The Texans spoke to the media after practice on Thursday, the first day of Texans practice after training camp ended on Tuesday.
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak Texans T Duane Brown Texans DT Shaun Cody Texans G Chester Pitts Texans QB Matt Schaub Texans DE Mario Williams Texans T Eric Winston
Texans head coach Gary Kubiak
(on injuries) "(Brian) Cushing did more today from an injury standpoint. Travis (Johnson) did a little bit more today from that standpoint. Brice McCain is back on the field. So other than that, we're just on our normal season routine, trying to get used to it."
(on expectations for Cushing on Monday) "I would like for him to be beating my door down to play. I'm hoping he makes that much progress. I'm hoping that tomorrow he does a little more practice with the team, a little bit more on Saturday and he's begging to play on Monday night and we make a decision. So he's awful close, but we've just got to be smart in what we're doing."
(on if there are unique challenges to defending against Brett Favre) "Obviously. He's one of the greatest ever to play the game. Then you put one of the best running backs to have come around in a long, long time with him, that's very, very difficult. They're as good as we'll face all year long and what they're capable of doing to you, so it's a good test, and we need it. After the other night, we need to go back and play the best. We're going to get a chance to do that this week."
(on if DT Shaun Cody is making a difference on defense) "Yes, I think he has played very well. I think he's pushing for a starting job. That's how well he's played, so a big two weeks for him. We'll see how he comes along and see what happens, but he's done a good job."
(on if this game takes on more meaning than a typical preseason game) "Well, they better all take on the same meaning. They better all be just as important to each player every week. But obviously, when you come out of one with the disappointment that we had, it was a good wakeup call. We'll see how we respond. But they're all important and the third one is usually very important to all the teams because they're playing their guys the most."
(on if he can elaborate on Cody) "He's playing very well. When he's had his chances to play, he's been very effective, he's made plays. So we've got to look at a way of getting him on the field with our 11, and that's how well he's playing out there. Does that mean we use him with Amobi (Okoye) together? Does that mean he's getting more reps at the three? I don't know, but he's going to get an opportunity to play with our ones a great deal this week because he's earned that right."
(on if he can discuss other starting jobs that are open) "No, that would be too hard for me to sit here and talk about each one. I just think there is many, there is more so since I've been here as far as we haven't made a decision yet, but we'll see what happens. These things play themselves out. Guys play their way into jobs or keep their jobs by how they play. So we'll see"
(on CB Jacques Reeves) "He's doing very well. To say that he'll be ready for New York would be a pleasant surprise for us, but he is doing pretty good. I think the plan all along was hopefully for Week 2. If he's ready Week 1, that will be a bonus."
(on C Chris Myers) "He practiced half the reps today. The plans are to play him in the game."
(on the status of WR Jacoby Jones) "He's had a good camp. He did some good things the other night. He was offsides one time, but he's had a good camp. He needs to step up and keep making those plays like the other night, catching the skinny, getting his tail knocked off there. He's earning his keep and he'll get a chance to do that the last two weeks."
(on the guys he's battling with Darnell Jenkins and Glenn Martinez) "And (Mark) Simmons, to me, was probably one of the few bright spots on our team last week as far as special teams and what he did so we'll see. That's a tough, tough call and probably whoever does the best job on special teams, be it Jacoby as a returner or those guys covering, and doing what they do, it will probably be a factor."
(on QB Sage Rosenfels being traded and competing for a job, then Favre was signed) "Well, I mean that's part of the NFL. There is no easy way in the National Football League. You gotta earn your keep. He and I had that conversation before he left. He knows that. He's a competitor. He's been in some tough situations where he's had to battle good football players and I'm sure he's doing the same thing there. I know the game he played, the one I watched, he played extremely well, which is what he always did for us. I've got a lot of respect for him."
(on if he's ever been around as modest of a star player as WR Andre Johnson) "No, I've been around some real modest ones, but probably none as quiet as he is and how he goes about his business. Just a class act. He wants the ball. I can tell when he walks by me on the sidelines. That's his way of saying, 'get me the ball.' You know? But that's okay. He's a competitor, that's just how he going about things. He demands the ball by how he works. If you don't try and get him the ball by how he works, something's wrong. He deserves the ball by the way he works."
Texans T Duane Brown
(on how prepared he is for DE Jared Allen today compared to last year) "I feel a lot better. I'm a lot more comfortable now than I was a year ago. We've got him at home. I think playing over at their place made them a little better. But as a player, I feel a lot more comfortable going into this one."
(on his reflections of the Schaub injury last year) "As an offensive lineman, you hate to see your quarterback go down like that, especially when it's something that could've been prevented even though it was a little late. You've got to take care of him. It's part of the game, trying to get at the quarterback. I felt like he (Allen) could've stopped himself, but then again, it's my job to keep him away. So I've got to do a better job of that."
(on one thing he can do better this time against Allen) "Be more technically sound. Last year, I was out there still trying to learn the position a little bit. I feel a lot more comfortable now technique-wise, and I have to use that to my advantage."
(on if he harbors resentment for what was done to his quarterback) "Definitely. From the beginning of the game, he had a little bit to say about me, with me being a rookie out there. You pair that up with the fact he put a lick on my quarterback that put him out of the game, of course, I feel I need some revenge."
(on how he feels when he sees the injury on film again) "It makes me sick to my stomach. Being an offensive lineman, especially a left tackle, that's my number one job: to keep the quarterback clean. When someone hits him, that's one thing, but then when he gets hit and he doesn't get up, that really hurts you. So I definitely take pride in my job of keeping him upright."
Texans DT Shaun Cody
(on head coach Gary Kubiak wanting to see what he can do on the field) "That's good. I'm having the chance to compete during camp and as a player, that's all you want. You want to get in there, get a chance to show what you've got and I think I've done that so far this camp"
(on where he fits in the scheme of things) "Well, this week, I think I'm going to be playing nose, next to Amobi (Okoye) inside. The last couple of weeks, I've been playing three-technique. It's a little change, but that's nothing new for me. I played both in Detroit, so I know how to play them."
(on if he got a sense that he was earning Kubiak's faith and respect) "You never really follow that too much. As a player, for me, I try to go in there and beat my butt off every day. That's just the way I am, the way I'm built. I don't listen to what's happening or what's going on. I just go in there and try to compete."
(on the reps and opportunities he's receiving) "That's all you want. As a player, that's the most you can hope for, is to try and get your opportunity, your chance, to show what you've got and then you gotta do it from now on."
(on how impressive Minnesota's running game is) "I faced them in Detroit for a couple years, so I know that AP (Adrian Peterson) can run the ball and they've got a talented line who knows how to block it well, so it's definitely a challenge for us. I think it's good for us, coming off the game that we had, to show that we can stop the run."
(on how he would describe RB Adrian Peterson as a runner) "Violent. Violent. You know, I think when you watch him on film and the way he moves, everything has got a motive to it. He's very shifty, but yet he'll take it right at you. So he's definitely a very violent runner, I think."
(on going up against QB Brett Favre again) "It's exciting, you know? He's going to bring a lot of media attention, so that's always a good thing. You can get your name out there if you get a sack or something."
(on Okoye saying Favre should've stayed away from the game) "Well, that's his own call. That's the man's decision, to play or not. Obviously, he made that decision, so now we gotta try to make him play."
(on the biggest worry with Minnesota) "Yeah, it's their run game. That's what they do. That's what they're known for. They put their hat on, playing good defense and running the ball. So we've got to stop them."
(on how the defense takes on the challenge of Peterson after the Saints game) "With defense, you play on emotion a lot. I don't think we emotionally got up for the game, and it showed. Hopefully this week, we can get up emotionally and play with that fire on defense that you need to play with and we'll get the job done."
Texans G Chester Pitts
(on if he's playing Monday) "Yeah, I'll be playing Monday."
(on the challenge of the Vikings in his first game back) "(Jared) Allen is a very good player. We played 'em last year. Probably the best front four, as a whole, that we'll see. Nobody gets a break. They're all good players, Pro Bowlers. We just have to go out and block them. It is what it is. They're good. They're a great challenge. The best thing about it is we'll know exactly where we are. We'll know exactly how good we are, where we are. It's a great challenge, and I'm really looking forward to it. It's one of those deals where you get the opportunity to prove that you don't need to get beat up during camp to perform well. So, I have a lot riding on this one."
(on if this is a dress rehearsal for a real football game) "Absolutely. They're going to come out, they're going to be ready to go. The whole Brett Favre show, Monday Night Football, I mean, this is as close as you're going to get in the preseason."
(on if he finds himself getting pumped up because of Favre and Monday Night Football) "Not yet. You play the game on Monday. If you get all excited today, you run out of juice. You've got to keep your juice for the game."
(on if he harbors any thoughts or feelings on what Allen did to Schaub last year) "I know Jared. I know him personally. At the time, I was very upset. I called it dirty and called him a scumbag. But after talking with him and going back and looking at the film, it was dirty, but he wasn't trying to be malicious. I've met him before; I've hung out with him, done red carpets with the guy. He's not that kind of guy that would purposely try and hurt somebody."
(on how it can be dirty but not purposeful) "Well, it happens. It is football. You've got a lot of things going on when you're on the field. You can be what I call on the edge, and it definitely was on the edge. Because it was my guy, it was dirty. If I was watching somebody else, it would've just been on the edge. But because it was my guy, and my guy got hurt, there's a problem. But he didn't, no, it wasn't like that."
Texans QB Matt Schaub
(on if he thinks about last year's incident with DE Jared Allen often) "It's in the past. You know, I'm moving on. It's a new year. So we're just going to go out and play a good football team. It's going to be a good team, a good matchup, and we're excited to go play."
(on if he was excited about the rule change) "Well, it's football. We're still going to go out there and play. Things can still happen, so we just have to go out, cut it loose and play ball."
(on if he hold any animosity towards Allen) "No. We've just got to go play. It is what it is."
(on how difficult it was to be injured last year) "Well, it was tough. It's a tough circumstance, and no one likes to be in the training room, having to rehab injuries. But it was something that I had to deal with. It's what I was dealt, and I felt fortunate to come back in four weeks and finish the last four games of the season."
(on Allen's apology after the game and if it meant anything) "You know, it did. It shows what kind of guy he is. You know, it's football, and he's going 100,000 percent, and so it was tough for him to back off. So it is what it is, and I understand that. I know it's part of the game, and I was glad to see that he did that and it just shows what kind of guy he is."
(on this being a simulated regular season week) "Well, it's important for us. As a team, this is where the starters get a lot of time. We get to see a lot of action and we're going against a good football team, one of the best in the league, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So it's a good test for us. It's good to get a normal game week so we can in our meetings, get into our routines so we can get prepared for the regular season."
(on what kind of problems DE Jared Allen can cause on the field) "Well, you know, it's not just him. They have a great defensive front across the defensive line and linebackers. So they have got a very physically sound football team. They're in the right spots and they bring it every play. So it's not just him, it's their whole defense. He's just on the left side, there on the blind side, and that presents a lot of challenges for us."
(on QB Brett Favre) "He's coming in here and obviously, the defensive guys are taking a look at what they're doing with him. He's a Hall of Famer and a legend, so they have to deal with him. We're just focusing on their defense and getting prepared for those guys."
(on if he can be more relaxed in the pocket now that the rule has changed) "I wouldn't say I don't have to worry about it anymore, because there are still guys that are going to play until the whistle and they're still going to try and make that play so it's not like I can relax out there and not expect it to happen. They are still going to come play football."
(on if it will always be dangerous situations) "Well, yeah. It's an aggressive play. Obviously, they might be penalized, they might not. You know, fine, whatever, but it's still football. They're still going to make that effort."
Texans DE Mario Williams
(on what makes RB Adrian Peterson good) "Because he's the best at everything."
(on what Peterson is best at) "Running the ball."
(on Peterson being a "violent" runner) "He's a big guy, he's explosive, he runs hard. Like I said, he's the best in the business."
(on if he gets caught up in all the talk about Vikings QB Brett Favre) "No. Obviously, it's a big challenge, that's how I see it. It happens to be Favre. We've just got to go out there and play some football."
(on if playing against Favre means more than playing against other quarterbacks) "Yeah, I probably would say just for the simple fact that I think he's retired twice and came back, so that kind of has an edge to it. But definitely, he's a Hall of Fame guy, and if I can get a crack at him, I'm going to go out and play ball."
(on how this preseason Monday night game is different than regular season ones) "I'm going to take it just the same. It's a very big game for us. Like you said, the stage is set. It's a Monday Night Football game and Favre is in town and they've got the best running back in the business, so I think our hands will be full."
(on if sacking Favre will mean more than sacking another quarterback) "I don't know. To me, a sack is a sack. I guess if everybody is going to be watching him, hopefully if I'm closer to him, I guess they'll be watching me. I'll take it that way and see what happens."
(on being the face of the Houston Texans defense) "I thought (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) was the face?"
(on the responsibility of being the face of the defense) "I would take it in open arms and just try to go out there and play ball and try to get a defense going in the right direction, kind of get us out there playing assignment football, which we didn't show before but we're definitely going in the right direction with the staff we have now in front of us."
(on how he wants to change the defensive line amidst criticisms) "We've got to change it because everything starts up front and we've kind of had a lot of fingers pointing at us up front, and we're trying to get that done so we're just taking one day at a time."
(on if he's trying to take a more active leadership role) "I'm the same old me."
(on if he's considered it since he's so vocal on the field) "Probably just due to because I actually know what's going on now and before I didn't. Yeah, before, especially my first year, definitely there was a lot of stuff going on, you can't sit here and tell somebody to do something whenever you're trying to figure your way out. Yeah, definitely, the more comfortable anybody is, the more they're going to be out there able to help out."
Texans T Eric Winston
(on if he was upset at Vikings defensive end Jared Allen's illegal hit on quarterback Matt Schaub last year) "Absolutely. I'm still angry. I watched it the other day. That's something that never leaves you. I think when it's your job to protect someone, when it's your job to make sure that they stay healthy, and you don't get it done, whether it's your guy (who injures him) or not, that's a stain on your health. That's something that you have to live with and carry with (you). I think all of us, we take that really important. That's something that's really personal to us. Like you said, he's doing everything he can for them to win. Expect us to do the same."
(on if he's angry with how Allen hit Schaub) "Oh, absolutely. Without a doubt. Like I said, I watched it yesterday and I'm still angry about it. That's something, like I said, that never leaves you. It'll always be a little part of you and you have to do everything you can to prevent that."
(on left guard Chester Pitts saying that he got Jared Allen back for the cheap hit) "I hope so. He's on that side (of the line). They don't flip sides, so I don't get a piece of (Allen). We're not going to do anything malicious or dirty, but at the same time we're going to go out there and we're going to play as hard as we can. We're going to go after people. We're going to try to intimidate people. We're going to try to make people back down. That's not going to stop for 60 minutes."
(on rule changes designed to protect the quarterback not really giving quarterbacks any added protection) "It never will. That's just the game. What are they doing to do, throw a 15-yard penalty? In the grand scheme of things, what's a 15-yard penalty to an opposing team losing their quarterback for the game? If we could go every week and say, 'OK, we'll take two 30-yard penalties to start the game, and they have to sit their quarterback out for the rest of the game.' You'd take that every week."
(on being an established veteran on the Texans) "I feel like it's something that I've not been accustomed to here, but in other places…I kind of had that personality a lot in high school, in college. I've been one of those guys that you slowly build up your seniority and you (become) one of those guys (teammates) look to. If I'm one of those guys on this team, great. I'm going to do everything I can. If not, it's not going to change the way I practice. It's not going to change the way I prepare or go about my business. I'm going to speak my mind when I think I need to. I'm going to work the way I should work and the way a true veteran would work. Going down the road, I'm going to help my team any way I can."