Texans coach Gary Kubiak talked about Texans players' "Playoffs or Bust" mentality during his press conference on Thursday.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media at Reliant Stadium on Thursday, a day before the beginning of 2009 Texans Training Camp. Below is a transcript of his entire news conference.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on players that had offseason surgery) "(DT) Travis (Johnson) and (CB) Antwaun (Molden) will be PUP (Physically Unable to Perform). Also, (TE) Anthony Hill will be PUP starting tomorrow; he's got a hamstring issue. I think the other two guys are going to be okay. I think (C Antoine) Caldwell will be taken off of that by tomorrow and (RB) Jeremiah Johnson. So that's where we stand right now."
(on DT Amobi Okoye's status) "Amobi's fine. He's passed the physical. But I want to be somewhat cautious with him coming off of the scope. You'll see him out there tomorrow morning. He'll be limited in what's he's doing. We'll go from there."
(on CB Antwaun Molden's status) "He's definitely PUP. We think he's a few weeks away. He will not be out there. We will work with him away from the team atmosphere. We will work with him individually. We think he's getting very close."
(on his top three concerns going into camp) "I don't know that I can sit here and say this is one, this is two, this is three. I'm just trying to stay focused on us getting better as a football team. That's the most important thing. Now, there are numerous areas we've got to improve upon. There are obvious ones like turnovers and red zone on both sides of the ball, those types of things. We've just got to stay focused on having a good month, getting our football team better in all three phases of the game and finding some continuity on defense. We've got some new players that we need out there every day and we've got to have (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) nail that group together."
(on the standards needed for a successful season) "Our goal as a team is to be a playoff football team. That goal can't be reached until December; that's the way it works. It's July right now, and like I said, we'll walk out on that football field tomorrow with that as a team goal. But we have to be realistic in our approach and understanding that it's about the day-to-day process. You can't get that done in one day, one week or one month. We've got to worry about our football team getting better and if we do that then we'll give ourselves an opportunity to do that."
(on the 'Playoffs or Bust' mentality) "I like the players to think that way. I like that everybody around here is to the point that we feel like our football team has a chance to do that. That's a compliment to those players, they've worked extremely hard. A couple of years ago nobody would have said that so that's pressure. That's nice pressure. That's why we do this. That's why we're in this business. I like to see our players thinking that way but I also know what type of work it takes to get to that point so I've got to keep them focused on that work."
(on if he is making any changes in how he does practice) "Obviously that's one of our goals that we'll talk about as a team tomorrow. We do have to get off to a better start as a football team. Am I doing anything differently in camp? The basic format for camp is going to be the same. In the afternoon, we're basically going to walk through which is different. We have been pretty tough in two-a-days for about the first ten days. I'm going to start off actually the total opposite. We'll get after it good in the morning. In the afternoons in the bubble it won't be a walk through but it won't be full speed, either. We're going to do that a little bit different. We felt that that worked good toward the back end of camp last year so we're going to continue that."
(on concerns about TE Owen Daniels and CB Dunta Robinson's contract situations) "Obviously it concerns you because those are things that have happened throughout the offseason. I expect Owen to be in here tomorrow. He's under contract. I expect him to be here. Dunta's situation, all indications are to me that he probably won't. So until he is under contract and here with this football team, it's very difficult to comment one way or the other. It's something our team has dealt with all offseason so it won't be a surprise to us one way or another tomorrow."
(on if Owen Daniels told him he would be at camp tomorrow) "I'm not going to get into that. I expect him to be here. He's under contract."
(on his expectations for this season) "I'm very excited. We got back in the office on Monday as coaches. We've got a lot of things we have to get done to get ready for practice and a lot of administrative things that we have to do. I just told the guys to get out of here this afternoon, but they're just sitting up there, gunned up and ready to go. We're very excited. We had a good offseason. We like our football team. We like the way it works. Obviously, we've worked together long enough now as coaches that it's pretty easy for us to go from one year to the next as far as what's expected. We're just ready to keep going."
(on what he's learned from last year and any adjustments) "I think the biggest change for me is going to be to having the confidence in (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) to call games from the start. So that is different. It ended up that way last season. I felt very good about it. We'll continue to work together throughout this preseason. That is a change for me, personally. Working with (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) as he puts his stamp on his defense of what we want to be. For (special teams coach) Joe (Marciano) and special teams, it's the same. He does a great job. Those are a couple of things to start off with."
(on the differences between last year and this year's defense under Frank Bush) "I think it is early to sit here and start to put all these stamps on it. I think what we have to do is to go teach a base. Frank Bush has got to teach his base, which he did in the off-season so he starts again. We have to develop an identity on defense. We've got a lot of new faces. (DE) Antonio Smith, getting (LB Brian) Cushing who's been a starter since the day he's walked in this room, adding (DT)Shaun Cody, players like that and how (DE) Connor Barwin and fits in. I think our defense has got to find an identity. We have played a lot of football players on defense in the past few years compared to what we've done offensively. I think us locking in on the 11 that are going to make us as good as we can be is the most important thing."
(on Cushing getting the starting job as a first-round draft pick) "I just see him as a starter. When we drafted him, we brought him in here to do a job and think he is talented enough and mature enough to do that job from the start. He didn't let us down from what we saw in the offseason, the way he took over from Day One, it's obvious to us that he is ready to go. His development, his contribution to our defensive football team, how quick that is – that will have a lot to do with how good a defensive football team we are. So, like (T) Duane (Brown) last year, we didn't want to waste time, didn't want to do that. We wanted to let everyone know what we thought of him and what we expected him to give to the football team. Much like what Duane did last year, I'm expecting Brian to do the same thing."
(on his confidence level with the offense after bringing back everyone from last year) "Very confident from that standpoint, because you're very familiar with each of those guys and what they've done. We moved the ball pretty well last year and their challenge now is can they take another step. What were we, third last year? Can it be one of the top offenses in football? Can it be the best in football? So that will be their challenge as we get going. We can get better. We can get a heck of a lot better on that side of the ball in many phases. So they've got their challenges just like anybody else."
(on what he has learned as a head coach) "I don't know. That's tough. As far as my comfort level in what I'm doing on a day-to-day basis, other people I'm doing it with, I'm just getting more and more comfortable every day. Dealing with the players, dealing with football team, getting them ready to go, I think you're continuing to learn every day, so hopefully I continue to get better. This is my fourth go-round. Hopefully we've made some progress and I need to continue to make more progress just like our football team."
(on if it has been difficult transitioning from offensive coordinator to head coach) "I don't know about the difficult part, but it's just a change because you are so focused in your expertise so to speak – what you've been a part of in football for so long. Now you have to broaden your scope and be there for (special teams coach) Joe (Marciano), be there for (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush), and all phases of the game. The people I have on the offensive side of the ball have helped me with that, because I am so confident with the people that are coaching for me on that side. There has been coordinator movement, but for the most part the group has stayed together as coaches. So that has helped me a great deal."
(on if he think he is a players' coach) "I don't know. I deal with them the best I can. I try to be honest with them. Whether you're a players' coach or not a players' coach, I know as a coach you've got a job to do and that is to win football games. I'm not far removed from what they do for a living. I think I can relate to what they're doing. But at the same time, I've got to do what I can to push them to be the best that they can be. You try to have a good rapport with your football team, but at the same time we've all got certain jobs that we've got to get done."
(on if he has set personal goals for the upcoming season) "I've got a lot of personal goals. I sit down each year and think about things I would like to do differently. I would like to be better in this area. I would like to be more involved in this area. Those type of things. Yeah, I'm not differently than them. It's a new training camp for me. I've got my new haircut. I'm ready to go, too."
(on his drill sergeant haircut) "I do it every summer. It's no big deal."
(on what his personal goals are for this year) "I keep those to myself. My goal for this football team is to get it to the playoffs. That's my goal."
(on if they are looking for a veteran defensive back) "I think that, obviously, our ears and eyes are always focused on what's going on around the league – the players that are out there and what's happening. We're no different. Would we be out there looking for a veteran DB? I wouldn't say that right now. I think we've had good work in the offseason. We've got some young players that we're counting on, when you look at (CB Glover) Quin and the young man from Utah (CB Brice McCain). What they did in the off-season they are going to be contributors to this team very quickly. Now how big a step they make in the next month? We'll see. Hopefully three or four weeks from now, we feel excellent about those guys and we'll be moving on. But time will tell. It's time to go to work and all those questions will be answered."
(on if DT Jeff Zgonina will be returning to the Texans) "I don't want to get too far ahead of myself but we are in the process right now of thinking about brining Jeff back. I am concerned, as we go into practice, with me trying to protect (DT) Amobi (Okoye) a little bit, I would like to keep (DT Shaun) Cody off the turf, (DT) Travis (Johnson) is not going to work for a period of time. So there is some discussion right now and hopefully we can get that done in brining Jeff back as part of our football team but there is some work to be done."