Texans head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media on Sunday following his team's 19-16 win over the Denver Broncos in the Saturday preseason opener. After watching game film, Kubiak was encouraged by the performance of several young players, including rookie left tackle Duane Brown, and added that the team will likely sign another running back to make up for the minor setback suffered by starter Ahman Green.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on RB Ahman Green) "He has a slight pull in his groin. It doesn't look severe. It looks like we're pretty fortunate there. I'm going to list him as day-to-day right now. I kind of see him like (WR) Andre (Johnson) coming off that thing a week ago. I think if we were in the season and playing right now that we would push it harder and try to get him back quicker. I think right now we'll be smart; we'll list him as day-to-day. Chances of him playing this week, though, I would think would be very slim, but it looks like we're very fortunate. It doesn't look like it's too severe."
(on if it was disappointing to see RB Ahman Green go down so early) "Yeah, it's very disappointing. After what we've been through and how important he is to the football team and how good of a camp he's had, to have that happen on a play where you don't even get touched, you know, it's kind of deflating in a way. But, I think we feel better about it. We know we're going to get him back, and so we've got to just stay positive and get these young kids ready to play."
(on bright spots of the game) "I guess I can go through all three phases. I'll start with the special teams. There were some good things going on. I thought (WR) Harry Williams flashed; he's been flashing the whole camp as a special teams player. (He) does a lot of things for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano). Of course, Kris Brown was amazing in the game, kicking those field goals. He's been special all along. Disappointed, of course, in the turnover, turnover gets them right back in the ballgame, and that's something that (WR Jacoby Jones) 12's had a problem with and we've got to get him back on to track so to speak. He's got to protect the ball. We'll do everything we can in practice to get him the drills to simulate that, but he has to do a better job from that standpoint.
"Offensively, the disappointing things, of course, were the red zone. We had a lot of mistakes from a standpoint of young guys and communication problems which, you know, you expect some of that in the first time out, but we still had too many. The positive things to me, there were some really good things going on with some of these young linemen. Just to mention a few, the (T Rashad) Butler kid struggled in camp the first week, played really well last night. I thought (T) Duane Brown played well. Y'all asked me last night, but I couldn't give you an honest answer without watching the film but was pleased with his work. (G Mike) Brisiel played well. (WR) David Anderson, as we all know, played extremely well. (TE) Joel Dreesen did some good things, not only on offense but on special teams. And then, not turning the ball over is something we've been preaching throughout camp, so we were able to protect the ball. The biggest disappointment offensively was the red zone. You know, we were one for four down there and (if we) find a way to get the ball in the end zone, you're in much better off in that game. (We) come out of it with a lot of things to work on but a lot of positives. (We) walked away healthy other than (RB) Ahman (Green), so we'll get back to work this week on some of those things for New Orleans.
"Defensively, looking at the big picture, I thought the thing that we did was play extremely well in the red zone, and we found a way to get turnovers. So, those two things give you a chance to win every week. Much like on the offensive side of the ball when we did give up some plays, it wasn't so much ability as it was mental assignments and busts in assignments and some of our pressures and those types of things. We've got a lot of work to do this week to make sure we clean those up especially with some of our younger players. So, we'll go work on doing that, but first time out, there's going to be plenty of mistakes, but there were lots of positives for us to build on. Coming out of this game, you have to look at some of these players that were listed as second and third team players that have proven they deserve more of an opportunity and get opportunities with the first unit. So, we will take a look at that as we move towards this week."
(on the performance of running backs in the new system) "Well, it is different than what we've done in the past from a standpoint. Some of Alex's (Gibbs) schematics, some of the things he teaches especially the fullbacks and backs, we're running the same plays but some of the reads are different, some of the cuts are different. So, I think some of our guys are still getting used to that. I thought (RB) Chris (Taylor) showed the flashes of (RB) Chris Taylor we've seen in the past, so that was very positive. He needs to continue to get better in pass protection. I thought number 20 (RB Steve Slaton) showed why he's here; he's got the speed. You could tell by just watching the film that he's faster than anybody out there. If we can get him going in the right direction, he's got a chance to make some big plays. (RB) Darius (Walker) got a few reps in there himself. All three of those guys have to become more complete players. They have to protect the quarterback better. We almost lost a very valuable piece of our team (QB Sage Rosenfels) because of a busted assignment, so they need to improve in that area, and they're going to get a ton of reps to do that now especially with (RB) Ahman (Green) missing some time."
(on WR Jacoby Jones' fumble on his punt return) "Yeah, he's trying to do too much. At some point, when you can't get to the edge, you have to stick your foot in the ground and get four or five (yards) and let the offense come on the field. If you reverse your field and lose ground, that's not something we teach. That's him trying to make a play but the bottom line is he's still swinging the ball. That's something he's been doing, something we've been working on and something that he will get fixed. I promise, because whoever is going to be back there is going to protect the ball, and that starts with him. I'm disappointed in that and we have to get it fixed."
(on T Duane Brown playing well) "Well, he's always on his feet, very athletic. He went against a very good pass rusher, the (Broncos DE Elvis) Dumervil kid. He had a lot of snaps against him but very much under control. No problems assignment-wise, showed the ability to cut (block) down field. Those types of things that we knew he would do well. I'll tell you one of the things that really jumped to me when I watched the tape, this kid's enthusiasm to play the game. We were kicking an extra point and he's over there congratulating (K) Kris (Brown). This kid loves to play. He's been pressed into a very quick role, for obvious reasons, and he's handling it well. I just want to see him continue to develop."
(on if P Matt Turk's apparent fake punt was by design) "No, that was not by design, believe me. We don't have any fourth-and-20 plays for (P) Matt (Turk), I can promise you that. He went to punt the ball and (FB Jameel) Cook was trying to block the edge, and I think the guy beat him a little bit and the color flashed on Matt. He probably still should have kicked the ball but after he double clutched it we should have gotten it gone. But no, I promise you, that was not by design. It's just unfortunate he came up about six inches short of the first down."
(on G Kasey Studdard's performance) "You know what, he played better than he's played in the past. He's more physical. He's sharper in what we are doing. He still had some of the plays that have held him back, and I don't mean that negatively. He's so aggressive, he gets out of control sometimes. He still had some of those show up. He's got to kind of control some of this emotion that he plays with. When he learns to do that and be consistent, that's when he's going to be a starter for a long, long time. It was a step in the right direction, but we've still got some things to work with him."
(on if QB Shane Boyd has the third quarterback spot secured) "I think him and (QB) Alex (Brink), what we are trying to figure out between him and Alex (Brink) is if we think one of those guys is worthy of being our third quarterback that has a chance to be a backup or a starter in this league some day. We are trying to figure that out between the two of them. With the roster spots, when it's all said and done, that is always going to be a huge decision. Do you keep three, or do you not? We aren't going to keep three just to keep three. We're going to believe in that guy, so it was a very important time for him (Shane Boyd) and the kid did a nice job there at the end of the game; played with a lot of confidence. And I hope to give Alex (Brink) the same opportunity this week. So, it's going to be a tough decision for us, but we are going to make the kids earn it and we'll see what happens."
(on if QB Shane Boyd will play again this week) "I don't want to ever say never, that he won't play this week. It's like I told (QB) Alex (Brink) last night, 'Don't assume you're not playing. I mean, you could have ended up playing.' But chances are, things this week we'll go with (QB) Matt (Schaub) increasing his play, (QB) Sage (Rosenfels) probably playing about the same and then (QB) Alex (Brink) finishing things up."
(on patience with the running game) "We have the same expectations. We went out there on that field and we're preaching running the ball, run the ball better and those types of things. Our team expects that, too. The thing I liked about the game as I told you was the mentality at the end of the game. We were able to run the ball. Even though that was a lot of our backup players fighting for a spot out there, that's the way you want to be able to do things. I think it was a step in the right direction. Do we have a long way to go? You bet. We open up against some of the best defenses in football. We're going to have to continue to make a great deal of improvement to running the ball to running it effectively."
(on who he thought did well on the pass rush) "Well, the guy that flashed at me was (DE) N.D. Kalu. He really flashed at me when we were just sitting up there as coaches talking about players. And the thing I saw from him, first off, N.D (Kalu) is a one-a-day practice guy. N.D. (Kalu) has got a knee that's bothered him and a body that's beat up through years of service, but I saw a guy who was hungry to help this football team and play, and that's important to me. I don't care if you've been doing it 12 years or two years. He stepped out there and really played with a tremendous amount of effort and put some pressure on the quarterbacks. But he stood out to me. DelJuan Robinson stood out to me. We gave him a chance to play a little outside, a little inside, was a factor in the football game throughout his time playing. So those two guys kind of jumped at me other than the obvious."
(on if anyone played better than LB Zac Diles on defense) "Zac (Diles) played very, very well. I thought our safeties played well. I was impressed with the safety play. This (LB) (Kevis) Coley kid that I mentioned a couple of times, he's starting to do some good stuff. We're going to give him some more reps this week. He's been impressive for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) in doing some things for us. We're going to play him a little bit at the MIKE position this week. Those guys kind of stood out to me."
(on if RB Ahman Green's health affects RB Chris Brown's starting position) "I don't think we'll get any better if we take that protect approach. They've got to play. They've got to get ready to play. Injuries are a part of the game, and you can't run away from them. Chris (Brown) needs work. He got a lot of work last week. We knew we weren't going to play him. Definitely his work will pick up this week. There might be a cautious approach because of that. When we get through and get ready to play, those guys that have had good camps and have done a good job will be the guys playing for us. It basically brings about the importance of these young players getting better. You know, Chris (Brown) and (Steve) Slaton, and I'm going to give them a chance to do that."
(on signing another running back) "We've been talking about that upstairs. We've got a couple of issues on our plate as we head to New Orleans this week. Practice against them a couple of times. We're trying to equip, basically. Maybe make a couple of moves here tomorrow that will help us from a practice standpoint and freshen us up. We've got a few options out there that we'll discuss tonight and see what we do."
(on possibility of signing a big-name running back) "I don't think. There's not too many of those guys right now. But we're talking to a few backs out there, and we want to make sure if we sign somebody that he's got a legitimate chance to help our team. And I think there are a couple of guys out there that hopefully they're interested in us, but they are listening to a lot of people."
(on if the new name for RB is Cedric Benson) "No."
(on the defensive end position battle) "It is a good battle going on. You look at Rosevelt (Colvin), you look at N.D. (Kalu) in the same light. Smaller defensive ends that have to rush the passer well to be a factor on this team. Severe battle on each other. And as I told y'all, I thought N.D. played very, very well. Earl (Cochran) is becoming a player that's looking more and more like a starter everyday. Anthony (Weaver) was fine with his time that he played. He's being pushed very heavily by Earl. Earl is an up-and-coming player on this football team and continues to prove that on a weekly basis. And DelJuan (Robinson) went out there and played in the same spot. We were very encouraged with what DelJuan Robinson did."