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Kubiak recaps first nine games


Texans head coach Gary Kubiak reviewed Sunday's game against the Colts, and discussed plans for the second half of 2009.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak addressed the media on Monday during his weekly press conference at Reliant Stadium.

State of the Union: With nine games behind them, a bye this weekend and seven games ahead, the Texans have reached a bit of a midway point for the 2009 season. At today's press conference, head coach Gary Kubiak was asked to reflect on what the most frustrating part of his season has been. His answer came quickly and succinctly.

"Turnovers," said Kubiak, whose team has thrown nine interceptions and lost seven fumbles. "I don't have the words to describe how frustrated I am. It's hurting our football team. It's not one guy. It's not two guys. It's a little bit of everybody.

"Fixing that problem, being better in that phase over the course of the next seven weeks, will have a lot to do with what we're talking about come January."

On the flip side of that equation, when the question was posed of what he's most proud, Kubiak went with the maturation on the defense.

"They've come a long way," Kubiak said. "The game (Bernard) Pollard played yesterday was exceptional. To me, they're just getting better and better; the strength of our football team right now, the way they're playing. I'm very proud of how far (defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) has brought them. There are a lot of good things going on. We just have to find some more down the stretch."

Self evaluation: With no game to prep for this Sunday, the Texans' coaches will utilize the extra time by checking out what's gone well and what hasn't through the first nine games. The offensive coaches will give their take on the defense, and vice versa. Kubiak explained the evaulation process by giving a hypothetical scenario involving assistant head coach Alex Gibbs.

"Alex may say, 'Why do we keep running this particular play?' or 'We need to get out of this protection. We can't do this anymore. This is a weakness for us; it's proven here on film,'" Kubiak said.

Kubiak believes it's a great chance for team introspection and a way to bounce ideas off one another as coaches.

"That's why we meet together and talk together," Kubiak said. "Many times, we'll sit in the room and ask our defense, 'Hey guys, what do y'all think of this young man as a receiver or running back?' 'How hard is this guy to block, (assistant head coach/defensive line) Bill (Kollar), when he's rushing the passer?' So we're just trying to check ourselves as best we can."

The next game for the Texans is two weeks from tonight, when the Titans come to town for a Monday Night Football appearance.

Reviewing the run game: The Texans outrushed the Colts by nine yards in Sunday's loss, finishing with 81 yards on 26 carries. But their average run covered only 3.1 yards.

"We didn't run the ball real well, when you look at the numbers," Kubiak said. "We did try to stay committed to it. We missed a couple of big protections in the game as running backs which hurt us very badly, especially there at the end of the game."

Ryan Moats picked up his second-career start and first as a Texan, getting the nod instead of Steve Slaton. Moats wound up with 38 yards on 16 carries, and despite a drop in production from the week before against Buffalo, Kubiak is still impressed.

"I thought Ryan obviously deserved an opportunity to start after the way he played last week," Kubiak said, adding that Moats did "nothing in this game to hurt himself" and that Moats "played hard."

Slaton touched the ball nine times, finishing with six carries for 17 yards and three catches for 12 yards.

Looking at Larry?: The Kansas City Chiefs released former Pro Bowl running back Larry Johnson Monday morning. Kubiak's press conference began with questions about whether or not the Texans would be interested in signing him.

"Obviously, when a name like that comes on the free agent market like today, we'll obviously go back and take a look at him just like any other player," Kubiak said. "But obviously, he's been a good player in this league, and I'm sure he'll get a lot of interest from a lot of people."

In 2005 and 2006, Johnson eclipsed the 1,700-yard mark in rushing and scored a combined 40 touchdowns running and receiving. But the past two-and-a-half years have been a struggle for the former Penn State Nittany Lion. He has averaged just 3.7 yards per carry on a combined 1,791 yards and 483 attempts in that span.

Plus, Johnson hasn't played more than 12 games a season since 2006 and was recently suspended for making a derogatory slur on his Twitter page.

Kubiak was asked again near the end of the press conference about Johnson, and he ended the discussion on the topic by saying, "Larry Johnson's a good football player, and we're going to take a hard look at him."

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