Kubiak talks offense


The Texans put up a franchise-best 549 yards of offense at Green Bay last Sunday. They enter this week ranked third in the NFL in offense and will prepare for a Titans team that ranks third in defense.

Schaub surprises Kubiak: Coach Gary Kubiak knew Matt Schaub was itching to return to the huddle after missing four games with a knee injury. Kubiak thought the quarterback looked good in three practices prior to last Sunday's game, but he wasn't sure how Schaub would fare in freezing temperatures at Green Bay. Kubiak certainly didn't expect Schaub to throw for a team-record 414 yards.

"I don't know if I could imagine any quarterback going in there in that temperature and in that place and throwing for 414 yards," Kubiak said. "He showed a little rust early, actually, after the first touchdown pass. He missed a few throws.

"The thing I was impressed with was even when he missed some throws, he missed them in the right place. He had one play he'd like to have back but was very consistent throughout the day, very competitive, took some shots, made some great plays - had total command of the group, and total command of the group under a lot of pressure there at the end of the football game."

{QUOTE}Schaub completed 28 of 42 passes and threw two touchdowns. He made plays when teammates had busted their assignments, including on a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. He led the team on a game-winning 75-yard drive with less than two minutes left in the game.

Schaub did everything he needed to do to show that he can be an elite starting quarterback in the league. This season, Schaub has shown moments of brilliance, but he also has been on the sidelines for five games.

The fifth-year pro can make an even bigger statement this Sunday against the Titans, a team has had his number since he became a Texan.

"He's going to have to play - our whole football team is going to have to play - extremely well," Kubiak said. "Any time you play this football team and you get in a must-throw situation or they know you're going to have to throw the ball a bunch, you're going to have a hard time having success.

"Running the ball will be key for us, our defense keeping us in the football game and staying out of tough third-down situations. But Matt will have to play extremely well, just like he did last week."

Slaton sets a new standard: Running back Steve Slaton was drafted because of his big-play ability on the ground, and he has not disappointed in his rookie season. Slaton leads all rookies and ranks second in the NFL in rushing average at 5.0 yards per carry.

Slaton broke the 1,000-yard rushing mark at Green Bay, something that Kubiak did not expect he would see this season.

"We knew we were getting a good football player," Kubiak said. "We knew we were getting a smart player, a guy that we expected to be a third-down player right away for us. And then all of a sudden through the injuries, you know, we went with him, and he surprised everybody."

Slaton's first start came at Tennessee in Week 3 where he rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown. Since then, Slaton has become the Texans' most productive every-down back, rushing for 1,024 yards and eight touchdowns this season.

"To go to Tennessee and start that game, I don't think any of us at the time had an idea of exactly how he was going to hold up, how he was going to play," Kubiak said. "And now we go into 12 weeks in a row with him being the starter and holding up. So, it's just been a pleasant surprise in what he's brought to the team and the type of player he's become.

"I know our offensive line takes a lot of pride in that. You know, I don't see him stopping anytime soon. I think he's continuing to get better, and that's very encouraging for our team."

Walter at a new level: Wide receiver Kevin Walter silently has become a scoring machine (and a fantasy football goldmine). He is tied for seventh in the league with eight receiving touchdowns this season. Walter's eight touchdowns have come on 55 receptions, meaning he is scoring on every 6.9 catches.

"He seems to make big plays for our team all the time, very unselfish player," Kubiak said. "For us to get him for a seventh-round draft choice a couple of years ago has been just a tremendous steal. I'm really looking forward to his future. I don't think he's scratched the surface."

Walter has recorded 851 receiving yards this season and averages 15.5 yards per catch. He and Andre Johnson have combined for 2,052 receiving yards this season, which is the second-most by any tandem in the league. Only Arizona's duo of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin have combined for more yards (2,152). Kubiak has compared his tandem of receivers to Broncos greats Rod Smith and Ed McCaffery, whom he coached in Denver.

Injury notes: Defensive end Jesse Nading sprained his knee against Green Bay. He will be listed as day-to-day.

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