On Sunday, head coach Gary Kubiak discussed the Texans' narrow loss to the Chicago Bears in the preseason opener Saturday night, and detailed several injuries from the game.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (opening statement) "I'll talk about the injuries first. The ones that are most significant of course: (strong safety) Glenn (Earl). He does have the Lisfranc injury. He'll have surgery on Tuesday. The recovery on this is nine to 12 months, so Glenn's season is done. He will go on injured reserve. Glenn was having a fine camp and he's a big part of this football team, so that's a big blow to this football team. He definitely will be out for the season.
"Brandon Harrison, our young safety from Stanford, has a shoulder that they are re-evaluating today. We don't think it's anything serious, we hope that he's back this week. (Cornerback) Jason Horton fractured his arm. He will have surgery tomorrow and it's a three- to six-month recovery, so Jason is definitely done for the season also. Other than that, just some nicks and bruises. Probably the one that could miss some time this week possibly is (fullback) Jon Abbate (hamstring). Of course, the big two are Glenn and Jason. Those two guys will go on injured reserve.
"Alright, talking about the game. First off, the offensive side of the ball. Our first group got 12 snaps. They functioned well. They didn't have any mistakes. They were sharp from that standpoint. We missed a few plays with those guys. We missed a third down play where we've got to make the catch, and then we missed an easy touchdown throw there in the corner of the end zone. So it would have been nice to see them finish with that. That was their work.
"With our second group, probably the most glaring thing, and I expected some of this, but I think a big key to our preseason is going to be how our second group offensive line works together. It's a new group, it's very young in the middle and it's got some veteran guys outside that are new to this football team and there were some struggles there definitely at times with them as a group. I expect them to get better. It wasn't a lack of effort. They just need more reps together.
"From a (running) backs standpoint, with that group, the guys that played the rest of the game, I think we can run better. I think we can get more out of what was there. We did not run the ball very well last night, but I think our backs can find some more yards than we found last night. That's all of them, all those guys that got the reps from that period on. The thing that hurt us there from that group is when we turned the ball over. We were in pretty good control until we turned the ball over, and it changes the momentum of the game.
"Some very positive guys that stood out are (tight end) Jeb Putzier, who did some very nice things. (He) has done those in camp and continues to do those in the game. (Wide receiver) Jacoby Jones was a bright spot last night as a receiver and a as a returner. Chris White, the young center inside, did some nice stuff, and I thought (quarterback) Sage (Rosenfels) really did some good stuff. He missed a couple throws early, but with some of the troubles we were having up front, I felt that he hung in there and made some nice plays for our football team, and I expected him to do that.
"On the defensive side of the ball, our ones got quite a few reps there in the first quarter. Our focus was to work on our base defense, so we were very simple in what we were doing. That's where we have to improve. That's where we have to be able to put pressure on the quarterback and still play some coverage and those types of things, so that was our focus and what we were trying to do. I think we bent, but we didn't break. We found ways to get off the field, not giving up any points. We've got a lot of work to do, but we did do some good things, the effort was good.
"Some guys that stood out: (cornerback) Dunta (Robinson), (linebacker) DeMeco (Ryans). (Defensive end) N.D. Kalu stood out a couple of times rushing the passer, but it was a positive move. I think it was a much better outing this year at this time than it was last year.
"Our second group, our effort was good. We put them in poor position with the turnover, but when you look at the second group, there were some guys that really stood out. (Defensive end) Jason Babin being number one, played extremely well. (Defensive lineman) Earl Cochran, except for his mistake late in the game on special teams, really stood out, played extremely well. (Defensive tackle) Travis Johnson continues to take a step forward with this team, and did that in the game. (Free safety) Von Hutchins, who is going to be called on now along with Jason Simmons in a much bigger role, played well for this team, and (linebacker) Zac Diles continues to be a big surprise in this camp on a daily basis.
"Special teams-wise, it really was pretty good. The return game was good, the coverage was positive, but penalties hurt us. That kills you on special teams any time, none bigger than the last one. But when you look at the special teams, of course, kicker Kris (Brown) stands out being able to kick the field goals that he kicked, and he's had a great camp. Jacoby Jones looks like he belongs back there as a returner. He did some nice stuff and that play could have probably been even bigger. Jerome (Mathis) looked like himself. And then two players that really stood out: (linebacker) Danny Clark stood out as a player throughout the game not just on special teams. Ben Steele, the tight end who was really just called on to play special teams, really did a fine job.
"There are many things we've got to be able to improve on. Bottom line is we didn't close the deal in the football game last night and we had a chance to do that, so that's a negative. But I like what I saw from our ones. I thought we were a lot cleaner as a group with those guys going out than we were at this time last year. We'll pick up the repetitions this week at Arizona. We've got a lot of improvement to do and we'll go to work on that starting tomorrow."
(on if free safety C.C. Brown is going to move into strong safety Glenn Earl's spot) "Yep, probably so. Yeah, that is what we will do. We will move him down and work Von Hutchins and Jason Simmons at the free safety. Dexter McCleon will become a bigger part of that package until we find out who is going to be his replacement, and we will continue to get those two young kids ready to play. I think they have got a ways to go. (General manager) Rick Smith is looking at a lot of availability out there from the stand point of safety and corner. We are going to have to find a couple football players, and not just bodies, we have to find some guys to come in here and compete. So we are going to have to take a hard look at some guys here in the next 24 hours."
(on what Brown had done in camp) "Brown has played well – he is just a quiet and accountable guy. He has had a good camp. Last night, he was solid. He will miss Glenn Earl – those two guys have played so much football together. So he is going to learn to have to go back there and work with another guy and talk with another guy, so that's probably going to be the biggest adjustment. We are losing a good football player. Earl had really stepped his play up and I thought he was on his way to having a fine year. It is just an unfortunate situation, when he stepped up to make that tackle there in the first quarter and his foot got bent back. That is just not a very fortunate deal."
(on what he likes about safety Von Hutchins so far, from camp and OTA's) "Well, he is a very smart player. (Defensive backs coach) Jon Hoke and (defensive coordinator) Richard Smith can do a lot of things with him. He can handle a lot of information. He is the guy that when your on the field if the team goes to three wide receivers on you, you can still feel comfortable keeping your base defense on the field so you can cover from the safety position. So, I think his versatility and knowledge of the game can give him an excellent chance to get on the field a lot this year."
(on if his red zone offense bothered him) "You bet it does. It bothered the heck out of me. You know, really in this league, any time that happens you are probably going to have a harder time winning. We missed two lay-ups in the red zone. We ran a couple of what we call sluggo routes outside, and Kevin Walter ran a great one and the kid Jacoby Jones ran a great one, it's just a matter of getting the ball thrown in the end zone. We missed both those plays, and if you make those two you are three for four. We're up there talking about making corrections and winning. That's a big key in this business – you've got to be good in the red zone and we were not last night."
(on quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt) "Well, he struggled. I have known Brad a long time, and he knew how important that 18 minutes was for him. I don't know if he pressed a little bit or whatever, but I know it was a difficult night for him. It wasn't a lack of effort or anything. When you're out there playing and all of a sudden something bad happens to you early, sometimes it's hard to get it out of your system, and he struggled with that a little bit. He's a great kid. He'll be out here tomorrow and he'll work his tail off. I know he's disappointed with what happened last night."
(on if anybody edged ahead in the competition at punter last night) "Well, I would say this, I know Chad Stanley can kick the ball better than he did last night, and he'd be the first one to tell you that. I want to say his were 35, 37 (yards) and I can't remember the other one offhand. When we needed a really big kick at the end of the game to pin them down there, that was not one of the better of his three. But it's a good battle going on. We talk about what they do, one of them has got the big leg and one of them has got the consistent leg. But I do know this, Stanley has got to kick the ball better than he did last night to win this job, and he knows that, too."
(on if he saw what he needed to see from quarterback Matt Schaub last night) "Yeah, I would have liked to see him get more snaps but I was committed to one quarter because of what happened. Because if all of a sudden you sit there and say, well heck, he's only had 12 snaps and you keep going, then all of a sudden you don't look at your other players. We have got a ton of film right now to look at. Our young guys got a lot of work last night and we learned a lot about some of those young players we thought had a chance to help this team, and that's a good thing, because the further we go along, we've got to play the older guys more."
(on if Schaub was what he expected and if he surprised him any) "No, he was what I expected. The first third down they max blitzed him, he just started bailing, and got rid of the ball, made a great play. Kevin Walter has got to hang onto that ball for him, that's what he's been doing in practice. Making all these other plays he should make, it just drove him crazy that he didn't make the one to Kevin. That's what he's about."
(on how Schaub took it when he missed the touchdown pass) "Well, he was pretty upset – you miss a lay-up like that, it's tough. He had the ball in his hand and I don't think he thought Walter was going to win that easily, and when the ball started to get out of his hands he didn't realize that Walter had beat him so bad. Had he known that, he would have taken some off the ball and made that play look easy."
(on how he felt about running back Ahman Green's performance) "Well, he touched the ball three times. There wasn't a lot there to evaluate, but I will say this: If you go up there and watch the film with me right now, there are two of them where he is 'that' close to going a long, long ways. So that's exciting. We have got to get that extra little block or extra little effort out of everybody to spring some of those runs. We just wanted him to get a couple carries last night. We'll pick up the tempo with him this week and get him ready to go."
(on how encouraging it was to see wide receiver Jacoby Jones perform last night) "It was really encouraging, because as I tell you all the time, he acts like he belongs, all the time. Nothing bothers him. And when the lights were on last night, he was no different. He went back there and caught that first punt, and as a receiver he was doing his job. He was open and he dropped a ball, which has been showing up, but this kid thinks he should be out there making plays, and after last night he sure looks like he's going to do that."
(on if Jones was better in the game than he has been in practice) "I think he's a little bit like he has been in camp. He makes plays in practice. He lets a ball get a way from him from time to time. It's about consistency, but as far as having the ability to make the plays and having the confidence to make the plays, that is the same kid that has been in practice every day."
(on rookie defensive tackle Amobi Okoye) "Well, I think he found out what this league is going to be like week in and week out. You're going get some monsters in there, and they ran the ball right at him when they did run it, and he is going to have to learn to hold a point. Chicago max protected quite a bit to throw some one-on-one's, so you got some doubles in there. It's going to have to work. We worked for the most part with our first group with the four-man rush, playing our base defense. And you know, we didn't get there – we got close a couple of times. Mario Williams got close. But the kid has got his work cut out for him to become a pro, but his effort was good, he's in the right spot, he's just got to keep going."
(on what happened when Jones caught the pass in the end zone) "I think, you know, it was kind of the same thing with Sage (Rosenfels). Jacoby beat the corner so bad, you know, as a quarterback you're trying to hold the free safety, as long as he doesn't loop over the top and if you know you got a guy beat that bad you just make sure you get it in his hands. So, it could have been easier from that standpoint but Jacoby should get his feet down right there. He's got to know where he's at on the field."
(on how defensive end Mario Williams did in the game) "I think he was solid. There's no tackles there, there's no sacks there, but I was up watching the film to defense a while ago and I asked (defensive line coach) Jethro (Franklin), I said, 'Assess Mario's play to me.' He said, 'You know, I thought he played pretty well.' There's not a lot to show for it, but I thought he was holding the point pretty good. He had a nice pressure one time coming out of the end zone off beating a double-team. They turned to him quite a bit but I think Mario is definitely a better player. He's coming on. We are all looking for those numbers that say he's coming on and I think they'll come. I don't think there was anything to be disappointed in last night. I think it was a good outing for him. He needs to get better next week."
(on the injuries to guard Chester Pitts, wide receiver Keenan McCardell and defensive end Anthony Weaver) "Chester is doing well. The thought with Chester is at some point here early in the week is to get him going a little bit. Probably not so much with us, with the group with the pads, but with (head athletic trainer) Kevin (Bastin). We'll see how far he's come. I don't' think it's far-fetched to say that he might play this week. But I think that chances are he'll be another week before he is on the field with us. Anthony, we'll continue with Anthony. Our target really with Anthony is the last preseason game, and then get him ready to go. If he plays before that then that's a bonus, but only if we felt like he's fine, he's healthy. He's so far behind in his weight workout and development with his shoulder that if we threw him out there too quick, then we'd set him back. We know what he does for us. We know what type of a player he is. We're going to make sure he's totally ready to go before we go. Who was the last one, Keenan? Keenan will come out tomorrow and do some things with us. He and (fullback) Jameel Cook, from an individual basis, are not totally committed yet. But we are hoping that both of those guys may play a little bit this week."
(on how linebacker Zac Diles played last night) "He's got so much to learn, but what's happening to him is a lot like what happened to DeMeco (Ryans) last year. He's sitting there playing Mike linebacker last night for 45 snaps and not only did that well, but played well for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) on special teams. He's a very talented young man. He's going to help this team early and find a way to get on the field. It's just the way he's handling himself, and last night was no surprise – that's the way he's been practicing."
(on why Diles was a seventh round draft pick) "I don't know. I don't know, but he's a dang good football player. I know that."
(on fullback Jon Abbate's injury) "Well, he's struggling with a hamstring. And he's such a tough kid and he knows with his battle to make this football team that he can't miss any time. I think he's been fighting through a pretty tough hamstring for us. And it was evident last night. So, I like the kid. I like what he stands for, I think he's got a chance to help us. I think he can play the fullback position in this league. But in fairness to him, we are going to make sure he's 100 percent healthy and ready to go. With that being said, Jameel (Cook) should start to work a little bit. I failed to mention this: (fullback) Patrick Pass is somebody that I want to take a look at this week. He did a good job on special teams. He's been effective in this league before. So, I'm going to find a way to look at him this week either at fullback, maybe a little one-back or tailback. We're going to give him a chance because he kind of showed us last night that he'd like an opportunity and like to be a part of this by the way he played on special teams."
(on how much Schaub will play next week) "Definitely more. We'll probably put a number of plays on it this time. You know, probably somewhere in the 30-range. But if that's a half, then that's a half. If that's a quarter and a half, you know, we'll wait and see. But we'll definitely have to up the work with all of them."
(on the depth at linebacker, running back and wide receiver helping out on special teams) "It should definitely help with Joe (Marciano). That first preseason game for a special teams coach, I'll tell you, it's a nightmare. We played so many people. We've got much more speed at linebacker. And with Danny Clark and with Shawn (Barber) and Zac (Diles), they should help Joe a lot. From a running back standpoint, I don't know. We'll have to wait and see – see how Wali (Lundy) and see how Samkon (Gado) do because they are definitely going to have to help our team on special teams. And that's what kind of has me excited about Patrick Pass right now. It's what I saw him do on covering kicks last night."
(on looking at safeties they can bring in to help replace Glenn Earl) "Yeah, me and Rick (Smith), we've got a list right now of safeties and corners that we're looking at. But the biggest thing is, we want to make sure this isn't a decision we make just looking for a body so to speak to fill out the rest of camp. We are looking for someone to come in and compete and that's hard to do with the guys that are on the street. But we are going to try real hard to find someone that has an opportunity to help us."
(on if they have invited anyone to work out for the safety spot yet) "No, we have not yet, no."
(on what veterans are still out there) "I don't have a list in front of me. Rick (Smith) and I talked about it briefly before I came down but by this time tomorrow, you'll see some guys in there working out. I can tell you that right now."
(on the biggest surprise of the game, good or bad) "The biggest surprise, good, I think one of the things I liked is how many different players I saw that I think are going to add to this team. I talked about most of those. From a negative standpoint, I wish we were making corrections today winning the game, because we were in good position there with three minutes left in the game and a football team that battled. They were ready to play, and we go and get sloppy there at the end and don't feel too good today. But that's why were here and that what the preseason is about. We've got to go fix it and get better this week."