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Houston Texans

Practice quotes - Monday

Head Coach Gary Kubaik and Texans players spoke to the media before and after Monday's practice.

Texans head coach Gary Kubiak (on any injuries or personnel changes) "We're okay. We're preparing like we're going to play them all right now. I'm not going to make any decisions right now until Wednesday afternoon. We're just going to keep going here. We've got a short week- a lot of issues going on. We've still got to make another move here at some point in the next day, so we're just going to try to keep going right now."

(on deciding on a punter) "Right now, Chad (Stanley) is off having a baby right now. His wife is expecting. He's also got a groin that's bothering him a little bit. He felt good enough today to come out here and do some kicking, but had that issue come up. So I'm hoping tomorrow he's out here and ready to kick."

(on the status of defensive end Anthony Weaver) "I think we'll just work toward Kansas City, he will make the trip with us. He'll work out before the game- that type of procedure, but he won't play."

(on how feels about the offense right now compared to this time last year) "We've expanded. We're doing more. I think we can handle more offense on a given week. And, as far as game plan wise and what we are doing, I think we are going to be a group that's going to be real specialized on what we do with Jacoby (Jones), what we do with Jerome Mathis, more so last year than just running our offense. We'll be more position-oriented and that type of stuff. But I think our quarterback can handle a great deal, so we'll go ahead an move on, and as long as he's comfortable we'll keep progressing."

(on what it's like having two players competing at center with so much experience) "I think we'll need them both. History tells you that over the last couple of years with both of those kids- to say that one of them is going to hold up for 16 weeks and play every down- I hope it happens, but history says not. So I think we're going to need them both throughout the course. And when you look at Steve (McKinney), he's versatile. He can play guard. That helps the team."

(on how centers Steve McKinney and Mike Flanagan are different) "One of them can play two spots. Mike's strictly a center, but they are both veteran guys that have played a lot of football in this league. They get along extremely well, which is important to the nature of the group. And it just gives us flexibility on game day. We can suit seven guys instead of eight, and that helps us on game day."

(on McKinney playing well against Dallas) "He did a fine job. He's had a heck of a camp. He's played extremely well both at guard and at center. He's come a long way. His body's probably in the best shape it's been in since I've been here. So I think that equates to him getting ready to have a great year."

(on how nice it is to see quarterback Matt Schaub execute on the field) "Well, you see it out here every day, but it's nice for it to transfer to the field. The thing you see is just a confidence in what he's doing and his composure as a player. That hasn't stopped. You continue to see it in practice all the time. It's the first time he's been a starter, and I think he's only going to get better - the more he plays, the reps he gets, the more stadiums he goes into and gets put into the fire, so to speak- I think you're going to see the guy just get better and better."

(on if Schaub's poise carried over to his teammates) "It definitely can. When they see him very much under control in what he's doing and having control of all the situations, I think they calm down and play better. So that's a quarterback's job, and I think he's handling his pretty darn good right now."

(on if there is a different feeling on the team right now than there was last year) "I don't know. I'll say this. The team definitely has an expectation level that has definitely been raised. The biggest way I can compliment them right now is to say- like the other night they are played pretty well as a team- and they expected to. They practiced well last week, and if you ask each one of those guys, they expected to go play last Saturday night. When you start to have that within your group, then it's probably going to happen. There's going to be a lot of bumps along the way, but I think this football team kind of knows itself pretty good and they expect a lot out of each other. So with that, we should be better."

(on if position battles will be decided on Tuesday) "You know I don't think I will. I'm going to backstroke on that. I think I'll come in here on Saturday, and we'll practice, and I'll tell you how those things end up. There's still a couple of issues this week with a few of them, and I think I'll wait until Saturday."

Texans linebacker Danny Clark
(on the emphasis of getting defenders around the football) "Definitely. It's an attitude. It's something that coaches up in meetings and we talk about in the locker room. It's a big deal. We want to get everybody in the picture frame at the end of the play. If you've got 11 guys on defense in the picture frame, that means we're hunting for that one thing, and that's the ball."

(on how the team is shaping up for the regular season) "It's a good. Like I said, it's an attitude. If you are used to doing something one way for a few years, and you get a new breath of life as far as our personnel and coaching staff- just as a whole organization, a new breath of life. I think that the guys are hungry and that showed on Saturday."

(on his status as a starter against Tampa Bay) "I haven't been told. I definitely look forward to being that and will keep striving for that every day of practice. And, hopefully, when we open up against Kansas City, I'm identified as the starter."

Texans center Mike Flanagan (on who will start at center) "As far as I know, a decision hasn't been made. You've got to ask Kubs (Kubiak) and Rick (Smith) on that."

(on his role this week) "That's another question you'll have to ask Kubs and Rick."

(on his confidence in his playing) "That's another question you'll have to ask Kubs and Rick. No, I feel good. I feel healthy. Obviously, I proved that I can play in this league. So has Steve. For us, obviously, it's a tough deal to go through, but it's a positive thing. For the Texans, it's a win-win either way."

(on how the team is finding its form) "Everybody else- the fans, you guys- seem to be shocked by what we're doing, but we've known what we're capable of and we've seen- we're out there every day and we know that we're improving and we're getting better. We just need to continue to do so, and the thought process and belief system in this building and in this city is going to change, and it's going to change quickly."

(on how hard it would be for him to be in a back-up role) "It'd be tough. But I think I'm in a situation where I hope it doesn't go this way, but if it turns out that Steve (McKinney) is the guy- I mean, Steve can play- and so I don't want to say it's an easy pill to swallow, but I'm confidant in what Steve can do. Steve's a hell of a player and he sure as hell didn't last 10 years because he's pretty. And neither have I for that matter. But it's really just one of those situations that I feel I've done the best I can do and I know Steve feels the same way. Ultimately, it's not our decision. That comes from upstairs."

Texans defensive tackle Travis Johnson
(on how the unit is feeling) "I think we feel it. We've started to learn each other and started to get better. Hopefully, we can gel and we just need to get better over the next couple of days. Me and old Jeff Zgonina are just a salt and pepper tandem. Hopefully, we'll get it done."

(on how well he is pressuring the quarterback) "You never think you accomplish something. You've got to really go out there and try to get better doing that. So that's what this week in practice is going to be about, getting better, and, hopefully, we can get to the passer."

(on the progress he has made this preseason) "No more than the next man. I've been working hard just like everybody else, trying to make progress just like everybody else."

(on how this year is different for him) "My third year in school was a pretty big year for me and it's like that my third year in the league. Hopefully, it turns around. So I'm just going to keep working. Like I said, I'll just continue to get better."

(on the "salt and pepper" tandem) "Salt and pepper is the combination of me and Zgonina. It's a hell of a combination."

Texans center Steve McKinney
(on the competition against Mike Flanagan for the starting center spot) "Yeah, I think it's been definitely a competition. I mean, Mike is a good player and he's been around the league for a long time. You don't play this long without doing something right. I knew it would be a tough competition and I think we're just both giving it our all. And we'll se what happens"

(on not lasting so long because he's "pretty") "I disagree with that a little bit, but, at the same time, I think he's right."

(on if it's strange competing for a starting spot this far along in his career) "A little strange, but, at the same time, it's the way the business goes. As you get older, there's always going to be competition. They're trying to get the best guys on the field, and, as a player, you understand and respect that. You've just got to do what you can. You can only control what you do. You can't control what the coaches decide."

(on quarterback Matt Schaub's composure) "He's done a real nice job of having good pocket presence and avoiding pressure and running the ball downfield when he need to. So it's been great. I've enjoyed playing with him and I see nothing but a bright future for him."

Texans defensive end Jason Babin
(on how good it felt to watch the tape from Saturday's game) "It's always good when you win, especially against Dallas and when the defensive line does well after we've been getting some heat about pressure. It's good all around."

(on what is the biggest difference for him) "I think a lot of it has to do with maturity. Now that it's my second year playing defensive end and I have a coach like Jethro (Franklin) who understands how I rush the passer. He coaches me on things that will help me rush the passer."

(on if he thinks they let a season get away because they tried him a other positions) "You can't look back. They brought me up at linebacker the first two years. They paid me a lot of money. You have to do what they tell you, whether you like it or not."

(on having a smile every time the media is around) "Like I said, things are going well for me. I have a good reason to smile."

Texans tight end Owen Daniels (on the job QB Matt Schaub has done so far) "He's just a great leader overall. He's a guy that takes care of his business. He goes about his job like he wants to be perfect at it. He goes through his read very well."

(on if the team built on the momentum after the Arizona game into the Dallas game) "I think so. We looked at, like I said before, as a big test to go against a team like the Cowboys who are a playoff team and played really well in the past. We came out and we were ready for them."

(on if he is going to see the field this week) "Coach hasn't said what's going on with that yet. If I need to play, I'll be in there ready to go."

(on if he is working on any new touchdown celebrations to keep up with wide receiver Jacoby Jones) "I just have the good, old fashioned spike I don't know if I'll do anything more then that. We'll see what happens."

Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson (on going into each game expecting to win) "It's something that we expect to do. I think we surprised a lot of people. Everybody else seemed surprised about it when you walk around, when you're out, everybody says great game on Saturday. A lot of people seem surprised, but we're not surprised by it."

(on if the offense can pick up where it left off against Dallas in the regular season) "Once you play a game, and the game is behind you, you just have put it behind you and move on to the next week. We have a new week, new team. We just have go out and execute the offense all over again."

(on if he's excited about the possibility of having WR Jacoby Jones on the other side) "Yes, like I said before, he has a lot of talent and a lot of confidence in his game. The more weapons we have out on the field, the more it helps our offense and our team."

Texans wide receiver Jacoby Jones
(on becoming acclimated to the NFL) "Yes, like I said, I've gotten comfortable along the way. I'm having fun. Even more fun now because we're winning, too."

(on if he surprises himself) "No, not at all. It's still football. It's a football game."

(on the difference between here and Lane College) "The crowd is bigger, a million times bigger. I love the crowd. They have me geeked when I hear them. I've got to bring my attention up there, too.

(on if he feels the anticipation in the crowd when he's about to catch a punt) "I kind of heard it when they kicked away from me and they started booing. I think they wanted me to return it more then I did."

(on what the coaches have told you to keep you grounded) "Right now, I pray everyday to stay humble and keep playing the way I'm playing. My teammates push me as well."

(on which was a better play, the punt return or the touchdown catch) "Matt (Schaub) threw a great ball. The offensive line did a great job of blocking."

(on making this look easy) "I just look at it like I said before, Jason Simmons said to look at it like a big all-star game and you're playing street ball, run to the light pole, turn around, and catch it. That's what I'm doing. I'm having fun. I'm enjoying it."

(on if the coaches are getting on him about his touchdown celebrations) "Coach Kubiak just told me don't stick the ball up like that again. I guarantee you I won't stick that ball up like that again."

(on if Kubiak didn't mind the flip) "No, he said just have fun."

(on getting praised by Andre Johnson) "I showing up and I'm helping the team by being a good role player. I can still get better."

Texans defensive end N.D. Kalu (on the defensive line making plays against Dallas) "We're trying. You have the starters who have the most pressure on them to make plays. Then you have guys like myself, we just want to come in and make sure the production doesn't drop. There has been a lot of pressure on us. We didn't show up the previous games and we felt like we took a step, a small step, but a step forward."

(on it being nice that the media isn't asking what's going on) "Exactly. Hopefully we'll do it when it counts and that's why we're getting ready for the Kansas City game."

Texans cornerback Dunta Robinson (on the team having a swagger when they are on the field) "It feels great. You have a lot of physical players on this team, on both sides of the football. Seeing Ahman Green running through tackles, you know Dallas has a very good defense, and for him to run through them like he did, that feels good. On the defensive side of the ball, you see a guy like Danny Clark making big hits in the backfield. You see all these different guys making plays. It's not one or two names any more. There are five or six guys you can count on to make a play. It feels good."

(on not being surprised about the early success) "No, we're not. Like I've said time and time again, you've seen them at other places. When you bring good guys in that can help your football team win, we expect to win. It's the attitude that those guys brought and the guys that have been here, we are tired of losing. We are trying to do anything we can. Scratch, fight, claw, whatever we can to make sure that doesn't happen again."

(on any advice he can give Jacoby Jones and his touchdown celebration) "I didn't see too much into the celebration. I've seen a lot worse in this league. The only advice I would give to him is stay humble. It's a long grind. It's a long season. There are going to be a lot of ups and downs."

Texans quarterback Matt Schaub (on how he feels about not playing this week) "We are going to prepare as if we have to play. It's a game. It's a competition. Coach hasn't really told us anything about that, so we are just going to prepare as if we have to play and go out there and get better as a team."

(on how good it felt to have things go like they did, especially the two-minute drill) "Well, it was good to see the situation rise. We ran the ball a couple times. We had timeouts, so the clock was in our favor, and good field position. e had a lot more time then some two-minute drills are afforded. e were able to get down and guys stepped up and made plays. It was all 11 of us walking together."

(on taking a leap forward on Saturday night) "I think as a team, we made a leap forward. We've made progress with each week and each game this preseason. I think that we look forward to continuing that as we get through the fourth game here and into the regular season. We made progress each step of the way."

(on if he likes the progress made through training camp and into opening day) "I think as a ball club we did. We got better day in and day out, and then with the preseason games, with each week, we got better. As a football team, all we can do is go out and improve day in and day out in all phases. I think we've shown that we can play at a high level and be consistent."

(on pushing tackle Ephraim Salaam out of the way in the huddle) "I had to do that, but also, I stepped on Ephraim's foot when I was getting in the huddle. His size 18 was in my way, so I had to make sure he was alright. When you get in the huddle and you're in the heat of battle, sometimes you have fire some guys up or give them a little joke, something to laugh about."

(on running Ahman Green having a break-out game) "It was great to see from the running standpoint and from catching the ball and making something happen with it on the screen plays. He had a tremendous game for us. He really sparked us and got us into some good field position. For him to be able to do that, everybody else has to be doing their job too, the offensive line, the tight ends, the receivers down field especially. It's a credit to everybody out there."

(on his comfort level with Owen Daniels) "He's doing a tremendous job working on linebackers and safeties, getting open. He understands coverages and knows where he is going to get the ball. He's a tough kid. He took some pretty good shots, but he kept on going."

(on if he can tell that Daniels was a former quarterback) "Definitely. In college, I had a tight end who was a converted quarterback. You can tell that he understands coverages and has a feel zones and knowing when he's going to get the ball and where he's going to get the ball."

(on what it's like watch Jacoby Jones on special teams) "It's special. For him to go out and spark us as a team and the crowd right off the bat with that return, that's something special. That's a guy making a play. The guys did a great job opening up a crease for him to get through there. The thing I like about what he's doing, is he's a young player and he's doing it week in and week out. He's not doing it one week and not doing the next. He's being very consistent."

(on how aware he was about what they liked and didn't like about QB David Carr) "I think coming in, I tried not to focus on what it was like before because I have my way of doing things and I am who I am. I'm going to do it the way I've learned to play the position coming up through college and in Atlanta. I'm going to do what it takes to help this team at my position."

(on Michael Vick entering a guilty plea today) "It's a tough circumstance and a tough situation. It seemed like Mike was talking from the heart. It's a tough situation and one that he'll have to deal with down the road. He'll have some time to think about it."

(on if he feels comfortable with both guys at center) "I sure do. They are both experienced guys that have played a long time in this league. I'm comfortable with either one. They are both hard workers and go to battle well."

(on if he is where he wanted to be entering the regular season) "Definitely. It's been a great training camp and preseason for out ball club. We've played well and there have been things to correct and the good thing is, we've corrected them. We've learned from some of the game films and have gone out the next day in practice and the next week and corrected those things. That's a credit to all the guys."

(on what is the biggest challenge adjusting to the starting role) "Just knowing that you are going to be out there the first play. My thing when I was the backup in Atlanta, I was always preparing to play. You're not going to be out there the first play. As long as the guy is healthy in front of you, he's going to be the one out there. You just have to be ready in a moments notice."

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