibility to those players. Whether you're coaching the linebackers, or whether you're a coordinator, or whether you're a head coach, the thing that makes you feel good as a coach or the thing that makes me feel good as a coach is when you have your players in a position to be successful. That's the greatest feeling in the world when you see a kid walk in that locker room that just thrown three touchdowns or just ran for 150 yards or just had three interceptions. That's why we coach, to make those kids successful and they're working extremely, extremely hard. We were having a hard time finding a way for the offensive side of the ball to be successful. It was a tremendous battle. Big credit to the offensive staff to the way that we did find a way to go out there and do what we did in the fourth quarter, but it still doesn't feel good unless you win. It's just the way it is."
(on QB Matt Schaub looking indecisive) "I don't think he was indecisive, he missed one blitz. I think there were four times in the game they brought various blitzes that make you what we call hot, in other words you can't pick them up. Once he got rid of the ball. Once he got hit and blindsided. The other two times, we had a touchdown on one and made another play on the other. That's part of the game. I don't think he was indecisive at all. I just think that we couldn't find a play early to get him going. This game is about confidence and all of sudden you go out there, you run two plays and you have turnover. You run two more and you get the heck knocked out of you and you have a third down where you have to throw the ball away. We all know that's all he could do on that play. There's nothing to show for it, so you start to press a little bit and maybe held the ball a little bit too long after that. This game is about confidence whether you're playing or coaching."
(on how CB DeMarcus Faggins played and on the play of the defensive line) "I thought our whole defense played well. I could sit here and point out all the guys. I thought it was amazing what they did to keep our football in the game for the position they were put in. I've never seen a team hold somebody to two-for-nine in the red zone. That was something else. (CB DeMarcus) Petey (Faggins) played good. You know, the pass interference call, he looks like he was playing good defense to me. That's part of the game. You understand that, but it looks like he was in good position, looks like the ball was long. I asked the official, I said the ball hit a couple yards out of bounds. The official told me the kid actually touched the ball. I didn't think that, so I didn't see it. I thought that Petey played good. (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) played his best game of the year. (DT) Travis Johnson has really stepped up his play. As far as the pressure, there are not sacks to show for it and that type of thing. I thought we did hit him a few times, make him get rid of the ball. We're always trying to get better at that. Always trying to find more ways to get to the quarterback and today's no different."
(on the possibility of signing another quarterback) "We're talking about it today. That pool out there's been picked with all these problems going on around the league, a bunch of quarterbacks have been signed. Of course, our first guy that we would look at would be (QB Jared) Zabransky. We really need to look in terms of a guy who is practice squad eligible for our team thinking that (QB) Matt (Schaub) will be ok. That's where we'll go first and we'll probably make that decision sometime tomorrow."
(on if the shotgun is a possibility) "Yes, I basically let (QB) Matt (Schaub) and (QB) Sage (Rosenfels) do it when they want to do it. We prefer, probably, to be under center just from a standpoint of having the threat of the run. We did it a lot more yesterday with the pressure we were getting and we're pretty effective doing it, but I tend to leave that to the quarterbacks. If they feel comfortable doing it, that's fine with me."
(on allowing quarterback hits) "Actually, going into the game last week, I think we were least of amount of quarterback hits in the league. After yesterday, I'm not sure we still lead that category. We got hit too much. We take a lot of pride trying to protect our quarterback. We've been on a stretch here for about four or five games where we played some people with very good, prime players. These guys, as a front, to me, are about as good as we'll face. They have a heck of a front and it starts with their inside guy and then (DE Kyle) Vanden Bosch is all you can handle. We're trying to protect the quarterback and I thought Tennessee did a very good job of finding ways to make sure they got singled up on our guys, that they weren't getting doubled. I thought they did a good job."
(on if QB Matt Schaub is being asked to make too many plays off-schedule) "No, we're probably just throwing the ball too much. We've been in some situations where we're going to try to find a way to win that game and if that means we have to throw it, we'll throw it. You sure would like him to come out of a game here at some point and throw the ball 22 to 25 times and feel like you're running the ball better, but that hasn't been the case. As I said many times, if you're throwing it 40 times a games, you're probably going to be getting hit in this league and that's definitely what's happening, especially this past week."
(on WR Andre Johnson's status) "We're hoping that (WR) Andre (Johnson) does a little football practice this week, whether it's scout team or whatever. I think it would still be a reach to say that he's going to be back this week. We're hoping to get him a little bit involved. We'll see Wednesday. We'll know when we come out there, but we're hoping that he could do a little football."
(on why the running game continues to struggle) "I don't want to sound like a broken record, but there's many things. Our first run of the game yesterday was a bad play. We ran right into a strong safety situation; it was tough. Our second run of the game was a good as it can get. It should have been a 30-35 yard run; it wasn't. It's a combination of things, but the bottom line is we're running 12 to 13 times and that's not a lot of opportunities there, so we've got to find some way to get those opportunities."
(on the play of DT Travis Johnson) "I think he was even better this week. The kid's playing hard. He's found another gear. He's playing the way I think everybody expected him to play from the day he walked in the door here. I know there were a lot of expectations of him, and he's really stepped his game up. Even late in the game yesterday he made some plays running sideline to sideline. Our coaching staff is very, very impressed with Travis Johnson right now. He played extremely well."
(on how he keeps from losing confidence) "I've been doing this too long, John. You don't lose confidence. The great thing about this league is that you get to go fight again. It was a long and sleepless night last night. It's hard because you work your tail off to win games and for players to be successful, and when it doesn't go that way, it's very, very difficult to handle. But the great thing about it is you get to wake up the next day and go try again. It's another opportunity for our football team; it's a great football team that we're playing. We have to let this one go and move on the next one."
(on Chargers' pass rushers LB Shawne Merriman and LB Shaun Phillips) "Yeah, I was just watching them against Kansas City and first play of the game he knocks the ball out. They're a double edge, a 3-4 team, and he's as good as there is rushing the passer, very aggressive. They've been off for a week, so they're going to be nice a fresh. We've got to go out there and figure out a way to protect our quarterback first and then move from there. It really hasn't changed; it's kind of been the topic here for the last five weeks."
(on the play of DE Mario Williams) "He played pretty good yesterday; he graded out well. I think he had seven tackles. He had three quarterback pressures. We continue to try to get more out of him. I say that, and when I say what I mean is that I think for our football team to reach another level of play, he's got to continue to find another gear. Is his gear good now? Yeah, it's pretty darn good, but we need Mario to become a great, great player – a Pro Bowl player for a long, long time for our organization. So we're going to keep pushing him. Was his effort pretty good yesterday? Did he play well? Yes, he did."
(on how much the team's struggles are due to injuries or lack of confidence) "Injuries are part of the game, you know. I don't see a lack of confidence in our team; our team works extremely well. They prepare extremely well. Everybody you play in this business is good. You can look at every game in this league, it's going to come down to a play or two each week as to who wins and who loses. And that's just part of the National Football League. We've got to just keep plugging away, and probably the number one issue with our football team right now is we've got to find somehow, someway to quit turning the dang football over. You continue to turn the football over and you're not going to win. We're a little bit out of control from that standpoint right now. It's got to get fixed somehow, someway."