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Monday quotes


Kubiak reviewed the running game and the needed improvements in the red zone.

Head coach Gary Kubiak reviewed the Texans' tough loss to the Jaguars, and several players also spoke to the media on Monday at Reliant Stadium.

Head coach Gary Kubiak

(on if there are any new injuries) "Other than just really being beat up, I think we're OK. Quarterback got beat up a little bit. Ahman (Green) came out of the game OK. Just regular bumps and bruises. Probably a little moreso when you get beat, but I think we're OK."

(on WR Andre Johnson) "He's progressing well; very, very hopeful that he's ready to go this week. Probably find out more tomorrow. We'll run him tomorrow. We liked the progress we saw last week, so we've just kind of got our fingers crossed that he's ready to go this week. So we'll see; we'll know more Wednesday."

(on how the reserves played on the last drive, including C Chris White) "He did some good things. He moves around, he's a smaller guy. Body quickness, getting out on screens, stuff like that, I thought very valuable reps for Chris. He did some good things. Of course, Sage (Rosenfels) does what you would expect him to do. He was exceptional getting rid of the football and going down the field. Let's see, who else at that time? Samkon (Gado) played a lot for Ahman (Green). Samkon needs to protect the quarterback better in pass protection, but it was nice to get some of those guys some reps. Jordan Black got some reps there in passing situations and held up OK. In a bad situation, it's good to get some of those young guys some playing experience."

(on C Chris White being smaller) "Chris is high-280s; that's small by standards nowadays. But he can reach guys. He's very quick. Of course, this team had two huge players inside that they could put on your nose and they could get their front however they want to get it to work on a smaller guy. But I thought the time that Chris played, he played well, and we'll continue to look at him. I think he's definitely shown some promise in camp. He may have taken a step or two backwards losing some weight. As the season got going, he's gained that back, he's practiced better, so we'll see."

(on what he saw on tape about the flag that was picked up on a touchdown) "I really don't get caught up in that stuff too much. You've got to play. They're going to make the calls. If they don't go your way, you can ask why or what happened on that particular play. They're basically saying that he was engaged the whole time, that he never became disengaged, so by saying that, they would say that's legal. We got the same explanation last night that we got today. They've got to make the call, we've got to play. We can't worry about that."

(on if it made him sick to watch the tape) "Any time you go on the road, especially against, here's a football team that doesn't give up a lot of points, not many people have been moving the ball on them, and you go right down the field two times in a row and you've got a chance to get off to a 14-0 lead, it's just disappointing because we couldn't have started any better but had nothing to show for it. And then we get two turnovers and we only get three (points) out of that. As a football team, like I said, to be in that position on the road, we should've been staring at 17, 21 points right there, and you're not. But I will say this: That's part of the game. And when you walk in at halftime, you know some guys are disappointed that you don't have the points but the game was 10-6. There was a lot of football left to play. The thing that we've got to look at, we've got to look at the second half. We're in a 10-6 ballgame on the road, that's fine. We come out and they got three possessions, three touchdowns and we turned the ball over twice. We got dominated in the second half as a football team. So yeah, it's obvious what could have happened early that could have changed the game but it's also obvious what happened in the second half. That's what disturbs me."

(on how tough that is to see the progress but not results) "Well, it's very, very tough because we knew what type of team we were facing down there. And we thought it would be a low-scoring, battling football game, which that's what it was up through the first half. But like I said, the second half, just very disappointing. Offensively, I look at it offensively and we continue to move the football. You have 400 yards of offense at Jacksonville, you're moving the ball. We're making a lot of plays in the passing game. We're misfiring in the running game for many reasons as I told you last week, and really this week's no different. We did do some things better, believe it or not. The stats don't show that, but we did. But we got down and threw the ball pretty much every down in the second half. Defensively, we got turnovers. They did not punt all day, so that tells you right there, that's not good. But we did get two turnovers which should have helped our football team a lot in the first half and we didn't take advantage of those turnovers. But in the second half, like I said, we were dominated. They had three drives, and I could be wrong, but they had a 78, 73 and 81 (yard drive) I think. When a team's doing that to you and you're turning the ball over, it's going to get ugly real fast and that's what happened there in the fourth quarter."

(on if the problems in the red zone are tied to the running game) "I definitely think to be a good football team in the red zone, you've got to run the ball well. I go back and look at it, I could sit here and dissect every series for you, but the first two times that we go down there, we miss two plays that we made in practice on Friday. Exact same play, exact same defense. We made the play on Friday at 11:30, didn't make it at Jacksonville at 1:30. That's the way I look at it. You've got to make those plays, and we'd love to have them back. You don't get them back. You've got to make them, whether it's a throw, whether it's a run, whether it's a penalty that hurts you. I guess the good news is we're getting down there, but the bad news is we're not taking advantage of getting down there."

(on if it's mental or physical) "I think it could be a little bit of both. Sometimes I know I as a coach, you think if you hammer something so dang much, are you getting a negative response? But at the same time, you can't run away from the problem. You've got to address the problem. So we'll just keep working on it. We've addressed it. We've had good meetings today. Everybody understands what has to get better, what has to change for us to progress and win games like that. We're just going to keep pushing to do that."

(on RB Maurice-Jones Drew's long touchdown run) "We're in Navajo. The thing that's very discouraging about us holding up against the run yesterday, which is obvious we did not, if I was sitting here telling you we were playing a lot of 2 Deep and Quarters and stuff like that and playing seven-man fronts and not holding up against the run, you'd say hey we've got to get an eighth guy in the box. But we had an eighth guy in the box all day. We played them in man coverage, we played them in Navajo, which is a bear defense, the old Buddy Ryan defense, and they still shoved it at us. So there's no excuse for what we had down there. We should've stopped it and we didn't."

(on if he can pinpoint what went wrong) "I can't pinpoint one thing. There's numerous things. Our first run yesterday is a nine-yard gain, and to be honest with you, it should've been about a 29-yard gain. You've got to take advantage of opportunities, and we had another in the second drive. We ran another play where Ahman (Green) cuts the ball back and we're not doing our job on the back side or it's a big play. I could sit here and tell you that over and over again but there's many things. We're not doing the job up front, not running as good as we can run. It's a combination of things. I hate to give you the same answer every week, but we've just got to keep battling and find a way. I thought Ahman, I don't think he's himself yet, but I think he's close. It's good to get out of the game with him healthy. I think he needs the work and I expect him to come back this week and be even better. He was awful close a couple of times yesterday. We've got to keep working for him, because if we can get him out in space, he can do some damage, and we didn't quite get it done."

(on why DT Anthony Maddox started over DT Amobi Okoye) "It was something that was between me and Amobi. That was a team deal, just between us."

(on how the defensive line played) "Not good enough. I thought, to point out some players, I thought Travis Johnson played his best game, did some good stuff. Anthony Weaver continues to play very consistent. Other than that, I don't think we played good enough as a group. We didn't get pressure. We missed some gaps. They missed their gap on the big run, so as a group, it's just not good enough, but a couple of players did stand out and do some good things."

(on finding a balance in the red zone) "I think we are sticking with what we do to be honest with you. The things we practiced on Friday, it's not like all of a sudden we went down and changed the other day. We practiced our quarterback draw on third down inside the five Friday and we got the exact defense we worked on it against, we just didn't get it done. We practiced that keeper in the red zone Friday, Matt (Schaub) hit Kevin (Walter) in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, and we made the play on Friday. We just didn't make it. Whatever we think we're going to do down there, we're going to practice it and then go try to perform it. We just did not do that. Other situation back at the other end, Matt misses a throw I know he would love to have back to Owen Daniels. Another time we got down there and the first thing we did when we stepped inside the 20 was jump off sides. It's just a combination of things. If it gets fixed, when it gets fixed, there's going to be a lot of points out there to be had. But there's a lot of work to be done to get it fixed."

(on Tennessee's run defense) "I'm just getting going on them to be honest with you. We had some long meetings today and I can't sit here and say that I've watched a whole lot of them yet. That's where I'm heading. I just know that they're playing extremely well. They're playing in a lot of games like Jacksonville has played in, run-oriented games, short games, those types of things. They're playing exceptional on defense. They get a lot of pressure on the quarterback. I think they do a great job there. I really have a hard time talking too much about them right now without me looking at a lot of tape today, so I'll get caught up tonight. They're a fine football team. They went on the road against a heck of a football team in Tampa and missing their quarterback, still had a chance to win that football game, so that tells you how well they're playing."

(on being disappointed how they are controlling the line of scrimmage defensively) "Let me make sure that I express my disappointment across the board, not just in the things we didn't do well defensively. It's same way on offense and special teams. We give them an onside kick. Our kick return was about as poor as it's been all year when we talked about the field position being part of the game. There's disappointment across the board. There's not a position that can't play better in the football game than we played. I don't want to sit here and just talk about that one group. We as a football team got beat and got beat up bad in the second half. That's a big disappointment as a team."

(on approaching this week not knowing if QB Vince Young is going to play) "I'm not avoiding that, but like I've said, I've been so consumed with our problems and trying to fix yesterday that I really didn't know about what happened until (Texans vice president of communications) Tony (Wyllie) said something to me after the ball game yesterday. We have to prepare for their football team. They're going to run it first. They've got two excellent backs back there. I think their offensive line, I know their offensive line coach, to me, one of the most respected coaches in football in what they're doing. We have to prepare for their football team and, like I said, it will be a tough, tough assignment for us. We're going to have to play a lot better than we did yesterday. We have to go fix our issues to have a chance to beat this football team."

(on if there is anything else he can do to help the defensive line) "We're doing that. We're moving them around. We played quite a few fronts yesterday. We moved around. We think we did some different things. We better find a few more different things. The bottom line, I think we need to take our base stuff and play it better, number one. You have to be able to do that first. Gimmicks to me are not the answer when you have problems. If anything, you have to settle down and do your base stuff better."

(on having two healthy quarterbacks and how QB Matt Schaub has been playing) "I feel very fortunate. You look at the film yesterday, our guy took a lot of shots. He's been exceptional in getting rid of the football. Where we stand right now sack-wise, how many do we have, 10 as a football team, it's been exceptional as far as him getting rid of the football. He took a lot of shots yesterday, so we feel very fortunate. You guys know how much I think of Sage (Rosenfels) and the way he handles himself and how he plays, I think he's a very capable starter in this league. As far as Matt, Matt's doing some unbelievable stuff, but the whole idea here is to get Matt to be a great player. To get in that status of some of these names that we can call out here, that's where we are heading with this kid and I think he's got a chance to do that. We're going to be very hard on him. He's going to be very hard on himself. I think I could probably say this every week, Matt could take, if there were 65 snaps, Matt could take 60 of them and you would say, 'God, that's as good as the guy could play.' But there are five out there that – we have to protect the ball in the pocket. There's no excuse for putting the ball on the ground. I don't care who's hitting you or how they're hitting you. There were a couple of plays he missed in the red zone yesterday. He'll be the first to tell you that. Our battle with Matt, to me, is achieving a level that's one step above the average guy. We've got to get Matt to do that for this organization for a long, long time. I think he's heading in that direction and I know he's very, very difficult on himself. We just have to keep pushing him."

(on how CB Fred Bennett played yesterday) "He made a big play on the turnover. He's doing some good stuff. He played against the big receivers, which I think Fred kind of matches up well against those guys. I guess I would just sum it up this way: He did some good things, but I think there is another level for Fred to reach for our team. I think Fred's a capable starter in this league week in and week out and I think if he continues to develop better practice habits and preparation habits and plays more physical, then I think Fred has a chance to be a fine, fine player. He's not there yet."

(on what will happen when WR Andre Johnson gets healthy with WR Kevin Walter and WR David Anderson stepping up) "It's a tough call. We've talked about that up there as coaches because we have some other issues. All of sudden Andre comes back and Harry (Williams) is playing well on special teams. That's a nice problem to have. I've been so proud of our receivers and how they've played, how we've been throwing the ball around and the plays they've been making. I'll start with Kevin (Walter). I'll you all exactly what I told the players in here about an hour ago in front of everybody. I said, 'You know what, I'm going to tell you what. I don't care where we play or who we play, you all can count on this kid. He'll do anything he has to do for us to win. That's blocking in the running game. He'll play special teams. He'll go make a tough catch.' You know what, we see that everyday in practice and when guys do that out there in practice, they tend to keep doing that on Sunday. He's a very accountable kid. His teammates can count on him. David (Anderson) has just gotten better and better. He makes a couple of tough plays for us yesterday. I think he can still play better. He's a good slot receiver. He's very tough. He'll block you. The group's mentality and the way they're playing has been a pleasant surprise and I think it's happened just for the simple fact that we've given them a chance. Sometimes you're always looking for the veteran guy or the guy who's done it before and sometimes you don't just stick the young kid out there and say go play. When you do that, you find out what they're made of, and I've been very surprised."

(on any lineup changes or other guys he wants to see more) "I would sum it up this way: I think we have young players that have been battling really, really hard on the practice field that deserve some time on the field. To sit here and say we're going to change our lineup or something, I don't see that. I think we may get some younger guys involved, whether that's playing a little bit a week at a time. The problem you always have on game day is suiting up 45 players. You take a young player, I'll give you an example. You take a young player like (Kasey) Studdard. I think it's time for Studdard to get some reps with this football team the way he's been practicing. The problem is, you have to suit eight offensive linemen to do it, so you have to pull from some place. We may have to find a way to do that to get him involved. Those are issues you're always dealing with. I think our kids are playing hard. They're not playing perfect by any means, but I don't see anybody out there who's not giving 100 percent effort, but I think we do have some young kids that deserve an opportunity to play a little bit, so we'll see how that goes."

DE N.D. Kalu

(on what his mindset is today) "Just figure out what we did wrong, lot of film study, try to figure out what we need to do better then just try to forget it. I mean, if we sit here and dwell on it all week, it'll just be like a snowball effect. So we've just got to get the bad taste out of our mouth."

(on the game being like a snowball going downhill that they couldn't stop) "You're right. That's exactly what happened. It started off when I let that guy (RB Fred Taylor) run for a 60-yard play on the second play, 60- or 70-yards, and after that we just couldn't stop the run. You've got to start fast, and we didn't do that on defense in terms of stopping the run and it just got uglier and uglier."

(on if he can pinpoint what went wrong against the run) "Not being in the right gap, because I know on the play that I messed up, I'm supposed to take the C gap and I let the tight end cut me off and he ran through the C gap. On other plays, one guy was out of position and it's just like, any time one guy makes a mistake, it's like they took advantage of that one mistake."

(on how they can correct that) "Just pay more attention to our gaps. It's not about just effort, because we always have great effort. Even when we watch the film, as bad as we got beat, you see guys running around busting their butts trying to make plays. But we've just got to be more technique-sound and gap-sound, especially against a great running team that we've got coming in."

(on how shocking it is to be 3-3) "It's shocking, because after those first couple of games, it really felt like we were going to win the majority of our games. To be 3-3 doesn't feel good right now, but you've always got to look at the brighter side. You know, you could be St. Louis, who's 0-6, or these other teams that are really struggling. We know if we get better, we still have a chance to get to the playoffs, and that's our ultimate goal."

(on the key to getting the defense off the field) "Sacks. When it's third-and-long and they're getting first downs, it starts up front. It means we're not getting enough pressure; we're not getting enough sacks. That's it."

(on what the defensive line needs to do) "We've just got to rush better. You can't sit up here and make excuses. You look all over the league, you've got guys with six, seven sacks and for us not to have any or just to have one that game, you can't really point the finger at anybody."

(on if he has QB Vince Young's overtime run from last season in his head) "If you don't, you weren't at that game. That's all you remember from that game. I remember it clear as day. We've just got to make sure that the game's not that close so he can't make such a spectacular play. But he's one of those guys, he's just a winner. You throw the stat sheet out the window when you talk about Vince Young, because all he does is win and it's going to be a huge challenge for us to rush him and make sure we keep our lane integrity because if we're out of place, he's going to find it, he's going to run for about 10 or 15 yards."

(on if QB Vince Young's low quarterback rating) "It doesn't matter. He's a winner. All they need to have is a 'W' by his name, because he finds a way to pull games out, a way to win them. I know his stats might not look good on paper, but you can't let that deceive you because he's going to go out there and try to win."

(on if he thinks QB Vince Young's quad strain will matter on Sunday) "No. He'll be alright. Especially it's his hometown and he feels like he got passed up on the draft. He's definitely going to make sure he does whatever he has to do to get out there, so we're expecting to see him play."

DT Amobi Okoye

(on what stood out on film about what went wrong) "Definitely poor tackling – just terrible, terrible tackling. I'm just speaking from the defensive side of the ball. We've just got to go back to the fundamentals of tackling. I think a lot of times you get away and think about scheming so much, you miss the fundamentals. And then again, we're a big team; we thrive on big hits. So a lot of guys are wanting to get the "yaks" or the big hits and don't wrap up, especially going against real good backs like (Maurice) Jones(-Drew) and (Fred) Taylor and Ronnie Brown. Those are all great running backs, and guys like that, you've definitely got to wrap up against them. We just didn't get that done."

(on the small margin of error) "It really emphasizes that and lets you know, that's of great importance, that scheming is not always going to get it done. It's all about just playing football when it comes down to it, and that's one thing we've just got to do. We're 3-3, have a chance with Tennessee coming in here of advancing to 4-3. So that's what we're working on right now."

(on if the game hurts anybody's confidence) "I don't think so. I know personally, me, it's not. One thing I've come to learn about is things happen; one thing I've always learned and one thing I live by since college is it's not all about the situation, but about how you respond to it. So that's my plan and goal from now until Sunday – it's not about the situation, it's how you go respond to it."

(on if just getting off the field will be a big goal this week) "Definitely. Our goal every time we step onto the field is three-and-out, cause a turnover. But it's going to be really emphasized this week."

LB DeMeco Ryans

(on what was most telling in the film work today) "I think it was guys being out of position or just being in position and slipping up, not making the tackles. I think it was just out of position."

(on how so many guys get out of position six weeks into the season) "It wasn't everybody, it was just one or two just took a wrong step here or there and those backs are the type of backs that have the ability to make big plays on us if we weren't in position to make the plays. It's a credit to those guys. They're good backs."

(on if this emphasizes how small the margin of error is in the NFL) "It's a very small margin of error and you have to be solid every week. Week in and week out, you have to play solid and you have to play great for four quarters."

(on what the defense has to do to return to its early-season form) "I think we're there, it's just two plays. They had over 100 yards on two plays. We know with the run, it's just a matter of us just stepping up and making the plays – somebody doing something a little extra, beating a block and making a play."

(on how different it is this week because they have two good running backs and a quarterback that can scramble) "We're just going to prepare for them just like everyone else. We have to be especially alert for (QB) Vince (Young) to get out and make plays on third down with his feet. I think we're going to put in some calls to help it. Other than that, we still have to focus on their running game and stop the run and make Vince beat us with passing the ball."

WR Kevin Walter

(on having a great game but not winning) "Exactly, you go out there and perform and all that doesn't really mean anything because you go out there to win. That's what it all comes down to, winning and losing. We lost yesterday. We just have to come back, correct the mistakes that we made and prepare for Tennessee."

(on if he amazed himself by how wide open he was yesterday) "No, I didn't amaze myself. I work hard during the week to run routes and be precise and do all that. I wasn't surprised. We just have to continue to execute and we'll be fine."

(on never giving up the fight) "That's one thing you won't find on this team, no one's going to give up. Everyone's going to continue to fight no matter what the score is and we'll continue to work hard. The great thing about it is we get to play Jacksonville again later in the year. Now we're 3-3. It's not the end of the road. We will continue to work hard. We have Tennessee, a division opponent, coming in our house this week and we'll be ready."

(on QB Matt Schaub missing guys) "The one thing (QB) Matt (Schaub) was doing too was he was making plays on his own, which was great. He was scrambling and creating plays, and that's a great thing that he does and he did it very well."

(on being able to help the team as much as he did yesterday) "That's what I work hard to do is go out there and help this team move the ball and make plays. I got an opportunity to do that yesterday and I just have to continue to do that. Us as a receiving group, we have guys that can do that and make plays from the beginning. We're going to be just fine. We're going to get (WR) Andre (Johnson) back, (WR) Jacoby (Jones), everyone is going to be rolling on all cylinders. We're in good shape."

DE Anthony Weaver

(on the matchup with Tennessee) "It all starts with the quarterback, with Vince Young. He's one of those guys that he's capable of breaking or making the big play every play he's out there. So we've got to account for him, and we know they're going to try to run the ball and rely on their defense who's also been playing well. So it's going to take a team effort, and we know if we come through with that, we can win the ball game."

(on how shocking it was that they weren't able to get off the field yesterday) "The last two games in particular, we've had trouble on third down. And once again, I think that's just assignments – knowing the down and distance, knowing the situations and executing the calls. If we go out there and do that, I think we can handle that and get off the field. But we'll be alright. Guys are playing too hard right now, and we're going to get it corrected."

(on how much it would change their mindset if QB Vince Young can't play) "That'd be huge, just because you've got a guy back there (QB Kerry Collins) that's not very mobile. As a defensive line, you can pin your ears back on a pass rush situation and try to go after him. That's something you can't do with Vince, because there's always that – you saw what happened last year against us when we pinned our ears back, he goes and runs for a touchdown, so if Kerry Collins is back there, that'd be huge for us probably."

(on if mistakes six weeks into the season are caused by pressing) "I don't know. Maybe we've just got to handle the adversity a little better on the road. That's something that all teams go through. And we're going to grow throughout the season. The thing about it now is just continue to get better and not take a step backwards."

(on what he says to DT Amobi Okoye about still having 10 games left) "Hey, I told him he's got 10 bowl games, alright? Because it's time to play; we're just getting started. But he'll be alright. He's got those young legs."

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