The Texans practiced Friday at the Methodist Training Center, and head coach Gary Kubiak answered questions from the media afterwards. The following is a transcript of his interview.
Head Coach Gary Kubiak(on the health status of his team) "Oh, we're good. Cush (LB Brian Cushing) practiced today. He's ready to go. Like I said, we're pretty much on schedule with what we were last week. (DE) Mario (Williams) took all his reps. We're fine. (S Bernard) Pollard was back to work today, feeling fine. So it looks like right, it's still (S) Nick (Ferguson) and (LB Jamie) Winborn going into the game."
(on if he played against Mike Singletary) "Yeah, I played against Mike when I was at A&M. It was not pretty. He got us pretty good. I got to start against the Chicago Bears my second year when he was there, when they went 17-1. Let's just say that we weren't the team that beat them; it wasn't very pretty that day."
(on both Kubiak and Singletary being from Texas and now coaching) "I have so much respect for him, not only as a player but as a person. He's done such a great job with that football team. They reflect him when you watch them play, in all three phases, very physical. It's a big, big test for our football team. I'm looking forward to it. I have a lot of respect for him."
(on RB Steve Slaton talking about protecting the football) "First off, obviously it's been a concern. He's making a lot of plays and doing a lot of great things for our team. Last week, we could've had one that we got back, with the challenge in that situation. We've concentrated on it big time this week. We've got everybody pulling on Steve. I know he's tired of everybody yanking on him all week, but we've got to get that fixed. This team, the physical nature of which they play, if you're not protecting the ball, you're going to get it knocked out. Let's face it; our team doesn't play well when we lose the turnover battle. That'll be huge in this game."
(on if he is doing any unique things to emphasize ball security) "He takes it pretty much all the time in practice. We get to pull on him quite a bit out here and (running backs coach) Chick (Harris) has done some other things with him. Really, I think that with a player, that's just being conscious of getting two hands on the ball in certain situations. In that game against Cincinnati, in the situation he was in, in the game where we were at, ball security was the only thing that mattered. It's just understanding what's going on."
(on what makes TE Owen Daniels so special) "Just his work. He's a lot like (WR) Andre (Johnson) from the standpoint that he doesn't say much at all and just works really, really hard—very accountable to his teammates. I'll tell you what Owen is about: He's been in (special teams coach) Joe (Marciano)'s special teams meetings every day since he's been here and really doesn't even have to be there. That's the type of player Owen is, just very committed to everybody around here. Great kid."
(on what specifically Owen does well) "It's hard to find guys who can do both. Obviously, he's a heck of a receiver and can makes plays and he has worked to become a better guy on the line of scrimmage. Remember, he was a quarterback in college at some point, so that's not easy to flip that switch. We're watching (TE) James (Casey) go through the same thing. I think the fact that he's gotten better on the line of scrimmage has got his respect around the league."
(on if Owen has taken off since being named to the Pro Bowl last year) "I think his confidence, obviously, when you make it that level and you go down there and spend the week with those players that you idolize and follow all the time. You start to see yourself in that light and he's obviously playing that way this year so hopefully we can keep it going."
(on not having any film on WR Michael Crabtree) "Obviously, but we know what type of player he is. We have to prepare for their offense—what they do. Obviously, there is special attention from our standpoint knowing that this kid is going to touch the ball, somehow, some way—tremendous talent. We'll have to see how they go about getting it to him, but we know they're going to try and get him involved."
(on if they watch college film on Crabtree to look for tendencies) "No, I don't think they really need to see that to see the talent he is. Our job is to defend their scheme and that starts with (RB Frank) Gore and what he's capable of doing. If we don't stop the run, it won't matter, so we better do a good job at that first."