The Texans spoke to the media after practice on Thursday. Following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head coach Gary Kubiak RB Chris Brown TE James Casey FB Vonta Leach T Eric Winston Head coach Gary Kubiak(on the team's health today) "Pretty much like yesterday. (WR) Kevin (Walter) took some portion of the practice. (S) Eugene (Wilson) looked good. (CB) Jacques (Reeves) took his full amount. But I think they're all still day-to-day, whether or not they're ready to go on Sunday. (FB) Vonta (Leach) did not practice once again and (DT) Shaun Cody did not practice once again and, of course, (CB) Antwaun (Molden)."
(on FB Vonta Leach's situation) "He got a bruised knee pretty good and he was running today on the side, which is encouraging. So if he comes out here and practices tomorrow, I think he's got a good chance but he's going to have to, you know, make some improvements."
(on WR André Davis) "André Davis, I'm sorry. He's still out. He got dinged, was not feeling well at all yesterday, was feeling better today, so we'll see."
(on if TE James Casey will play at fullback if FB Vonta Leach doesn't start) "Yeah, James will start there, and he's been working there all along and it'll be exciting to watch him play. He's taken all the reps so far and we'll see."
(on what he thinks of TE James Casey as a fullback) "That's a nice place to get your first start as a pro, you know, going to Tennessee and lining up and doing some iso at fullback. But he's worked really good. He has no problem mentally, he knows what's going on. He's going to need an opportunity or something like this to see the speed of the National Football League, and so his chance may be coming sooner than later."
(on where he sees RB Chris Brown) "Well, I can say we'd love to have Chris come out of a game with 10 or 12 carries all the time for our team, but we haven't been past the 20-carry mark as a football team in a while, so hopefully we're able to run the ball somewhat effectively so we get to see them both."
(on RB Chris Brown's specific role) "Well, I just think he's basically (RB) Steve's (Slaton) backup. In short-yardage, you like his big body. Red zone, you like his big body. But if you're running the ball in this league and you're running it 35 times on a weekend, there's plenty of carries to go around for two guys. So we'd like to be able to play them both and rotate them from that standpoint, but it just hasn't happened."
(on in double-digit carries for RB Chris Brown would mean the team is running the ball well) "If he's carrying it 10 or 12 times, then I bet we're carrying it 35 times, so that's something we'd like to come out of the game with."
(on DE Antonio Smith) "Antonio, he was sick yesterday. He was out here today. He's fine."
(on CB Jacques Reeves) "He's practicing. He's by no means lining up at starting corner taking all of his reps, but he did practice and we'll evaluate him. But we'll be smart with him. It looks like there's a good chance, so we'll see."
(on DT DelJuan Robinson) "He's fine. He's back, yeah, he's fine. He'll be ready to go."
(on RB Anthony Alridge) "Very fast. Small, fast. But he's given us a good look because of the back that they have that's so fast, so it's nice to have him here this week to help simulate that type of speed. Nice young man, just getting to know him myself."
RB Chris Brown
(on the importance of the game with the Titans) "Every game's exciting. New week, new challenge. We've just got to go out there and take care of business."
(on if the Titans have a different mentality) "They definitely have a mentality. They're a physical team. They know what they're supposed to do, and they go out there and give you everything they've got."
(on if playing his former team is like any other game) "It's definitely going to be another game. A new locker room."
(on what his mentality is heading into the game and how much fun it would be to have a big game against the Titans) "Just go out there and play, and play well. But you want to play well no matter where it is."
(on if there's anything to prove) "There's nothing to prove. I think I've done enough."
TE James Casey
(on starting against a great defense like Tennessee's) "It would obviously be a little bit different than Sunday when I only played about five or six plays on special teams. If I were to go in this game, it would probably be a different experience, but I'm just going to treat it like any other game, just going to go out there and be ready to play a lot. If I don't, I don't. If I do, just make sure I'm ready to go and be on top of everything and give everything I got on every play. It's all about just trying to take advantage of all the opportunities I get."
(on his comfort level at the fullback position) "I feel really comfortable and confident with it. I got a lot of reps in that last preseason game at Tampa Bay, and through this week I've been getting a lot of reps. (FB) Vonta's (Leach) been in my ear on every play telling me what I need to do. So I'm learning from the best, watching him and having him tell me everything I need to do. So I feel confident about it. I'm just excited about it and ready to go."
(on whether or not the Texans' luck running the ball will change against the Titans) "We hope so. We hope it will. We're just going to go out there and give it everything we got and hopefully it works out well and we come out feeling good about it."
(on FB Vonta Leach saying he'd need to have a broken leg to slow him down) "Yeah, Vonta's a really tough guy, so I'm pretty much counting on Vonta being ready to go. But like I said before, you never know, so you've got to be ready to play. If I do get a chance to start, I've got to be ready either way. I've got to prepare like I'm going to play a lot and just see what happens."
(on his level of excitement) "I'm excited, but not any more nervous or any more excited than I would be for any other game. If I do get an opportunity, this is what I've grown up dreaming about, just trying to get out there and play. And if I do get an opportunity to play, I've just go to make sure I'm ready and take advantage of it."
(on whether or not it's hard to believe he's starting so soon) "Yeah, it is. Wouldn't anticipate that I may be starting at fullback in the second game in the NFL. I still don't know what's going to happen yet."
(on starting out against the Titans) "You might as well start with the best. It's a tough road game against Tennessee, and every game is tough in the NFL and it being against Tennessee won't be any different than any other game."
FB Vonta Leach
(on the frustration of being on the sideline) "It's frustrating just to know that we went out and made an egg, a zero, last week. Doing that, knowing that I injured myself in the game, it's frustrating, you know. We want to get this running game going and stuff and it's frustrating because it's a possibility that I might not be out there."
(on if it's irritating to see someone else taking his reps) "It's not irritating. It's irritating just sitting out of practice. But I think if I don't go out there, then (TE James) Casey will be alright at the fullback position."
(on if he likes what he has seen out of TE James Casey) "Yeah, I like what I see from him. He'll be alright. He's a young guy. He's got a lot going on, but he's athletic and he's been doing everything they ask him to do."
(on if TE James Casey is able to fill his shoes) "Yeah, I think he'd do a pretty good job. He might be the closest thing to it."
(on if TE James Casey comes to him for advice) "Yes. I sit there and talk to him during practice and tell him what I see and tell him what I see going on, and how they've been doing as far as getting his reps and things like that."
(on how confident he is that the running game will improve this week) "I'm very confident. Very confident that we'll have everything ironed out this week and be ready to go."
T Eric Winston
(on the game) "You change the formula sometimes when you get on the road. Going into it, sometimes you think things are going to work and they don't work. Sometimes you think things you want to stay away from, you end up coming to. It's going to be ugly early. Hopefully we can bust a few runs here and there and just stay on pace. We've got to keep ourselves to manageable third downs and put ourselves in positions to be successful."
(on if there was a reason the running game was unsuccessful last week) "I think it's just everybody. I think we all just have got to look in the mirror and decide we're going to do this. It's not one person but it's just everyone's taking turns. We were slow to start last year, too. We have to get going, and I think they key for us is to get it going in a hurry and not to wait until a month or two to figure it out. I think everyone's a veteran in here. Everyone knows what's going on. We've just got to get it done."
(on if it will be frustrating if RB Steve Slaton isn't successful rushing the ball to his side) "Well, like I said, it all depends on how they play us. They've been playing a lot of eight-man fronts, so it's hard to run. A two-yard run against these guys isn't a bad run. Second-and-eight is a lot better than second-and-10, and third-and-five is a lot better third-and-eight plus. I think sometimes everyone is judged by stats and yardage, and of course we want Steve to always go over 100 yards. We always want to rush for a ton of yards but, you know, we also have to be able to stay with it. We have to stick it out there and if they're leaving other things open across the field, then we're going to take those things. We're not going to be dead set on 'We've got to get 100 yards rushing or bust,' you know? We're going to do what we need to do to win the game, and that's it."
(on RB Steve Slaton being the only back to rush for over 100 yards against the Titans last year) "Steve has got that capability to bust some big runs. We were fortunate enough to stay with it and bust a big run late in the year here and then early in the game last year, he came out of a pile for a great run. That really kind of started him off. That's the thing, I think if we stay with it, we're going to get our runs. But it's on us to stay on track, to put ourselves in manageable third downs. When we can't stay with the run, when we get behind in games, it's our fault because we haven't produced and put points on the board where we can stay with it."