During his weekly press conference at Reliant Stadium, Texans coach Gary Kubiak spoke about the knee injury to Ahman Green and the team's upcoming Monday Night Football game.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on if the aggressive defense was because of an inexperienced quarterback or if it just worked better) "I think it's probably a combination of both. Naturally, (when) you're playing a quarterback like (QB) Peyton Manning, which we did two weeks ago, and you're aggressive with him all day long, sooner or later, he can probably make you back for it big-time in some situations. Yesterday, we were more aggressive against their offense, but at the same time, we felt like we needed to be. We felt like we needed to be more aggressive and give our players more opportunities to make plays from a standpoint of bringing more than they have rushing the passer. Of course, that's asking a lot of your back end, putting the pressure on them to make some plays coverage-wise, too. So it was a little bit of both, but we were able to make some plays off of it."
(on if that kind of aggressiveness can be expected from the Texans for the rest of the season) "Well, if we can have those results, I'd say yes. We had some very good results from it. We should be able to build off of that. We did have a lot of mistakes, but like I said yesterday, we made up for those mistakes with plays. That was just something that we preached all week and really talked about it the night before the game that, 'Hey, we're going to be aggressive with this football team. We're going to makes some mistakes, but let's not let the mistakes keep us from making the next play.' So I just thought we did a better job from that standpoint."
(on how C Chris Myers graded out) "He was excellent. I don't think their nose guard (Shaun Rogers) had a tackle or an assist. I could be wrong. You all can check the stat sheet, but to say that coming out of that game means your center played extremely well. We played very good up front. Our guys up front have been there together all year long. I thought they were exceptional in the game. (QB) Sage (Rosenfels) was touched one time in the game, and that was on a busted protection. So we played very good up front. We should have had a lot more to show for how we played up front from a standpoint of scoring points offensively, but we didn't. But we're making good progress with that group."
(on RB Ahman Green's status) "Well, we're still trying to evaluate it. Obviously, there's some concern there. Ahman was positive. I did talk to him today, also. (He) says he's been through this one before. But there is some concern there. We'll have our doctors continue to look at it tomorrow once again after we have a little rest period there. But it's a tough decision for us because you're at a tough period in the season. If a player's going to miss a week or two, that's one thing, but if you're looking at three or four weeks, now you start to make different decisions on players at this point in the season because you don't have that many weeks left. So we've got a running back problem right now. (RB) Steve (Slaton) played hurt for us yesterday. He's got a severe chest bruise. (He) was not himself but hung in there for the football team and the young kid, (RB Ryan) Moats, only practiced once last week (due to) an ankle (injury). So, very concerned about our running back situation as we move forward."
(on what does he do with the running back situation) "Well, we're looking at some guys today and talking about probably the immediate move is to bring a practice squad player back this week. (FB) Cecil (Sapp) can work as a halfback this week and be our third. This is a week-to-week business, and the best way we go this week is to probably just go with (RB) Steve (Slaton), go with (RB Ryan) Moats and have Cecil be an emergency guy."
(on how he graded out LB Xavier Adibi and CB Antwaun Molden) "Adibi played a lot like he did against Indianapolis. (He) made a lot of plays. Very athletic. It shows up on film as far as the standpoint of how athletic he is in moving around, but he took another step forward. Molden played, I think, nine or 10 plays. It wasn't many, but they were very key plays on a big drive during the fourth quarter and it wasn't too big for him. He was right there with them and he played some man coverage. So it was a step forward for him as a player, too, and we need to get him on the field even more. So that will pick up."
(on what was different offensively in the second half) "We didn't run the ball well in the second half. We ran the ball very well in the first half. We were good on third downs in the first half. I think we were three-of-seven or something in the first half. We were three-for-three on the first drive. So we were better from that standpoint. Second half, we struggled to run the ball. I think it was more of a combination of losing (RB) Ahman (Green), and as the game wore on, (RB) Steve (Slaton) was beat up and you could obviously tell. So we had to throw the ball more from a play-action standpoint, but I would think the running game is the biggest key."
(on if there is anything that he can point out as to why QB Sage Rosenfels is throwing interceptions) "No, one of the things that I feel like I'm seeing—I have not talked to him about that yet today – but it looks like that sometimes, the first mistake leads to another one, and you've got to let those things go. He played a great first half. He's 16-of-20 and playing exceptional. The third down play that we were running, it's kind of an either/or situation. We were going to run a run if we had one coverage, throw a pass if we got another coverage. He checked to the pass, which is fine, but I thought the first one was just a poor ball. He threw the ball behind O.D. (TE Owen Daniels), and those things happen. You've got to let it go and come back and make the next play. I think some of those mistakes are getting him into opportunities in a game where they lead to other mistakes. So I've got to get him to the point where he lets those things go and comes back and makes the next play; kind of like the same thing we talked about as a football team."
(on how much of the offense is about rhythm) "Well, we moved the ball. We had 260 yards in a half of football. In the National Football League, that's tremendous ball movement, but we had 13 points to show for it. We came out in the second half and moved the ball very well the first two drives. We had big penalties in the red zone. We got in first-and-15 three or four times that set us back. In this league, you've got to find a way to make some big plays. We were working really hard moving the ball yesterday. We never made the big play to finish a drive or get off the field quickly. So we like the movement of the ball, but obviously, you've got to score more points than that."
(on if he got a chance to look at the penalty on S Dominique Barber on the kick return touchdown) "That was (S Brandon) Harrison. It wasn't (S Dominique) Barber. It was Harrison, so you got me there. We had enough penalties; I thought maybe I missed one. Well, what happens in this league, if guys go to the ground, usually somebody gets called for holding. That's just the way it works. He (S Brandon Harrison) went back to set up the way he should. He made contact and he really kind of got run over, and both guys go to the ground, so they make the call. But if you're pulling guys to the ground, those calls are going to happen. We had way too many penalties. I would question a few of them like any other coach, but a lot of them were legitimate. We've got to do a much better job than that."
(on how he explains all of the penalties) "They've come up in games. What, two weeks ago, we were poor, and then all of a sudden, they went away. Last week, we were excellent in a hostile environment, and then they come back again yesterday. I just think it's concentration. For us on offense, it was movement. Those are the types of penalties that we had, big offsides, those types of things. Defensively, we had some penalties through aggression, which we needed to be more aggressive, but we had a couple of penalties, pass interference calls. (DE) Mario's (Williams) face mask, they changed the rule this year. It's either supposed to be flagrant or not. It sure looked like it wasn't to me, but that's the call they made, so we've got to go from there. And the third-and-20 penalty probably hurt us as much as anything. (It was) just an illegal contact, which it was a legitimate call. I had a good argument with the official on the field. I needed to let him know that he was right. It was. That's it."
(on how hard it is for a quarterback to forget about mistakes) "Well, it comes with playing a bunch, and he's (QB Sage Rosenfels) playing more than he's ever played right now. So he's got to learn to work through those things. But when you make a mistake as a quarterback, you have to come out the next drive and make some plays to make up for those mistakes. So it's just part of the job. It's part of the mentality and being tough through those situations and finishing a football game in the right fashion. He made a ton of plays. He completed a lot of passes, made a bunch of plays. Made a big third down to (WR) Andre (Johnson) late in the game with four minutes left. So he's making a great deal of plays, and as we get closer to eliminating those mistakes and the better player he is, the better a team we are."
(on playing on Monday Night Football) "Well, that's great. I think everybody in this league will tell you that's kind of something they look forward to, having an opportunity to play in front of their peers, being the only game in town for that night. It hasn't happened around here for a while. I think they kind of earned it the way they played last year in the Thursday night outing against Denver. So this is an opportunity for them. We've been through some rough spots, but they should be very excited to step on the field this Monday night here at home, and I know we look forward to it."
(on if he has any memories as a player or coach on Monday Night Football) "You know, I've been through a lot of them. As a coach, it seems like your players get really geared up for those games. You would hope they gear up the same way (for every game), but obviously, it just seems a little different because you are the only game happening that day. But it will be exciting for the town. I know our players were already talking about it after the game yesterday. We're playing a very good football team that gives us fits, so we'll have to be ready to go."
(on if throwing interceptions is a growth process for quarterbacks) "Well, you know, I'm not trying to blame it on the fact that they (QBs Matt Schaub and Sage Rosenfels) haven't played a lot. I don't mean that. I just think it's something that you do have to go through a lot of reps in this league to understand what's right, what's wrong, when you try, when you don't try, when's a situation in a game where do I have to make this play, do I not have to make this play? I think that's something that they are both trying to grow through, but part of being a great quarterback is just managing football games and understanding exactly where you're at at that point. Like I said, the first (interception), to me, was just a poor throw. He (QB Sage Rosenfels) threw it behind the kid. The last one, our football team's in great shape, we're playing great defense and you can't take that chance with the ball. He knows that. We talked about it. So we'll continue to push through them and, like I said, when those things get eliminated for both of these guys, they both have a chance to be great quarterbacks. Not good, but great. That's a part of their game that has got to be a lot better."
(on if there is a lesson to be found in quarterbacks like Kurt Warner and Gus Frerotte making comebacks in their careers) "Yeah, those guys have weathered some tough times. They've been through some very difficult times and had their share of turnovers also. Then, all of a sudden, they just keep playing and playing, and I think it has a lot to do with your team, too. All of a sudden, you get with a football team where you feel like, 'Hey, I don't have to take this chance because the rest of my football team will hold up for me here.' And maybe sometimes I think our guys, through some of our struggles, maybe feel like they have to make every play. Well, yesterday, that obviously wasn't the case. We played great defense all day, and there was no reason to put our football team in any jeopardy with the way were playing defense yesterday. So it's just understanding situations."
(on if he thinks this season has been a step back or part of the growth to where they want to be) "I think we've taken some steps forward in some areas and obviously taken some steps backward in some. But there's still a long way to go. I mean, there are five weeks to go and some good football teams to play. They are a very important five weeks to our football team. So to assess it right now, I think, would be wrong. We need to keep battling. We've had a good, positive attitude around here. Our guys are playing hard and we're going to work through this thing that we've been through. Excited about what happened yesterday and looking forward to the rest of the season."
(on having good practices each week and putting the last game behind them) "I think they've been very professional. They've had a very tough time earlier in the season, what we went through, not only football-wise but life-wise. We worked our way through that and came out of that. Then we went right back through another spurt. I would say the biggest disappointment of the season was when we went to Minnesota. We were playing good football and had a chance to get ourselves right back in this thing and we go down there and lose a big game and (then) did not play well there for a couple of weeks. We found a way yesterday as a football team to win a game in a fashion that we haven't been able to win a game. That was very encouraging. But they have been upbeat, and I expect them to be the same way this week."
(on any injuries besides the running backs) "No, of course (RB) Ahman (Green) is the biggest one. All three of the guys that went into the game hurt, they probably played 80, 85 percent – (G) Chester (Pitts), (RB Steve) Slaton and (DT) Amobi (Okoye) all came out OK. So that's positive."
(on how encouraging it was to see WR André Davis back on the field) "It was very encouraging. He was the fastest player on the field yesterday, there's no doubt about that. So we'll get him involved. He held up well with his hand. It's a shame the return got called back, but this is where he kind of flourished last year, the last six or seven weeks of the season. So hopefully, we see the same."
(on what he remembers about the Miami Dolphins/Houston Oilers Monday night game in 1978) "I remember (former Oilers RB) Earl (Campbell) going down the sideline. I remember that. And those pom-poms. Golly, that was a great time. (Texans owner) Mr. (Bob) McNair and I talked about that. He told me today he was at that game. So we're looking forward to it. I mean, it's exciting for our football team, the players and the city as well. Looking forward to it. We need to get our tails ready to play and play well."
(on if he ever wonders why teams he beat last year are competing for their divisions this year and why the Texans aren't) "We'll get there if we keep working. You get there if you just stay committed to what you're doing and keep working your tail off. We're doing that. I don't have any doubt that we'll get there someday. But we're not going to get there by hoping we get there. We're going to have to work our way to get there and make the plays to get there."
(on how surprised he is that Jacksonville is 4-7) "Well, when you look at the schedules within our division, all four football teams in the division we've matched up with this year, you could look and say that there were some tough schedules. Some teams have worked their way through it. Tennessee has been amazing. Indianapolis was struggling for a period of time and found a way to work their way through it. Us and Jacksonville (are) in the same boat right now, have lost some close football games. But that's part of it. You have to find a way to win those."
(on how important it is to make sure QB David Garrard doesn't burn them in the game like he did in Week 4) "Yeah, he played extremely well against us. Both teams played very well on offense in that football game. They have all the pieces still in place. It's not like they're missing anybody. They have both the backs, the quarterback. Defensively yesterday, they hold Minnesota to 212 yards of offense, but Minnesota finds 30 points in the game. So it's the same football team. Very physical football team, so the same matchup for us."
(on the UT/A&M game in Austin on Thursday) "Thursday night in Austin? I don't want (Texans A&M head coach Mike) Sherman to get mad at me, but I have enough things to worry about right now. But he called me last night. I did not get a chance to talk to him, but I'm sure it will be a great game and I wish him well."