Texans head coach Gary Kubiak spoke to the media Monday about the team's 20-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
(on the injury report) "S Jason (Simmons) is doing fine. He had his surgery this morning. Everything went well. Of course, he'll be lost for the year. He'll go on injured reserve. He's doing fine and the surgery was ok. DE N.D. (Kalu) has a couple of bones broken on the top of his hand. He'll be fitted with a cast. He'll play with a cast just like he did yesterday, so don't expect him to - he might be a little limited this week, but don't expect him to miss any time on the field. FB Vonta Leach had some back spasms but we're expecting him to be fine. DE Anthony (Weaver) came out of the game ok. Other than Jason, we should be fine going into this week."
(on yesterday's game against Kansas City) "Offensively, when I went back and looked at the game, the thing that we did well on offense was we made some big plays. Of course, none bigger then WR Andre (Johnson), but that's been an emphasis for us. It's so hard to go up and down the field on people without finding a way to get on and off the field quickly with some big plays. We were excited about the fact that we make those big plays. Then down wise, it was a very good day for us. We really hurt ourselves with penalties, turnovers. Our effort will have to be much better this week against this football team that we are playing on the road. We have a lot of things we have to correct from that standpoint. Defensively, I thought the key to our defense was we really settled down after the first drive. Our effort was excellent all day, and we tackled extremely well as a defense when you go back and look at the game. It was a heck of a group effort, then losing S Jason (Simmons). S Von Hutchins came in and played very well for us. He did a heck of a job. Special teams wise, we didn't play as well as we played through the preseason. We expect ourselves to play better. We did get a turnover which was big in the game. Our top special teams player was P Matt (Turk), and what he did kicking the ball was a very big positive for our football team. Right there before the half, he knocked us out of that hole, not giving up any points. He kicked the ball extremely well. As a whole, we think we can play a lot better from a special teams stand point. It was a good effort. Everyone played hard. Everybody was ready to go. We didn't play real clean. We'll have to clean up a lot of things as we head to Carolina and play an excellent football team in the Panthers. But, we have a lot from that stand point."
(on was S Jason Simmons' injury does to the safety situation) "S Von (Hutchins) will move up. Of course, that means that S (Michael) Boulware will definitely become part of the rotation this week, so his play will pick up. We're also talking to a few guys. We're going to have to do something as a team, either active S (Brandon) Mitchell or sign another player. We'll visit with a few players out there and it's definitely a problem and we're going to have to work through it some how some way."
(on the progress of S Michael Boulware) "Yes, he did some good things on special teams for Joe (Marciano), which we felt like we knew he would do that. The whole thing with him defensively is how much of our defense can we run if he's going. We're going to have to catch him up real fast now, because he's going to have to become a factor. I think he'll do that. He's putting in the extra time. He's played a lot of football. We'll go in that direction and like I said, S Von (Hutchins) will just have to pick up his play."
(on if he was pleased with how S Von Hutchins played) "Yes, he did. He went in and played well. He had a few mistakes, naturally, because he hasn't been playing back there that much. I thought he went in and did a good job. He played a lot of football. He also played well on special teams for Joe (Marciano). We believe in S Von (Hutchins). That's why he's here. He's done a good job since he's been here. He's a hybrid; he's a corner/safety guy. He's going to have to settle down at the safety position and play well for us here on out."
(on how disappointing this injury is for S Jason Simmons) "I haven't talked to S Jason (Simmons) today. I've had a hard time getting in touch with him. I think he's sleeping right now. Coach Hoke talked to him earlier. I think, somebody told me, that it was the first time Jason's ever been a starter on opening day for any team. He's been a successful player in this league for a long time. It was a great opportunity for him as a pro to start here and he was doing a fine job. For that to happen is very disappointing. I know it's disappointing to Jason. We expect him to make it back. Kevin (Bastin) seems to think there won't be any problem with him making it back as a player. He's a hard worker. We just wish him the best and we'll do everything we can to get him back on the field next year."
(on getting the team past the win over the Chiefs) "All they have to do is look at this film this week. This football team we're playing this week was everybody's pick to represent the NFC last year in the Super Bowl and they went through a tremendous amount of injuries. Once that starts to happen to you in this league, it's hard to replace guys. They are healthy now. They went into St. Louis against one of the top offenses in the game and they were dominating, not only good, they were dominating. They ran the ball. They threw it. Their quarterback played great. This is a team everybody was expecting last year and it's going to be their home opener. It won't be very hard. They see the same film that we see. I think our guys are growing up too, from that stand point that they are able to move on. We all feel about yesterday and this start, but we know we have to play better and play extremely well to beat this football team."
(on how WR Jacoby Jones handled his first regular season game) "He handled things well. Joe (Marciano) and I felt like, as a returner, he didn't hit it quite like he did in the preseason. It's not like he wasn't trying to. I think he's going to look at some of those returns and see that maybe he danced a little bit too much. It's different. When the regular season hits, there's just a totally different atmosphere and a different speed on the field. He didn't shy away from it by any means. Actually on offense, he had a couple of big third down catches for us. I've challenged him to block better in the running game. I think he put forth that effort better in this game. Think you're only going to see him get better. You mention him and I'll tell you our special teams will have to be huge this week against this group. They'll have to be a big factor."
(on the defensive line's performance yesterday) "Especially after the first drive. They went right down the field and made some third downs and then we settled down as a group. I think Jethro (Franklin) and Frank (Bush) did an excellent job with our substitution process. When we came into the game, we said we wanted to play DE Anthony (Weaver) so many plays. He hit that right on the nose. How you substitute the defensive line, how you keep those guys fresh and going, I think, is a big key. You have to have a plan going in. You just can't think you can handle it when you go into the game. I thought they had a good plan. Those guys have to stay fresh. I think even Anthony can get more involved. He had a couple of nice pass rushes in there from the inside position, but it's going to take all of them for us to be successful. I think they all kind of know their role right now and what's expected of them so hopefully that continues to improve."
(on how the offensive line played) "We can definitely play better. We had a couple of communication problems in protection which factored in, but the biggest thing were the mistakes, the holding calls. We had a couple of guys down field, which that's inexcusable. You know we can't have that. G Chester (Pitts) and I had a long talk this morning and I believe in Chester. I think he should be a great player, not a good player, I think he should be a great player. I challenge him every day to do that. Today is no different. He's going to have to come back and play better. He's going to play against some great players inside this week, him and C Steve (McKinney) and G Fred (Weary). They're all going to have to play well. There is definitely room for improvement there. The thing I really was pleased with that group is though we had some problems there in the third quarter and could have put the game away, I did not feel good about how we were playing at that point, when it was time to line up and run the ball, that 10 minute drive was the key to game and I thought they responded.
(on QB Matt Schaub's leadership) "That's the way the kid operates. You have to a big time commitment to those guys that protect you on a daily basis. That's what he stands for. I know he saw what was going and that I was disappointed. His job is to keep those guys going for four quarters and keep them playing. I didn't see what you are talking about, but that doesn't surprise me. That's what he's all about. That's like today. I'm sitting in my office at 1:30 p.m. today, and the kid comes up there and sits with me for and hour and a half. He loves football. He loves what he's doing. He cares about everybody around here and what's happening. I think that's why he gives us an excellent chance to improve week in and week out, along with his play itself."
(on his players' confidence and if he knew they would play so well) "I think they expect to play better, and then we look at the game and say we should still play much better. But I think our football team expects to go out and do things well. They practice that way, they prepare that way. Is it hard to do them well week in and week out? You bet it is with the competition in this league. But our guys had been working very hard toward that game yesterday. I think they would tell you that they expected to come out there and play good football, and at times we did. So I would say that the group has high expectations of itself and they're very hard on themselves, and that's what gives you a chance to improve."
(on the importance of reminding the players that this was only one game) "You know, I can remind them of that, but they know that. If you've played in this league, this league is a marathon, like I say all the time. I mean it is so difficult, and yeah, today you're excited about the way we started, but all you do is flip on the Carolina film and go, 'Oh, no. Look what we've got to go do this week.' So that's part of it, and you watch what goes on around this league everywhere and the games and the surprises that happen in this league week in and week out. The only thing we can control is how we play and how we prepare and how we play, and that's what we have to worry about and we stay focused on ourselves. And I know we play Carolina this week, but if we don't fix some of our issues we had on offense, if we don't continue to play defense the way we played this week and if we don't play better special teams-wise this week, then it's not going to matter against the team we're playing. So we'll stay focused on our self and fixing our problems and playing our style of football and if we do that, we'll give ourselves a good chance to win."
(on a player he noticed that played well after watching the film) "Well, y'all know Mario (Williams) had some numbers with the sacks and of course the fumble recovery, but the great thing was when you went back and watched the film, he was even better than you thought. That's what I felt really good about this morning. When a guy has good things happen to him and he gets the numbers that people talk about on a week-to-week basis, that's a good thing, but when you flip on the film and you watch that he played down in and down out, he was definitely a factor in the game every play. He played extremely well, so he stood out to me. I thought our corners played well. I thought Dunta (Robinson) and Petey (Demarcus Faggins) both played well, and so those are some things that stood out. But I think Mario was a nice surprise and was even more so once you turned the film on."
(on what exactly Williams was doing that impressed Kubiak) "I just think his consistency as a player in the game. He was a factor, he was a force. When he wasn't getting to the quarterback, he was tying a lot of people up so that N.D. (Kalu) could get there, so that other guys could be a factor. He played well in the run game. He actually caused, as I said, he caused that one fumble with his hustle and effort. He was just 100% all day in the way he went about his business."
(on if he was worried about Robinson being able to focus after what happened to him last week) "Well, I think if any of us put our self in that situation, I think we would wonder if we could focus. That had to be very difficult on him, but to his credit he was able to handle his business and he told coach (Jon) Hoke and myself that, and Richard (Smith), from the get-go. We were worried about him a little bit, and he said, 'Hey, I'm fine. I'll be ready to play.' So it's a credit to him."
(on what concerns him after watching the film that he may not have noticed during the game) "There's a few things, John (McClain). I want us to be more consistent in our play up front. Some of the things that took place up front, they concern me. We've got to get them fixed. We've got too many veteran players playing together for a long time that we can't have some of the mistakes that we made. The special teams, which I have tremendous expectations for this year as our football team, when I go back and look at it, I expected a lot more, as did Joe (Marciano) from some of our back-up players that are in those roles. But that's part of it, and we've got to go back and try to fix it."
(on how much of Williams' success Kubiak attributes to coaching) "Well, I think they've done a great job with him. Jethro (Franklin) and Frank (Bush) have done a heck of a job with him. But we have to give the kid a ton of credit because he's worked his tail off. He hasn't missed a day. As I told y'all last week, his practice habits have improved. Usually when a guy's doing it on the field in practice, they tend to do it in the game. Those go hand in hand. So I just think he's becoming a more mature and better player, day in and day out."
(on the Texans' defensive intensity throughout the game) "Yeah, and they played for four quarters, like you said. After the start, that first drive, (I was) a little concerned because they went down the field pretty easily. But after that, they buckled down and they continued to play well. The thing I liked is when we knew they had to throw the ball (and) try to make some plays, I think we did a good job of pinning our ears back and getting after them, and I don't know if we've done that in the past. So that was encouraging. But I liked the enthusiasm they played with throughout the game. And then also, in the same light, I liked the way the offense finished the game on the field, able to pick up first downs when everybody knew we were going to run the football. I liked the way we finished, because you never know going into that first game how the fourth quarter is going to pan out because nobody's been there yet."
(on the Texans' 10-minute drive that helped win the game) "Well, that was very important. I think we got the ball with what 30 seconds left in the third quarter. I knew that Kansas City had one timeout and I told Matt (Schaub), I said, 'Listen, now we're not going to slow the game down by any means; we're going to be aggressive and play. But just between you and I, you make sure you're using the whole clock. Don't let anybody in the huddle know; I don't want them to see us slowing down.' I thought Matt did a great job with the players of using the whole clock, not conveying to them we're trying to eat this up but keeping them focused on what we were doing. We lined up, we got some big third downs and I thought he did a good job just handling the group on that drive, because the next time they touched the ball I think it was, what, five something (minutes) left. So that was huge."
(on what that drive said to him about his team) "Well, that's where you want to go. That's what you want to be able to do. You want to be able to at that point in the game when everybody's tired line up and have drives like that. And I can't remember when we've done that to be honest with you, other than last year at Jacksonville finishing on the field with that big fourth down call. I don't know that we've lined up and said, 'Hey, we're going to run it, you stop us.' So that was encouraging. And we're going to have to do that. And if we can keep our defense, I think with our defensive football team if we can keep the play count down, you know I think they had 50-something plays yesterday, I think we're going to play pretty good defense. And when you're doing that offensively, you're keeping them off the field."