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Kubiak, players discuss defensive struggles


Texans coach Gary Kubiak and a couple of players spoke to the media on Monday, the day after the Texans' heartbreaking 31-24 loss to Jacksonville.

Head coach Gary Kubiak LB Brian Cushing DE Antonio Smith

Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on injuries) "We're nicked up. We've got some guys nicked up. Obviously (LB) Chaun Thompson is the biggest concern right now with a knee issue. It looks like it's a pretty good injury so we'll have to evaluate that here in the next 24 hours and make a decision on where are headed with him. Other than that, we've just got a bunch of nicks—just a bunch of guys beat up. It was a physical game and hopefully we'll get all of them back and then hopefully (WR) André Davis coming back this week, ready to go. Things look good. (CB Antwaun) Molden—I think he's still day to day. (CB) Jacques (Reeves)—hopefully Jacques is back this week and ready to go. I think that's the best way to describe it right now. I'll probably let you know more tomorrow or Wednesday."

(on if WR David Anderson got x-rays) "Yeah, he just got a good shot to his back. He's okay. He's just sore as heck but he was okay today."

(on any similarities between Richard Smith's first year as defensive coordinator in 2006 and current defensive coordinator Frank Bush this year) "I don't see any, as far as calling the game, having anything to do with the yardage (given up). I don't see it that way right now. I see some mistakes, some assignment issues. Those type of things. They are giving up big plays. That's where the yardage is coming from. I don't think it has anything to do with the calls or what's being called. I go back and watch the game and I think Frank (Bush) called a good game. I don't think we executed some things very well, but the yards are what they are. They're there and obviously we've been giving up a bunch of them and we have to dig our way out of a real deep hole. I think we're doing the right thing. I just don't think we're doing it very well."

(on the safety coverage) "I thought (FS) Eugene (Wilson) was okay in the game. He's still coming back from his knee injury. He can play better but I didn't think he did anything glaring from a bust standpoint or anything like that. I thought (SS John) Busing played like a first-time guy out as a starter. He did some good things, not so good things. Had some issues and we put (SS Dominique) Barber in there for him. Dominique did a couple good things. We're just not consistent back there. We're searching for some answers. We're playing a lot of people back there. We're going to continue to do that. We're going to give some more guys some opportunities. We've got to find some consistency throughout the back end for us to be successful, but that's how they play."

(on if it's the same guy making errors on the big runs) "The big runs—the thing that's so disappointing about the big run is that the first play of the game, they ran the exact same play and we were in the exact same defense. Then 24-25 plays later, they run the exact same play. We were in the exact same defense. We decided to do something different. That's what's hurting our football team. That is what is confusing—why we wouldn't have the consistency. They get one yard on the first play of the game. They got 61 on the next play of the game. We're searching for the reasons why we would choose to do something like that. It's something that we're stumped with right now as coaches, but it's our job to figure that out. They're our guys. We have to have them positioned to make those plays and have them doing the same thing over and over again. Obviously, we did not do that as I talk about those two plays."

(on if he has any options to change up the defensive line) "We can move people around. Obviously, (DE) Antonio (Smith) gives us flexibility. We can move guys around. We've got a couple of practice squad players that we think are doing some good things for us who we're going to take a hard look at this week. Obviously, I'm talking about up front. I'm talking about the back end. We're going to keep looking and we're going to give some guys some opportunities to step up and see if they can help this thing get corrected and get more consistent. So, we've got to do that. We've got to be fair to those guys. We've got guys playing hard, but some of the mistakes that we're making just are not fair to the group. So we have to give some other guys an opportunity to see if they can correct those mistakes."

(on who the practice squad guys are) "We've got a couple of defensive linemen, to me, have been excellent on the practice squad with (DT Jesse) Nading and (DT Tim) Jamison, so we've got opportunities right there with those two guys. So, we'll see."

(on if he is happy with DE Antonio Smith) "I think we can all play better. Not just him. I think he's part of the group, obviously. The whole group can play together. It's no different than when I'm talking about consistency. I'm talking about them up front as well."

(on what he is happy with) "We moved the ball pretty good yesterday. We had our chances, should've scored 38 points. A lot of good things going on—ball movement average was 6.8 yards a play. That would lead the NFL so they're some good things going on there. I thought our special teams were consistent. We're not making any big plays but they were consistent in their coverage. There were some good things going on from the standpoint that we'll give you a chance to win on Sunday. When you give up 31 points, you're going to have a hard time winning—anywhere."

(on his thoughts about their third-down defense) "When you go back and look at it, I think they were 5-of-11, if I'm correct. You look at there is three times on thirds downs, where we've got guys scot-free to the quarterback and we don't get there. We don't make the play. There is no excuse for that. Guys have got to make those plays. It's what they are paid to do. We need to be tighter in some cover issues. The first third-down-and-and-six, we were a little soft outside in what we were doing. We've got to be tighter in some coverage issues. There are reasons why we failed six times. Not having guys free to the quarterback is not an excuse. We had some guys free. We just didn't make the play. We didn't get there. Give (Jaguars QB David) Garrard credit too. He stood in there and got hit a couple times and made a few great plays."

(on why the pass rush isn't getting to the quarterback) "Well it should be. When you go back and look at the film, we should've gotten there four or five times yesterday, but you've got to finish on a quarterback. You can't just come close. You've got to finish plays and they're all involved in that. Scheme-wise, we had some guys free. There is no reason why—we should have come out of that a few times with him going down."

(on some players saying they're tired of talking, they just need to do it) "I agree with them. I think it's time to fix some of the issues that we're having. It's time for us, in a game, to be consistent in how we're doing something—how we're playing a defense, how we're defending a play and do it throughout the game. It's hurting us very badly."

(on if he would like to see the defensive backs closer to the receivers) "Yeah, I think we have to challenge some people more. I think we obviously have to get up there and it doesn't mean you're playing man coverage every play. You can play zone coverage and still challenge receivers. I think we've obviously got to do some of that to get better as a group."

(on what allowed RB Steve Slaton to run for more yardage) "We were better up front. We played a 3-4 scheme and we were better against that scheme. He ran better. There's still some things that he can do much better. He knows that. We talked about that today. He ran harder. He got more touches than he's been getting. He was better in pass protection for the football team yesterday. He was a better player and we helped him be better I think. "

(on if Slaton's field vision is good or not) "No. I wouldn't say he's a hundred percent 'on' right now in everything he's doing. But I don't know that anybody is. Yesterday he made a big step forward to the guy that he was at the end of last year. Hopefully he gained some confidence coming out of that game. He improved."

(on what was done differently by the offensive line to help Slaton improve) "I think we played better against the 3-4 yesterday. Our tight ends played better on the edge players. They present multiple schemes, as I told you going into the game, 3-4, 4-3. They basically settled down and played us in a 4-3 only four or five snaps. I thought our tight ends looked better on the edges. I thought we held up better."

(on if the Texans will still throw to WR Andre Johnson even though CB Nnamdi Asomugha will cover him) "He's the best I've seen. I've just been briefly watching him here today. He's the best corner I've seen in the game in awhile. He's capable of shutting anybody down. He's a great player. But Andre's a great player. So it's a challenge for Andre. He may follow Andre all over the field, he may not. They didn't last year the whole time, but we'll see. They're good on the other side too. They're a very good defensive team, and they're very simple but good. And they're a team that can run the ball. It's pretty obvious what we're going to have to face this week.

(on what he thought about Chris Brown's fumble) "We thought his knee was down before the ball came out. We weren't arguing about the fact of whether or not he crossed the goal line. We thought his knee was down. The answer given to me on the field was that they didn't have any look at it that showed them anything different. He actually said 'I don't feel like we had any better look at the play. But the one we were looking at, we sure thought it was worth the challenge but it obviously didn't work out."

(on his thoughts about the late penalty called against WR Kevin Walter) "I'm disappointed in that, but the call is what it is. They're playing zone coverage, they're playing quarters. Kevin's running a shallow cross and he actually runs into a linebacker and an official in there, so we sent it into the league. We'll see what happens. I was disappointed. We had a chance to overcome it. We basically had a chance to score twice down there but we hurt ourselves both times with the call and the fumble."

(on what the Raiders will do against the Texans' defense) "They've got a stable of great (running) backs. I know Tom (Cable). They're committed to the run and they're good enough on defense to keep some people down. So I think I know obviously what we're going to get. Can we play a consistent game without giving up three big plays? Yesterday I think 111 yards was on three big plays: the reverse, the quarterback run and the 61-yard run. Can we come out of a game without giving up those big plays?"

LB Brian Cushing
(on the key to the fixing defensive problems) "Just figuring out where we're getting attacked, what we're doing wrong and just being persistent on our problems. We can't hide anymore, about what's wrong and what's right. Some things have to be done and they will be."

(on if they saw anything on film) "You know when you're out on the field, and then you watch film, there are obviously things you miss because you are so caught up in the hype and the speed of the game. You go back on film and see the poor tackling, the missed assignments, the penalties. Anytime you give up 31 points as a defense, you really have a poor chance of winning."

(on gap containment on some players over-committing) "They are, but that's just the inconsistency of our defense right now. We have to find a way on an every down basis to be reliable and know that every guy is going to be where he has to be. Whether that is more film, more meetings, whatever, we have to get it done."

(on the morale of the unit) "We're a little down right now. It's only Monday, but we're going to be right back to work. We've got a very good team coming in here; we understand that. That's one thing about this team is that we're going to fight. The game was yesterday. We're over it. Our next goal is Oakland now."

DE Antonio Smith
(on the key to turning things around) "Just everybody coming together and being where we need to be when you're supposed to be there."

(on if it is a lack of effort) "My personally opinion, from what I see, I don't see a lack of effort. I see everybody out there trying hard. I see people running to the ball, trying to make plays. It's just that you've got to be in the right place at the right time. Gap integrity is important in this defense."

(on if someone has to step up) "That's what's been done. That's what's funny is that's what's been done since Week One. We didn't like what happened in Week One. Even in Week Two, when we had the win, we still were disappointed in the way we performed out there as a defense. We came into this week feeling better, like we can get it going. Everything that could be said has been said. I don't know what else can be said, I just know it just needs to get done."

(on if it's a smart aggressiveness that is needed) "You have to find that. You have to have that happy medium where you're playing as aggressive as you can play but it's still smart."

(on playing on a team that struggled last year and how things were corrected) "It was ups and downs, through that whole season. Everything that could've happened to make you change your mind frame as defense, it happened. Wins, losses a lot worse than what we received from the Jets and Jaguars. It's like a reality check. What are you going to do to make your team better? What are you going to sacrifice as an individual player to make your team better? That had to happen and has to happen in every defense that relies on a team effort to come free on blitzes or to win games."

(on if it helps to play against a Raiders offense that is struggling) "I think whatever week is the next week, is an opportunity to be seized. After a game like that, with that type of taste in your mouth, knowing that you could've won and you should've won, I think that you have to come back after that and give a great performance no matter who your opponent is."

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