The Texans had walk-throughs on the field inside Reliant Stadium on Monday with only three days to prepare for their upcoming nationally televised Thursday night game against the Denver Broncos.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on QB Matt Schaub) "Actually, we're going to get a second opinion on Matt (Schaub) here in the next 24 hours and take a look at his shoulder. Definitely we were kind of hoping maybe he would be available this week, but it sure doesn't look that way."
(on where QB Matt Schaub is being sent for his second opinion) "You know what, I'm not exactly sure. I think we're sending him to California somewhere at the request of his agent, but I'm not positive."
(on if surgery is a possibility for QB Matt Schaub) "In my understanding, at this point that hasn't been part of the discussion, so we'll wait and see."
(on the running back situation) "Well, if we were playing today it'd be rough. Ronnie (Dayne)'s still very hobbled, his ankle. We'll just treat the heck out of him and see how much progress we can make with him in the next two days, but the plan is to go with Darius (Walker) and Joe (Adimchinobi Echemandu) and give Darius the chance to step up again."
(on knowing Denver's team very well) "I think there's a lot made of that that's probably not the case. I've been removed from there for a couple of years. Their defense has changed drastically. They've got a new defensive coordinator, so it's probably overrated."
(on what it will be like staring across the field on Thursday night) "Well, it's a game. It's another game. And I know people find that hard to believe, but really in preparation those things it's the same. I'm sure it'll hit me that I'm standing across the field from the guy that I worked for for so many years and a bunch of coaches that I spent a great deal of my pro life with, so I'm sure that'll hit me at the time, but right now we've just got work to do and we've got to get ready to play real fast."
(on anything new on the offensive line) "No, (Mike) Brisiel played well. Of course he'll be back, he'll be fine. Kasey (Studdard) looks like he's going to be OK and be ready to go, and I think Chester (Pitts), as long as we give him his rest here in the next couple days, should be ready to go, so we should be OK."
(on RB Ron Dayne) "You know, I don't know. He did not do anything today. He's pretty sore. We're hoping that he can make some progress in the next two days."
(on not only playing his mentor and friend Mike Shanahan but having his son, Kyle, on staff) "Well, I'm sure that puts a new twist on the game, so to speak. I knew (quarterbacks coach) Kyle (Shanahan) since he was a baby running around the house, and I know him and Mike (Shanahan) talk all the time and they're a football family, so I'm sure that's pretty special for them to be across from each other."
(on quarterbacks coach Kyle Shanahan not talking to his dad this week) "I'm sure that's probably up to his dad, so we'll see. They're both very competitive."
(on the quarterback situation) "I don't see anything changing right now. We're going to get a second opinion on (QB) Matt's (Schaub) shoulder here in the next 24 hours. I'm not quite exactly sure where we are sending him for that. I'll have that information for you all tomorrow. I don't think anything has changed. I don't think he'll be available."
(on RB Ron Dayne's ankle) "We just basically ran a walk through today, but (RB) Ronnie (Dayne) didn't do anything. He's pretty sore. He'll be day-to-day by the way he seemed."
(on anything else from an injury standpoint) "No, just a beat up football team today. There are a lot of guys that didn't do anything. (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) didn't do anything. (LB) Danny Clark did very little. (G) Chester (Pitts) did very little, but we just had a walk through."
(on going on the field to talk to T Eric Winston when G Chester Pitts got hurt) "No, we knew it would be last resort for us if we got caught in that situation, so we talked about it on the field. (T) Eric (Winston) knew that. Eric's played in there before so that was the easiest thing for us to do at the time."
(on the injuries to G Chester Pitts and G Kasey Studdard happening at the same time) "Yes, it was within about a three play period, so there was some serious panic going on. Probably more panic on (TE Mark) Bruener's part then anybody because he would have been the next offensive lineman, which I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate."
(on if G Kasey Studdard is going to play) "Yes, he should be fine. He's feeling pretty good today. He has a big black eye from the tremendous collision, but he'll be ready to go. He'll be ok."
(on practicing in the stadium) "We come in here for our walk throughs all the time. It's just with the games be so close, our field is still in here, so it gave us a chance just to come in here today. It's just a convenience more then anything. It's not anything different."
(on the schedule for the rest of the week) "We'll pick it up tomorrow. We'll have an abbreviated Thursday practice tomorrow and an abbreviated Friday practice on Wednesday morning and go to work."
(on how difficult it is to balance preparation and giving the guys rest) "It's very difficult. I've been through this a few times, playing the Thanksgiving game a few times. This is more mental preparation then anything whenever you play games this close back to back. You have to get your guys fresh, get them mentally ready to go, and not confuse them at all. Let them go out and play."
(on if he's excited about his conference call with the Denver media tomorrow) "You know what, I almost forgot about it. Yes, I'm sure I'll be talking to a few familiar voices."
(on something he's learned under Mike Shanahan that's helped him the most) "I couldn't pinpoint one thing. The biggest thing I learned from him is when you have a plan, you stick to your plan. When you feel like you're making a mistake here or there, you don't hold on to bad decisions or mistakes, you have to cut bait and move on to the next one. It's a league that's week-to-week and the ultimate goal week-to-week is to win a football game and you have to make decisions based on that. Those are some things in general, but I learned a great deal from him. Our program is very much like we ran it in Denver and it will probably be that way as long as I'm able to stick around."
(on if he would have signed RB Selvin Young is he ran a pure Denver system) "I know he's a heck of a player coming out. Of course, going to camp, we felt like we had a pretty good group of backs, but we got dwindled pretty quick. He's a fine player, Houston kid and a lot of people talked about him coming out of Texas. Kyle (Shanahan) talked about him very highly when we were in our draft room as we prepared for the draft. They've done a great job of finding backs that nobody else can find and this kid's been a great surprise for them."
(on why undrafted players and late-round picks excel in that system) "I think the first thing is they're very committed to running the ball. Mike (Shanahan) is committed to running the football. Rick (Dennison) does a great job. They're system never changes. I don't think you can just plug in any player. I don't think that's the case, but they're always finding good, talented kids and they're commitment to what they're doing never changes. I think it's a belief the football team has that, 'Hey, we're going to run the ball regardless, so whatever happens, we'll find a way to run the ball.'"
(on if he'll go back to a pure Denver offensive system with Mike Sherman leaving) "I think it all depends on our personnel. You have to remember, one of the reasons we changed what we did had a lot to do with us getting (RB) Ahman (Green). Ahman, coming from the Packers system and they ran a lot of power, a lot of counters. We made changes that we predicated on us acquiring him. He fits in our future plans. We get him healthy, I'm sure we need to make sure we do what he does best."
(on if QB Sage Rosenfels did a great job with the short drops) "Yes, you talk about the depth of the pocket and what he does, he's not a big stretch-out guy. You watch tape of (QB) Sage (Rosenfels), he's usually playing somewhere around the seven or the eight-and-a-half yard mark when he drops. And then you've got a guy like (QB) Matt (Schaub) who's back there hitting 10 all the time just because of the way he drops, so a little bit different look for our offensive line. It probably helped us the other day with the way they can rush the passer, probably helped us with Sage stepping up and being a little shorter in his drop."
(on not being able to take credit for finding QB Sage Rosenfels) "No. Believe it or not, when I was in Denver with Mike (Shanahan), we always had conversations about quarterbacks that were out there that we thought would be great players if they were surrounded with a good football team. And we used to talk to Phil Simms a lot about quarterbacks because he was around all the games, and actually Phil's the one that told Mike and I that he thought he was a great player, that he had a chance to be a starter in this league. So when I got here, naturally, I thought it was important that we get somebody to push (QB) David (Carr), and so that was the first guy we went after. A lot of that had to do with Phil's recommendation."
(on if he checked him out before bringing him in here) "I knew a lot about him from the draft and visiting with him when he came out and you follow his career. You're always looking at who the backups are around the league in case you have a problem and where you might go and who you might chase. I did know a lot about him."
(on one thing he admires the most about Mike Shanahan) "I mean there are many things that I admire. The biggest thing is his work habits, his commitment to excellence is as great as I've ever been around, but I really think the thing I'll always remember from working with him is the other things in life that he made important to himself and to us as coaches. This is a hard business; you put in a lot of time, but he always let us know that our families were number one in our lives. We're going to coach football games and try to win every game we can, but you always felt like Mike (Shanahan) had your best interest at heart outside of football, so I think that's extremely important."
(on if he thought Mike Shanahan was going to Florida) "I never did. I remember we came off the field against Indy, I think, in a playoff game and there was speculation. No, I never did because I was so close to him, I felt like I would have known that. Mike (Shanahan) is as driven now as he's ever been to win another championship in Denver, I can tell you that. I expect him to be there a lot longer."
(on if he can see Kyle Shanahan replacing his dad in Denver) "I see Kyle (Shanahan) being a head coach in the National Football League. Whether that's ending up where his dad's been all these years, I don't know, time will tell. He's definitely got the ability and the work ethic and the same drive his dad has, I can tell you that."
(on what he saw from the tape yesterday) "We played extremely hard. All three groups played extremely hard. Offensively, we took advantage of opportunities, turned a couple of turnovers into touchdowns. Our defense was very consistent and Joe (Marciano's) group played about as well as they have played in the last month."
(on the biggest challenge going into this week) "I think it's just something new for this team and these guys, getting Denver's system down and preparing to play in a very, very short time. We're very sore and beat up and it's a new challenge for this organization, this football team, and I think the kids are looking forward to it. They were very attentive today. We had a good day. We need two more and we'll get ready to go."
(on if he gave a speech on Saturday night like he used to give in Denver) "I don't know. I just talk from my heart when I talk to our players. Maybe some days I say more then others. We had an excellent meeting the other night. This team needs a lot of meetings. We have to remind each other, remind these young kids where we're trying to go as a football team and an organization. None was better then the one we had as a group the other night. We'll need another good one this Wednesday night."
(on if he'll talk to Mike Shanahan this week) "Heck no, he won't even talk to me before the game. That's just he way he is, that's alright. He would expect me to be the same way."
(on Mike Shanahan trying to get information out of him or Kyle Shanahan) "He'll probably have Peggy (Shanahan) call Kyle (Shanahan). We're going to all compete this week and then we'll visit afterwards."
(on if he's comfortable having RB Darius Walker out there if RB Ron Dayne can't go) "I feel better that he got some plays under his belt this week. We'll see. He'll have to make a big improvement this week for us to have a chance to beat this football team."
G Mike Brisiel
(on his first game film session) "Well, shoot, it's such a quick turnaround we had to start working towards Denver already, so we had to watch film on our time. But it was good; I got a chance to see all my screw-ups and get those out of the way."
(on the effect of a short week) "It shouldn't be any different, just a little less banging in practice. But we've still got to get all of our mental things out of the way, just got to work through it on your own."
(on preparing for Denver) "It's a different week. You've got to prepare differently for each team. We've just got to go out there and get all the plays right in our heads and everything. It shouldn't be any different, though, for us, basically."
(on how he feels physically today after his first NFL game) "It's a little different than practice (laughs). You get a little more banged up in the game. I give these guys credit; they've been doing it for 15 weeks, 14 weeks, so I definitely give them credit because my body's feeling like a truck ran over it today."
TE Owen Daniels
(on the Denver Broncos) "I think Denver's kind of similar to us. I believe we have the same record and we're kind of fighting for the same thing right now, so this will be a good game and hopefully we can show how far we've come."
(on the history with head coach Gary Kubiak having been there) "I think he'd like to get a win against his old team, and we'd like to help him out and do that. That hasn't been talked about too much – we're just kind of getting our game plan down and everything like that – but I'm sure that'll be in the back of our minds when we go out there."
(on if it's like beating brother at horse) "Yes, exactly, beating your brother, beating your dad at horse. Yes, something like that."
(on what finishing the season strong would do to this town) "Honestly, I'm not sure I do understand. But I think for this team, it would be huge for everyone on this team to really have that bit of confidence if we can finish the season the way we want to, show each other how far we can go with all the injuries we've had and guys coming in replacing those guys, what we could do if we were even a little healthier than we are right now."
(on his touchdown celebration) "It was a suggestion by Chester Pitts. He gave it to me on Saturday when we were going through our walk-through Saturday morning. I was like, 'That's a pretty good idea. I usually just spike the ball and celebrate with my teammates; I'll just try something new.' I thought about it Saturday night, I was like, 'Man, I don't even know if, I'm not sure if I can get up over the goalpost.' I hadn't tried, got the helmet on, shoulder pads, jumping off the grass. It was a little different than jumping off a wood floor playing basketball like back in high school, so I was a little concerned, but I think I had enough adrenaline going. That's what let me do it."
FS Will Demps
(on if it's harder to prepare physically or mentally in a short week) "I think a little bit of both. I think mentally, you've got to get your focus up because you had practice today and you're still thinking about the game. But this is the same assignments and alignments that you had yesterday, but you've got to move forward and understand your body's just going to have to heal. You're going to have to get rest, plenty of rest, and understand that it's a big game for us."
(on wanting to play in prime time games) "Oh, definitely, you definitely want to play in these types of games. I think this is what type of football people want to play. Big-time players make plays in big-time games, and this is a big-time game for us and showcase what the Houston Texans are all about. They heard about us early in the year and we kind of faltered off in the middle of the year, but now it's time to showcase what with the big win yesterday and kind of show the world what we have."
(on how the team does it with so many injuries) "You know, it's a testament to the coaches and our organization. It's all about the next man standing up. You can't worry about who's in there next to you or who's going to be playing next, who's going to get dinged up. We worry about what's out there on the field with us and going to battle with us every play and understand that we've got a job to do. We've got to win a game and move forward and take it week by week and take that task at hand."
(on if the plan is to be aggressive against young QB Jay Cutler) "I think it's going to be different. I think for us right now, we've got to keep it simple because it is a short week for us. We don't know what type of package we've got so far. We've kind of got a gist of what we're going to do and it's definitely going to change over the course of time by Thursday, but he is a great quarterback. He has a strong arm and I think the way he's running the offense is great, and they put up big numbers yesterday against Kansas City. So we have our test against a good quarterback and a good team, so we've got our hands full."
(on what stands out about their offense) "You know what, they scored a lot of points. He had something like four touchdowns or something like that, and any time a quarterback does that it's really big for an offense and definitely for a mentality for a team."
WR Andre Johnson
(on if he is ready for a short week) "It's actually a quick turnaround to be Monday having practice and going over game film. It's a quick turnaround, and we played some good football yesterday and hopefully we can keep that good football going."
(on if the quick turnaround is better because they played well) "Yes, it is, but you also want to have to have time for your body to heal up. Everybody's pretty sore after games; guys are in the training room trying to get treatment to be able to go out and play on Thursday night. That's about the only thing you worry about."
(on his comfort level with QB Sage Rosenfels) "Sage (Rosenfels) has been here. This isn't my first time on the field with Sage. Like I said before, we have confidence in him, just as much confidence as we have in Matt (Schaub). So that doesn't change anything when Sage comes in; the confidence is still there."
(on what he hopes the team can accomplish in the final three games) "We're in a situation we've never been in before around here this late in the season and we just take it one game at a time, take that step of getting a winning season for the first time for this franchise and hopefully, if we win enough games, we might get to sneak in the playoffs."
(on if Denver is better than their record indicates) "We watched film on them. I think they are. I think they have a lot of talented players. They have two great cornerbacks, probably the best cornerback tandem in the league, and they're going to be a big challenge for us."
(on if he feels extra motivation going against marquee players) "You obviously want to go out and do well, but you just approach it like any other game. You don't put any extra pressure on yourself because when you do that, you go out and you tend not to play well, so you just go out and approach it like any other game."
(on playing a Thursday night game) "I think it pumps guys up because when we're home on Thursday, we go home and turn on the NFL Network to see who's playing, to watch the football game. And other guys around the league, they'll be watching us for the first time on NFL Network. So I think it'll definitely pump guys up to go out and play well."
DE N.D. Kalu
(on QB Jay Cutler being young) "Well, we just watched film and he doesn't look that young. We respect him. He really looks mature out there, and hopefully the fact that he is young will come into play when we do our different blitzes if we do them."
(on being 6-7 and still having a chance at the playoffs) "Yes, but we don't think about that. It's one game, one play at a time, and I hate to sound, you know, with all these clichés, but if we start thinking about that, then that's when we start thinking about, 'Well, we've got to beat the Colts, we've got to beat Jacksonville,' but Denver's scored 75 points in the last two games, so that's enough for us to think about right now."
(on how a short week impacts preparations) "Just the physical stuff that we do on the field. We spend a lot more time meeting because coaches know that we can't go out there and bang each other the day after a game. So what it does, it makes us spend more time in the classroom and less time on the field."
DT Amobi Okoye
(on having a light practice on Monday) "Coach (Gary) Kubiak, who's played in the league, he definitely understands bodies and how your body will feel, so we went out there, we were still sound and fundamental in our technique, but it was more like a walk-through kind of. He was preserving us for the game, and that's something I'm not used to, so it was nice, it was nice. I still felt like it was a work day but also not a work day."
(on if he has thought about how badly head coach Gary Kubiak probably wants to win this game) "Yes, I've thought about it so many times and I know me, I'm going to play hard for that, just for the simple fact that he used to be there and I know he wants the win bad. I think each and every one of us on the team knows that, and we're going to give it a little more than what we usually do."
(on if he is tired of hearing about the "rookie wall") "Man, you know, I've been hearing about that since the longest, and I am tired of hearing that. But it is what it is, and I'm out there just going hard every day."
(on if it will be special playing in prime time) "I'm excited, man. I'm excited. It's the first time, that's why we've got to go out there and we've just got to play real hard and then we've got to get this W, because it's primetime TV. We're not used to it."
(on the chance to have other players around the league watch them this Thursday night) "Yes. I know on Thursday nights when we lave practice, when we're hanging out, we watch the Thursday night game, so now we're the people going to be getting looked at. So we've got to show what we're capable of."
QB Sage Rosenfels
(on how it feels to get this opportunity) "Well, I've always believed in myself, but I'm just trying to help this team win, trying to find wins, and we've got three left and hopefully we can win as many as we can win."
(on two plays when the ball got away from him) "Well, the first one I wouldn't have done anything different. I didn't see the guy coming and I took my right footwork and let the ball go, and the guy basically beat our guy. But the second one, that's a bad play by me. And every play's a learning experience and I know better than that, but it's hard to give up on plays as a quarterback; you want to keep trying to make something happen. But I should've thrown that one away."
(one it being difficult not to try to make something happen out of nothing) "Yes, I think it can be, because the defensive guys are so fast and you're not really thinking how fast they are and they always can run you down, whether it be a defensive tackle or a nose tackle nowadays. Those guys are as fast as we are, so somehow you've just got to cut bait and move on to the next play."
(on the Denver Broncos) "They do a lot of things and they're very well coached. You can tell they're very well-coached in what they do, and they've got great corners, Champ (Bailey) and 'Dre (Bly). Everybody knows they're probably the best combo in the NFL, so they're really good all around and we've really got to play good football to score some points verse these guys."
(on if teams will throw different things at him now that he's played more) "I don't know; I don't really worry about it. I just try to go out there and go through my reads and take each play separately. I try not to get into the mind of the defensive coordinator on the other side and try to think what he's thinking, I just try to go through my reads and go through my keys and all the preparation that we have during the week."
(on RB Darius Walker) "He did some good things for us, and we had talked about it during the week that, 'Hey, if your guy's not blitzing in pass protection, you need to get out, because the check-downs are going to be huge for the game.' And he did a great job getting out, and after he caught the ball he'd make a guy miss and get a first down, and there were some huge ones in the game."
(on playing in a Thursday night game being unusual) "Well, it's not new to me. In Miami, we played it seemed like two Monday night games every year, a couple Sunday night games every year, so it's not really a new thing to me. I know it's new to a few guys on the team. But I think guys are excited. I think playing the prime time game definitely helps you heal faster and you get your juices running a little quicker to have only four days to turn around and play."
(on his thoughts on all of the injuries) "You know, I don't think about that. I'm moving on to the Denver Broncos and all the things that they do and trying to prepare as fast as I can for what they do, and I'm sure all our problems will work themselves out.:"
(on what scares him the most about them) "Their corners are really, really good. They've got a really good pass rusher, I can't even think of his name, but he's a young kid, I think he had three sacks last week. He's a very talented pass rusher, so as I said they do a lot of things. John Lynch is a lot of times in the box hitting people and creating turnovers, so they've got good players and they've got a good scheme."
(on DE Elvis Dumervil) "That's his name. I did (forget), actually. Young guy, he's got to earn it (laughs)."
(on DE Elvis Dumervil probably saying the same thing about him) "Probably (laughs). That's fine."
(on if head coach Gary Kubiak is extra motivated to play his mentor) "I don't think so. I think he wants to win this like it's any other game. I felt better when we beat Miami earlier in the season and last season. I'm sure it'll be better at the end of the game, but before the game as far as motivation, the motivation is just to win games."
LB DeMeco Ryans
(on if his knee is bruised) "Yes, it's bruised a little bit."
(on what he hopes the team will accomplish in the last three games) "Well, this next game that we have on Thursday is the one we're concerned about right now, (to) just put it all together once again like we did this past Sunday and we put it all of it together in all three phases and go out and get a victory."
(on if he saw Broncos RB Selvin Young rush for 150 yards yesterday) "I didn't see it, but I know he's a guy that can really get going and take it to the house. He's a shifty guy that has a lot of speed that's been running the ball well for them, so it's going to be a challenge for our defense to stop a pretty quick guy."
(on momentum carrying over from a solid defensive performance against a good Tampa Bay team) "Yes, it definitely boosts your confidence once you get a victory over a pretty good team like Tampa Bay. Your confidence level is high. You ride high off that, and I would just expect our guys just to – I always tell them, 'Let's pick the intensity up just a little bit more, let's pick the swagger up, let's go out and show people what the Houston Texans defense is really all about,' and we have the spotlight on Thursday night to do that."
(on if he is ready for prime time action) "Oh, yeah. I'm ready, man. We've been waiting for it, and now it's here, and we're all excited about that."
(on the team normally watching Thursday night games together each week) "Oh, yeah, because every Thursday night we get together as a team and we go out to dinner and wherever we are, that's what's on, that Thursday night game. So it's time for everybody to tune in and see what the Texans are about."
(on this being a chance for the Texans to show off to the nation) "Yes, this is our shot, and we just have to take full advantage of it."
QB Matt Schaub
(on if he will play on Thursday) "Well, I think it's coach's decision. We've got a few days here, but I'm going to be getting a second opinion I think on my shoulder here and we'll see how things go. But the range of motion's getting there, I'm starting to work on the strength and get that back in there, so it's a work in progress but it's getting better."
(on why he wouldn't just shut it down for the rest of the season) "Because as a competitor, I don't want to shut it down. I want to get back out there on the field and help my team and be a part of what we're doing here in the end of the season and finish the regular season off right, so I want to get back out there with my guys."
(on if he would still want to play even if it were only for the last game) "No matter what it is, I want to get back out there as soon as possible and be out there for the rest of the '07 season."
(on if there is any chance at all he'll be ready Thursday) "I like to think so, but again I don't know. It's coming up pretty quick, so we'll see."
(on what QB Sage Rosenfels and the offense did well yesterday) "Gosh, what didn't they do well? They moved the ball, they were executing on third down, they scored points in the red zone, played very efficiently. And we knew that they could go out there and do that, all those guys, and they went out and played extremely well."
(on the offense doing well without big plays) "We've been doing that a lot this year, making a lot of big plays. But when you look at a defense like that with all those veteran guys and through the history of time, they're not a group that gives up a lot of 60, 70-yard plays. You've got to pick and choose your spots and hit those 15, 20-yard plays and score when the opportunity presents itself, because they're very stingy in the red zone. So we took advantage of those opportunities."
(on getting a second opinion on his shoulder) "It's just much of the same is what I'm hearing from the doctors here. It's just peace of mind for myself and that we're doing the right things and that everything, we're on the same page, and nothing more than that."
(on if he has any thoughts on his former teammate being sentenced to 23 months in prison today) "No, I don't. I've spoke on Michael Vick and his situation before, but it's unfortunate. Hopefully he uses the time wisely and has a bright future."