Kubiak spoke about the status of the team's injured players and who will step up in their place.
While looking forward to Atlanta, head coach Gary Kubiak, team doctors and several players spoke to the media on Monday about the Indianapolis game and the wave of injuries that hit the Texans this weekend, most notably the status of defensive tackle Cedric Killings.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on the status of DT Cedric Killings) "Okay, I'll start with Cedric. All good news on Cedric. Of course, the doctors and Kevin (Bastin) will talk to you when I get through. They can do a better job. But he's up on his feet and actually moving around this afternoon, so it's very positive. It looks like he's going to be fine, but I'm going to let those guys take it from there. So everything is very positive. Ahman (Green), John, the MRI revealed no damage. Basically, he's been working with a pretty good bruise on his knee since Kansas City when he took a shot, but we feel comfortable that he should be back, and hopefully, we have our fingers crossed that that's as we get ready for Atlanta. But he'll be day-to-day for now, and, as I said, there's no damage."
(on if he's looking to sign receivers or running backs) "As of today, I'd like to think that Ronnie (Dayne) is going to be fine and ready to go, so that would be a big positive. At receiver, we definitely have an issue there, so we've got to sign one or we have the option of bringing Eric Williams off the practice squad. We are definitely short-handed there. We're going with three guys heading into this week as we go to Atlanta. That's an option that we will definitely have to explore."
(on the status of WR Jacoby Jones and WR Andre Johnson) "As far as Andre (Johnson), he's still on the immobilizer today. I think we'll take him off that tomorrow or the next day; then we'll start to go day-to-day and see what kind of progress he makes. I would think he's still doubtful as we go into this week. As far as Jacoby (Jones), it's going to be a week-to-week thing. We're hoping two weeks at the least. I should say that we're hoping that it's a two week process with him, but that's going to be a week-to-week deal. It does not look good for him this week. He definitely has some form of separation there."
(on how WR Jacoby Jones performed as a wide receiver) "I think he played pretty good. All those kids played good. They made some plays. They made some mistakes, but he was in the right spot and made the plays he was supposed to make. Kevin Walter played extremely well. Andre Davis came in, and I think we all know how well he played. And Jerome (Mathis) even stepped in and did some good things at the receiver position. They got it done as a group, and we talked about them playing as a group. They played good enough for us to win. They gave us a chance to win. They did a good job."
(on if he would consider re-signing WR Bethel Johnson or WR Keenan McCardell) "We've looked at (WR) David (Anderson); we looked at Bethel; we looked at Keenan. Those were guys that were in camp with us and would catch up with us the quickest. That's something we have to work through, but they are definitely options. Special teams will come into play once again."
(on how much RB Ron Dayne will start) "First off, Ronnie (Dayne) wanted to go on Sunday, but it just didn't make a lot of sense because he wasn't feeling 100 percent. That was going to be a very physical football game. We're sitting there staring at 13 more. Had we sent him out there and walked off the field yesterday with Ahman (Green) in the situation he's in now and Ronnie (Dayne) going backwards, that would be very disappointing. I think right now it's very positive for Ronnie (Dayne) that he's back this week and that he's 100 percent. That's the way you play it, John. I think he'll be fine. I think he'll hold up fine."
(on FB Jameel Cook playing well at running back) "Well, I would say he played well. He didn't get a lot of touches; I want to say he had maybe five, four or five. But we work him at halfback during the week. Actually, last Wednesday he worked exclusively at halfback. But he's a hybrid type of guy, he could do both of those things. He plays for us in the nickel, he's good in pass protection. I was pleased with the way he played and I think he would come back this week and play even better with more reps."
(on if he's ever seen an offense decimated this early) "If we have been, I don't remember. It's a very tough situation, but it is what it is and we've got to push through it. We've got to sit down tonight and decide how we can go beat Atlanta. We've got to figure out what's our best personnel to go with and our guys that are going to be available. And I think through all the adversity, we still found a way to move the ball late in the game and did some good things, gave ourselves a chance to win. But it's a situation we're going to have to find a way to work through. Everybody in this league loses players. We've lost a few, we've had more than our share right now, but we're going to find a way to fight through it and we're going to be better when it's all said and done. These young kids are going to grow up and play well for us."
(on if C Mike Flanagan will start) "Yes. That's why Mike's here. For us to keep both Mike and Steve (McKinney), of course Steve winning the job, but for us to keep two veteran centers on our roster was for this very reason. Now did we think Steve was going to be lost to a season-ending injury? No. But history told us that we would need them both to get through this season. It's happened a lot quicker than we wanted it to and we definitely didn't want it this magnitude, but Mike's been preparing to play. He's a veteran center, he knows what we're doing. And then we've got (C) Chris White, a young kid that y'all know we all think a lot of, so his process will get elevated and those two will work, but Mike's ready to go.
(on if WR Andre' Davis will start) "I think that's a very good possibility. He showed that he's played before. He went in there and he was very effective, made big plays. He's got some speed. He has not been up because of the special teams; that's not a factor with him right now with our receiver situation, he's going to be up. So I think you're definitely going to see him more. Does he start this week? We'll see. We'll see how this week goes."
(on if WR Jerome Mathis or DB Dexter Wynn will return punts) "(Special teams coordinator) Joe (Marciano) and I did not talk about yet that this morning, but I would think they'll both do it. I would think Dexter would start doing it, but Jerome definitely has the ability to do that. We can also do it with (DB Jamar) Fletcher too. Fletcher works back there; we think he would do a very good job for us."
(on WR Jerome Mathis playing more at receiver) "Well. Jerome's turning into a football player. He's covering kicks, we know what he does as a kick returner, he goes in there as a receiver yesterday he grades out 100% - no assignment problems, he's in the right spot, he almost makes a big play with his one catch. I think Jerome's gaining confidence as a player and we're gaining confidence in him as coaches, I can tell you that, because he's doing everything we want him to do and I think he's just slowly becoming a better football player."
(on the running game) "We didn't run the ball well. We got into a situation in the game, as you said, that dictated us having to throw to get back in the game, but we are a little disappointed. We talked as a group this morning offensively and as a team, I don't think we're finishing well in the run game like we need to be as effective as we can be and that's everybody, offensive line, tight ends, running backs. We have to be more committed to that and that starts with me. Our football team needs to run the ball well and do those things to be effective on Sunday. We can't get into must throw situations. That is something we definitely have to improve upon and it will be point of emphasis this week."
(on using a tight end as a receiver) "That's really what we did. You look at the second half and most of the fourth quarter, we played with (TE) Jeb (Putzier) in the slot as a receiver or we can bring him in tight and play in tiger. We have the ability to do that. We were in a situation personnel wise where it was almost who's the freshest guy, let's get him in there. We tried to work out of tiger with Jeb and then go with the three wides. We only had the three receivers for the fourth quarter so we couldn't go exclusively with three wides, but that is a part of our offense every week."
(on the end of the game situation) "I think we played with urgency in that drive. We were going as fast as we could. We made a big fourth down play in that situation. We had plenty of time on the clock to still win the football game, so I thought we were moving with a sense of urgency right there. As far as (K) Kris (Brown)'s situation, really you are doing one or the other, you're onside kicking the ball or you're kicking it deep. Where it ended up was ok with us. Looking back on it, I'd like Kris to take his full approach to the ball, I should say. He only took the short approach which gave them the indication that we might have been onside kicking. That's something we talked about today because I think Kris might have kicked that thing right out of the end zone and you're talking about 10 more seconds right there. That's on us as coaches communicating with him and getting that right."
(on not going for the onside kick at the end of the game) "I talked after the game about it. It's something we definitely talked about. It's a tough call. I think was 2:57 or 2:58 left when we're kicking off. I'm one that tends to go off the flow of the game. To me, we are playing one of the top offenses in football, so that would say onside kick it because you're not going to get it back. Looking at the game, our defense was playing well in the second half. The momentum of our football team was very good. The stadium was just tremendous and loud and we just felt like it favored us getting that ball back. Then after they jump and we have them in first-and-15, I felt even better about it. You have to give to them credit. They had second-and-nine and they throw the ball. Not many teams would have done that in that situation. They did it. They made the play. Hindsight is 20/20. Going back and looking at it, I think I would still do the same thing. We just never got the thing back."
(on concern about getting off the field defensively at the end of the game) "You're definitely concerned with that, but like I said, in the second half I thought we played extremely well. They were 1-for-6 on third downs in the second half. They were 7-for-8 in the first half. That tells you how much better we were playing the second half of the football game. Momentum wise, I thought it was in our favor. At first-and-15 as loud as it was in Reliant, I really thought it was in our favor, but it just didn't work out that way."
(on defensive adjustments at halftime) "I don't know that we ran a lot of different defenses. We played a little bit more man coverage. I just think we tackled better in the second half. We made (QB) Peyton (Manning) move around a little bit more in the second half. The things that we knew we would have to do to win, we did them in the second half, didn't necessarily do them in the first half."
(on RB Ron Dayne and RB Ahman Green getting being healthy enough to play) "That's the hard part in this league. When you get guys beat up, they don't stop and give you a break, you keep going. As coaches, you have to make really tough decisions on game day when a guy is close, you may have to sit a guy knowing that you have many, many more to play. As these guys are taking those shots, it's hard for them to recoup so to speak, so what you hope for is you hope you play a couple of weeks where nothing gets worse and they kind of get everything back and you get going again. We're going to keep going. Like I said, I think (RB) Ronnie (Dayne) will be there for us week. (RB) Samkon (Gado) will be there for us this week. It will be a big, big bonus if (RB) Ahman (Green) is there also."
(on what he saw from RB Samkon Gado) "I think he showed that he was rusty, that he hasn't been playing much. He had a couple of MAs which is unusual for him. In fairness to him, I can't say that we got him going too. I want to say his touches were not many also. I want to say his were somewhere around five or six touches. It's hard for a back to get going with that many touches. He did some good things. He gave us a chance to make some plays but he can play better. We can all play a little better and coach a little better."
(on if having healthy running backs would have affected the last drive of the first half) "Like I said, during that situation right there, our game plan, when we played those guys, we try to limit their possessions. When you limit their possessions, you're limiting yours also. You're trying to make the most out of your possessions compared to theirs. You look at the first half, they had three possessions, I think technically they had four because they had one play before the half, but that's not really a possession, so they had three possessions and we had three. The game is going the way we want it to go. They got a lot out of their three, we didn't get many out of our three. Right there before the half, I'm trying to make sure he doesn't step on the field with three time outs and 1:10 left. If we get the first down on second-and-two, then we're very aggressive. When we get to third-and-two, we have a chance of giving him that ball back. Having our backs, would it have made a difference, I don't know. I don't know if it would have made a difference in what I would have called. We were trying to stay in a two-minute mode. We had our two-minute personnel on the field."
(on if he's worried about Atlanta being a let-down game) "It worries me a great deal because I know if we go there and turn the ball over, we're going to get beat again. They've had a tough go this season and part of their tough go has been because of turnovers. They've been in every game they've played. They've had a chance to win every game they've played and turnovers have been the difference. We've gotten away, for two weeks, turning the ball over. We turned it over against Kansas City. We turned it over against Carolina and we got away with it. We got burnt with it yesterday. If we don't fix it, we're going to have trouble winning this week."
(on the red zone execution) "It shouldn't be difficult because you can't turn it over any place. We had the big punt return. We're very excited, there's a sudden change. Coaching wise, you try to be aggressive. You preach that to your guys that we're trying to be aggressive in that situation and that's one throw he'd like to have back. The kid some great things in the game, too, gave us a chance to win. Definitely one we would like to have back something we have to fix."
(on QB Matt Schaub going back to Atlanta and him being tested) "As far as going back to Atlanta, how he'll handle it, he'll handle it like a pro, just like he handles everything else. As far as him being tested, he was tested yesterday. He had some guys running in and out of that huddle that haven't been in there very much, and boy, he handled them well. I think this kid is only going to get better, as I've told you all. He was 27-of-33 yesterday. He made some great plays taking some shots. Yes, he made some mistakes, but he gave us a chance to win. If he keeps doing the things he's doing, our team's going to get better also. I'm very pleased with his progress, we just have to go fix those couple mistakes that hurt us yesterday."
(on the depth and rotation at safety) "It will stay the same. (S) Von (Hutchins) continues to play well, played well yesterday. Of course, (S) (Michael) Boulware played more yesterday in our nickel, the way we chose to play them defensively. (S) Will (Demps) was really a special teams player yesterday. But I think Will and Michael will continue to get more involved and Von is a kid who has gotten a chance to play and he's taken advantage of his opportunity. He's played extremely well."
(on being concerned with QB Matt Schaub trying to do too much in Atlanta) "No, I don't worry about that. We'll talk about that. That kind of kid, I don't see him going down there trying to prove a point by any means. He's going down there, trying to play his position and give us the best chance to win. Like I said, right now we have to sit down and figure out what gives us the best chance this week with our situation and some the things we have going on. We have a lot of work to do here tonight and tomorrow."
(on the most players lost in a game) "I've been in so many games, I couldn't really tell you. It was interesting just how fast it happened. (RB) Ahman (Green) really got hurt on the first play of the game. That was very difficult. Of course, (DT) Cedric (Killings)'s situation, that's very tough on your team. That's an injury that's tough on your team for your football players and for everybody in that stadium to see that happen. To try and overcome that was very, very difficult. Of course, (C) Steve (McKinney) and then (WR) Jacoby (Jones) it just started happening. They stay focused and kept battling and that's what we're going to have to do."
(on if he addressed the team about all the injuries) "We talk about that stuff all the time. That's something we talk about in training camp that we're going to lose players and guys are going to have to step up. That's part of the game. I told the team today, we know what situations are. We know what our issues are, but let's worry about Atlanta. We'll fix the issues. Somebody will step in and play and they'll get ready to play well, but let's worry about Atlanta. That's all we can worry about. We have figure out a way to win our third game. We get a chance to do that this week. It will be tough with our situation, but we understand what it is and we have to be ready to go."
(on RB Ron Dayne's injury) "He practiced a little bit on Thursday, but his portion of practice was not pad related. We go out on Thursdays wearing pads for a period of time. He did not have them on. He took the part of practice that was unpadded. There were some positive things there, the fact that he was able to practice and he felt good. When he woke up Friday, he was sore again. At that point on Friday, as we walked on the field, we said, 'hey listen, it sure looks like (RB) Samkon (Gado) is going to be the guy going, so lets not take reps away from him, Ronnie. Let's let him practice. Let's see how you feel Saturday morning and we'll re-evaluate the situation.' He wasn't much better. Usually when a player's not looking at you, banging the door down saying I'm ready to go, you know there's probably a problem. Most guys are going to give you everything they got, but when it's all said and done, they have to be honest and tell you I don't think I can help you today."
Texans team physician Dr. Walter Lowe
(on the spinal chord injury that DT Cedric Killings suffered) "It's not fun talking about spinal cord injuries two times in one day, so hope fully we're done with this. But Cedric (Killings), as you know, had an injury on the field during the game yesterday. He had to be immobilized on the field. He was carted off and taken to the hospital to be treated with what was an apparent quadriplegia on the field, which means that on the field he had no movement initially in legs or arms. And as time went on out there, he even started to get a little bit of return in arms and feet at the end of the event. So it looked like the prognosis was going to be okay even on the field as things started to return, but he did have neck pain. We're presuming it's a fracture, and that's a fracture we've seen before. And he is now in the hospital, but out of the neurointensive care unit, up on the floor with resolving neurological symptoms that have improved tremendously just from last night. And I think I'll leave it at that. "
(on if Killings will be okay) "Yeah, he had a fracture of C4, which interestingly enough is the same vertebrate that Kevin Everett fractured. It was not a displaced fracture. It appears to be a stable fracture that Dr. (Rob) Parrish can talk about here in a minute."
(on if Killings broke his cheek bone) "He was worked out for that. He does have a pretty good black eye from this, and black eyes on the football field with helmets on, you want to make sure that there isn't an orbit fracture around it. But he does not have an orbit fracture. "
(on if Killings will play football again) "Well, John, that's the first question everyone wants to know, but I think we are a long ways from that answer right now. He's still in the process of recovering from this. There's still some decisions to make even about whether he needs more medically or not, other than just recovering. So I just think it's premature to even have that discussion"
(on if Killings is moving his neck) "Rob (Parrish) can talk about that too. We have not yet let him flex and extend his own neck, which is kind of the final determination of stability of the neck. I think the presumption is that it's a stable injury right now, but you're right. He's had had the million-dollar work up of CT's and MR's, arteriograms – pretty much all the big doctor words that you can think of to do tests on the cervical spine. And so far, it appears to be a stable injury, but there's still some left to do, which does make the answer to whether he's going to play football just kind of premature. "
Neurosurgeon Dr. Rob Parrish
(on his diagnosis of the injury) "He has a spinal cord injury, and it's a contusion to the spinal cord and it's called a central cord syndrome. And in the central cord syndrome, the spinal cord is compressed so that the maximum pressure is in the middle of the spinal cord. And the way we're arranged inside the spinal cord, the hands are closer to the middle than the feet, so as this resolves, he had some sort of spinal cord shock on the field and he was quadriplegic. And then this all began to resolve so that today, to testing in bed at least, his legs are normal. He's weak in both hands and he's weak in his left arm. And so this has a pattern, a very classic pattern, for a central cord injury. Now that means that the cord was either stretched or something pushed back against the cord. None of our studies show any ligamentous injury. There's no swelling around the ligaments. Of course, he was given this spinal cord injury steroid protocol, which is an approved treatment for a spinal cord injury. And that was started within an hour of the injury, so that's very early to start it. It needs to be started within four hours, but we got it started within an hour thanks to really prompt treatment on the field and prompt movement to Methodist. So the fracture is a fracture through the foramen transversarium, if you want to get your medical books out. And that's a little piece of bone out on the outside of C4 where the vertebral artery goes through, so that put him at risk for an arterial injury and that was one of the reasons we did the MRA, the magnetic resistance angiogram, yesterday to make sure that artery was okay, and it is. Right now, we're looking at no evidence of any spinal cord swelling, even on MR, but we have to do the simple tests. That is under fluoro, we have to see his neck flex and extend under direct visualization to make sure there are no ligamentous injuries, and we're not going to do that until the spinal cord has healed as well as it will heal."
(on whether Killings will be hospitalized for much longer) "For several more days, I expect."
(on if Killings' treatments were similar to the treatments given to Kevin Everett) "I think Everett also got the solu medrol prednisolone spinal cord injury protocol, and then he got some of this other stuff that's not approved and not accepted therapy with the hypothermia."
(on if he expects Killings to walk out of the hospital) "Well, he stood for me this morning at the bedside, so I think he'll walk out of the hospital."
(on the importance of Killings' ability to stand already) "That's huge. That's very big, and we were all applauding."
(on if Killings' ability to move his head is the final determinant in him being fully healthy) "We're not going to let him do that for a while, until we're pretty confident the spinal cord is settling down and there's no swelling in it."
(on if Killings will be allowed to go home with a neck brace) "I expect him to go home with a brace, regardless of that test."
(on the concern over the weakness in Killings' arms) "Of course, that's his deficit right now. He's pretty weak in his left arm."
(on if the possibility of Killings regaining full strength) "Absolutely. Yeah, it might all come back."
Texans head athletic trainer Kevin Bastin
(on the standard procedure for neck injuries on the field) "No, I think everyone pretty much, we all follow the same standards of care. When we went onto the field and the player is in a position like that, you think of everything that may be wrong. Dr. Lowe went to his head immediately and we go through our evaluation of him. He was very alert and responsive to us, and that was very helpful in our quick evaluation on the field because he was able to tell us what was going on with him. Sometimes that's not the case, but he was, again, very alert and he was able to help us to be a little bit more proficient and efficient in what we were doing."
(following up on Bastin's comments) "I just want to follow up on that real quick because there's a take-away here. We get focused on these new things that maybe or maybe not made a difference in the big scheme of things, and the things that we're all taught as we grow up in this world are, 'This is the one thing you don't want to see on a football field and you need to know how to take care of it if you're standing on the side of one.' Whether you be high school or college, pro or whatever, there's a few simple things that make a difference, and that is basically to keep that injury from getting worse until it can get somewhere where it can be evaluated and know what it really is.
"The principles of that are just what you saw on the field yesterday: that the pads were left on; the helmet was left on. Luckily, we didn't have to do anything to the facemask because he was alert and breathing on his own. And those things have to stay on until the initial round of evaluations have been done in the emergency room. And so it's important for parents and high school trainers and high school coaches and everybody else to know that the helmet stays on, the shoulder pads stay on; and that forms our way of immobilizing that spine as it's kind of rigidly taped down to the board and the things that were done to where if it is an unstable spine, it won't bend and injure the spinal cord more. So it looks like it's simple, 'Hey, they're rolling him over; they're doing this; they're doing that,' but there's a method to that whole process.
"Kevin (Bastin)'s right—it should be very standard across the board. But for the parents and the high schools and those things where there maybe isn't the knowledge on the field that happens at a pro event where, shoot, we're doctor toxic at those events. We've got the whole Texas Medical Center in the stands waiting on what we need for it. It's the helmet on, it's the shoulder pads on, it's getting them immobilized and make sure you don't let anything get worse until they get to a point where they can get evaluated."
(on if the cold saline solution treatment given to Kevin Everett is standard around the NFL) "No, it is not. No, I don't think it is going to be. It's a really tough thing and I don't think we really want to go down that because the standard trauma protocols that are proven. And that is certainly something that didn't do any harm and that's a good thing, as are the steroids. But those aren't the principles yet, and I think Rob can address them more. It's really not the standard of care for that yet and the things that are proven.
"Every trauma service, every ambulance service has its protocol for injury, and thank goodness we don't see them very often on the football field compared to on motorcycles and car wrecks and those kind of things, but becoming hypothermic and those types of things are way out there in the medical research world. There are things that haven't yet come into the—I guess this is fair to say—into the standard of care in treating the acute trauma victim with, and I don't think every ambulance is rolling around with iced saline and all of those things to happen."
(following up on Dr. Lowe's comments) "Well, and you have to realize that in order to cool someone's core temperature, so if you want to cool the spinal cord, and you're going to cool the core temperature, you're going to have to lower a huge, 300-pound body temperature. And if your core temperature gets more than about a degree below where your brain and hypothalamus want it to be, suddenly you have uncontrollable shivering. So the only way you can lower a core temperature to what's called moderate hypothermia down to about 93 degrees, you have to paralyze them with medications like we're going to put you to sleep, which means we're going to breathe for you. So it's a huge ordeal and you can't just do it in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
"I mean, to really put someone in even moderate hypothermia is a big medical process that requires intense monitoring, because one of the consequences of hypothermia is cardiac arrest. So you've got to have them on cardiac monitors, be in an ICU setting, have all sorts of monitoring. So giving somebody a bag of iced saline might cool them down a tenth of a degree, but there's absolutely nothing in the literature that says that that's effective in preventing brain injury from stroke or head trauma.
"Now, there are a lot of protocols going on out there right now with brain injury, stroke, hypoxia after cardiac arrest in terms of lowering the temperature, and routinely in the operating room when we're doing some brain surgeries, we let the temperature drift down a degree or two, but the other consequence of letting the temperature drift down is that the blood clotting mechanisms don't work as much. So it's a very complex set of events, and we attempted and we did keep everything in terms of taking care of Cedric to accepted medical practice, and, you know, he's doing great. So we don't have to resort to hypothermia or research means. Do we need to look at this stuff? Absolutely, because you guys have all seen the numbers of spinal cord injuries in the country, so that's a long answer to a short question."
LB Danny Clark
(on if the mood of the team is still upbeat given the injuries) "We're definitely upbeat. It was a tough game, hard-fought battle. We came in on the short end of the stick, but I'm really digging the character of these guys in this locker room. We fought back, tough fourth quarter, we didn't get the win we wanted but at the end of the day I know we've got something to build on for next week."
(on not being able to be afraid of getting hurt) "Definitely. You can't dwell on the whole fact of getting hurt. This is a violent business, violent game, and we take it each step and as precautionary as possible, but when you're out there on the football field, you're definitely trying to stay away from injury and just make plays, so productivity is the main key."
(on how good it was to hear the news about DT Cedric Killings) "Well, it's good. I spent all offseason with him and the guy is - it's a blessing in disguise. It could have been a lot worse given the (Bills TE Kevin) Everett story and all that's happened in this game, so I'm glad he's back on his feet and essentially he'll be back on his feet sooner than later."
(on if he can still have the goal of making the playoffs) "Definitely. The mood and our objective for this team has not changed a bit, despite a couple of injuries, which we don't even know the scope of them all. So at the end of the day, this business, injuries are part of it. And the great teams adjust and we will do just that."
(on digesting the loss and moving on) "Yeah, we give it a 24-hour rule. Even when you win a game, you enjoy it for 24 hours and get on to the next opponent. And that's what we've done; we basked in that defeat a little bit. It hurts, but at the same time, we got over the film, got some corrections, and we're looking to Atlanta right now."
WR Andre Johnson
(on being part of a game where so many injuries occurred) "No I haven't. That was the first time I've ever witnessed something like that. Guys go down and other guys have to step up and play. We have the guys that can do that and it showed on Sunday. We just have to get ready for Atlanta."
(on QB Matt Schaub's role in keeping things together) "I think he's managed everything well. I think the way he acts on the field helps out our team. By him being patient and poised, the offense has no choice but to be patient and poised. I think he's doing a great job when he's out on the field."
WR Jacoby Jones
(on how disappointing it is to be injured) "It's a big disappointment because, you know, I still want to play. I don't want to miss games. I'm not used to missing games and practice, so it's something I've got to deal with."
(on if he ever missed a game at Lane College) "Never missed a game, never missed a practice."
(on what it's going to be like on Sunday having to watch) "Different. Still jumping around and hollering like I'm at practice or playing."
(on if it's worse because it happened with a punter) "No, I mean, that's an athlete. This is the NFL. Punters are athletes, too. That guy's 6-2, 200-something pounds, man."
(on if the punter tried to jar the ball loose) "He tried to do something. He kind of growled when he tackled me, too."
(on what it was the punter did) "Growled. Man, he got physical. It's the NFL."
(on if he growled back) "No, I was growling about my shoulder, though."
DE N.D. Kalu
(on seeing DT Cedric Killings OK in the hospital) "That brought a smile to our face because we didn't know what to expect when we went in there, and just to see him smiling and talking about the game, it was good. And his legs were propped up, so we knew he could move, and that was the biggest concern was we hoped he could walk because you always think the worst. But when we heard that he could walk and everything was fine, we were happy."
(on injuries being a part of the game) "Yeah, I mean it's just the nature of the business, and I think that's what makes a great team is if you have guys who can step up and play like starters. And we'll see in Atlanta because we can't use an excuse, so we'll see what type of team we really are. You've always got focus on the starters, but you really should have focus on the team, and this is a great chance for us to prove that we're a good team, not just a good starting 22."
(on this being an opportunity to see the team's depth) "Exactly, and we've got to step up. (WR) Jacoby (Jones) went down, so whosever going to be returning points is going to have to step up. With (WR) Andre (Johnson) down, you saw (WR Andre') Davis step up big, and guys just gotta step up."
(on leaders like him having to step up now to keep team confidence up) "I think the coaches have done a good job because we've already had meetings, and he just barely mentioned, 'OK, these guys are hurt, next guys in line come on and step up.' We didn't dwell on it. The coaches didn't dwell on it. I think if the players saw the coaches shaking their heads and looking nervous, then it would trickle down to the players, but we didn't see that in meetings today and I think it'll show when we play Atlanta."
(on if it lightened the load to see DT Cedric Killings OK) "Oh, definitely. After the game, we were sick that we lost the game, but then our main focus was like, 'How's Ced doing? What's the word on Ced?' And when we went over there and saw him smiling, that felt like a victory for us because we didn't know what to expect. And as players, when you're a player in this game, you know the risk that you take on when you go out on that field and we knew how bad it could've been and we're just thankful that it wasn't what we thought."
DT Amobi Okoye
(on his thoughts about coming in today and hearing about injuries) "We came in, had a meeting like we usually do after a loss, watch the tape, evaluate what we did right and what we did wrong. Coming in and hearing all the injury reports and stuff is sad to our ears, but there's nothing we can do about it; you've just got to saddle up and keep on going. So people are just going to have to step up and fill our roles. We've got a special thing going on here and I think the so-called backup guys or whatever, however you want to put it, know what is expected of them and know how far we've come so far, and we're going to keep on going."
(on his early lesson about how violent game is) "Yeah, definitely. Every week shocks me, just knowing how injuries occur. Like I'm surprised people go through a whole season without any major injuries because I know everybody's bigger and stronger and faster."
(on if it was a shock to see so many guys go down) "Yeah, from seeing other teams and watching them get hurt from previous weeks, and then I never thought that would happen to us, and just being at the game yesterday and just seeing everybody going down, it was a real big shocker. But like I said, we can't do nothing but just step up. Everybody step up. Turn it up another notch."
(on how it felt to sack Colts QB Peyton Manning despite the loss) "It feels good, you know, because he's the best quarterback in the league right now. But I tell you, I'll trade that sack any day for a 'W,' for that win, because that was real, real, real, real big for me. I really wanted to get a 'W,' be 3-0 starting my NFL career. 2-1 is still good, and (we're) working on our third one right here coming up."
(on his former college coach and current Atlanta coach Bobby Petrino) "He's a heck of a coach, man. Playing for him in college, I know what he emphasizes, what he likes to get done. In college, he carried the team just like a professional team, wanted us to pretty much handle ourselves like we were in the pros. I know everything he's capable of, pretty close to him."
G Chester Pitts
(on the tough game yesterday) "It was rough, but it was one game and we have to move on and get ready for the Atlanta Falcons. That's where our focus is. Obviously we had a bitter taste in our mouth yesterday. There's nothing on our plate now but Atlanta."
(on C Steve McKinney) "(C) Steve (McKinney) and I have been together for six years now so we're not just teammates, we're friends. When he goes down, first I give him crap and tell him he's faking. Then I find out it's a really bad injury, not just a tweak or something. Obviously, it's rough and it's not what you want, but we all know its part of the game. It's just how it works out sometimes. He'll be fine and he'll be at the offensive line dinner again."
(on if he has spoke with C Steve McKinney) "He was in here earlier and I was teasing him again this morning. He was getting some stim on it and he was complaining about it hurting, so I told him to toughen up and stop whining."
(on if a successful season is still possible with all the injuries) "That's what we play for. Every time you suit up, strap up, every time you take the field, you think about winning the game and if you win enough games, everything else takes care of its self. I was never a big playoff or any other talk type person, I just want to win games. I want to finish fourth quarters. I just want to play better and everything else will take care of it self."
(on the running back situation) "It's goes back to what Coach Kubiak said when (WR) Andre (Johnson) got dinged. You can't replace that player, you just need everyone else to play a little bit better and that's what makes up the difference. For us, when one goes down, the next person has to step in and do just as well."
CB Dunta Robinson
(on missing key players yesterday) "Definitely, it would have been nice to have (WR) Andre (Johnson). It would have been nice to (RB) Ahman (Green), (RB) Ron Dayne. It would have been nice to have all those guys. They had a complete team, so it would have been nice to see us come out with ours. That's the way these things go in this league and you have to find a way to win without those guys."
(on if this team is ready to move on to the next game) "We really have no choice because there are still games to be played. They are not going to wait for guys to get healthy. We have to put guys in and we have to keep moving. I think we've digested it well. We have a hungry Atlanta team coming up. They haven't won a game. They're trying to get their first win. We know it's going to be a tough game for us, but we're going to come out here, we're going to work hard and we're going to expect to win this game on Sunday."
(on going to face a winless team) "I know how hungry they are, that's why I said they're going to be a hungry team. I'm used to being in that situation. Both teams are coming off losses. We're looking forward to getting back on the winning side, trying to finished the first quarter of the season 3-1 and I know they're looking forward to getting their first win. It's going to be a good game.'
(on the injuries piling up yesterday) "Definitely, especially when you see key guys going down. You know (WR) Andre (Johnson) is out so you plug (WR) Jacoby (Jones) and it kind of gives you a sigh of relief and then he gets hurt and you're like, 'oh man, what's next?' Then we lose (RB) Ron Dayne and then (RB) Ahman Green goes down. It's tough. We're going to stick together as a team. Who's to say who's going to play this week? Hopefully all those guys will be back, but who knows what's going to happen. Like I said, we can't focus on the guys that are missing. We can't feel sorry for ourselves. We have to go out there and make what we have work."
QB Matt Schaub
(on his thoughts on moving forward after a tough game) "Well, it was a tough game and a divisional opponent and we didn't play as well as we would've hoped and we didn't get the job done, but it's 1/16 of the season. We've got to focus on what it's going to take to go to Atlanta and beat a good Falcons team, so we've just got to put our sights on that game. We came in today and learned from the film and learned from our mistakes and trying to maximize what we can go out and do this week."
(on what he thinks about going back to play Atlanta) "Well, it's going to be exciting. It's another opponent, and that's the way we're approaching it. It's obviously a place I've been and I know the guys well there, so it's going to be exciting to go back there and play. But again, we've got to keep it in perspective that it's one part of our season."
(on the loss of C Steve McKinney) "Well, it's definitely tough. Any time you lose a player, especially for the season, it's a tough blow because he's been a big part of what we've been able to do here so far this season, so it's definitely tough."
(on moving forward with the loss of all the players) "Well, we lost some guys, and what we have to do is we just have to move forward. We have to have guys step up and make plays and fill the roles, and so we'll get the job done collectively. It's tough to any time you have injuries."
(on if he saw DT Cedric Killings after his injury) "Well, I saw him there when we were on the field there. I didn't make it over there to see him last night, but definitely, he's moving and doing well, and hopefully in time he'll be able to recover."
(on if it lifted their spirits to know he's going to be OK) "Oh, definitely. When we found that out, it was a huge lift in spirits. Because any time you see an injury like that, it just puts everything into perspective of the game of football that we play. Sometimes you get lulled to sleep with some of the minor injuries that can occur and then when something like this happens twice now so far this season in the league, your heart goes out to those families and those guys."
(on if he still has the same goals as he did in training camp) "Oh, without a doubt. It's still early. We're only three games into the season; it's a long 16-game season, so some of those guys'll be back that have got nicked up and they'll be back in time and we just have to in the meantime have guys step up and fill those roles."
(on how much it helps with what WR Andre' Davis was able to do) "It was huge for him to get out there and make the plays that he made. We saw through OTA's and training camp the type of impact that he could have. He was inactive the first couple weeks due to numbers, but he showed that during training camp that he could make plays for us, so we had confidence that he was going to be able to go out and get the job done."
(on if this game jumped out at him after he signed with Houston) "Well, it did. I noticed that we were going to be going back to Atlanta and early in the season, and I think any time that you're a player in this league and you go from one team to the next and you're going to face that team that you were previously on that next year, you notice it and it jumps out at you. But again, you've got to be focused on that next game and what it means to the ball club and not get looking ahead. The week is upon us and now we can focus on what we have to do to beat Atlanta."
(on if the game takes on any other meaning than the others) "No, it doesn't. It's one game. It's 1/16 of your season; that's how you have to approach every game. They all mean a lot."
(on if he personally has something to prove to Atlanta) "No. I just feel in this league, any time you're a player, you have to prove week in and week out that you're a capable player at this level and that you can go out and win games."
(on what he's found out about this team through three games) "You know, we have a lot of guys that are going out there and fighting and no matter what the circumstance. We've been down, we've been up, and guys fight to the end. We have four quarters of effort going on on all phases of the game, and it's just a matter of making the plays and minimizing the mistakes."
(on what happened on the interception in the end zone) "There was nothing that happened in the game that we weren't expecting, it's just a guy made a play. I tried to drill it in a window and he made a good play on it. It was just a bad decision."
(on if he saw anything on film today that improve in the running game) "Well, I think once we got down, we had to throw the ball to get back in the game because we were down by a couple of scores, so we had to throw the ball. Obviously, you want to get the running game going and that's going to be a key emphasis this week is that we need to start running the ball better and we just have to have guys step up."
(on if C Steve McKinney is especially good as a run blocker) "Definitely, he's a good blocker in the pass and in the run, so he'll be missed. But (C) Mike Flanagan can step in and get the job done as well."
(on what he's learned about himself being a starter for the first time) "Well, I think it goes along with the team concept that we're going out there and fighting no matter what good happens in the game, what bad happens. We just go on to the next play and execute to the best of our ability, and so there's a great resolve about guys on this team and us as a collective unit."
(on how frustrating it was to get the ball back with only 19 seconds left) "Any time you're in that situation, you just have to hope your defense can go out there and get a three-and-out so you can get the ball with the most time on the clock as possible, and it just so happens they have a pretty good offense and we weren't able to get it back until, what was it, like 20 seconds. Tough situation, but you just hope that you can have enough time to get down and have a last shot."
(on what kind of reception he's expecting in Atlanta) "Oh, I don't know. I haven't really thought too much about that."
(on if it matters to him) "No, it doesn't."
(on if he could compare Houston to Atlanta) "So far, it seems to be pretty similar. I've gotten to Houston, and the cities are similar as far as the size and things to do and places to go and fun things to get involved with, but obviously I've only been here six, seven months and I've been living in this building here (Reliant Stadium) for a good majority of it.'
(on if he hasn't done much of the tourist thing yet) "Not a whole lot just yet."
(on if he has family in Atlanta) "My parents live there."
(on what the Atlanta game will be like for them) "Well, it'll be good for them because they don't have to get on an airplane to travel to a new city. They just can drive 20 minutes and they're there, so it'll be good for them, they can get a break from traveling."
(on if they've been to all three of his games so far) "Yes."
(on if he talked to C Steve McKinney about the injury) "Oh, yeah, I saw Steve earlier today. I talked to him. He's obviously frustrated and disappointed that happened, but he fought through it. He kind of got nicked up earlier in the game and fought through it and it was just a shame that that happened. But Steve's in good spirits. You can't do anything about it now. You just have to rehab and get back as soon as you can."
(on the personal pride of going back to Atlanta with some success) "Well, we've had some success. We're 2-1 right now and we're excited to look for our third win."
(on if he misses anything about Atlanta) "Well, obviously, I was there for three years and I had family there, so there is some familiarity once I was there for the extended period of time. But I'm loving Houston and being here."