Texans head coach Gary Kubiak met with the media on Monday and answered questions about the team's win over Oakland, and much more. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head coach Gary Kubiak(on the Texans wide receiver situation) "Well, it's going to kind of be day-to-day. (WR) Andre (Johnson); the good news is we get through the weekend so he didn't take any steps backwards. He's feeling a little better today. We'll continue to take him through the same routine we did last week. It will probably be Thursday before he works. He'll be day-to-day going into this game. Also, (WR) Jacoby (Jones) got a pretty good calf issue. We'll probably know more about him on Wednesday. Right now we've got three healthy guys that are on the active squad. We'll go from there. I'm just hoping Andre is ready to go. Jacoby; we'll have to wait and see."
(on how RB Arian Foster has responded to being benched at the start of the game against Oakland) "I talked to him briefly on the plane but he responded with his play. He got his opportunity to go back out there and show his teammates that he can do his job and be accountable. He did that. It's over; move on. He did his job."
(on WR Jacoby Jones' calf injury) "It's a slight strain. We really probably won't know until we treat him for a couple days. We'll come in here Wednesday and see where he's at."
(on if he considered fining RB Arian Foster instead of benching him) "He got both. I guess I considered them both."
(on the return of LB Brian Cushing) "(LB) Brian (Cushing) will be here sometime after 3 o'clock today I think, I guess, as I'm getting through here. I haven't seen him yet. (Texans general manager) Rick (Smith) has had discussions with him. We'll get him going from a football standpoint. We'll spend a lot of time with him tomorrow. We'll probably actually work him out tomorrow. We're excited to have him and get ready to go."
(on what he expects from LB Brian Cushing) "First off, I don't worry about him working. I know he's a worker and been putting himself through everything he can possibly put himself through without playing a game. So, we don't worry about that with Cush (LB Brian Cushing). You know, there is a level of sharpness, just from not playing, not taking all the snaps. Everybody on the team is about 250 snaps ahead of him right now in an NFL season. But he's proven that he can play missing practice; he did that last year. He's proven that he can play with a lot of time missed in training camp; he did that early last year. We need him to come back and put him to work right away. Hopefully everything looks good throughout the week."
(on FS Troy Nolan) "(FS) Troy (Nolan) is going to get a lot more playing time. I'm hoping (FS) Eugene (Wilson) comes back healthy this week. We'll see where he's at. (FS Dominique) Barber's got a little hip bruise but should be okay. Obviously, Troy, with what he did in the game, deserves some more reps and he'll get them."
(on SS Bernard Pollard's shoulder) "We think he's going to be fine. We did some x-rays on him today and everything was OK. He just really had a stinger more than anything. He had some big, big collisions, made some big hits in the game, so we think he'll be OK."
(on whether there was a conscious effort for QB Matt Schaub to get rid of the ball quickly) "I wouldn't say we did that; going into the game, we had 11 sacks in three weeks, way too many, and we need to keep him upright and that type of thing, so there was a conscious effort on doing the things that would protect him a little more. That was our boot game, our play-pass game; we were committed to the run yesterday, very much so, and ended up even real heavily that way before the day was said and done. I just think it helped us with what we did. We were a lot less drop back yesterday, a lot less of those type of things, and more play-pass oriented, and I think it helped us out."
(on his initial thoughts about the New York Giants defensive line) "Well first off, I was trying to enjoy the win last night and I got off the plane and the first thing (Texans general manager) Rick (Smith) told me was the Giants had 11 sacks, so that went out the window real quick. I had a brief look at them before I came down here—I was still working on us up until about 2:00—but a very physical football team. I'm going to say the same thing I said about Oakland last week: I just noticed they're in the top 10 in both categories in the league. Defensively, I think they're third; offensively they're seventh or eighth. But it'll be the biggest physical challenge I think we've faced this year, from what I've seen briefly."
(on the reasons for the New York Giants' sacks on Sunday) "They're very good up front. They've got an excellent front and they're very active. They do a lot of zone dogs and zone pressures. (Giants defensive coordinator) Perry (Fewell), who was at Buffalo last year, is the coordinator now so we've seen his scheme and some of the things they do. And then Chicago is throwing the ball a lot, a lot of open formations, a lot of open edges and those type of things, so the Giants were very aggressive. We'll have to find a way to protect those edges. We can't leave our tackles out on an island all day."
(on how the Texans offensive line played on Sunday) "We played very [well]. We played very detailed in what we ask our guys to do, the things that make us good when we are hitting on all cylinders as far as working on the back side, our receivers working in the run game. Our fullback was excellent yesterday; (FB) Vonta (Leach) played very, very well. (TE) Joel (Dreessen) and OD (TE Owen Daniels)—I think OD played his best game since he's been back, watching him move around, and Joel is really playing well. It was a group effort, but we really did the little things that help us. We did the little things as a group and played with a lot of extra effort on both sides of the ball."
(on his decision to run the ball on third down with 3:21 left in the fourth quarter against Oakland) "You're trying to make them use a timeout more than anything. They've got to go a long way to score. They've got to score a touchdown to beat you. We were running the ball well. They're excellent on the back end. They cover as well as anybody in the league. So my thought right there, the smart thing to do—first off, we're running the ball well. It's not like we didn't have an opportunity to still pick up the first down. But we didn't. We made them use their timeout. They've got two left going into the last drive and (P) Matt (Turk) punted the ball extremely well throughout the game. So to me, everything added up to making them beat us and not beating ourselves."
(on what impressed him most about RB Derrick Ward's performance) "Well he's been showing some good things in practice, but you never know until you transfer them to the game. He's a big load. He's a big guy. He's always falling forward. I think he fits what we do. He's been very into what we do. I think he's caught up mentally and I think you guys will see even more of him. We're excited to have him and it's been a slow process, but I think this thing could speed up. I think he can help us a lot more."
(on how many other players have missed team meetings this year) "I don't keep tabs on it."
(on if he has expectations that LB Brian Cushing will play on Sunday) "Do I have expectations of Brian Cushing playing Sunday? Oh, he's playing."
(on the impact LB Brian Cushing's return will have on the defense) "First off, Brian is a leader by his play. He's a very fiery guy. You guys know that. He's a very physical player. Brian helps us rush the passer when we bring five and he's part of the rush. He helps us in nickel. He gives us flexibility moving around. Obviously he's a big, big part of our football team and getting him back is important to a lot of players. Not just the team, but to a lot of players that work around him."
(on other players thriving off of Cushing's intensity on the field) "I think they do. He was the Rookie of the Year. What he did last year, guys look to him to make plays on the field. He was big in the turnover area last year as a team. We had been poor up until yesterday in getting turnovers. There's not anybody on this team or in this organization not excited to have him come back."
(on what it means that guys like T Rashad Butler and LB Xavier Adibi have starting experience) "I think it just continues to give you confidence. First off, you're going to play on Sunday regardless of your problems. That's the way this league works. When you have confidence, you can work through them. When you have confidence, the players will step up and still get the job done. That continues to make your team stronger. I think what happens is that eventually guys don't panic when you have issues. That's what, to me, was impressive about yesterday. Not only did we have issues going into the game, but we had some during the course of the game and we just kept playing and new guys kept stepping up. We come out of that game, we're beat up, but we're stronger mentally and we're stronger with some of the guys that stepped to the plate for the team."
(on the improved play of G Wade Smith) "Well, he's very athletic. We saw that from OTAs on as we were going through camp. I think he was trying to get familiar in what we're doing and what we asked. He's working with new guys and we had him working at center for awhile. We're trying to settle him down to where we'll think he can start for our football team. Eventually it ended up being at left guard. I think it's a maturing process for him. He's been excellent in the run game. He needs to continue to improve in the pass game. I think he and (T Rashad) Butler working two weeks together now are growing together. He's got a lot of good ball in him and I think he's only getting better for our team."
(on what is the difference with the Texans offense with C Chris Myers being healthy) "He's on his way to a very good year. He had a little finger issue yesterday in the game and just kept playing through it. (C) Chris (Myers) has been playing well. The whole group has been playing pretty well, but Chris is obviously healthy and has been playing well."
(on what is he worried about LB Brian Cushing making his return this weekend) "I think it will be the sharpness of what we're doing. Going back scheme-wise defensively in what we're doing- assignment, alignment, gap responsibility, coverage- all those things that you don't get better at until you do them. I know (LB) Brian's (Cushing) been working, but he's missing 250 football snaps that (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) and (LB) Zac (Diles) have and you can't make those up. That'll be the biggest thing we're looking for. We'll give him a chance to catch up real quick." (on what T Rashad Butler has done that he's liked since being placed as a starter) "I think that his strength has been pass protection. He's been very good at his pass protection. In his run game he could get better in some of the things that he's doing, especially on the backside on the run game. What you see is improvement. He's has gotten better. From last game to this game he was better. Does he continue to do that? He's setting himself up for a bright future and is given an opportunity to play and doing some things when the team moves the ball. You just got to feel good about what he did."