Head coach Gary Kubiak and players spoke to the media Wednesday afternoon during open locker room and following practice.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on what he hopes to see defensively this week) "We've just got to improve, and that's our whole football team. We have to take some steps forward. They went against two very good offensive football teams, and we have give up too many big plays, have not been very good on third downs. We have a tremendous amount of room for improvement, and that's what we have to do because this group coming in this week has got big play weapons, just as good as anybody in this league. So we're going to have to play well."
(on C Mike Flanagan practice time before he could start) "I think he could actually play without practicing. He has been around long enough, and knows what we're doing. I think it'll be day-to-day. It'll be touch and go, but if he can't go we'll play (C) Drew (Hodgdon) there, and Drew will work all week as if he's going to be the guy. And then we'll see what happens."
(on C Drew Hodgdon at center for G Steve McKinney to focus on guard) "Yeah, that's why the kid's here. If something's wrong with Mike, then he has to step in there and play. We have confidence in him that he can do that, and it helps us keep our rotation at guard and not have to move too many people around. You have to have confidence in the guys that are in a backup situation. You never know. When those guys get an opportunity like that and take advantage of them, sometimes they never come off the field. Hopefully he'll step up and play well."
(on CB Philip Buchanon ability to contribute on special teams) "Well, he looked good in practice today, that was a big deal. He said he was ready to go when he came out today. It looked like he practiced well. So it'll be day-to-day. We definitely need him. We have some problems back there with (CB Demarcus) 'Petey' (Faggins) still basically taking a roster spot and not playing. When Philip was out it was two roster spots on gameday, which was very difficult. So we need him back for this game."
(on newly signed CB Derrick Johnson) "He just worked out extremely well yesterday. He has some experience. He did some things in San Francisco, so we like the fact that he's played in this league and been in some, you know, been on the filed and been in some big games. So you expect him to hop in there and not be overwhelmed by a quick, quick presence out there."
(on RB Samkon Gado) "I feel good. I liked what I saw last week. I liked practice today. His and (RB) Ronnie (Dayne)'s play will pick up with our football team every week as we go. It should be a good combination, and I think it helps (RB) Wali (Lundy) too. Because I think there is a lot of pressure on Wali going into those first two weeks. I think he can get some help from those two guys and help us on special teams more. So expect the two new guys to pickup the tempo."
(on Washington's defense) "The speed that they play at, I think that (defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams) does a tremendous job of getting his group ready top play. They'll come and get you, and are very fast with what they do. You have to protect the quarterback or else they can beat you up pretty well. They're very athletic. The one safety is probably as good of a player as there is in this league. He does a good job with that scheme."
(on facing another elite defense) "I think you're seeing that all around the National Football League. If you just watch what has happened the first two weeks in this league, the scoring is really down. There are some great defensive football teams that have been put together. There is a big emphasis on that in this league. And we need to do the same thing here because defense gives you a chance to win every week. So they have done a good job there with that. Last year they were exceptional. And we know we'll get their best shot. They can't be feeling real good right now. We know they'll come in and play well against us."
(on who will start at RB) "No, we'll decide that as the week goes through. It will probably be (RB) Wali (Lundy) or (RB) Ronnie (Dayne), on of those two."
(on Washington RB Clinton Portis) "Oh, he'll be back. I know he will. I can just tell watching him on the sidelines in the part of the game I saw the other night. He's a competitor. He wants the ball. I know he's the type of kind that when things aren't going great, to say give me the ball, and make them right. So I know that's the type of effort we'll get from him."
(on whether stopping more big plays might help the defense) "Yeah, well it all matters. We're giving up too many plays. We have to find a way to get off the field on third downs is probably the biggest issue right now. But a lot of times if you do knock a ball out in the redzone or have a pick or fumble it can negate some of those things that are happening to you. So we have to protect the ball. They need to get it out a few more times. Winning turnover battles every week gives you a chance, so that important to our team."
(on the third down defense issues are some mental) "Well, you know we did in the first half against Philly, but from then on we haven't been able to get them off the field in the last six quarters. Yeah, its disturbing because Peyton (Manning) and them (the Colts) were nine of 12 actually, I think, and they actually dropped the ball and he missed one, so it could have been worse. But that's a point of emphasis, and I know its obn everybody's mind right now. All you can do is just really grind on it and work on it, and have players step up and make plays. There's no way around it. You just have to do a better job."
(on blitzing problems)"Well, if you blitz you've got to get there in this league. If you blitz, and you can't get there, you're exposing your back end. So you've got to have confidence. (defensive coordinator) Richard (Smith) has got to have confidence that if he brings five or six, that we're not going to have to hold on back there long. Unfortunately that hasn't been the case, you know, he brought a couple of zone dogs last week and brought a five-man pressure and played man and he's back there holding the ball too long. That's just something we've got to do a better job in."
(on whether the blitzes are not working) "We're not getting there on a consistent basis. We've got to get there. We've got five one-on-ones in pass pro, somebody's got to come free and make you get the ball going. We've got to do a better job there."
(on a specific blitzing percentage he wants) "I mean, that all depends on the flow of the game, too, and how a game is going. I would like us to be a pressure football team and I feel like we can do that. We've had a couple of issues in our secondary, which have scared us going into some games. Last week we had two active players on our squad that aren't suited up. That's a scary situation in the NFL and it's really scary when you're playing Peyton Manning. Hopefully we can get these guys back on the field. Phillip (Buchanon) is fine this week and Petey (Faggins) is back in a few weeks and I'd probably feel a whole lot better about going and getting it. We've got to get these guys out there."
(on Joe Gibbs' pressure on first year coaching) "I think we all do (feel pressure), not just me, I think we all do. There has been a lot of big prize paid by a lot of people ever since we started back in the off-season. You don't have that carry at the end of the week. It's tough. But it's part of the business and we've got to just keep plugging. Yeah, it's frustrating and we're all looking forward to that and hopefully it's coming soon."
(on his message to the team) "We just watched film together as a group. I thought it was important because they need to watch each other do our jobs and trying to correct this. Everybody needs to see that we're trying to correct this, not just one guy or one group. That was my message, basically, to the football team. We're ain this together, let's all take a look at why things aren't good right now and where we can get better and then let's fix it. But, you know, let's not think that we're the only ones with a problem here. Everybody's got something they've got to clean up so if we approach it that way we'll be ok."
*QB David Carr *
(on the Washington defense) "A real good defense, they can be very aggressive. Their linebacking corps is good. They've got a good scheme too. They have some different looks that we just walked though for about 45 minutes to an hour, so that we make sure we're ready for them."
(on what he thinks will help get the offense started faster) "I say it every week, but running the ball. Keep running the ball. That helps our game. That helps our play-action passing game. That helps the offensive line stay out of obvious passing situations. If we have time to throw our guys are going to make plays outside; that is not the problem. It's all going to come down to the running game and being able to help the offensive line out to where the defensive line and secondary can't just pin their ears back and come after us. So that's going to help."
(on how new RBs Ron Dayne and Samkon Gado did on Sunday) "They did well. They did a good job in pass protection. They studied real hard. They were only here for a couple days, but I though both of those guys did really well."
(on whether he is looking forward to facing an 0-2 Washington team) "Well, we're 0-2 too, so they're probably doing the same thing. This is a big game for both teams. We both had high expectations and want to win some football games. It's going to be a good battle. It's going to be a good test when we come out and play them."
(on whether he is surprised to see Washington 0-2) "I'm surprised we're both 0-2, really. Maybe a lot of people aren't. I expected to have a game won by now, at least. Both these teams are looking for something on Sunday, so, like I said, its going to be a battle on Sunday trying to fight for that one."
TE Mark Bruener
(on catching his first TD as a Texans at Indianapolis) "It feels goodto get back in the endzone, however (it was) too little, too late. You wish it was a game deciding touchdown instead of one that got us some points in a game that was out of control at that point."
(on how the offense can start faster) "Execute, not make mistakes. Really, understand that the first part of the game, the first plays, is crucial to set the tone for the game. We have had some opportunities, and we haven't done all that well with them. I really think we're going to get off to a better start, and I think that's what's going to help us play better because that is something we definitely need."
(on what his expectation for being active on Sunday) "I hope. They haven't said much yet. Everyone has been saying, be ready. So I'm excited. I'm excited about the possibilities. I'm excited about the chance, hopefully. We have some good guys. You know (T) Ephraim (Salaam) is going to be playing great. (T) Zach (Wiegert) is going to continue playing great. I'm definitely going to be there and be ready. If they want to put me in I'll be excited and I'll be ready for it."
*CB C.C. Brown *
(on Washington's receivers ) "They probably have the best receiving corps in the league. They have plenty of talent across the board. They have every type of receiver that you would want, but the best thing for us to go out there and do it try and lock them down."
(on whether he is surprised to see Washington at 0-2) "It's shocking to everybody, but we hope they don't get it together when it comes down to playing us."
(on the disappointment of being 0-2) "Its very disappointing. The only think we can do it just go out there and try to make sure we win instead of them."
(on what he feels went wrong at Indianapolis) "It wasn't about them making big plays; it was about us letting them get big plays. Us not doing the correct technique for us to stop them."
(on being moved up into the starting role) "It's just going to work, preparing myself and going out there and doing a job."
(on stepping into the starting job after two games have been played) "Just refocusing yourself, studying, going out and preparing to play. When you know you're not going to play you still have to prepare, but you just prepare differently. Now you know you have to play 70, 80 plays a game, how ever long it takes to come away with a victory, so you just prepare yourself and do a little scouting on the defense and get yourself prepared."
(on the need for a quality run game) "In order for this offense to be successful, it's based on the run. You have to run the ball, and that opens up a lot of things they like to do down the field. So we definitely have an emphasis on running the ball and trying to get better upfront and technique-wise, just coming off the ball."
(on starting the season 0-2) "I think we're all embarrassed to a point because we all want to be winners. We all work hard during the offseason to become winners. To start off 0-2, it's not what we expected, but we'll keep fighting and we'll get better."
(on whether the defensive line sees their problems on film) "It always comes down assignment and technique. Were you were you were supposed to be? Were you not where you were supposed to be? How was your technique? Did it cause you to get in trouble? That's all of us across the board, forwards to backwards."
LB DeMeco Ryans
(on WRs having too much space to work in the secondary) "It's just minor technique errors. Playing against (QB) Peyton Manning, he'll expose your weaknesses pretty quickly. If you make a minor technique error, he'll figure it out and expose it. We just have to be more sound in our basic technique."
(on some things not transferring from practice to the games) "It's just a matter of us, as a whole, being focused when we go into the game and taking what we do on the practice field into the game, and just being comfortable with it and being confident in you abilities and your technique."
(on whether some players don't trust the defensive plan) "I think its going to come with being more confident, being confident with what you have done in practice and taking it and doing the same thing in the game, and just knowing that it will work."
(on how the defensive line can get more QB pressure) "It's a number of things. (For) us upfront it is being the guy when you're one-on-one, single blocked. That is something that we have to be more consistent in. Blitzing, scheme, it's a number of different things, and we're going to be alright."
(on whether the lack of QB pressure so far shocks him) "The thing I see is there has been pressure there. We ran into two Pro Bowl quarterbacks that are difficult to sack. (QB) Donovan (McNabb) is not just going to sit there and let you sack him. (QB) Peyton (Manning) is one of those guys that hardly gets sack throughout the year. We have to take that into account, stick with what we are doing, believe in what we are doing, and know that the sacks are going to come."