The Texans beat the Jaguars 24-14 on Sunday at Reliant Stadium. After, coaches and players from both teams answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
POSTGAME QUOTES FROM HOUSTON TEXANS
CHAIRMAN/CEO ROBERT MCNAIRHEAD COACH GARY KUBIAKOLB CONNOR BARWINT DUANE BROWNNT SHAUN CODYILB BRIAN CUSHINGTE OWEN DANIELSTE JOEL DREESSENRB ARIAN FOSTERWR JACOBY JONESCB JOHNATHAN JOSEPHSS GLOVER QUINOLB BROOKS REEDILB DEMECO RYANSQB MATT SCHAUBDE ANTONIO SMITHWR KEVIN WALTER
CHAIRMAN/CEO ROBERT MCNAIR
(on the performance of his team) "I think they stood and delivered. It was outstanding. I think Jacksonville is a very underrated team, they have an outstanding defense, and a young quarterback who's got a lot of talent and a good running game. So, it was a hard-fought game. It was really tough."
(on the importance of putting a couple wins together) "Well, every game is important. Every game is hard. It's just hard to win a game, period. This is one more that we can chalk up. We still are losing people and other guys are stepping up, and we just have to get ready for the next game."
(on being in first place in the division) "Well, we can control our fate, and that's the way we want it. I think the guys understand where they are and I think they really stepped up today. I was proud of them."
(on the importance of achieving a complete team win) "The defense really did step up. We held them to (174) yards. We've done it for two weeks in a row so the defense has been playing outstanding football. The offense is going to pick up. We've got (FB James) Casey back now, and hopefully next week maybe we can get (WR) Andre (Johnson) back. That'll open things up for us a little more. Boy, (RB) Arian (Foster) ran the ball 33 times and that was tough running. He had a great game. The stats don't look that impressive, but he had a great game."
(on the performance of ILB Brian Cushing) "Brian has been outstanding for us all year. People are going to start recognizing that. I don't think that there is anybody playing better in the NFL right now than Brian Cushing."
(on the performance of the young players on the team) "Well, (DE) J.J. (Watt), he's just solid. (OLB) Brooks Reed had a sack and they put pressure on quite often. He has really stepped up and is playing well. We miss (OLB) Mario (Williams), but we've got Brooks."
HEAD COACH GARY KUBIAK(on LB Darryl Sharpton's injury) "He tore a quad tendon, a very strange injury. He's done for the year. It's been a week for us. I think its five weeks in a row now. We've got some challenges ahead of us. He'll be fine. He'll have to have surgery. Just unfortunate, kid was playing very well."
(on another fast start to halftime) "It looked a little bit like the Oakland game. We came out and went right down the field. They're a good football team and they're good defensively. Then we struggled. The one thing we did that we couldn't do today, there was one thing we couldn't do, we couldn't turn the ball over. And we went out there and did it. We did it twice and it led to two touchdowns for them. But we had a defense that stood up today and said 'we're gonna win the game. We're gonna win this football game.' And they were excellent all day long, exceptional. And then offensively we were damn good the last six minutes putting the game away. But defensively we played very, very well. I'm very proud of how they played."
(on his confidence in the defense) "I'm sitting there in the game and I know that we're playing very good defensively. Like I said, we had the turnover that, what, they have a short field, a 10- or 12-yard field, and then we had the other turnover. It's hard. You don't want to approach your players, but play cautious. You want to play aggressive, but also you got to be a smart enough football team to know that on that given day what things you have to do to win. That's what I'm disappointed in offensively that we turned the ball over. Like I said, I do have a ton of confidence right now in the way we're playing defensively. And even almost got off the field on that fourth and five when they picked up that first down. We've been playing exceptional. I know there are some statistics as far as points and yards the last two or three weeks that are off the charts. We're playing very well."
(on the performance of LB DeMeco Ryans) "He played as much as he has played all year long so we'll go back and look at it. We've been giving him a break with Sharp (LB Darryl Sharpton) and Sharp has been playing very well. DeMeco continues to come along physically. I mean he's fine, but I'm just saying getting back into everything with all the nicks he's been through. Obviously we're going to ask him to take his full load back and we may have to do some things as a team to get him some help in here defensively because we're going to be another body short. Like I said, it's a challenge right now. With what's happened to us the last five weeks. Obviously we've had a couple of big wins here, but we've got some tremendous challenges on our team right now, on our roster, moving forward for the next eight weeks. We're going to have to be on top of it every day."
(on the loss of LB Darryl Sharpton and what he was doing well this season) "He's a very active young man. He's a very physical player. He's learned from (LB) DeMeco (Ryans). DeMeco deserves a lot of credit with him. He's been playing really well for us on special teams. The hard thing is, and I went out on the field, and I picture his face right now, the only thing that can hold him back from being a heck of a player in this league is injury. He's been beat up a little bit. He's a reckless player and his body gets nicked and stuff but he always players through it and then all be darn this happens to him. I just feel so bad for players like that. You're sitting there battling and you like your position and then all of a sudden the guy is sitting on the field and knows he's done for the season. It was hard on everybody. He's just got to keep his head up and keep him going."
(on the play of RB Arian Foster) "They are good up front. We knew they were good up front. We just stayed the course and kept banging and kept banging, and he did his best running at the end of the game, which is what good backs do, that's what good teams do. I think OD's (TE Owen Daniels) play on the third down and five was huge. He makes a great catch on a low ball. But, in that situation you have to stay on the field and put the game away and we were able to do that offensively."
(on his concerns with the offense at times) "First off, we've been doing a lot of good things. We've moved the heck out of the ball and we've got a good offensive group. But, I think what we sense is that we have opportunities to be dominant at times and be dang good, and that's what we're after. So, when we do have a lull or a quarter or something, it gets our attention that's good. That's a good thing. They know that we did not play well in the second, throughout the second quarter. And then after we scored on the opening drive of third quarter we kind of went on the same lull. But they were able to dig themselves out at the end. Football is about consistency and it's nice to win a game when one side of the ball was not at its best today. But the other side of the ball said we're gonna win this game. And that's what being a good football team is all about in this league."
(on part of being a good team winning games like today) "We go in the locker room and I told them exactly what I told you guys, I know offensively we're not feeling really good about today, we're feeling really good about the last six minutes. Defensively, they need to know that they got the team over the top today. But, next week maybe the other side of the ball has got to do it. It's a great feeling in this business when you've got a team that has a chance to win three different ways. You don't show up and have the same formula every week. The formula today was defense and trying to do the smart thing with the football."
(on WR Jacoby Jones' punt returns today) "He came close, what, three times? We talked last night, and you know he had some big plays early in the season on returns and we've got to get him going again. But it obviously sparked the team. We had very good field position that we didn't take advantage of, but we were able to keep them bottled up on their end too. Jacoby has been doing some good things. We probably had four or five chances in our pass game to make some huge plays in the game and we just didn't make them. We have to be able to make those plays. But, I've been pleased with his work. He's been working very hard and obviously he's playing a lot of football right now."
(on the play of S Troy Nolan and the rest of the defense) "Everybody played good. I'll have to go back and watch Troy's game personally and that type of thing. Troy has played good every time we've given him an opportunity. He's kind of got a nose for the ball. I've mentioned this to y'all before, Troy's battle up to, going into this year, had been just getting the total development of the scheme where he could let his talents go play. He's to that point now. I think he's very sharp in what we're doing. He understands our defense and his talents are starting to take over. He played very well. We lost (LB) Brooks (Reed) there for a little bit, he comes back in and plays hurt. I know (LB Jesse) Nading had to play some. Looked like (CB) Jason (Allen) played very, very well. I think defensively we played extremely well throughout the game."
(on the play of LB Brian Cushing) "It's been that way all year. I know a lot of people look at sacks and they look at turnovers, and obviously he got one today, but if you cut the film on, Cushing has got to be playing as good as any linebacker in football right now. It goes back to his training camp, it goes back to how he was working, the job that (Linebackers coach) Reggie (Herring) has done with him. He's really been playing well for eight weeks."
(on what Cushing has been doing well thus far this season) "He's just active. (Defensive Coordinator) Wade (Phillips) and (Linebackers coach) Reggie (Herring) have him very active in our scheme. And he's got a lot of freedom to do a lot of things inside. To me Cushing's mental capacity as a pro football player has taken a huge jump from last year to this year. Just the football he's learned and how to cheat, and how to see this formation, how to do that. I think he's being coached extremely well right now and he has responded to it."
(on Cushing's interception) "He caught that one. That was a big play. That was very important cause they were fixing to probably take a field goal lead going into halftime. For him to make that play gave us a chance and we go down there and miss a field goal. That's something we have to get fixed."
(on CB Kareem Jackson and CB Jason Allen) "Kareem is playing well. He played well last week. This week in practice we talked about how much of a pro he's become. I think he's playing well. There is a place for all of them, in nickel and those things. And when you go back and look at snaps and how many snaps guys play, there are plenty of snaps to go around. There are even times when (CB) Jonathan (Joseph) has to come off the field and take a blow. Between those three guys, I consider them all starters and I think they're both playing well."
(on the play S Quintin Demps) "That's why we made that move, because of his experience. We were a little concerned about throwing too much on (S Shiloh) Keo and possibly Torri Williams too quick. So we knew Demps as some starter background in this league so it wouldn't be too big in such a short notice, kind of like getting (WR Derrick) Mason. He went in and played like a pro."
(on losing several linebackers and the new defense) "I think the overall picture of what has happened the last five weeks, what's it been, three starters and probably arguably our best special teams player? And then here goes (LB Darryl) Sharpton, am I right? I'm counting those guys together, but, it's been tough, but our expectation is the next guy goes in and we got to keep playing. That's one thing about this league, I think you see injuries all around this league, some people got it worse than others, and we're getting our share. But we won't feel sorry for ourselves. We'll plug another guy in and we'll go back to work. We're expecting to play well."
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER CONNOR BARWIN
(on whether it's fair for the expectations of the fans to be very high) "I don't think it's unfair. It's part of the game. The Jaguars are a good team. They have a really good defense. I think we made some mistakes obviously, but the biggest thing is getting another win. That's a huge divisional win."
(on being able to tip a couple passes) "Those are good. I'd like to get a couple more sacks but those tipped passes are huge. That's kind of deflating for an offense to get tipped passes. You make a play anyway you can."
(on the difference with Wade Phillips as a defensive coordinator) "The biggest thing that has rubbed off on the whole defense since training camp is the confidence that he has in his defense. It makes everyone out there playing feel more confident with what they're doing and the techniques we have been taught to play."
TACKLE DUANE BROWN
(on being 3-0 in the division) "It's a great feeling. We still have a long season ahead of us. That's what it's all about in this league. Right now we are sitting pretty good. We just have to move on to next week."
(on the struggles during short-yardage situations) "It's a mentality more than anything. It's been something that we have struggled with for a few weeks now. We just have to get on guys and move them. They have some big guys out there that are hard to get moving, but when you get down to one yard or two yards, you have to have no doubt in your mind that you will get it. We will get it cleaned up."
(on the importance of the play-action) "That's what it's all about, getting the running game going to make the linebackers and the secondary respect it. If you get that play-action, the linebackers bite down and you get those big holes in the defense. It makes it a lot easier on us and it makes it a lot easier on (quarterback) Matt (Schaub) when you can run the ball and get the offense going from there."
NOSE TACKLE SHAUN CODY
(on the performance of the team) "We've been fortunate to have a great offense since I have been here. They have won a ton of games for us and sometimes you've got to get their back and today we picked them up a little bit."
(on what the team needs to do to keep the streak going) "We had an up and down start at the beginning of the year. Now we are getting on the right track, playing good defense and moving the ball on offense. You have to play with that consistency every week to be able to be a playoff team."
(on the performance of Texans running back Arian Foster) "He's a stud for us. He is our workhorse. When we are pounding the ball and running the ball that's when our team is at its best."
INSIDE LINEBACKER BRIAN CUSHING
(on how big of win it was today) "It's big. Any time you can win a game in your division at home against a team that came off a huge win last week is very important. Just have to get these wins going. Momentum is huge right now."
(on it not mattering how the game looks as long as they get it done) "Right. We kind of had a feeling it would be like that. They're a very physical team. We feel we're a physical team as well. We saw the Baltimore film. We knew it was going to be a tough, probably dirty game. In this League, it's tough to get a win and a win is a win and we just had to do what we had to do."
(on ILB Darryl Sharpton being out for the rest of the season) "It was tough. Any time you watch a teammate go down and a guy that you're in the meeting room with every day, a fellow linebacker, it's tough. It's one of those things that kind of motivates you and you want to play for him and you want to give your effort towards him. He's the kind of guy that would do the same for you and we just want to give back to him."
(on what the defense's performance today does for the team's confidence) "It means a lot, especially from where we came from as a unit. I think we've just done a good job since Coach Phillips came in here. He's really changed the mindset of the way we play and he's instilled an attitude within us. We expect that now and it's something we want to build upon."
(on what Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips does to motivate players) "He's not a fiery guy. He's not a rah rah guy, but I think he's a guy that makes it fun. He makes it that you want to play for him and he puts his players in positions to succeed. I feel that way. I feel he's put his trust in me since day one and it's kind of one of those things that you just don't want to let him down every time you go on the field and you want to play for him."
TIGHT END OWEN DANIELS
(on his third down catch on the final drive) "I guess it was set up pretty great because they brought pressure and they didn't cover me. The only guy that was in coverage was the ref on that play. (QB) Matt (Schaub) did a great job of getting it out and I thought it was going to actually hit the ref. I just tried to keep my focus on the ball and snatch it up. I honestly don't know if I lost vision on the ball or not. I was just happy that I made the catch and we got a first down. We needed two first downs in that drive. I think that was a big conversion for us to keep the clock running and to keep their offense off the field. We wanted to end the game with the ball in our hands. It was an important play."
(on what he thought of TE Joel Dreessen's touchdown catch) "It was a great catch. I didn't see the route but he did a great job of going up and snatching away (the ball). Joel has been making big time plays for us all year."
(on the team being able to close out the game) "That's what you have got to do to win big games. You have to be able to close teams out and stay on the field when you have the opportunity. You don't want to give them extra possessions at the end of the game. Crazy stuff happens sometimes. In that situation, we were in control. We take pride in getting first downs and ending games on the field."
TIGHT END JOEL DREESSEN
(on his touchdown catch) "I don't know. (QB Matt Schaub) kind of floated the ball and I was like, 'Oh no, don't let him pick it—catch it.' And I did. It felt good. It was third down and we needed some points and to make a play like that to help my team was very encouraging."
(on the final drive of the game) "A good team has got to do that. (TE) Owen Daniels is as clutch a player as I have ever been around. I love him to death. That was an amazing play he made on that third down."
(on his thoughts on TE Owen Daniels' catch on third down during the final drive) "He (the referee) wouldn't get out of the way. He made an amazing catch. I was able to get a block for him and he was scooting."
(on if they prepare for low balls like the one TE Owen Daniels caught) "I know we work on that every week with the machines. We work on that low ball. He made a great play."
(on Bob McNair's statement that the team controls its own fate) "Five wins does not get you anything in this league. We have got a lot of football left to play. We are going to enjoy this one today and we will go for our sixth win next week against Cleveland. That's all we can do."
TEXANS RUNNING BACK ARIAN FOSTER
(on committing to the run game) "That's where we kind of want to establish ourselves as an offense. I think everything starts with our run in our system. Our guys up front did a great job today. It was one of those games where it's tough sledding, there's not a lot of yards to be gained. You have to be opportunistic when the opportunity presents itself."
(on if the improved defense impacts the offensive game) "It's tough but when you have a defense that is playing as well as our defense is, I think it makes it a little easier. You're allotted some room for error and a little bit of drives here and there. When our defense is playing that good, it helps us out a lot."
(on if it's a running back's dream to have the ball at the end of the game) "Well yeah, I mean just as an athelete you want the ball in your hands when the game is on the line. Our coaching staff put that trust in myself and in the offensive line. We got it done for the most part today but they were a very stout defense, I think number six in the league or something like that. Anytime that you have any success on the ground with a defense like that, you have to pat yourself on the back a little bit. There are still some things we could have done better."
(on if they have improved on closing games) "I think that this year, as opposed to other years I've been here, we're finding ways to win rather than finding ways to lose. It's early still but I think you have to start somewhere and this is a great way to start for us. We're excited about that but like our coaches told us in the locker room, what does five wins get you in this league? Everybody knows it doesn't get you anything – we could lose the rest. We're going to refocus and come right back here tomorrow, watch the film and get over it and go right back to work for Cleveland."
(on improving 3rd down conversions) "It's just going to take a little more time. I think you have to be cohesive as an offensive unit. It's not like a defense where you can just kind of fly around and attack the football. As an offense, you have to have time. I've missed some time this year. (FB) Lawrence Vickers hasn't missed some time but he's just now getting involved in the offense heavily. I think it's going to take a little bit more but we're starting to make strides and it's starting to get noticed. I notice it and I get more and more confidence in Lawrence as he's in there and vice versa. He gets confidence in me and our other running backs. I think that as time goes, that's just what offenses do. It takes a little while to gel. It's not an excuse but I think it's important for offenses to feel each other out. It's going along good."
(on the versatility of offense and running backs not having a lot of play this week) "This is the NFL. This is the National Football League. They have guys on the other side of the ball that get paid to make plays, as well as coaches with schemes. We were not really involved in the passing game this weekend and that is okay. We aren't looking to fill up stats for your fantasy football team. We are looking to get wins and that is what we did today."
(on defense becoming a more important part of the game) "I think it is good for any team to get a win when it is going back and forth or it's a defensive ball game where not a lot of yards are getting put up. When there is a lull in the game, the crowd is kind of out of it and we aren't playing well as an offense. I think anytime you get wins like that it is important, because down the stretch it is only going to get tougher. In this league, people come to play week in and week out. I think you have to win tough games and you have to win other types of games also. But I think if you have those games under you belt, you start to build confidence."
(on the team controlling its own fate) "When I said five wins doesn't get you anything it doesn't, but you have to look at the positive side also. We are sitting in the drivers seat in our division. It feels good. I don't think we have ever had that here. It's a good feeling and the city is rallying behind us. We can feel the energy and we love that. I love this city and I love playing for this ball club. It's fun to be out there when you feel that. We don't want to let them down. Now we are in the drivers seat. We have to buckle up and go back to work even harder than at the start of the season. "
(on what has changed in the team) "I can't tell you the individual variables of what is going on, but you can feel it. There is this energy, this aura that sits in our locker room. The defense is fun. I love watching them play. They probably love watching us play, but I am not going to speak for them. It's just this fun, playful banter we have going back and forth. We have chemistry. We have chemistry as a team. Maybe that is it, maybe not. But that is what I feel. We have to keep that going."
(on Jacksonville blitzing more that the Texans might have anticipated) "We though they were going to come. We knew they were going to bring some pressure. I think any team without their number one receiver is going to try to put pressure on the quarterback. They did a good job today. Myself included could have done better on a couple plays here or there like picking up pass protection, but that's the game of football. They made plays, but it all about how your rebound."
WIDE RECEIVER JACOBY JONES
(on RB Arian Foster's performance throughout time with Texans) "His performance speaks for itself. You saw what he did last year and he continues to do it well. He's focused, he's playing his role well and we're handling our business."
(on how he felt the tempo of the game went) "It's adversity. You have to go through things like that. It's football. I can't really explain it better than that. You have your ups and downs. Those guys get paid to play on defense so they will make their plays as well. We fought through it and came out with a victory."
(on the lack of rhythm in the second quarter) "Like I said, it's football and you are going to go through that. We have to fight through adversity and we did. We made the plays we were supposed to and we came out victorious."
CORNERBACK JOHNATHAN JOSEPH
(on the defensive effort in the game) "Today we just knew it was going to come out and be a tough fought game. We knew they had a strong defense and we knew once we got ourselves in position to get the ball back to the offense that we had to come off the field and win on third down."
(on how together the defense is) "I think we're kind of, I wouldn't say clicking on all cylinders because we're missing some pieces but the group that we have right now, I think has become to be a special group. We just have to work some more time together and get used to everyone being together. As of right now, everyone that is stepping in for guys that are down are playing lights out."
(on how the secondary looked without S Danieal Manning) "I think (safety) Troy Nolan has been doing a good job all year long. He's been caught up since Danieal went down with the injury. I think today he stepped in and did a fine job today. We're looking forward to him to do the same thing week after week. Every time he plays he gets his hands on the ball so we expect great things from Troy."
(on the defense stepping up when given a short field) "It's like that sometimes in football. Things happen, you have a sudden change, quick turnover and you have to go back out there and rebound and try to keep points off the board. For us, I think we played an overall collective game. Offense was keeping the ball and driving the ball and keeping us fresh. Defense going out there and playing lights out and giving our offense chances to get back out there. Special teams pinning them deep sometime so I think today was a full effort from all three phases."
(on how confident the defense is right now) "I think we're very confident because each and every day in practice we see what we have and throughout the games, you know we've played some great games on defense this year so far. We have to continue to do that but it all starts in practice and film study. I think everybody on this team is up for the challenge because each week you see us get better and better on a consistent basis everyday in practice."
(on the adversity of having players go down) "It's an initial blow because of what they mean to this team and to this defense overall but in football things like that happen through the year. You have to be able to fight through them and keep going because at the end of the day all 32 teams are going to have injuries but you have to fight through them if you want to get to the end, which is the championship, which is our goal."
(on how he feels with the team at 5-3)* *"Our mentality I don't think is going to change for the rest of year, which is going out each week and being 1-0. You can only play one game, one at a time. You can't look ahead at your schedule or to anything else. You just have to go out there and be 1-0 each week."
(on if the divisional win today meant more than some other wins) "Division games are always big in this league because that is what gets you over the hump at the end when they look at all of the games that add up for playoff contention—and AFC opponents as well. I would say yes, but to a certain degree."
(on dealing with injuries) "Next man up. That is the way this league operates. Everyone is here to do their job and when your number is called you better be ready to answer."
(on how he felt the defense played) "I think overall we did a great job. Anytime you're asked to go out in a game you want to make a stand for the offense, because that is what this league is about. For today, we just wanted to accept every challenge that came our way."
(on how he felt CB Jason Allen has played) "Jason has been doing a great job all year long. He and (CB) Kareem (Jackson) both are making plays. Today he made a great play and got the ball right back to our offense. He kind of sparked things for us. We're looking for him to do that day in and day out."
(on not coming up with the interception near the end of the game) "The guys were riding me saying I have butter hands. I was going for the hit but it didn't happen that way. We were satisfied the win."
(on holding a team under 200 yards of offense for two straight weeks) "It is a great feeling for us. I think it comes with driving and holding the ball which keeps us fresh. Every chance we go out there we're trying to give the ball back to the offense. The special teams did a good job of pinning them deep today."
STRONG SAFETY GLOVER QUIN
(on the team's ability to execute efficiently) "Anytime we do that with our offense, we are going to win a lot of games. I think the defense played pretty good from start to finish."
(on how it feels to string some wins together) "It is what you have to do this time of the year. It's getting to the mid part of the season and this was a big division game. We had the chance to play two (division games) back to back, and we won both of them. It is good for us at this point of the year and we have to keep it going."
(on the strategy to contain Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew) "We just had to swarm and make it a collective effort. He is a great back and hard to get down so we just had to make sure we were getting a lot of guys to the ball to get multiple hats to him."
(on the impact of losing ILB Darryl Sharpton) "That is a big loss for us. He was playing pretty well at linebacker for us. He is a good special teams player, so that is going to be a big loss for us. It seems like we have been having somebody (get injured) every week. We just have to continue to rally and play as a team."
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER BROOKS REED
(on his thoughts when he went down) "It sucks, we're pretty thin right now at the position. It was pretty insignificant so I was able to kind of just run it off, walk it off and get back in."
(on what it was like playing Jaguars RB Maurice Jones Drew) "He really reminded me of (Baltimore Ravens RB) Ray Rice because of the way he ran the ball. He's a downhill runner and we knew that we're going to have to wrap up on him, you know he has a low center of gravity."
(on the scheme Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips came up with) "We just emphasized setting the edge and making sure that he (Jaguars RB Maurice Jones Drew) didn't get outside the linebackers on the edge and basically just great technique and wrapping up and tackling."
(on his transition from strongside linebacker to weakside linebacker) "They're very similar positions. SAM you got to drop a little bit more and pay attention to formations a little bit more but I've been doing that all camp so it's a nice, easy transition."
(on his sack of Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert) "I just beat the tackle around with some speed and just knocked his hands down with some force."
(on how comfortable he is right now) "I feel pretty comfortable and I feel more comfortable every week, I think. Even through practices, I think those are really important for me to help get my eyes in the right places. I think that's what helps."
(on what being 5-3 does for the team) "It means a lot. It shows that we're here to try and dominate the conference but we're a winning team. Just cause we won one game, we had to come back and show it again."
LINEBACKER DEMECO RYANS
(on the confidence of the defense) "I think the confidence is building each week. Having a good game last week, putting together another good game this week. I think it will allow us to grow our confidence even more, and everybody is believing in what we're doing, buying into what we're doing, and seeing the results of it, so everyone's just pushing harder. Our effort was great today. We had a lot of guys chipping in, making big plays, and that's what it's going to take for us to continue to grow as a defense and continue to be a top defense in this league."
(on ability to win games without offense scoring many points) "Right, we understand that now our defense is a lot better than it's been in the past, so now we're not looking for our offense to go out and score 30 points for us to win the game. You know, we understand that we can win games now defensively. We can go out and shut people out if that's what it takes. If it takes us winning 6-3. If it takes us winning 31-30. If it comes to that, then we're ready for any kind of battle we put in every Sunday."
(on the improvement on defense) "It's changed very quickly. We're excited about it, and like I said, it's not surprising because of the way the guys come to work every day during the week. The way the guys prepare is just showing that our work during the week is paying off on Sunday."
(on credit for improvement on defense) "I think it's a lot to do with the maturity of our defense, definitely a lot to do with that. All the guys talk about is being great, being a great defense, and guys understand that. Like I said, everybody is making plays, and of course adding Wade (Phillips) was huge for us. The scheme that Wade brought to us, the teaching that he has….it's just unbelievable. You can see how it's carried us, and we're a totally different defense now because of Wade."
(on Darryl Sharpton's season-ending injury) "Yeah, that's a tough loss for us. Darryl is a great player. He can definitely be a starter in this league. He's a tremendous athlete and a great player. It's going to be tough. It's tough losing Darryl because he adds a lot to our team special teams-wise, also coming in on defense, making plays on defense. He's a good player, and we're definitely going to miss him.
QUARTERBACK MATT SCHAUB
(on the team's commitment to the run) "That's a good defensive football team we played, a good defensive front and they made it challenging all day. But late in the game, our offensive line, our tight ends and our backs and receivers down field really said, 'You know what? We're going to grind this clock out and get first downs, use the clock and then get down there to put it up to a two-score game.' Really the credit goes to those guys up front and our back."
(on trying to get the wide receivers involved early in the game) "We wanted to get everyone involved, but they were showing us some things. We had some opportunities down the field and really I missed a few of the throws, overthrowing some of the balls down the field and I've got to make those plays for us to be successful as an offense and we'll do that. Guys made plays across the board. The wide receivers, our tight ends made some incredible plays, Joel (Dreessen) on the touchdown, Owen (Daniels) on that big third down play on that second to last drive, so it was big for us."
(on if they learned something from the Raiders game that helped them not make the same mistakes today) "Yeah, we did. We knew we were going to be in for a tough ball game. It's always a four quarter, smash mouth type game with those guys, so the flow of the game, the adversity, being able to deal with things throughout the game and correct things or figure out what they're doing to make some adjustments and we were able to do that. We came out in the third quarter and went down and scored to take control of the momentum. Then our defense really played outstanding all day. Seven of those 14 points are after a turnover where they got it inside the 10, so that's really on us, but our defense played lights out for us."
(on if Jacksonville gave them different looks) "Not really a different look, stuff that we were doing versus what they were doing. They had some things covered up and then we had our penalty on one of the drives that put us in a long yardage situation. Those are always tough to convert no matter who you're playing, so we got to find a way to keep our downs manageable."
(on how much pressure it takes off the offense when the defense is playing well) "It's been great all year, our defense. We knew that coming out of training camp how well they were playing and the scheme they were running and the confidence that they had coming into the season. It's huge for us to know that they're going to go out there and get the ball right back to us, keep giving us good field position and then get some turnovers as well. It's a great thing to have when you are struggling offensively to make some plays that they'll keep you in the ball game until you find a way to make those plays."
(on if he's concerned about the offensive lulls) "Oh yeah, we're concerned. Obviously you want to go out and score points every time you have the ball, especially when you're the type of offense that we are, but the guys on the other side of the ball get paid too and sometimes they have the right calls made or they do something to stop you. That's why you play the game. You got to find a way to make those plays. That's why it's 60 minutes long."
(on the shots downfield) "Yeah, we had some opportunities. We had some things that we were alert and we had some plays to make downfield and really, some of those throws were on me. I know Jacoby (Jones) wants to have one back, but there were a couple that I overthrew to Kevin (Walter) and one to Jacoby. We got to make those plays. I got to find a way to make the throw and connect on those because those are momentum shifters. Those are big plays, 62-yard touchdowns that we don't get."
(on the maturity of the team) "There's enough maturity in this locker room, veteran guys that have been around the game long enough that there's no panic. There's no panic when things aren't going quite well and when things are going really well, there's nobody getting too high. We're staying pretty even-keeled, business-like and we're just going out and playing. Eventually it's going to come down to somebody making a play and we had that happen. Joel (Dreessen) made a play on the touchdown catch when they brought the blitz on us. OD (Owen Daniels) made a couple great catches. When we had to run the ball, the offensive line said we're going to run it and the running backs did that."
(on the touchdown pass to TE Joel Dreessen) "They brought a zero blitz on us, so they brought everybody. We had a hot throw to the left, but they had that covered up, so I just tried to give ground to let Joel get out of his break and then I just tried to give him a chance to make a play. I didn't quite see how it finished, but I just know he caught it and that's the main thing."
(on how the team is keeping everything in perspective right now) "Because of that maturity, at this point, we're halfway through. We're 5-3. Well, five wins doesn't get you anywhere in this League. It's just a stepping stone for where we want to go. We got to string a few more together here and get ourselves in position after the bye week for the stretch run and see what happens. But right now, we're 5-3 and 3-0 in the division, but we got to go out and find a way to beat a good Cleveland team next week."
(on how much he contributes getting over mistakes to moving into first place in the division last week) "I don't know how much of getting over the mistakes is attributed to that. It's just a matter of guys saying, 'You know what? We're not going to let that happen again.' It's about us going out the next series and saying, 'We're going to make this play. We're going to find a way to get this next first down, get things going and then put a drive together.' That's really what it's about."
DFENSIVE END ANTONIO SMITH
(on how it feels to string some wins together) "I think this is one of the most important things in front of us right now, stringing wins, because that is something that has been a challenge for us to do. I think that this year, with this team, that is something we have to conquer—not being satisfied and getting win after win while keeping that same aggressiveness and hunger."
(on the team controlling its own fate) "It's true. That's something that's been known. Especially after last week, we put ourselves in a good position. In doing that we control our own destiny by winning games but you still have to win them."
(on if he was pleased with how ILB Brian Cushing played) "I always like what I see out of Cushing. He is electrifying out there. I like the way he gets—smashing those boys and getting mad. It's always fun to watch. He is playing good this year."
(on what has sparked ILB Brian Cushing's increased production) "I think he has something to prove to you all. I think you all talked down to him last year and he's mad. He wants to prove to you all that he is the best. He's better than any linebacker from USC. That's his goal in my opinion. I love watching him."
(on what he thought about the natural progression of the game) "I liked it. I felt like it built some character in this defense. This defense is the thing that really needs to grow and we are growing. We haven't reached the peak yet. I think that having a game like that and being up the whole game to the point where you can just let go, then it's easy. Having a game where a team can steal (the win) at any moment and get themselves back in the game, you've still got to go in there as a defense and stop them. I think that was big for the team and the defense."
WIDE RECEIVER KEVIN WALTER
(on the play of the offense) "It wasn't pretty but you know what, the defense played a heck of a job, we got it done offensively when we needed to. We had a little lull in the second quarter, which we got ahead and got out of which we did. It's hard to win in this league no matter whom you play. This is a good defense we went against but I'm just glad we got it done today and that's what counts."
(on if things got chippy) "Yeah, absolutely. They're a good defense, their secondary and front seven. We knew it was going to be a hard fought war like last week. It was just one of things where you have to go out there and execute. We didn't execute like we wanted to in parts of the game, but when it counted we did."
(on getting a 3-0 start in the division for the first time in team history) "It's huge, that's big time. We've never done that before. 3-0 is big time and that's what we wanted to do that was our goal after last week. We had to go 3-0 and take this division over but there's a lot of football left to be played and we know that. We have to continue and play hard and go from there."
(on the defense being able to pick them up when they have lulls) "We didn't play as well as we wanted to at certain points but the defense had our backs. We tell those guys we have their back, they have our back. They played excellent today and they're fun to watch."
(on if he is surprised that the defense was able to play like this as compared to last year) "I'm not surprised, no, I'm not at all. Those guys have been making plays since training camp. Flying around and making plays on the quarterback and stopping the run. It's fun to watch."
(on if he saw things in training camp that made him think the defense would be different) "A little bit, it's a totally different scheme. We were a 4-3 last year, this is a 3-4. It's different and different personnel and these guys are making plays."
TACKLE ERIC WINSTON
(on where the team is right now) "First place, there is no other way to spin it. We are in front. We have to stay in front and now these next two games until the bye, we need to solidify our position. Nothing is a given in this league. It's about going out there and beating the teams we should beat."
(on the performance of the team) "I don't know how long their longest drive was but it couldn't be more than 35 yards. We kept them in the game on offense. That's something we have to correct, but at the same time we just kept pounding and finally found some holes. We are going to keep improving. We are going to keep finding ways. We have to obviously make plays when we get them and keep moving."
(on the performance of the offense to closeout the game) "That's what it's all about. We aren't going to win 41-7 every week. Most games are going to come down to the last possession. Obviously, it wasn't pretty today but I'll take eight plus more of those (ugly) games if they mean winning."
POSTGAME QUOTES FROM JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
HEAD COACH JACK DEL RIOWR JASON HILL
NT TERRANCE KNIGHTONT EUGENE MONROE
HEAD COACH JACK DEL RIO(on the load the defense has had to carry) "There were some good moments on defense for sure but there were some that got away from us too. We allowed them to jump out on us at the start. We had a chance to make the play at the end of the game to get the ball back and then blew the coverage. So while there are some things there that are very good, there's some things there that have to be better to win. It's about team and it's about winning. If one side or the other is having a rough time, then the other side has to pick it up and help you find a way to win as a team. We're looking to play complementary football where each phase helps the other. We've struggled on offense this year and in our passing game – everybody is aware of that. We'll keep hearing about it until we do something about it, until we make it better. Right now, it's not very threatening. Maurice (Jones-Drew) continues to run like a real champion. As a football team, we are battling hard. We are working our butts off. We'd sure like to have a little more validation for the type of effort that's being put forth. We are where we are. That's what we've earned halfway through the year. It's disappointing today to have a chance to pull within one game of these guys and go into our bye and join things but we didn't get that done."
(on if rookie QB Blaine Gabbert is not getting enough help from his receivers) "Well you guys were watching. It's not what it needs to be. There are plenty of different moving parts involved, it's not just one person. Obviously that position gets the most attention. That goes with the responsibility, just like my job does. The head coach and the quarterback are the two guys that you put the wins and losses with. The bottom line is, you got to find a way to be good enough. It wasn't good enough today."
(on Texans defense last year versus this year and Wade Phillip's influence on defense) "They did enough to win today. Wade is a good man. I have known him a long time. He is doing a good job. He is a good coach."
(on Blaine Gabbert's injury) "I am not sure how significant it was. I know he took a shot. He and Will Rackley were the two guys that were injured, missed a little time and found a way back into the lineup. From my standpoint, it was clear to return. I haven't spoken in depth about how sore it was or whether it limited him in any way. I will know more once I get with him and see how it goes this week."
(on the ups and downs of the game) "With the way the half closed, we had a chance to have the ball at the start of the second half. We had the ball with a minute left and you want to get at least three, maybe seven to close the half and then get the ball to start the second half. That's how you jump on somebody. The crowd was quiet. They were stunned. It was all there to jump on and we made a mistake there and turned it over. They went down, moved the ball and missed a field goal. We still knew going into this game this was a team who had outscored opponents by 82 points in the first half. We knew that we had to withstand the early surge they would have here at home and we did that. So we are sitting here seven to seven at the start of the second half .We are in great shape and didn't take that opportunity. We sputtered a bit coming out of the gate. Defense got a turnover. All of our points were created basically by a defensive field position, giving them the ball in the short field, and those were the two times we scored."
WIDE RECEIVER JASON HILL(on why the offense had a bad game) "We stopped executing what we practiced all week. "
(on the mood on the sideline after Houston converted 3rd and 5 in the 4th quarter to keep the clock running) "Just that kind of day. The mood didn't really change. It's just frustrating."
(on the prospect of moving closer to the Titans and Texans in AFC South was on the mind before this game) "Absolutely. We thought we could move closer but now we're back to the drawing board. We have a bye week to heel up and hopefully we'll come back strong."
(on Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio's message to the team after the game) "Keep fighting."
(on what the solution is for the Jaguars offense to improve) "It's within us. Guys have to get open. We have to execute."
NOSE TACKLE TERRANCE KNIGHTON
(on how the Texans offense played) "It was nothing that they were doing. It was just the dirty stuff they were doing. They weren't dominating me or anything."
(on if he thinks the Texans are dirty) "I wouldn't say that they are the dirtiest I've played against. Some things just aggravated me. It wasn't anything frustrating like I was getting dominated or anything. I was just aggravated."
(on if he thought that anybody in particular on the Texans was dirty) "No. I'm not going to get in to names or anything like that, but we play them again."
(on if he likes the Texans now that the game is over and if he respects them) "I still don't like them and I have no respect for them at all."
(on him having an Arian Foster poster taped in his locker) "It was just a little joke the guys were playing on me. Like I said, we'll see them again."
(on what the Texans do to make him feel like they are arrogant) "I don't know. I really don't want to get into specifics. I just don't like them."
(on how good he thinks the Texans really are) "I don't know. It's still early. Have they won the Super Bowl or anything yet? No. I don't think so."
(on if he sees any improvement in the Texans since last year) "That's their coaches job to judge their improvement. I just play nose tackle."
OUTSIDE TAKCLE EUGENE MONROE
(on if he felt that the offensive line was able to open up some hole for (RB) Maurice Jones-Drew) "We were. I wish we could have run a little more, but we were down. We were in passing situations more often, so that's just how it was."
(on how frustrating it was to not be able to get the running game going) "I try not to get that frustrated. Frustration doesn't help you play any better. We just focus on whatever is called and try to make it work."
(on if he is shock about the miscues from the Texans and not being able to capitalize on them and win) "Yeah. I'm happy too because in the past, we weren't able to capitalize on those type of things. To be able to capitalize on their few opportunities is a plus, but weren't able to get the win."