Kubiak talks run game, young players

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Texans coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media on Monday during his weekly press conference at Reliant Stadium. Here's a transcript of his interview.

Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on the play of C/G Antoine Caldwell and FS Dominique Barber) "They both played very good. That was Antoine's first start, and it was impressive because he picked up his play. There's still some things, obviously, that he's got to improve upon — he's a very young player — but to get a chance to start in this league, his first start, and to play probably better than he's played all year long for us. And Barber did some good things last week and was even better this week. The thing I was very impressed with, with Dominique, he continued to play well on special teams for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano), so he kind of carried a double load. So he did a really good job."

(on how he can fix the running game) "We continue to search. Obviously, we're playing three guys back there, and we're impressed with what (RB Arian) Foster came in and did yesterday. We felt like he came out of the game and was very positive. He can learn a lot of things, but he handled his job in protection for the most part pretty good, so I think we just get him involved more, give him an opportunity, but we're going to keep playing those three guys and we have some adjusting to do. We've had some adjusting to do offensively; we're going to adjust again. I'm going to jump on to injuries here: We found out here a couple hours ago we lost (TE) Anthony Hill for the season. He tore an ACL, so that makes us adjust again with just two tight ends and so we may have to go in another direction. It's kind of been that way all year long offensively, so we'll have to do it again."

(on if that was their only injury) " (TE) Joel (Dreessen) has a shoulder that's bothering him, but other than that, we came out of the game OK. We didn't know the severity of his (Hill's) injury. We knew he got hurt. He ended up playing. He played like 10-12 plays in the game and then they checked him out today and he did have a tear. I think it's the same one he tore in college, so he's got a long road ahead of him. So we'll get that fixed as quick as possible."

(on when TE Anthony Hill got hurt) "We're not sure. He got hurt on the first play of the game, and he also got nicked on about the fourth or fifth play he was in the game. So we don't know if it happened on the first play, but the bottom line, he kept going. He was on the field the last play for us offensively, playing."

(on why the defense is getting better pressure on the quarterback) "First off, we went after him (Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck) yesterday. (Defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) called a lot more pressures, maybe, than we have been calling. They (Seahawks) had had some problems up front; we were able to get there. But we were also able to get there with just four, too, so I just think we played better yesterday as a group, and obviously (DE) Mario (Williams) led that charge. I mean, that was Mario's best game in a while, and when he's doing those type of things, when he's dominating one-on-one, we all get better. So I think it started with him and then throughout the group with some of the calls that Frank made."

(on DE Connor Barwin) "He's made progress. I think we'd like to have maybe more production from a sacks standpoint and those types of things, but he's been a productive player. He's gotten better every week. We do a lot of things with him. We ask him to do a lot of things from a scheme standpoint. He's played well for (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano). I think when you look at his rookie season, I think it's been very positive. Can it be better? Yeah, it can always be better, but I think he's headed in the right direction as a pro for a guy who only played one year of defensive football in college."

(on what kept RB Ryan Moats off the field) "When Ryan ran, he ran well. He did some good things. Ryan's struggles are in pass protection, which I've talked to y'all about before, so obviously we try to protect him in some of those things. And then what kept him off the field—bottom line, when he fumbled, I took him off the field. So that's the only thing that kept him off the field the rest of the way. But we'll continue to work with him. He's got to protect the ball. That game's over right there; it's a big first down. I think we're going to take that game probably down somewhere in the six-minute mark, and you've got to protect the ball in that situation."

(on if the upcoming game against the Rams scares him) "They all do. They're obviously a very young football team with a new coach and going through some growing pains, but they've got one of the best backs (RB Steven Jackson) in the game, I think he's second in rushing in this league and he's even missed some time. They've got a quarterback (QB Marc Bulger) who, to me, is a lot like (Seahawks QB Matt) Hasselbeck: He's been very productive in this league, he's been a Pro Bowl player, he can get hot. They've got a lot of young speed, very good on special teams (from) talking to (special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano). Obviously, they're a young group trying to find their way, but we've got to stay focused on us and playing our ball. If we go out there and play the way we're capable of playing, that's what's most important."

(on why their punt coverage is so good) "I think (P) Matt (Turk) has kicked pretty darn good. Matt's had a good five- or six-week stretch here. He's done a good job. Our gunner play's gotten better. (CB Brice) McCain's a young man who's gotten better and better as a player for us this year, not only on special teams but doing some good things coverage-wise. You're going to see him play some more football. So we've had some new faces kind of pitch in there here along the way. (FS Brian) Russell played yesterday; he worked as our personal protector. He did a good job, but it probably starts with Matt, and I think he's been pretty good."

(on what he was most proud of yesterday) "I just liked our overall effort. I think we played very fast. We played very hard for four quarters. Obviously, I keep saying the defense. I think our defense is playing at a big-time level right now in this league. The progress they've made, jumping from 16th to 13th in one day, yesterday, they're playing extremely well. I think they're leading the football team right now with their effort and the way they're going about their business. I thought our effort as a football team was very good yesterday."

(on if he said anything different to the team Saturday night in their meeting) "I don't know. I probably talked longer than I normally talk. That's one thing. I think sometimes, when you're going through tough times, obviously you're focused on football when you're going through tough times. What's keeping you from that game? Why aren't you making that play? My focus, that night, was just about the game and how important it is. I wanted them to know how important it was to me, how important it is to the coaches. I went around the room and talked about different guys and how important I thought the next month was to those guys as players. It was really a, 'Let's remind ourselves why we're here (speech). Let's remind ourselves how important what we do on that field is to each and every one of us—in our lives and what we do for a living.' That's all it was about. We got great effort from everybody yesterday."

(on if his leaders all played their best games yesterday) "No doubt. I just got through meeting with (Texans owner) Bob (McNair) and spent a lot of time with him. That was the first thing we talked about, how when you look at the game and the guys that lead the way, it was all of our guys that are supposed to lead the way. They all played their best and when they do that, this football team has got an excellent chance to win. They all stepped up and did their part yesterday, and everybody else followed."

(on what he can do to help K Kris Brown when he struggles) "I go to him first. 'What can I do to help you? What can I do in practice? What can we do as far as setting things up for you in practice?' Maybe that's something he's struggling with. So I've got to Kris. We've obviously spent a lot more time in the field goal department in practice here in the last five or six weeks than we ever have. We normally will spend a day on it. Kicking is part of every day now in what we're doing, but obviously Kris has struggled and missed some kicks yesterday. He misses the one before the half. The one we get blocked, there's nothing you can do about that. Kris can't get so frustrated. He's got to stay focused. We need him kicking well for us to be successful. I know he's going through a tough stretch, but so has the whole football team. He's got to toughen up and move forward, just like everybody else. We need him to come back this week and kick well."

(on what their 15 tackles for loss tells him about the defense) "Well we're getting good penetration. (Defensive coordinator) Frank (Bush) brought (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) a lot yesterday. He brought (LB Brian) Cushing a bunch. We were working in their backfield a great deal. We had four chances for four more turnovers with those balls on the ground that just didn't come our way. We're playing fast on defense. We're playing with a lot of confidence. Like I think I've mentioned a couple times, one of the things going on defensively, other than (FS) Eugene (Wilson) and you take Eugene out of the equation, those guys have all played together all year long. We've been very fortunate health-wise on defense. They've got a lot of reps under their belt and they feel pretty good about what they're doing right now, and it shows."

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