The Texans spoke to the media after practice on Friday.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak Texans CB Antwaun Molden Texans LB DeMeco Ryans Texans DE Antonio Smith
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on what he got from today) "It's our big work day during the season, our Thursday practice. I know it's Friday, but we were physical today as a football team—very upbeat. I liked the way we practiced. So we need to finish the week that way tomorrow."
(on a couple things he wants to come out of this week ) "I think it's response more than anything for our football team because we were really having a great camp, progressing along, feeling pretty good about what we were doing and then boom. You get a dose of reality. I want to see us respond to that. I think we've had a good camp. It's time for all the starters to stand up and say I'm ready to go. That's what this week is about and the good thing for us is this is a great football team we're playing. So, there'll be nothing false about where we're at. I'm looking forward to the challenge and I want to see our guys respond."
(on if any of the defensive tackles can do something to solidify a spot) "Oh yeah. There are many spots on our team where guys are going to have to step up to solidify some spots. That's why we're going out there. They're going out there for three quarters and if you're a starter, you better play like one because there is some good competition going on. You'll see some new faces playing with the starters this week and we'll see how we come out of it."
(on the approach to this game) "We approach this game like it's a regular season game as far as everything we do: coaches preparing throughout the week, our preparation with players, our meeting time, our practice time. So, now we're trying to set the stage for what we're going to be two weeks from now, so you try to keep it as real as possible from that standpoint."
(on CB Antwaun Molden's progress) "Really good. I've been very impressed. He took the whole practice today. The word all along has been if there have been no setbacks, he goes. So far, he's ready to go. So, very positive. I know the team is excited to see him out here."
(on how much a healthy Molden helps the team) "Big. It could be huge. He's a fine player. It's not just that he's healthy, but he's a really fine player. He was playing well for us before he got hurt. So, great opportunity for him to crack a lineup, in a lot of ways. We've got young guys out there so it will be interesting to see how far he comes, but we have to be smart too. He's not going to go out there and play as much as a starter."
(on LB Brian Cushing's status) "Cushing did more today. He put his pads on today. Did the first 20 minutes of practice with the guys. He told me he was feeling good. He and I talked about his situation and just trying to, right now, have him ready to play next week and then we'll make a decision from there."
(on if the starters will play three quarters) "Yeah, that's my plan."
(on how important it is to win the three-quarter game) "Well, we want to win every time we go out. It doesn't matter whether it is a preseason game or regular season game. That's our goal. If you're doing it for any other reason, you're making mistakes—but it's important. It's time to play. It's important. Our starters are playing three quarters against their starters and they've got a fine, fine football team. We know that. So it's very important."
(on the chance to be spotlighted once again on Monday Night Football) "Like I told y'all last year, I think these players have earned this right. They don't throw you on that game when your team is not playing well and your organization is not doing well. I think over the course of the last two years, we've earned the right to get back out on there. For a player this is the biggest stage and so that definitely adds something to it."
(on if TE James Casey's difficult catches have caught his attention) "They're catching our whole team's attention. He's had a really fine camp. We're asking him to do a great deal but he's got a chance to turn into a fine pro pretty quickly."
(on his thoughts about the specific catches by Casey themselves) "They look easy too, don't they? That's what is amazing. But he did it at Rice. He did them just down the street. So hopefully he'll do them here at Reliant as well."
Texans CB Antwaun Molden(on getting back to action after being injured with a broken left ankle) "It feels good. I've been out for nine months and I'm definitely looking forward to playing. I'm excited and I feel good."
(on whether or not he had a timetable on a return) "I don't even think timetable was an issue. The thing for me was just to get better in my technique, treat every day as if it's my last. I just take every day and get better in the film room and transfer my technique onto the field."
(on how his 'seize-the-day' mindset changed because of the injury) "When you get injured like that, you definitely sit back and you have a lot of time to think. It definitely hit home and I just go out there and play every down as if it will be my last. That's one thing you take with you and you never know if something like this is going to happen again."
(on his new appreciation for staying healthy and playing again) "Yeah, I'm grateful. There was a lot of time to sit back and think. You're definitely grateful and you need to take advantage of this beautiful opportunity."
(on the defense's goals as a unit in 2009) "When you think of Frank Bush and his character, he definitely brings personality to this defense. We're excited about this season for our defense and I'm excited about what I can contribute to the defense because you have a good group."
(on the Minnesota rushing attack) "It's a great test for us. We're both in the NFL, and the NFL is not an easy game. With Adrian Peterson and Brett Favre and those guys, we have a nice task on our hands."
(on the hoopla surrounding Brett Favre's comeback) "I really don't worry about it. Brett's a great quarterback. I've learned a lot from these vets, and the game this Monday is going to be that much better."
Texans LB DeMeco Ryans
(on Adrian Peterson) "He runs fast and he's a strong guy. He's definitely one of the top backs in this league."
(on if Peterson is a 'violent' runner) "He is a violent runner. He is a guy you really have to bring it when you're going against him. You can't go over and try to arm tackle him. He's going to run through it. You really have to give him all you have, all you've got when you're going up to tackle."
(on Mario Williams stating that DeMeco was the face of the defense) "I can't do anything but respect him. They look up to me and I'm just trying to lead by example, by doing things the right way. Just come out, working hard every day, so hopefully guys catch on to what I'm doing and hopefully it rubs off the way I play onto the other guys. That's all I do, come to work every day."
(on what he would like to see out of the defensive line on Monday) "Just seeing them do what they've been known to do. Just see them come off the ball a little more violent, be more physical and just quicker off the ball."
(on if he thinks there is opportunities still left to start on the defensive line) "Oh yeah, there's always opportunities out there for guys to step up. No one has made the team yet. That's my message I always tell the guys. There is always work to be done. There is always spots to replaced, spots to be moved up so you've got to continue to work, especially if your job is on the line."
DE Antonio Smith
(on if competition makes people better) "I think so. Every training camp, you're going to have competition. It pushes you. It pushes the ones that have the starting spot to do better. It pushes the ones who are trying to get one to elevate their game."
(on if he likes the way the inside defensive linemen have been playing) "Yeah, I really like the way they've been playing. They've been coming along, especially after coach said that we've got a lot of boys tearing it up and doing pretty good in the game."
(on DT Shaun Cody) "He's been solid since he got here. Since OTAs, he's really been impressing everybody."
(on his philosophy of defense going into this game) "We've got to step it up. We've got to play solid defensive ball. We can't let them get out there and rush the ball over a hundred yards. I think that's our goal. Keep them under one hundred yards. We can't let them just run through our defense like we did last week. I think that cutback really got us in that game with the Saints. We thought we had it in practice, but when it came to the game, that cutback play really hurt us. I think once you open up a can of beans in this league, every team is going to use it."
(on playing Vikings QB Brett Favre) "It's fun. I think that defensive lineman dreams of sacking quarterbacks like Brett Favre. I think it's just going to be a fun game. He loves the game. He wanted to come back. I think that's just it. I think too many people make a big deal out of it when it's really not."