The Texans' struggling run game was one of the key points discussed in Kubiak's press conference.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak addressed the media during his weekly Monday press conference, the day after his team's last-second 22-19 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on checking on Miami QB Trent Green) "Yeah, I didn't specifically talk to Cam (Cameron), but I called this morning and left word for him to check on him (Green). He did call back and relay a message to me that he was doing well and that the prognosis was good. So that was all the information that I got from Cam."
(on DT Travis Johnson's reaction to the play) "Naturally, you go back- you guys see those plays- we see them full speed on the field; we don't see instant replays and all those things you guys see during the game. So as a coach, you want to go back and you look at the tape and evaluate the situation. And I think it's a very, very unfortunate situation to be honest with you. I've been on the phone this morning with the league. I had conversations with the league office, and here's the way I see it. First off, the league told me that the block's a legal block- his head's in position- it's a legal block. I understand that, but in my opinion it's created a situation I think we need to look at, too. I think the league needs to take a look at it; hopefully, the competition committee takes a look at it, because one of the things we do in football with special teams plays, with change of possessions, we've eliminated cutting because the ball's all over the place and the players are all over the place in the open field. So we don't have it; we don't have it on change of possession turnovers. If you look at this play, it had a little bit of everything. It had a fumble that went all the way to the sidelines and was recovered by the same team, so there was no change of possession. All of a sudden, it turned into an open field play with the talent of Ted Ginn, Jr., so in a lot of ways this play was a lot like a return or something. But it wasn't because there was never a change of possession. And then you have a play as unfortunate as that taking place where two players could have very easily been hurt very badly. I just hope they take a look at it and decide if that's what they want. I think it's just a very unfortunate incident and it looks like fortunately both of these players are going to be okay. But it was a nasty collision."
(on what he wants the league to do about the play) "I don't want – that's not up to me. What I wanted to do is just really understand the situation and how they saw the play and want them to just take a look at that play. I don't know. I really don't know, John. I think it's a crazy play and it's a heck of a collision going on between two players. And, as I said, they could have both been hurt very, very bad. You know, maybe they take a look at it and something is done maybe down the road about those types of plays taking place behind the line of scrimmage. I don't know, but I would like to see them just take a look at it, and our competition committee has been awesome. I know as coaches we're looking at that all the time in the offseason, and there are plays that come up that may change things. I don't know. I'm not one to say something has to change. I think it's good that we all take a look at it."
(on what it say about the team to win with so many injuries) "I think it was very important. We've got guys out. We're missing some very key players on our football team. We still had some good things going on, but we didn't have any wins to show for it in the last couple of weeks. We played a team yesterday that got a little healthier- got their leader back on defense. We're still missing those keys players. We need to find a way to win. We've had some good things happen on both sides of the ball, but the bottom line in this league is finding a way to win. And we were not at our best yesterday playing, but we still hung in there and gutted out a heck of a win thanks to Kris (Brown). But I think it meant a lot to our football team and it meant a lot to their confidence as we move forward if we're going to be missing Ahman (Green); if you're going to be missing Andre (Johnson), Jacoby (Jones); if you're going to be missing Steve McKinney, you've got to still line up and play and find a way to get things done."
(on if the issue with DT Travis Johnson is over) "Yeah, we're moving on from the play. It'll be evaluated, but we're moving on from that standpoint"
(on if he had talked to DT Travis Johnson today) "No, I did not. I've not talked to Travis today."
(on if he would bring back RB Wali Lundy and what he is worried about with RB Darius Walker) "I'm not worried about anything on Darius (Walker). He's still got a ways to go; he's done some good things in practice. When we look at our situation in the backfield, we can't sit here and tell you that we're not running the ball well because Ronnie (Dayne) and Samkon (Gado) aren't running the ball well. Can they run the ball better? Yes, they can. But it's a combination of problems, some of the things we're doing up front. We're running some bad plays; that's on us as coaches to make sure we're in the right scheme and not running uphill so to speak. Everybody's involved in that, and Samkon (Gado) and Ronnie (Dayne) are going to get better, and they've got to get better. We've got to get better upfront. We've got to get better as coaches. We're not going to panic. I believe in those two players. I believe Darius (Walker) has made a lot of progress and there may come a time to take a look at Darius, but we're not going to panic by any means. We're going to get better through some more work."
(on if he could expect WR Jacoby Jones or WR Andre Johnson to practice) "Yes. When you look at Ahman (Green) and Jacoby (Jones), I would think that we've got an excellent chance for those two players to be back this week. Andre (Johnson), I think we're still day-to-day; I can't say that right now about him, even though he did do some running on Friday. We expect him to do some more tomorrow, and everything is looking very, very good. To say that he may be ready to go this week may still be a little bit of a reach. We'll see, but I think we're getting awful close."
(on if the running backs are hitting the holes properly) "Well, like I said, I think there are times when maybe we don't read our keys as well. There are times where we're not doing as good a job up front. There are times that we're running uphill; when I say that, we're running right into a safety support system or something that we've got to get into a better play or call a better play, however that pans out. But I think it's a lot of things. It's not just one thing, and it's everybody having to do something a little bit better. We put a lot of extra attention into it last week. It didn't get a lot better this week. We're going to go put the same attention to it this next week. We've got the people to do it, we've just got to keep battling to get it done."
(on how much the loss of C Steve McKinney has hurt the team) "Starting off with Steve, Steve had a fine camp and was playing extremely well for us so naturally, you miss a player of Steve's caliber. And we really miss him because he does a couple of things for us as a football team. He gave us flexibility at center and guard. He gave us the numbers on game day to where we only suited seven (offensive linemen), even though we only suited seven yesterday. So from that standpoint, his loss has been a tough one."
(on an update on T Charles Spencer) "As far as Charles, what week are we going into? Five? I think we're two weeks away from the decision on Charles, whether he goes on IR. At this point right now, I would say it doesn't look good. But Charles' future as far as playing football again does look good. Will it be this year? As of right now, that doesn't look like that's going to take place. But I think we're a couple of weeks away from that, if I'm correct."
(on what was different that made the run game better last season) "Well, as I said, last year at this time, actually if you go back and look, we were running the ball even less at this time last year than we are right now. So I don't know if that's encouraging or not because it's still nowhere close to good enough. But how do you get better at something, John (McClain)? You've just got to keep going, you know? I mean, we could go out there and throw the ball 55 times; that's not going to make us better running the ball. So we're going down there this week playing one of the biggest, most physical football teams there is in the league, so there's a tremendous challenge there. But we're still going to have to run the ball. We're going to have to go out there and try to run the ball and keep our third downs manageable, and we're trying to keep this quarterback in one piece right now. We know we've got a guy who can go out there and throw it around. But for our football team to be successful, we've got to still try to run the football and try to establish the run because we can't let him drop back 35, 40 times a week. It's just not going to be good for us in the long haul."
(on how CB Demarcus "Petey" Faggins responded to last week's criticism) "He responded well. We rotated Fred (Bennett) in there I think it was every third series at the corner position. We started Petey inside at the start position on our Nickel defense. He makes some nice plays. Sometimes, I think one of the things that I've learned in this business is when players maybe have some things not going their way, and I tell y'all how much I think of Petey and how he works and how much his teammates respect him, a lot of times as coaches, you can step in and change the routine or change the reps and take a little load off the guy, let him step back and say, 'I'm a good football player.' And that's what I saw in Petey this week. We put Fred in there. We told him we were going to do that, but we also told him it was still his job. We moved him around. I think he was excited about that and I think Petey responded. That's what we expected, and that's what our team expects of him. Our team has a lot of respect for him as a player, I can tell you that. They count on him every week."
(on CB Fred Bennett) "He did some good stuff. It was good for him to get some action. He also played very well on special teams. That's encouraging because he was playing on defense and playing special teams, so hopefully his progress just keeps coming. I'd see us doing it the same way this week and then the better he plays and the better he prepares week in and week out, he's going to be more a part of what we're doing. But I liked our combination this week in what we were doing on the back end, and we liked the way Petey played inside in Nickel, so if that keeps progressing, we'll stay that way. So hopefully Fred continues to grow as a pro."
(on the strategy on the final drive of the game) "Well, I tell you. Boy, that's a difficult situation. We were talking about it up there (in the team offices) today. The one thing you're facing is if you don't get a first down, you're fixing to punt to them. OK, now, do you run the ball three times, make them use their two timeouts and say hopefully they won't beat us with a field goal if they have no timeouts and we've got a heck of a punter? Or do you assume that they're going to get good field position and you have to get a first down? Well, that's what we assumed, that we had to get a first down. The key was how were they going to use their timeouts. As I said yesterday, do they use it on first and second down, or were they going to use it on second and third down? It was obvious after we ran the ball he (Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron) was going to let it go and use it on second and third down, so at that point, I told Matt (Schaub) in his helmet, 'Hey, let the clock go all the way down, because if we're unsuccessful here, at least we're not going to leave them much time on the clock,' even though they would still have their timeouts. So we let it go down, Matt makes a good play to O.D. (TE Owen Daniels), so now we're in an aggressive mode and then made some big plays. I tell you, O.D. makes another one, (WR) David Anderson makes a play that he made all week in practice, just a particular play we had in for the kid. He did a good job all week in practice; he made the same play, and Matt makes a great play on the last play. They blitz him, he gets the ball to (WR) Kevin (Walter); that extra few yards was the difference. So you went from a survival mode to an aggressive mode because of one play, and that's the play that Matt made to O.D. on the sidelines."
(on if he's going to address the penalty called on DT Travis Johnson) "Oh, it's been addressed. It was addressed right away. As I said, that's part of our business. We all have to keep our composure. Coaches, players, we're in tough situations, tough environments, very competitive, very emotional, but the one thing that never changes, we all have to keep our composure and you can't ever do anything to hurt your football team. He understands that; he understood that from the get-go."
(on if RB Wali Lundy is the wrong style of back) "It's not that, that's not the wrong style or anything like that. We liked Wali. Y'all know that; he started for us last year. We went through camp, we felt like these players played a little better throughout camp and earned this right. That is something we do talk about; (general manager) Rick (Smith) and I had the conversation today. I know I think Wali's working out for a team today and I'm not quite sure who it is, but we can't, as I said, we can't panic, or I'm not going to give up on a couple of guys that are doing everything that I want them to do. I'm going to give them a chance to get better. I'm going to give us a chance to get better, and I would think that Samkon (Gado) and Ronnie (Dayne) will be here Wednesday morning ready to get better."
(on any new injuries and DT Travis Johnson's knee) "You know what, he's got a pretty bruised up knee. They're actually doing an MRI on it today this afternoon. The initial look was that he was going to be fine, so I would say he's day-to-day right now 'til I get back with y'all. Will Demps dislocated an elbow; they were able to reset it. He actually went back into the game. It's the same elbow that he's had some issues with in the past year, but it looks like he's going to be OK."
(on if there is anything he can do up front to help the running game) "Yesterday if you watched the game, we tried to spread the Dolphins out. That's what we tried to do. We went to a lot of different personnel, spread the field trying to get a five to six man box and do some things a little bit different then we had in the past. When we looked at the game, we felt like we had some running lanes that we could do a better job of hitting. There were some times we didn't do as good a job up front, like I said. When you're struggling with something, you're right, you have to start searching. One of the things we're doing today as a staff, we spent the whole morning evaluating ourselves. I like to do that about every four or five weeks. I don't like to wait until the end of the season and say why were we doing that half the year. We stop every four or five weeks and evaluate ourselves, so that's what we did today. Hopefully, we found a few answers and hopefully, we're going to get better."
(on how you evaluate yourself) "Basically, you get in a room and watch your cut ups and try and figure out what your players are doing well, what is your team doing well. Sometimes, you can get a little skewed in your view of what's going on and you go back and you look and have a player that's playing really, really well for you that you may not be noticing like you should be noticing. It's really just a stop and evaluate. Here's where we go the next four weeks. Let's make sure we have these players in these positions to be successful. Let's make sure we're doing this. Let's eliminate this. We don't do this well, let's get rid of it. It's something that you do at the end of the year but I like to do it every four or five weeks. I like to catch things. Once you wait until the end of the year, it's kind of late. We try to do it about once a month."
(on how much freedom QB Matt Schaub has to change plays and how could that prevent from running into bad situations) "Our running game is taught as such that we don't mind running into eight-man fronts. The run game that we put in, we can adjust versus eight-man fronts. That's something we have to do better, just to get better doing that. What I mean is, there were a couple time when we spread the field yesterday trying to get a five or six man box and all of a sudden we get a buzz safety of something that coming down in the hole, something that comes down very, very late that we can't get to or can't account for and all of sudden, you have a bad play. The way to fix that, we could give (QB) Matt (Schaub) more freedom. The way to fix that is to continue to throw the ball. People want to do that, so there are ways of attacking that. We have to come out of a game that we have 30 runs saying that we gave ourselves 30 good chances. We can't have 30 runs and say on 22 of them, we should have had something positive happen here, but on these eight, there's nothing we can do. You can't do that because you're wasting snaps."
(on how QB Matt Schaub compares to other great quarterback you've worked with) "It's very early. How many games has the kid started now? Six, seven, something like that. It's not many. First off, he's tough. You have to be tough to play back there. He played hurt yesterday, like I told you all. He's not going to tell you that, but his leg was bothering him. He could make every throw. He's very, very smart. The thing I like about this kid is nothing bothers him. He can go out there and be perfect and play that way all day. He can go out there and struggle early and still find a way to win late. What he did with that football at the end of the game being backed up on our own three-yard line, not many guys could come out of that hole and do that. That meant a lot to this football team. The one thing that I'm really impressed with and why I'm so excited about his future is this guy is so hard on himself. This guy expects perfection. He's up in my office today for two hours, down on himself because he didn't play perfect. When you have a guy like that, I think the sky's the limit. He's going to battle. He's making this football better, I can tell you that. And it's still not good enough for him, and that's a good thing. I'm just very excited about his progress and about his future."
(on the defense in the second half) "I don't know. We didn't tackle well the last two weeks in the first half and we were talking about that as coaches today. There has to be a sense of urgency in this business. We walked in yesterday at halftime and you look at how many bad things had happened to our football team and to sit there and you're down 16-10. The one thing I like about our group right now is I see them grabbing problems. In the past, I think, if something started going bad, it would keep going bad. You couldn't stop it. Right now, our guys find ways to stop things. When things aren't going good, they settle down. They get it stopped. They get it fixed. They go play. We knew at halftime yesterday, it was about tackling a little better on defense and not turning the ball over on offense. We went out and fixed those two things and found a way to win. In this league, you have to be able to do that. You can't let one quarter or one half turn into 60 minutes and I think this team is getting better at that."
(on K Kris Brown) "I don't pretend to be a kicking coach, I can tell you that, but this kid's been something. First off, he works harder then any kicker I've ever been around. He really works at his trade. To pull that off yesterday, to kick three 50 yarders and one of them was 43 and then the short one. Actually on the short one, we had a bad snap and a great hold out of (P) Matt (Turk). He single-handedly went out there and did something that I've never seen done. I know what thing, I'm glad he did it. He was up in my office this morning, he worried about, he knows he's getting a game ball because of the record he set and kicking his longest field goal, and he's up there worried about me giving game balls to the guys that were protecting for the kicks. That tells you what kind of kid he is. I'm very happy for him."