The Texans practiced outside Tuesday morning at the Methodist Training Center, in preparation for their Monday night showdown with the Titans. Afterwards, head coach Gary Kubiak and some of his players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head coach Gary Kubiak QB Matt Schaub RB Steve Slaton
Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on WR Jacoby Jones' calf injury) "It's bothering him, it's got some pretty good swelling in it so we kept him inside and working him and probably day to day right now."
(on if there's a chance WR Jacob Jones won't play Monday) "I don't want to go that far yet. Let me get to Thursday and see but he's got some swelling and kind of still in an evaluation process right now but I told them to keep him in today."
(on TE James Casey) "He should be fine, yeah, he'll be fine. He took all of practice yesterday and today and if there are no setbacks, he should be ready to go."
(on how he accounts for DE Mario Williams playing well in primetime games) "I'm all for it. How do I account for it? Hopefully he likes primetime games, so this'll be a big one. He's been playing well. I know his sack numbers aren't big, what's he have, five? Four? Four. But he's been getting some pressure on the quarterback and he's played well this year and I think he's back to 100 percent healthy. I think last week helped him. So obviously we need him playing at a high level for us to move forward."
(on if he thinks DE Mario Williams turns up his performance when he's on national TV) "Well I think he plays hard all the time. He's an effort player. Obviously he's made some big plays in some of those situations so hopefully it continues."
(on what he plans to do if WR Jacoby Jones is limited or can't play Monday) "Obviously (WR) Glenn's (Martinez) a guy we can use because he can return punts and do everything. But we'll keep our fingers crossed; we'll see how far Jacoby can come. We have a long way to go, you know, our week hasn't even started yet really."
(on if he knows what exactly caused WR Jacoby Jones' injury) "We know what happened in the game, we just—when he came out Tuesday and practiced and was able to practice last Tuesday, see, we thought he was ok. Weather it was getting on a plane and going home or whatever, you know, something happened over the course of those few days that caused his calf to swell. And he was in contact with us, he let us know, and it just kind of got really worse the last couple of days. So we'll sit here and hope for the best."
(on if he has any plans for RB Chris Henry) "No, not right now, I think. We've picked up (RB) Arian's (Foster) reps a little bit today, got him a look, so we have questions there of possibly making a move with him and getting him involved but we'll have to see. I think if we made a move with one or the other right now it would probably be Arian."
(on if he's still making decisions about the running back situation) "Yeah, we worked them all today and that includes (RB) Arian (Foster) so we're working four guys and like I said, we're kind of messing with a little rotation here as a staff and, you know, they're all going to play."
(on if he's looking at having four active running backs) "If they're playing special teams, I'm not opposed to doing it."
(on if he would consider putting a young guy like RB Arian Foster on special teams) "Oh yeah, he's capable of doing that."
(on what he likes about RB Arian Foster) "He played well on special teams in the preseason. So I'll go back and look at this practice. He had a lot of reps at practice today; we'll see how he handled himself."
(on RB Steve Slaton and Titans RB Chris Johnson both having big games last year and this being a big game with them going against each other) "I think the next seven weeks are important to Steve, not just one week. Obviously in year two it's been a lot tougher than year one for him but one thing about Steve that's been constant is his work habits haven't changed. The way he goes about his business hasn't changed. He's giving us everything he has; he just needs to clean up hanging onto the ball and for us to play well in the next seven weeks, Steve will have to be a big part of it. I know I'm counting on him, I know his teammates are too."
(on WR Andre Johnson and Titans CB Cortland Finnegan) "I think Andre plays big all the time but they obviously have a heck of a competition going. You're talking about a Pro Bowl corner, Pro Bowl receiver, and they see each other twice a year so it's naturally very competitive between the two of them."
(on if he's made a decision on whether or not RB Steve Slaton will start) "No, I haven't. Like I said, I'll get them all ready to go and we'll see."
(on if there are any other health issues) "No, we're good. (LB Brian) Cushing practiced so that's positive. Like I said, (DE) Mario's (Williams) fine, everybody's ok except (WR) Jacoby (Jones). (S Dominique) Barber's coming along, Barber's made a lot of progress in the last two days so I think he'll still be day to day as we go through the week."
(on if Monday Night Football is special to him) "Yeah, they're always—they're big games. Obviously it's the only game in town when you get to that day. It changes your routine as players and everything so the thing we've got to do is be ready to go Monday. What's today, Tuesday? We've got a long week ahead of us. We'll get in our normal routine come Thursday and need to be as good as we can be Monday night to find a way to win."
(on what were his thoughts when QB Vince Young scored the game-winning TD in OT of the 2006 game and the Houston crowd erupted) "It was tough. We got beat by a great player making a great play. It was a hell of a football game if I remember, but we didn't make the play at the end. They did. We get a chance to go do it again this week. I'm looking forward to it."
QB Matt Schaub
(on if this game takes on another dimension) "It's a game against a divisional opponent, the middle of the season, it could decide a lot down the road so we just have to go out and play a good game against a good team, a divisional rival, and play well to win."
(on if he feels it's a rivalry because the teams are equally matched) "I think it's a rivalry—we've won the last two times so we're confident in what we can do if we go out and play well."
(on how important RB Steve Slaton is to their game) "Steve's important, (RB) Ryan's (Moats) important, (RB) Chris (Brown) is important—we need our backs to step up and play well and they're going to do that. We have a lot of confidence in them and they're going to play really well together these last seven weeks."
(on if he thinks RB Steve Slaton is capable of breaking out) "Absolutely. I have complete confidence that Steve is capable of doing that and our whole team has confidence in him."
(on if he ever makes suggestions to the coaches about getting a certain player the ball) "Yeah, from time to time. I think our coaches have a pretty good feel of how to get guys the ball and when we need to, especially early in the game, getting them going, but if I feel throughout the game that we might need to get somebody the ball to a certain player or a certain area of the field, I'll go and mention something to (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) or to (head) Coach (Gary) Kubiak and it's up to them whether they dial it up."
(on if he does anything to build RB Steve Slaton's confidence) "I think it's a combination of things, we have to get him the ball and give him more opportunities but it's on him, he has to take some responsibility, too, for some of the fumbles and everything. But we have confidence that he's getting those things corrected here."
(on how important it is to get a strong start in the game) "It's huge for us to come out of the gates and play well, get a drive together and score points. That's a huge key for us to start fast and then continue to play well throughout each half, whether it's coming out of the gates in the first half or in the second half as well."
(on what he wants the nation to see about him on Monday Night Football) "I want to see us come out as an offense and play good football and take care of it, play turnover free and score points and take care of the football and score points in the red zone and not hurt ourselves. Those things tie in to me."
RB Steve Slaton
(on how frustrating his fumbles have been) "It's been very frustrating, anytime you put the ball on the ground it's very frustrating, and doing it on a consistent basis is bothering, but hopefully I can change around in this half of the season."
(on how he's tried to handle the fumbling problem) "I think you just have to put it out of your mind, not to think about it too much, but it still has to be there just to know you got to squeeze it."
(on how important he is to the team's playoff goal) "I think it's very important, I think everybody's role is important. I think just, in me, any opportunity I get to touch the ball it's important to make positive plays."
(on if he's sought advice from other running backs) "I have a cut-up of (RB) Tiki Barber's tapes, but pretty much I just talk to some of my old coaches just to get back to where I was before. It's just a problem that came up now so I just want to go back and just get a sense of where I was before."
(on why he watches Tiki Barber's tapes) "Tiki had a real big problem, just like myself. So I think, if he got his fixed, why can't I get mine fixed?"
(on what he's seen from Tiki Barber's tapes that can help him) "(Running backs) Coach (Chick Harris) always preaches high and tight, keep the ball high and tight but I think his high and tight is different than anybody else's high and tight."
(on what he thinks about Titans RB Chris Johnson having a great season) "I think he's playing well. He's doing everything the coaches ask for; anytime he gets the ball he's making plays. Big props to him. And just for me, it's just get back to where I was before."
(on if he thinks he'll start this week) "They haven't said anything to me, whatever my role is I'm just going to be happy to get on the field whenever I get a chance."
(on if his history against the Titans make this game more interesting) "It definitely makes it more fun, that they're going to come in—you know how they're going to come in and how we're going to have to battle to beat them."
(on if he discovered Tiki Barber on his own) "Just knowing that, that many people just have said Tiki (had a fumbling issue) I had watched Tiki before, through his problems, and he came through it so that's the things I'm working for and I'm going to try to get through it."
(on if he's ever had a fumbling issue before) "Not like this. I think it's another level, I mean, everybody has a fumble every once and a while but I don't think on as consistent a basis as I have right now."
(on if he thinks he knows what it will take) "Yeah, I think my mindset is ready just to go out there, have fun and protect the ball."