Running back Ahman Green said after practice on Saturday that he's ready to get back on the field against the Steelers.
The Texans spoke to the media following Saturday's morning practice in preparation for their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The running backs, including hobbled veteran Chris Brown, were a hot topic of discussion.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on if the team has made their final roster move) "No, we still haven't made it. I think we still have until three o'clock today if I'm right, so we have to get back in there and talk about that. Like I said, we are still evaluating (RB) Chris' (Brown) situation right now."
(on if there is any update on RB Chris Brown) "No, just a lot of information to sort out. Just trying to sort the information out and to make a decision from a standpoint of when he might be available to us as a football team. So, that's what we are trying to figure out right now."
(on if PUP or IR would be an option for RB Chris Brown) "There's all kind of options right now. The key right now is, we have a lot of people right now looking at the injury and trying to get us the best information possible to what they think. What's the best scenario? What's the worst scenario? That's what we are sorting out right now."
(on if someone else could get cut) "We're not finished with our team, if that's what you are asking. The wire comes out tomorrow, so we'll be looking at that. (General manager) Rick (Smith) and I will be looking at that, probably tonight at midnight and throughout the morning. There are still some things that we think we could do to help our football team, so could that include a move or two? Yes, it could. It could also mean we stay pat. I don't know, so we'll see."
(on what he plans to do with the running back situation) "I think we very well could (play three running backs in the game) because you have to remember that (RB) Ahman (Green) hasn't played a lot. To all of a sudden go out there and start and think he is going to carry the ball 25 times this weekend, I think would be a mistake. We could very well play three guys in the game. Who ends up lining up behind Ahman, how we go one or two, we'll make that decision as the week goes on. (RB Steve) Slaton has missed some time. He did not practice today, so we are trying to make sure his turf toe is ok before we move forward."
(on what RB Steve Slaton is in position to do for the team) "He better be ready to go a bunch. We are really counting on him, and we just wanted to make sure we got him good and rested with the turf toe so it wasn't a problem. I expect him to probably be out here Monday, but if not, if there is any doubt at all, I'll wait until Wednesday. But there is no doubt he'll be ready to go."
(on what RB Steve Slaton has shown in terms of picking up the offense) "He's been good. He's made progress every week. His best week was the Dallas week, so that was a good thing, playing a defense very similar (to Pittsburgh's) from that standpoint. This one is as fast as you'll find and as physical as you'll find, so he'll have to be as good as he was against Dallas and take a step forward. He'll get plenty of work, and we are counting on him."
(on if not having many high draft picks on defense makes players need to step up) "I think our whole team is trying to find another level. We have a bunch of young players, and when you look at how it's set right now compared to last year, there's not a lot of changes. There's a few here or there. There's draft choices in position to help us. Jacques Reeves is in position to help us. There's people like that, but by and far, to me, when I look at it, the key is for the players that have been here, do they take another step forward? Are they better this year than they were last year? We've been building from within with the draft with young guys for the last few years, and we're expecting the Owen Daniels', the DeMecos (Ryans), the Marios (Williams) to continue to step forward as pros."
(on a lot of the defensive players being low-round draft choices) "I don't worry about where they are drafted. It doesn't matter. Hell, I've had Hall of Famers that were free-agents that I've coached. That's a status you start with, but that's not what matters when it's all said and done."
(on if he is looking forward to seeing RB Ahman Green play) "Just excited about it. He's practiced hard for two weeks. He could have played the other night, which I didn't think made a lot of sense. But he's carried the load. We practiced today with, really, three backs out here, so I'm excited to get him going. His frame of mind is really good, and the team knows how much he can help us, so we're ready to go."
(on how RB Ahman Green has held up mentally) "He's been, as I've told you all along, this issue that we've dealt with this past few weeks has been totally different than last year. Last year was very frustrating for him. Every time I talked to him, it was obvious that he didn't feel good and didn't feel like he could contribute the way he wanted to contribute. That has never been a factor through this groin issue. He's been very positive; he feels very good. He's ready to go."
(on how much of a challenge Pittsburgh will be for the running game) "Just that football team (Pittsburgh Steelers), you're going in there. Last year, go back last year on opening day, this football team I think went on the road and won 30-0 or something, if I'm right. Tremendous football team, organization. Great, great defense. One of the best young quarterbacks in the game. So, we'll have to be as good as we can be, but we understand that. I don't have to fool them, they know that."
RB Ahman Green
(on how ready he is after practicing for the last two weeks) "I'm ready, ready for the real stuff. The games count now. We'll go out there and just basically get it going, get it one game at a time, basically."
(on possibly not being able to have 25 carries in the first game) "I hope not. Twenty-five carries, first game, whoo! That's a little tough. I mean, eventually, I'll get there. But just from a standpoint of football and endurance and stuff like that, I'm there. I'm definitely ready to start the game and play the game against Pittsburgh, because it's going to be a physical game. Myself, Chris Taylor, Vonta [Leach] and Steve Slaton, we're all going to be backing each other up. So I'm not worried about not having enough energy, because them guys, when they go out there on that field, I'll be resting up and cheering them on and vice versa. It's going to be a good effort. It's going to have to be a whole team out there, and that's it."
(on RBs Chris Taylor Steve Slaton making the final roster cut) "You speak about them two guys, they've definitely earned where they're at right now because you saw from the time Steve got drafted from the time up until he got hurt, he was picking up the offense really well, picking up the running game, picking up the passing game, things that you want a young guy, a rookie to pick up and to learn right away. And Chris Taylor, he's a veteran, so he knows what he has to do and he did it. If it's on special teams or offense, he went out there and got his job done."
(on if he has any doubts physically at all) "No. No, nothing. I'm just going to take it one day at a time until we got on that plane to go to Pittsburgh. I'm just really going to relax this evening and tomorrow and watch some college football. That's about it."
(on his anticipation for getting in a real game) "It's a big anticipation, just like it was in that first preseason game where I only got one play. So I'm just really taking it one day at a time, one practice at a time. I know soon enough, my time will come where I get out there and help my team out."
(on what he tells younger players about Heinz Field and Pittsburgh's run defense) "I'll be honest, I can't tell them much about Heinz Field; I haven't played there. But I've played against the Steelers before, and from seeing them on-field and playing against them in the past, their defense and their defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is a guy that he's a genius at what he does and when you watch film on their defense, it looks like you're watching organized chaos. Because before the ball is snapped, it looks like they're all lost. They don't know where they're going, they look like dogs in the neighborhood, then all of a sudden the ball snaps and they're hitting their gaps hard, fast, so we've got to be ready for that."
(on his mentality for the season opener) "You've just got to go out there and just play hard. Like you said, you already know what they've established in the past, so you've just got to worry about yourself in that game and worry about what you've got to do to help your team out. That's how you attack a team like that – just worry about your job title, don't try to go outside the box on anything. Just whatever the play is called, run your play to the fullest."
(on if he is looking forward to seeing the zone blocking scheme in place) "Everybody's been looking good, so I'm excited, yeah. Preseason games, everyone looks good, and once we get three or four games under our belt, regular-season season games where everything's full speed, then you'll really start to see gaps open up for us where we can read the hole and hit it hard and go upfield."
RB Steve Slaton(on if he is making sure he will be ready on Sunday after not being able to practice) "Definitely, that's my first priority, just to get better and be able to make it for next weekend."
(on if he has had turf toe before) "I had it before in college, but not like this. I can work through it."
(on how much he is looking forward to regular season action) "I'm looking forward to it a lot. It's been a dream since I was young. It's the next step up in football. I'm looking forward to it."
(on how the game against Dallas helped his confidence going into the game against Pittsburgh) "That helped a lot. Each game, I thought I was getting better. The biggest thing that I wanted was to improve week-by-week. I feel like now, I just need to keep on improving."
(on what strides he has made since the beginning of camp) "Getting more of the concept of the offense down, making better reads and picking up pass protection."
(on how much of a load he can handle) "I think I handle a lot of it. That's the reason I picked this position to play. I feel that any situation that Coach can put me in, I feel like I'm prepared to handle it."
(on how much of a focus he put on pass protection) "A lot of focus. A lot of veterans told me that is the reason some running backs don't play: They can't protect. That's one of the things that I felt I could do the most improving on."
(on if practice had a different feel after the cuts and being a rookie) "It definitely is a different feel. You know who's going in and who's not now. You just know that you have to be prepared at any time."
(on if he is intimated about going into a meaningful game against a great team) "No. I think that preseason helped me get those jitters out. It was just a big deal to try to fight for a spot."