Texans head coach Gary Kubiak met with the media the day after his team triumphed over the Colts at Reliant Stadium. The following is a transcript of his press conference.
Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on if there was any part of yesterday's win against the Colts he was disappointed with) "It was a solid performance by our football team. There's always things you can do better. A couple things with special teams that could have got us hurt as a football team that we got to get cleaned up. Of course, in our prevent (defense) there at the end, they give up a big play; there's no excuse for that. It was a good, solid effort by our football team. Defensively we were excellent in the first half, like I said, and then offensively, I think we took over the line of scrimmage in the second half. But our effort was very good. Our conditioning level was very good; the things you worry about going into the first game. So, our guys responded. Obviously, very happy to get the win."
(on if he will be looking for a replacement for injured DE Connor Barwin) "We've got to replace (DE) Connor (Barwin). He's a big part of what we were doing. (DE Jesse) Nading went in and basically filled his role and what he did in the game. But we've got to replace Connor for the season now. Anybody who is out there who is a free agent is a possibility. So I think all doors are open. We continue to listen to every possible avenue. We will have a workout here either tomorrow or Wednesday morning, I'm not sure. We've already gotten in touch with some guys, so we're going to move forward. But we've got to replace him."
(on retired DE Aaron Schobel being a candidate to replace DE Connor Barwin) "It's my understanding that he's retired. Things change, I'm sure. But, anybody who is out there, we will talk to them and we've got to replace (DE) Connor Barwin."
(on where the win against the Colts stacks up against other big wins for the Texans organization) "Well, it's an important win. It's a division win for us. We were poor in our division last year. We've been in some tough games with this team. Obviously, it's been somewhat of a hurdle for our group and then a lot of our offseason was geared toward trying to achieve something as a football team which we think can make us more effective in the long haul, and that's being physical, and we were yesterday. So, a lot of things we've been working on came up yesterday; we handled it pretty good. Now, there's a long, long way to go but it was a dang nice start. But, yeah, it was an important win to our football team."
(on RB Arian Foster giving the game ball that was presented to him to his offensive line) "Well, he's grown up a lot. Like I told y'all; he's come a long ways as a player. He was having an excellent training camp. I said this yesterday; it wasn't like it was a surprise that he would play well. I thought he was pretty darn good in camp. Just to be able to hold up and carry the ball 33 times; that's another animal, right there. That's something special. We thought he could be a guy that could carry the load. But that's a heck of a day's work and he's right, our guys up front did a heck of a job for him. He did a great job, too. (FB) Vonta (Leach) played extremely well for us, too."
(on if Sunday's game was the best that C Chris Myers had graded out on film for him) "Yeah, yeah it is. It's the best he's played. He played hurt for us as a team last year. When you get those high ankle sprains, those things can last, you know, two or three months. He played hurt for us last year on that thing. He had to come back and win his job in training camp. He did that. Yesterday was probably his best outing for us since he's been a Texan."
(on if CB Kareem Jackson played as expected in his first NFL game) "You know, he'd never been against (QB Peyton Manning). He did some good stuff. Looking for consistency. Obviously, a rookie, first time out, playing against Peyton and that offense is about as challenging as you can get in this league. But he can go back and learn a lot of things from the film. But he played pretty darn good for a first time out but we can always do things better."
(on TE Owen Daniels making a couple of good blocks on the touchdowns) "Yeah, he really did. He played 40 plays-plus. That's probably a little more than we wanted him to play, but he felt good; he kept going. Obviously, we weren't throwing the ball around a bunch and so he was doing his job in the run game just like everybody else. With him and (TE) Joel (Dreessen) are very capable guys on the line of scrimmage. For OD to come out of this game clean—I just saw him in the locker room, he felt good. His knee felt good. I think he's only going to get better each week."
(on what he's looking for in a replacement for DE Connor Barwin) "That was a good conversation this morning amongst the coaches. He's a tough guy to replace. He's obviously a pass rusher. That's the first thing he does for us. He's an edge player. He's very smart. We play him in a lot of different defenses, different schemes, so you're looking for versatility there. He plays well for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano). Connor can run. So he plays a lot special teams. TO think you're going to go out and find that replacement on the street right now, at this time point in the NFL season, you're probably kidding yourself. We've got to find some player, hopefully with some experience in this league, that can lend a hand pretty quickly. We'll have to see how it goes."
(on what he likes about DE Jesse Nading and how he performed yesterday) "He did very well. To go in there and play as much as he did and he did not get the work in one of the packages that we specifically designed for (DE) Connor (Barwin) and he had to go in there and replace him in those packages. He was very consistent. He played good for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano). He got the onside kick. That's why he's made this team. He's kind of a jack of all trades. He does a lot of things and he had a chance yesterday to do more than his share. That's part of being a backup in this league, you don't get a lot of reps but if you get thrown in the fire, do you do your job? He did his yesterday."
(on what he likes about C Chris Myers) "(C) Chris (Myers) is all ball. The game is important to him. He's where he's at because he's just a hard working guy, a lunch pail guy every day, first one out there and last one off the field. Those type of things. We just like what he stands for and obviously, we all play better when we get good people around us. He's got a new addition next to him on the left side and he's playing very well. If Chris stays healthy, there's no doubt in my mind he'll play very well for us this year."
(on the strategy of the defensive backs in the fourth quarter) "Somebody asked me yesterday about all the yards (given up). When you play this group, you don't worry about the yards. They're going to move the ball. He's (QB Peyton Manning) going to complete passes. You worry about big plays. You worry about third downs. Do you get off the field? Do you make them punt four to five times? Do you gain a possession somehow during the game with the turnovers? Those are the things you worry about. I wasn't concerned about that. Basically, we had held them to 10 points. If Q (CB Glover Quin) doesn't drop that interception, maybe we do all day. I don't know. I think the score was 27-10 at that point when Q had that interception on the sidelines and it got away from him. I was impressed with what we did and like I said, I won't let the guys get caught up in the passing yardage. I'm worried about the final result."
(on how big of a play was the forced fumble by SS Bernard Pollard inside the 10-yard line) "That was the biggest play of the game. It was a great effort on Bernard and (FS) Eugene (Wilson)'s part. Then Q (CB Glover Quin) gets the ball. That's what I was just talking about. Against this team, you've got to find a way to gain a possession somehow. We had given them one and it cost us seven points. By getting that one back, that's the (four)-play drive we went on where we went 91 yards. That's the difference in the ballgame. It's fixing to be 20-17 or 20-13 if Quin doesn't make that play."
(on his impressions of the Washington Redskins after watching them play Sunday night) "I think they're a fine football team. The thing I'm impressed with is they played some really good teams here in the preseason – they played Baltimore, they played the (New York) Jets and obviously started off with Dallas at home. They've got a lot of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. This will be the second week in a row we're going to play one of the great quarterbacks in this league. Defensively, a tough scheme for us. (Washington defensive coordinator Jim) Haslett's scheme presents a lot of problems for you, so we've got our work cut out for us."
(on how LT Duane Brown played against Indianapolis DE Dwight Freeney) "It was very good. He got beat on that one sack, that play-action pass, but you've got your hands full when you play against him. As a coach, you really – I know for me, when we're sitting there talking about calling plays and those type of things, you're just so leery of him and what you have to do to control him and give your players the best chance against him. But I think Duane has kind of gotten better each time he's played him, and that's usually the way it works because he's got such a big package that he comes at you with and you need to see him many times to get better at what you're doing."
(on his relationship with Washington head coach Mike Shanahan) "Well, first off it's respect. He's a Hall of Fame football coach and I'm glad to see him back in the game. For me sitting at home watching him there and getting after it again, it's a good feeling. But he's got a fine football team, and obviously some of our (former) coaches are there – (Washington offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan), (Washington special teams assistant) Richard Hightower is there, (Washington quarterbacks coach) Matt (LaFleur) is there, so a lot of our past is there. So it'll be a good football game and a big test for us on the road."
(on whether this week's game is different than normal games because of his relationship with Washington head coach Mike Shanahan) "Not really. I mean, bottom line, when it's time to play, we've got to line up and our team's got to play. I'm sure there will be a lot of talk about that during the week because of us working together for so many years, but once they blow the whistle it's players against players, so they'll play the game."
(on whether he'll talk to Washington head coach Mike Shanahan on Saturday night or before the game) "Me and Mike won't talk, if that's what you're asking me. No, we won't talk. Heck, neither one of us likes to talk much anyway, so we'll talk after the game."
(on how much of an impact FB Vonta Leach's performance for the running game) "Well, he was voted co-MVP of the game. That'll tell you how he played. With him and (RB) Arian (Foster) together, it was the best I've seen Vonta play and I've seen him play some dang good games. I think it started with him when we played Dallas in the preseason. He had really picked up his play a notch. He kind of makes us go when he's playing that way, physical on the isolations and those types of things. It kind of gets us going. He is the personality to help our team get going. Among many guys, it was an excellent performance on his part."
(on how many snaps G Mike Brisiel got in the game) "I think it ended up like 40 to maybe 31 or something like that. (G Antoine) Caldwell had a few more and he seemed to be in the longer drives that we had, but they both played very good. After all is said and done we'll go right back and do the same thing this week."
(on if he want to keep same run-pass ratio going forward) "You got to do what you got to do to win. Yesterday, there was no doubt once we started the second half and throughout that first drive we had some momentum running the football. We weren't going to stop. The good thing is that we never got off schedule. We ran the ball well we stayed on schedule and we kept our third downs manageable. We took that one shot in the second half with the go route and had every opportunity to make that play. To me, it just kind of ended up that way with way we were playing in the second half and the confidence that we had running the ball."
(on what did he say to DE Connor Barwin after his season-ending injury) "It's very difficult. I talked to him last night and talked to his dad last night. His mom and dad were down for the game. You just hate to see that. It's a scary injury to sit there and watch. As a player, you know the seasons over. As teammates, you just feel for him. He's obviously very down, but there's nothing you could do. The doctors feel good about getting it fixed. We'll get that done, I think Wednesday is my understanding. It's just a long road back, but he's a great young man and he'll be fine and come back and play well."
(on if FB Vonta Leach is injured who will replace him) "(TE) James Casey; he works as a fullback in practice."
(on what's the one thing he's worried about heading into this week's game) "It'll be our first road test and I know it's a tough place to play there. My players here have never been there. I will have to sit there and explain to them that it's a big place and very loud. There's a lot excitement going on with that football team with (Washington head coach) Mike (Shanahan) being there. We are going to be tested from a composure standpoint and it'll be big time. I'll say that's the biggest thing and their complex offense. (Redskins offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) knows our defense like the back of his hand. He's been going against for two years and yet we have to switch over to the jimmy 3-4 this week. So there's a lot of those types of things going on."