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Practice quotes: Thursday


The Texans worked up an appetite on Thanksgiving as they began to prepare for their first Monday Night game against Jacksonville. Quarterback Matt Schaub threw with the team for the first time since injuring his MCL at Minnesota. Running back Steve Slaton (chest, ribs) practiced after getting a much-needed three-day break. And there was an added excitement during workouts as the team gets ready for their primetime appearance.

Head coach Gary Kubiak

(opening comments) "Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. What's up?"

(on Thursday's practice and the practice schedule on a holiday week) "Oh, we're doing our same thing, it's just bumped up today, you know. But we got our work done. They were very upbeat today. They needed a few days off with us going straight through with our schedule this year, so it came at a good time."

(on the intensity of practice leading up to Monday night) "Oh, I'm sure it'll pick up as the week goes on. Wednesday's more of an assignment day for us – I know it's Thursday, but it's our Wednesday. It's kind of an assignment day for us. We'll pick up the intensity tomorrow and Saturday, but they're excited, and I feel good. We played well last week and had some young guys really chipping in with this team, so I'm excited about that."

(on if there is a special feeling to Monday night games) "Well, yeah, I'm sure it is. You know, we've probably got 80 percent of our team that has never played on a Monday Night Football game, so I'm sure that'll add to the excitement. But bottom line, we've got to play good football. This is a team that we always are in some very good games with, and we've got a lot to get accomplished here in the next five weeks, so none more important than this week."

{QUOTE}(on Jacksonville) "They've got the same people. They've got the same players – same backs, same defense – so the team is still there. This is a tough league, and when you lose two or three games, close games, it can send your season the other way real quick, so they're very capable. They'll play well against us, I know that. We'll have to play extremely well against them."

(on his Thanksgiving plans) "I'm just going to go in here and watch some film, then go home and watch football like everybody else today."

QB Sage Rosenfels

(on the added excitement of playing on Monday night) "Yeah, I think for both teams. We all know that everyone watches because we watch Monday night games, for the most part. When you know everyone's watching, you want to put on a great show, you want to get a big win, you want to make plays, and it is exciting. I've played in a lot of them over in Miami and Washington, and it's as close to a playoff atmosphere as you can have in the regular season."

(on what he anticipates Monday night being like) "Well, I've never started one, so that's going to be new for me, but I'm sure the speed will just be a little bit faster, everything will be a little bit quicker and more intense. But after that, it's still like a Sunday game as far as the significance of it."

(on if he has taken any snaps in his previous Monday night experiences) "I think I have. I'm trying to think back. Yeah, I played in Green Bay. The first time I ever played was in Green Bay on a Monday night game, for about six plays. So I have played a little bit on the field, and there's intensity. It goes back to high school a little bit, under the lights. It's a little more unusual for us because we're usually playing at noon or 1:00, so playing underneath the lights, I think, always adds a little intensity. And the crowd's always way more into it. For whatever reason, they've had all day to enjoy themselves and get ready for the game, and hopefully, I think our crowd's going to be a huge advantage for us."

(on building on the win last Sunday) "Yeah, we've had one three-game winning streak so far this year, and hopefully, we can get another streak started. You can't win four in a row without winning number two first, so this is a big game for us."

(on comparing himself to QB David Garrard) "He's about 250, 260. As you've seen Matt (Schaub) and I have run a little bit this year and we've called quarterback draws at important times. So, we're no scared to do that. I don't think Matt and I are going to run anybody over, but he (Garrard) can run over linebackers and safeties. He's a great athlete, and it's a testament to him – a guy who's a lower draft pick and rode the bench for a few years and really earned his position. He's done a great job and taken advantage of hi opportunities."

(on Garrard being a threat with his feet) "I think it makes it difficult, especially on third downs and third-and-shorts. There is a chance that the quarterback can run, so that makes it a little more difficult for defenses. You probably have to put an extra safety in the box to stop the run, and you're not thinking tailback run. You are thinking quarterback run."

LB DeMeco Ryans

(on QB David Garrard exploiting holes in their defense in Week 4 by running) "Yeah, they did a good job. We did a good job of covering the guys, but he did a better job of running with his feet and making plays on crucial downs like third and fourth down. Running the ball is something I guess we weren't really expecting or weren't ready for, and they burned us on that."

(on containing QB David Garrard having to be one of their top priorities for this game) "Yeah, we think about that, but the main priority is still stopping those two running backs, stopping their run game. That's the main thing. We know when they run the ball well, they win games, and when they don't run the ball well, they have a problem winning, so it's going to be our task as a defense to step up and stuff them in the run game."

(on one thing probably becoming more exposed when you stop another thing) "Oh, yeah. But we feel better if we can get them in passing situations. We feel a lot better having them in those types of situations (rather) than having them running the ball on us."

(on if he is surprised that Jacksonville is 4-7) "Yeah, I know we both should be doing a lot better right now. We expected that. (We're) two good teams, I think, and expected a lot out of ourselves on both sides. So of course we would love to have better records, but it is what it is now and we're just looking at going and winning the next one."

(on what it means to have his first shot at Monday Night Football) "It means a lot. Growing up watching it, you know that everyone is tuned into Monday Night Football. No matter who you are, you're going to put it on Monday Night Football and check out who's playing. And so for me, it's a big game, one of the biggest games I've played in just being that it's nationally televised and everybody's going to get a chance to check us out and see what the Texans have to offer."

(on if it will feel like what a playoff game is supposed to feel like) "Yeah, it's definitely going to feel like that. Just going back to our Thursday night game last year, I know it's going to be even higher emotions than that. Guys are going to be pumped up. We don't have to worry about that. Just playing on Monday night, that'll get you pumped up in itself. Now, we finally have a chance to be playing on Monday night (rather) than sitting at home watching all the other teams play."

(on almost playing on Monday night due to scheduling issues in the past two years and finally playing on Monday this time) "Oh, yeah. This is legitimate, and we're pumped up. We're ready for Monday night."

(on if he has any special celebrations set up for the game) "No, I don't have anything special. You know, whatever comes, I'm still going to play the way I've been playing. I don't plan on pulling anything special out or anything for Monday night."

(on what makes QB David Garrard so difficult to defend since he can run and throw) "That's it, man. David Garrard, he does a good job of running and throwing the ball. But if we can just keep him in the pocket and keep him in passing situations, I think we have the advantage when he's back there having to sit in the pocket. But if we don't contain him and let him get out and start running on us, then we have a double-whammy on our hands."

(on Jacksonville having a two-headed monster in the backfield with RBs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew) "Oh, yeah. They do. They have a great running game, two very capable running backs that can take it to the house at any time. So it's definitely our challenge as a defense to bow our necks, step up and stop the run."

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