Marc Vandermeer, the radio voice of the Houston Texans, sat down with head coach Gary Kubiak recently to ask him questions about the team's offense heading into the start of the 2009 season.
Vandermeer: Welcome to Texans TV. Marc Vandermeer with Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. Coach, as you get ready to embark on the regular season, let's talk about different aspects of the team, starting with the running game. You want to see more progress in that department.
Kubiak: Obviously, throughout the preseason, Marc, we have not run the ball as well as we did last year. We played a very good team Monday night in Minnesota, who was second against the rush. Still, our team goes offensively by how we run the ball. We'd like to come out of the preseason better, but it is what it is and it's time to move on. But we're going to stay committed to it and we've got to find a way to do it better.
Vandermeer: Now we have seen Chris Brown make some pretty good power runs in the Kansas City game and the Minnesota game.
Kubiak: Our goal is to use him basically as a short-yardage runner, a red zone runner and Steve's (Slaton) backup, so we have to plan to go about our business and hopefully we can keep him healthy. But he's shown flashes this preseason that he's still got it in him. That's important to our team.
Vandermeer: Offensive line, you have to like your depth though, because Rashad Butler looks good as a swing tackle, and both Kasey Studdard and Chris White have played well for you.
Kubiak: With our offensive line, we've lacked the continuity that we had with them all year last year, but at the same time I think it can makes us better in the long haul, because Kasey and Chris White have played like starters, so that's a good thing. Now we've got to get Chester (Pitts) caught back up to where he was when he left last year, and the same thing with Chris (Myers). But I feel good about that group to be a strength of our football team.
Vandermeer: So should tight end as well. Owen Daniels looks terrific, of course, has the Pro Bowl appearance last year and continues to blend into this season. What about that position?
Kubiak: He and Joel (Dreessen) are ready to go. They've had good preseasons. The two young guys, I would say James (Casey) is maybe a little bit ahead just from a standpoint of picking up what we like to do and those type of things. We'd like to use Anthony (Hill) in a physical presence on our offense. But for us to do that, he's going to have to help out on some special teams, too. So it'll be as good a four (tight ends) as we've had in here. The two young guys need to contribute to Joe (Marciano) as best they can.
Vandermeer: Quarterback position, we all know about Matt Schaub, but Dan Orlovsky, you want to see more consistency there.
Kubiak: He's really shown flashes of having the ability to be a big-time player. But what's lacking is just a consistency in decision making. When you're a backup in this league, the number one thing that you have to be automatic on is your decision making. Because when you into a football game and you get pressed into action due to injury, you can't go in there and hurt the team. You've got to make sure you keep moving along. So I've got to do a better job with him, his preparation, him knowing when he can't take a chance with the football. So we just got to get him further along.
Vandermeer: At wide receiver, we know who the stars are. Has Jacoby Jones stepped up to the level you need in the punt return game? He was in there for all the punt returns in the Monday nighter.
Kubiak: He's had a good camp, Marc. He hasn't made any spectacular plays like he did a few preseasons ago with the spectacular returns and those types of things. But I think he's been a good worker. I think he's more consistent in what he's doing. I think our team knows that we can count on him to make a few big plays along the way. The thing that I've been impressed with is that he's handled the ball better this preseason than he did last year, so that's got to be of the utmost importance.