On Friday, the Texans practiced inside the Methodist Training Center. Afterward, they answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head coach Gary Kubiak T Duane Brown LB Brian Cushing WR Andre Johnson FB Vonta Leach S Bernard Pollard LB DeMeco Ryans T Eric Winston
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on WR Jacoby Jones) "He did a little bit more on special teams today. He did not work once we got to practice, kind of the same thing (as yesterday). I would say he got better today. We'll see. We'll push him tomorrow and see what he can do."
(on his thoughts on Titans LB Keith Bulluck saying the Titans are going to destroy the Texans playoff hopes and aspirations) "I'm just trying to get ready to play. Trying to get my team ready to play."
(on if he is optimistic about WR Jacoby Jones playing on Monday) "Yeah, I'm still hopeful. I would've liked to see him do a little bit more today, but I think that was more Kap (head athletic trainer Geoff Kaplan) holding him back, once he did the special teams. Let's get him out here tomorrow and see. We've got a long time to deal with it so let's see how he does."
(on if WR Jacoby Jones needs to practice in order to play) "Jacoby can play without practicing. There's no doubt about that. Also, I've got to make sure that he can go and help us win because he is a big part of what we do, not only as a receiver but as a returner. If there is any question at all, I've got a lot of confidence in (WR) Glenn (Martinez), so we'll see."
(on Titans RB Chris Johnson's plans to run for 200-yards against Houston) "I'm trying to get my team ready to play."
(on what he remembers as a player or coach from Monday Night Football) "It's just a different schedule. It's totally different for you. One of those things, being a coach now, I'm trying to keep these guys on the same pattern. They get ready to play; it's a bit of a challenge, because it's such a long week for you. Then you come right back and have a short week. Everything is the same, bottom line is you're playing 24 hours later and everybody is watching. It's the only game in town."
(on if anything about Monday night games sticks out in particular from his playing days) "I can't think of one in particular. It seemed like we had one or two a year up there (Denver) so we got accustomed to that schedule and doing it. This is, what, the second time around for these guys? I think they've handled it pretty good. We've come back from the bye week; we were very fast today and practiced very good."
(on any other injury updates) "Cush (LB Brian Cushing) practiced today, so we're okay."
OT Duane Brown
(on Titans OLB Keith Bulluck saying the Titans are going to destroy the Texans' playoff hopes) "Everybody has their opinion and what they got to say, you know, we're not so much worried about what he or anybody else over there has to say about our playoff hopes. We're just going to come out Monday night, play good football just like we know how and let that take care of itself."
(on not being called out much) "It's going to be a heated game, you know. Last time we played them down there we got after them, it got a little physical on the sidelines. It was a dog fight, you know. So we came out victorious and we're going to come in Monday night and they're ready for revenge and we're ready to continue doing what we're doing."
(on if players talk amongst themselves about what opposing players say) "You hear the stuff in the news and you're going to talk about it, I mean it gives us some motivation. But we don't have any say about it. But you know we're ready to go."
(on if he finds comments from opposing players funny or insulting) "It's not funny. I don't know if he was joking or not. Like I said, we don't worry about it. We come out to practice every day ready to go. We're going to come out Monday night ready to go and that's what it is."
(on Titans OLB Keith Bulluck saying the Texans over-celebrated their win over the Titans earlier this season) "Winning in this league is big, I don't care who it's against. A win at Tennessee, second game of the year is huge, you know, and we'd of course want to celebrate and we get a win Monday night we're going to celebrate the same way. I don't care who you're playing, you get a win in this league, it's important for you."
LB Brian Cushing
(on what he remembers from the first Tennessee game) "It was a physical game. It took all four quarters. Neither team was giving up and then there was just one little mistake at the of the game that determined the outcome."
(on how the Titans are different with Titans QB Vince Young starting instead of Kerry Collins) "I think he makes a lot of plays with his legs. The team seems like it got a little bit of a spark from him. They've been running around, making a little bit more plays here and there. (Titans RB) Chris Johnson is having a great season too. At the same time, I think our run defense has improved dramatically since that first time that we played them. It will be interesting. I think both teams have really gotten better since that game."
(on how big it is to be playing on his first Monday night) "It is. Like I said, it's going to be the only game on in the country so I'm excited to play in it and I just hope we get that 'W'."
WR Andre Johnson
(on Tennessee LB Keith Bulluck's comments from yesterday) "No, I don't really worry about all that. They can say what they want to say. It really doesn't matter; you've got to play football."
(on Tennessee LB Keith Bulluck saying the Titans will 'destroy' Houston's playoff aspirations) "What do you want me to say? If that's how they feel, that's how they feel. We can't control that. All we can control is what happens on Monday night, so we'll be there Monday night."
(on Tennessee CB Cortland Finnegan's comment that Monday is 'payback time') "What do you want me to say, still? It will be settled between the lines on Monday night, and that's all I have to say about it."
(on if he expects a physical game on Monday) "It's going to be tough, I can tell you that. Your body will be banged up pretty bad after the game. You won't be feeling good on Tuesday morning, so we're all prepared for it. We know what we have to do in order to go out and win against the Titans, so we know what to expect."
(on if he likes physical games) "That's part of football. When you play against certain teams, you have to play a certain way to beat them, and in order for us to beat them, we have to be more physical than they are."
(on if he expects trash talk from Tennessee CB Cortland Finnegan) "No, that doesn't bother me – things guys say and all that. I don't get caught up in it. I just play, so you'll have to go somewhere else with that."
(on Tennessee LB Keith Bulluck's comment that Houston acted like they'd won the AFC Championship after the teams' first game this year) "Well, we've never won the AFC title game, so I don't know how to react, so I don't know."
FB Vonta Leach(on his thoughts on Titans LB Keith Bulluck saying they are going to destroy the Texans playoff hopes and aspirations) "Keith is obviously a good player. He's been doing a lot of good things. The Titans have been playing good the last three games. They are 3-0 with (QB) Vince (Young) at the helm. We are just going to worry about us and what we can do. It's always good to come out and just get a win. We've got to do anything we need to get a win."
(on if the comments fire him up) "No. It's Monday night. All of your friends and family are watching you. It's on the national stage and we've only had a couple of them around here so anytime we play on the national stage, we want to put in a good four quarters."
(on Titans LB Keith Bulluck's other comments) "He's speaking the truth. They've beaten us more than we've beaten them. Fortunately we were able to go down there and win. Anytime you can win in this league, it's big, and we're going to do anything we can to get a win."
(on if he expects another physical game) "I think it's going to be another physical game. It's going to be mano-a-mano, us against them, the best team is going to win."
(on his thoughts on the rivalry) "I think it's really good for our conference and for both teams involved in the game."
S Bernard Pollard(on Titans OLB Keith Bulluck saying the Titans are going to destroy the Texans' playoff hopes) "You know what? Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. We're going to show up, we're going to play our ball, we're not going to get sidetracked. At the end of the day it's not about one player, it's not about two players, it's about eleven guys on offense, defense and special teams to show up and prove that we want it. And we know we want it. We understand that we have seven games left. We understand where we want to go and we're not going to let one person or a couple of mouths stop us."
(on if he finds such comments insulting) "You know what? We can't do anything but go out there and our play is going to shut them up. You know, like I said yesterday to a couple of guys, if you don't respect us—in this business, you can't earn respect, you got to take it. And so you say whatever you want to say and like I said we're going to show up and we're going to play—we played really good the last few weeks, but we need the W's. Seven games left and we got to go get them."
(on Titans RB Chris Johnson saying he'll gain 200 yards) "I don't care what he says. I wasn't here the first time they played and I'm not trying to say I would have stopped anything. All I'm saying is this is a new season. Seven games, we've been through the bye week, we're refreshed. Of course Coach Kube (head coach Gary Kubiak) has done a great job as far as getting us ready to go to this Monday night game so like I said, we're going to show up, we're going to hit you just like our defense knows how. We know how to hit, be in the right position, and we're going to get the ball away."
(on if the comments make him angry) "You got to shake it off. You know, like I said, because this is another athlete, somebody who we're going to go against, an opposing team talking against you. We can't physically go do anything until it's game day, you know? It's not going to—nothing's going to be cheap shots, we're going to go out there and we're going to play. And so if you feel like you're going to come in here and do whatever—try it. Go ahead. That's fine. I don't care. I'm pretty sure the other 10 guys don't care. We're going to show up, we're going to hit you in the mouth just like we said we would."
(on what he's learned from teammates about the rivalry with the Titans) "I have not heard a lot of things. The only thing that we can do is show up and play. I don't care who's been here before, what team's been here before, what players play on this team now, who's with their team, what players on this team—it does not matter to me. Football is football. This is a game of W's. We got to go get W's and like I said where we want to go, we got a game now. And we're looking to do it."
LB DeMeco Ryans
(on his thoughts on Titans LB Keith Bulluck saying they are going to destroy the Texans playoff hopes and aspirations) "It's all bulletin board talk. It really doesn't matter to me what they have to say. It doesn't matter. Everything will be settled on the field."
(on if he is surprised that Titans LB Keith Bulluck made the comments) "Nothing really surprises me. You can talk all you want to, but we let our helmets and shoulder pads do the talking."
(on if this rivalry is heating up and shaping up to what it should have been for awhile) "I hope it's getting there. I hope it's getting to one of those rivalries that everyone will talk about around the league, where everybody looks forward to seeing Houston and Tennessee go at it because that's the type of game we want against these guys."
(on if it makes it better being on Monday night) "Even better. That's what makes it the best. Being on Monday night, everybody will be tuning in and watching, so it heats the rivalry up even more."
(on their success in prime-time games) "I think our guys get pumped up a lot for prime-time because we are not the team that always has the prime-time games. So if we have the opportunity to showcase our talent, everybody takes advantage and takes it to another level."
(on if he expects the nasty, dirty and physical type of play to continue from the first game) "Oh yeah. I expect it to still be the same, still be the nasty and very physical game. I expect it to be that way for four quarters."
(on Titans RB Chris Johnson saying he was mad he didn't get 200 yards last time against the Texans) "All the talk, it is what it is. It sounds good and sounds fun for everybody to talk about it and it's fun little comments, but you have to go out and do it on Monday night. That's when it all matters."
(on if opposing teams comments upset him or does he just shrug them off) "It doesn't make me mad. At the end of the day, the game isn't going to change just because of what they say. Just because (Titans LB) Keith (Bulluck) and (Titans RB) Chris (Johnson) made some comments about our team, that isn't going to make me go out and play even harder because that's how I play all the time. You can't pump me up any more for this game than I pump myself up already."
OT Eric Winston(on Titans OLB Keith Bulluck saying the Titans are going to destroy the Texans' playoff hopes) "Well, we'll see, you know? That's why we play the games, right? You know, all that talking and stuff—it's good for the locker room, it's good to get the game hyped up and everything like that but after that first play, after you get hit one time that stuff goes out the window and you got to start playing. So I'm not worried about it, I know he plays hard, I think he knows we play hard and we'll see after the game."
(on if he's surprised Titans OLB Keith Bulluck would say the stuff he did) "No, he carries himself with a lot of swagger, I'm not surprised. He's a pretty confident guy, he's been around the league a long time and to a certain degree he's probably earned the right to say stuff like that. At the end of the day, though, it's all about the sport. Doesn't matter how many tackles you get, doesn't matter what, you know, it's who wins at the end of the day and we got to find a way to win."
(on if he expects the physicality of their last meeting to carry into Monday night) "I think there's carry over any time we play. It's a rivalry, you play them twice a year, so wins are always kind of fresh when you see them. There's not going to be any secrets; we know what they're going to do, they know what we're going to do and it's just going to be who can execute better."
(on if he finds Titans OLB Keith Bulluck's comments humorous or insulting) "It's definitely insulting, without a doubt. It's funny in a way, too, because of the situation. So, I guess it all gets sorted out on the field. You can talk during the week all you want but it's about who shows up Monday night. We've got to make sure we're that team."
(on Titans OLB Keith Bulluck saying the Texans over-celebrated their win over the Titans earlier this season) "I'll tell you what—the one thing I've learned in this league is that wins don't come easily and you never know when you're going to get the next one. And I will be the first one to say that I will celebrate every win that we have, no matter if we win 10-7 or 34-31. And you know, I've never been in an AFC Championship game. I don't know if they have either. So I'm going to celebrate, I'm going to be happy about every one we get."