The Texans practiced outside at the Methodist Training Center on Thursday, and afterwards head coach Gary Kubiak and safety Dominique Barber answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head coach Gary Kubiak S Dominique Barber
Head coach Gary Kubiak(on team updates) "Everybody practiced except (DE Tim) Bulman, so (DE) Mario's (Williams) back, (DT) Jeff's (Zgonina) back, (CB) Glover (Quin) looked fine. Everybody except Timmy right now."
(on RBs Chris Brown and Ryan Moats) "Obviously they've got to step up even more. They knew that last week though, I mean, we knew that was the situation going into that game last week. But (RB) Arian (Foster) becomes part of that process right now but they've got to team up together and play well for us at running back. I've been pleased with the work that Chris has done; I think he's done a tremendous job protecting our quarterback. Ryan has run the ball well; he has to continue to improve from a protection standpoint but between the two of them, we've got to find a way to be effective back there. They understand that."
(on players saying they're upset with the talk about his job being on the line) "That's part of our business so hey, these guys are working their tail off, as I've said all along. The effort has been very, very good and we need to win a game. So we're working real hard to find a way to get a win."
(on if getting an early lead against a struggling Seahawks team can put them away) "The last few weeks they haven't been struggling. They won their last two weeks and played very, very well. You know, we've been at all ends of the spectrum. We've had a 17-0 lead. We've been down 17-0, but all the games are still coming down to the fourth quarter for us. For us, it's about playing four good quarters and making plays at the end of the football game. But I think this team is playing very, very well right now and we'll have to play extremely well to beat them."
(on if there is such a thing as a rookie wall) "I think there's such a thing as the length of a season for a rookie. When you come out of college you went through a hard offseason from a pro standpoint so I think it's probably the longest year of football you'll ever play from that standpoint. But our guys have worked good through it. Cush (LB Brian Cushing) has been good, (DE Connor) Barwin's been good, (CB Glover) Quin's been good. Our kids have played a great deal and have done a hell of a job."
(on if he watches for rookies to start showing tiredness) "I think we all know that, as coaches, how long the season can get for those young kids, all of a sudden when you hit Week 8, 9, 10 and you're basically halfway from that standpoint. I think we recognize that as coaches and try to address it with them and understand what they're going through but they tend to come back the next year and they understand what it's all about and they're much better."
(on if a rookie getting all the way through a season is more mental or physical) "I think it's both. I think it's a combination of both. The NFL is a long, long, hard grind. Something totally different. They're used to being through with football by Thanksgiving, or getting ready for a bowl game or being totally through. There's still a lot of football left to play."
(on LB Brian Cushing not showing any tiredness) "No, I think he's been excellent. He may be cheating a little bit though because he hadn't practiced a whole lot here in the last four weeks to be honest with you. So he needs to throw that part into his equation. But no, he's been good. He's done a good job and obviously he can play without all the reps and that's—you normally don't find rookies that can do that."
(on striving for four quarters of consistent football) "Everybody in this league's trying to get that done. I've been in this league for 26 years and played for coaches that talk about playing four quarters and I've been a player trying to play four quarters. Everybody's searching for that and one team's going to find that perfection before this year's over. That's the way it works. But that's something you're always trying to do and obviously us getting as close to that as possible is a key to us winning so hopefully we make an improvement from that standpoint this week."
(on if the team is preparing for both Seahawks quarterbacks) "Well they've been doing the wildcat and the guy that plays behind is very, very athletic, so that's something they've had to address. But (Seahawks QB Matt) Hasselbeck, when he's on, I mean he can get as hot as anybody in this league so we better start there."
(on if FS Dominique Barber is taking his game to the next level) "He's starting this week. He will start for (S John) Busing. He's had an excellent half, the second half of the Jacksonville game I'm sure everybody noticed. He's healthy, his ankle's good, it's time for him to go. He will get a start this week."
(on if Barber has made the biggest improvement of any of the young guys on the team) "I don't know about that. Injuries have held him back. That high ankle sprain cost him, I want to say maybe four or five weeks. But when he's been healthy and he's been right, he's played some good football. So let's sit here and hope that he can stay that way for a month and make a lot of progress as a pro."
(on Seahawks LB Aaron Curry being drafted before LB Brian Cushing) "I'll tell you, he's an impressive kid. When he came in our room in Indianapolis (for the draft), he looks like a defensive end. He's big, he can run, he can do everything. Smart. Very, very impressive. I remember him walking out of our room and me saying something to (general manager) Rick (Smith), 'Gosh, that kid's impressive,' and he said, 'Don't worry about him; he'll be long gone before we draft.' So he's very impressive."
(on if LB Brian Cushing ranks high among all the rookie defensive players he's seen) "I'll tell you what, if he's not at the top of the class, gosh, it's got to be a short roll call. He's had one heck of a year and he has to be getting some serious Pro Bowl consideration. It'll be interesting to see what his peers think of him. They'll let him know here in a couple of weeks."
(on LB Zac Diles having probably his best game last week) "Well, he also played more. When we get caught in a bunch of nickel, Zac is the guy that comes off the field so he's had some times where he's come out of games with not a lot of reps. He played a ton last week, responded, played well."
(on the running back rotation for Sunday) "Right now we go (RBs) Chris (Brown) and Ryan (Moats) and like I said yesterday, I'm hoping to get (RB) Arian (Foster) some touches in the game and have him make some progress this week."
S Dominique Barber
(on getting the opportunity to start again) "It feels good. It's been a long process. Hopefully I'll be able to go out there and keep that spot."
(on how hard it was to be patient and waiting after losing his starting spot early in the season) "It was tough, but when you make mistakes, like the mistake I made, it happens. I just go back to what my dad always tells me, 'Don't be surprised. Be ready.' I just have to go out there and compete."
(on what is different about him now from the beginning of the season) "Just understanding the game more and knowing our defense—continuing to stay in the book and asking questions. I sit next to (FS) Nick Ferguson every day and we talk a lot. It's been helpful and I'm just excited."
(on how much Ferguson has helped him) "Everyday. Nick is in my ear and I'm in his. We compare notes and it's good and it's nice. It's just great to have a guy like Nick Ferguson in the secondary."
(on how he views Ferguson) "I look at him as a big brother. Anything I have, any question, I can either call him, text him or just wait until the next day at practice."
(on Seattle's offense) "Seattle has a great offense. They're going to come out at us with a lot of personnel. We just have to be on top of our game and be ready to play."
(on Seattle WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh) "T.J. is a great player—a great receiver obviously. We just have to go out there and compete and play our game and if we do, we'll be alright."