Minus the Liberty White uniforms, this will be a common scene against the Atlanta Falcons with Ron Dayne saying he's ready to go this week.
Several Texans spoke to the media on Wednesday, four days away from the Texans' trip to the Georgia Dome to take on the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 30.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on the injuries) "Nothing new, really. You know, Ahman (Green) is day-to-day. As you know, he did not practice today. Other than that, you know the guys who are out, so really nothing different."
(on what happened to WR Jerome Mathis) "His leg is just a little sore. He practiced, but towards the end of practice we took him out. He should be fine."
(on the significance of RB Ahman Green not practicing) "I think it's significant that we get him healthy. The key is that Ronnie (Dayne) is back and ready to go. And Samkon (Gado) is going to be better this week, and we're going to stay focused on those guys who are ready to go. If Ahman steps on that field Sunday, that's a bonus for our team. We've got to get him healthy, but as we get him healthy the rest of us have got to get better and do a better job. We're ready to go, and I liked our start today."
(on the mood of the team) "I liked it. They were ready to go back to work. They didn't like what happened Sunday, and we have a couple of days to get it out of our system. We had a good football practice today – very fast."
(on the emphasis of running the ball against Atlanta) "We've got to run the ball better, and you all know that. I've talked about that. We got totally away from it last week with the way the game went and the situation we were in. But for our football team to be successful, we've to got to come out of the game running the ball 30-35 times, and we proved that against Kansas City and Carolina. We've got to get back to doing that better."
(on DT Amobi Okoye's progress) "I think he continues to get better. He's a little inconsistent, which means he's a rookie. But he continues to make plays. He's learning how to practice. I think he's learned how to get better at practice, and I think you'll only see him get better throughout the season."
(on what he's seen from QB Joey Harrington) "I think he's playing well. They're trusting him. They're throwing the ball a great deal – 40-something times last week. They are spreading the field, and when he goes they go. I've always thought he's a good football player. It looks like they've really got him settled down and protected him better last week. He's very capable."
(on how's he handling receiving duties this week) "With David (Anderson) coming in, we'll go with those four guys. We expect David (Anderson) to be up because he's a special teams player. We expect those guys to step up. André Davis could start for us. We'll see how he and Jerome (Mathis) do throughout the week. I was so impressed with how he played in the game and I think he's going to step up and play well."
(on if Atlanta is better than their record) "I mean, all you have to do is look at their first three games. They go to Minnesota, and I think it's a 10-3 game, and they have two interceptions for touchdowns, which get them beat. They go to Jacksonville, it's 13-7. They are inside the 20 twice and don't get any points. Then last week they are sitting there in a 17-17 game. This league is close with everybody. They've got the same players. They just have a change at quarterback, but they're a very talented football team and they're at home. You know how hungry they have to be right now, and we know we have to play extremely well to beat them."
(on who will return punts) "I haven't decided, but it will be Dexter (Wynn) or (Jamar) Fletcher. It will be one of the two, and that could depend on how we end up with our numbers – who is up and who is down."
(on how his son is doing) "He is doing good. We sent him back to school last night. It was a tough situation, but we were probably very fortunate that it happened here in town. But he is fine"
(on how last weekend was in terms of being a father and a coach) "It's part of being a dad and part of being a coach. My wife did a heck of a job. If it was going to happen, I'm glad it happened here. Like I said, they did a great job with him and he'll be fine. We just need to get him healthy, but he'll be alright. I appreciate you asking."
LB Danny Clark
(on the Falcons being a different team then in previous years) "Yes, it's a different deal. You go back and look at the Louisville tape as far as Coach Petrino, and they've been productive as far as scoring points and gaining yards in the passing game. It definitely is a different look and we have to prepare for it."
(on if QB Michael Vick was the focus before, what's the focus now) "Me, I'm going to say the same thing everything, and it's stopping the run. They have some great backs in (RB) Warrick Dunn and (RB Jerious) Norwood, so these guys can break it wide open if we don't contain these guys. We have to stop the run first and attack these guys in the running game and then make sure that number 13 (QB Joey Harrington) doesn't beat us with throws down the field."
(on TE Alge Crumpler) "One of the top four receiving tight ends in this league right now. I think he's fourth in receptions or something like that right now. I think (TE) Alge Crumpler is a guy that we really need to keep an eye on."
(on if it's tough for linebacker to worry about the run when there is a guy like TE Alge Crumpler) "Yes, it's tough, but it's something that we're trying to do. We have to keep him in our scopes and make sure he doesn't get behind us."
WR Andre' Davis
(on how his fingers are feeling) "Ah, who needs fingers when you're a receiver? As long as I have a good left hand I can make catches."
(on making something happen when he had his chance) "I think this is what everybody dreams to do. When you get that opportunity, you have to make sure that you go out and execute. It was a good week and now I can forget about that and move on to this upcoming week."
(on how hard it has been to be patient) "It's definitely a virtue. You can't just ask for patience and it happens. You have to be put though certain times and certain circumstances and tribulations to go through things and I think God has taught me a lot of lessons through my life and my career and it's just one of those things that I just have to be patient, I have to continue to study and be in the game plan at all times and when I get my opportunity, I have to make sure I do what I do."
(on what it feels like when people act like the roof is closing in when there are injuries) "It's tough because I'm a team guy and I hate to see my teammates go down. Any time you have injuries, I've been on that side of the ball before, where I've had an injury and other guys have had come in and step in. It's really a shame for those guys, but for those of us who are healthy and who are going in there, we need to make sure that we step in there and that we try to make sure that this offense does not miss a beat. I think if we can do that and continue to go out here and practice hard, I think we'll be all right."
(on being a professional football player, too) "Of course, that's why I come to work everyday. Just because I was inactive for the first two games didn't that I was going to all of a sudden just sit and home and be like call me up when you want to play me. It's just one of those things, for myself, I just need to make sure I stay in my game plan and make sure that we know it's a long season and things like this happen, so you have to be prepared at all times."
RB Ron Dayne
(on how he's feeling) "Feeling alright, feeling alright."
(on if he'll be able to go on Sunday) "Yeah."
(on if he's going to wear any kind of special device for his ribs) "I'm going to have a bullet proof vest on. Nah, I guess not."
(on having to take a pounding running with hurt ribs) "I'm going to keep playing and do what I can do to help the team like I always do, so whatever it takes, I'm going to out and play hard and do what I've got to do."
(on how hard it was to watch last week from the sideline) "It was tough, but we've just got to come out and get better this week. We can't really dwell on that, so we'll just come out and get better this week."
(on if it's a misperception that it'll be easy to run against the Falcons) "It depends, I guess. We've just got to go out and do our job and play hard and the running backs run hard."
(on if he gets anxious facing a team that gives up so many rushing yards) "I guess so. But like I said, it's a team effort, so we've got to be able to pass and run. So as long as we get them both going, we'll be alright."
(on how much he misses C Steve McKinney) "McKinney stepped in and did a real good job from the beginning of the season, and it's going to be tough. But we've got Flanny (C Mike Flanagan) and Flanny's a great guy, too. So we're going to miss McKinney, but Flanny can step in and hold it down, too."
(on how important it is to run the ball and get balance with this offense) "I think it's real important. Every aspect of the game, special teams, passing the ball, running the ball, defense, it all comes together and if we can all get where we're all clicking at the same beat, we'll be alright."
(on if the running game is the heartbeat of an offense) "Yeah, it is. Especially it keeps the defense off the field, runs some time off the clock, too. So if we can run the ball, it really helps the defense."
(on if he's ready to potentially carry the rushing load for most of the game) "Whatever it takes. Whenever they put me in and give me the ball, I'm going to keep running. I'm not going to stop and worry about what's going on off the field; I'm trying to get us down the field to score. As long as I'm in there, I'm going to keep going hard."
(on if he wants to avoid a trap game against a winless team) "Yeah, definitely. Their defense is pretty good. They lost a lot of close games, the three games they lost, so we can't go in there saying that they're 0-3 and try to sleep on that, because we were 0-3 last year, started out 0-3 and then we beat Miami last year. So we can't really go in there looking at them like that."
(on if he definitely plans to play) "Yeah."
RB Samkon Gado
(on his last game against Atlanta) "It was, of course, two years ago. I don't think that should indicative of how things are going to pan out this week. It will be interesting to go back there."
(on his memories from that game) "There are a lot of them. It was my birthday, first start and doing well, my family was there, and it was close to being home. It was definitely the greatest or highest moment of my career up to this point."
(on any pressure or excitement going into this game) "My role is different this game. I'm just the back up right now. As far as added pressure, no, not really. I think it is just another game and I think as far as I'm taking it, I'm not hoping for a big game or hoping anything repeats itself. I just hope that in the course of the game, if it ends up happening like it did two years ago, I'll be ready."
(on if he felt rusty last week) "I felt like I prepared as well as I could have for the game and I haven't played in a good bit and that's still no excuse. Yes, I was a little rusty and I didn't I would be. I thought I was ready to go. Although I haven't been taking the reps, I've been take every single rep I can in practice. It was very disappointing, very frustrating for me because I really put everything I had into preparing for that game. But, I think you just kind of wipe yourself off and move on to the next week."
(on getting the running game going) "Most definitely. We could be playing any team in the league, we have to get the running game going if we want to do well. We just can't be one dimensional."
S Von Hutchins
(on QB Joey Harrington) "He's a pretty good quarterback. He's definitely a starter in this league, so he is a guy that we got to watch a lot of film on. He can make all the throws, so we definitely have to be on our keys and just make some plays on the ball."
(on if they can rattle QB Joey Harrington and create some turnovers) "Hopefully so. Hopefully we will be able to create some turnovers and get the ball back to (QB Matt) Schaub."
(on the problems that TE Alge Crumpler can cause) "He's a great tight end. He can run. He can block. He can catch the ball. He can create after he catches the ball. He's a great tight end and a guy that we have to key on."
(on if the Falcons running game concerns him) "It can definitely pose a problem. They have speed guys. They have real quick guys; guys that can get out, guys that can create and make plays. (RB Warrick) Dunn and (RB Jerious) Norwood, we have to hope to contain him."
(on containing RB Warrick Dunn in particular) "Definitely, but both of them are guys that have a lot of speed, have a lot of quickness, and are able really get out on defenses and stretch the field vertically and horizontally. Those guys are definitely going to have to contained."
(on having more pressure on the defense this week) "There's always pressure on the defense to go out and make plays. We on the defensive side of the ball want to be able to go out and make plays, create turnovers, get the ball back to (QB Matt) Schaub, and if possible, always, always score on defense."
(on if their record matters) "It definitely doesn't matter. If you watch the film, they definitely were in all their games. They have the capability to go out and win games in this league. We have to go out and contain them, hopefully make some plays on defense, get the ball back to (QB Matt) Schaub, and let those guys do their thing on offense."
DE N.D. Kalu
(on QB Joey Harrington) "All I know is we watched last week's game and he looked great. I don't know what problems he had in the past, but we're preparing for the quarterback who threw for over 300 and had a good game. He looked like an all-star last week, but we have to get in his face and hopefully limit those yards."
(on what QB Joey Harrington does well) "We just saw a lot of great passes, he took some chances, and he came up big with them. He was throwing into coverage and he was throwing right where it needed to be. From what we saw, we were impressed and we're not thinking about his days he had with Detroit, we're thinking about the starting quarterback for Atlanta."
(on if QB Joey Harrington is taking chances, that means opportunities for the defense) "We have to make them, that's the thing. If his going to take chances, our defensive backs, if they have a chance to make interceptions, they have to make them and if he's going to hold the ball, the defensively linemen have to hit him."
(on the problems RB Warrick Dunn causes) "He's just one of the best. He's one of those guys when you see him at first, you're like, 'I know he doesn't play football,' but when he's out there, he a vicious man. He's trying to use his 180-pound frame to hurt people. He's tough. He's one of guys you need to gang tackle, even though he is small, because he gives all the extra effort. My hat is off to him, he's been doing it for 11 years. The problems he presents is quickness and his toughness. You just look at him as a scat back, but he'll run that rock like he's a 200-pound bruiser."
WR Jerome Mathis
(on his development as a receiver) "Of course, with the injury that I had last year, it was kind of frustrating to focus on playing football. Now that's behind me, it's back to just relaxing and having fun. I feel like I'm understanding the concept of the offense now, so it's starting to be pretty easy for me now."
(on gaining confidence every week) "Yes, definitely, that's with anybody though. The more and more reps you get, the more and more chances you get to go out there and do it, then it kind of becomes first hand."
(on responding from last week's loss) "It's nothing special, we just go out there and do what we do all week, execute, and let the game play itself out."
DT Amobi Okoye
(on if there's more responsibility on the defense with all of the offensive injuries) "I wouldn't necessarily say it's more responsibility, but I think we just know we've got to play a whole lot better and support our offense and support our special teams, and that's what we've got to do."
(on how special it will be to go against his coach again) "I was pretty much telling them that knowing a whole lot of people over there and seeing a lot of familiar faces, I've talked to a lot of people there since they got the job and since I got drafted. And when I got drafted I saw the team on the schedule, I was like, hey that's going to be interesting going back and playing against a lot of people I already knew, so I'm looking forward to it."
(on if it's extra motivation to play them) "Yeah, definitely. It's always going to be extra motivation when you're going against old teammates, old people, old faces that you know because you always want to perform, bring your 'A' game, and show them that you still got it."
(on what Bobby Petrino meant to his development) "Oh, he meant a lot because me and him had a pretty good relationship and he would always help me out. Certain things I would help him out in certain things as far as team unity, as far as how the team felt at certain points in time, whatever. He's always been a big part."
(on if he was a little disappointed the Falcons didn't draft him) "I probably was. I was a little disappointed because when you listen to the media, that's what the media says. After the draft what I've learned is you can't do that because all my friends told me you're never going to end up where they tell you you're going to end up, which is what happened."
QB Matt Schaub
(on the advantage of knowing the Falcons' defense and personnel) "Well I feel that I know a little bit about their team, their personnel. I don't know much about their scheme, what they're doing now; we have to watch film on that because it's a new staff. But I know the guys, I know what they do well, but at the same time they know me. They faced me for a few years when I was running the scout team there, so they know my tendencies and what I like to do, so it's a double-edged sword and I just have to recognize that and still go out and execute."
(on the Falcons being poor against the run) "Well, we want to go in and establish the run. That's our main priority every game because if you can run the football, that sets up a lot of things you can do in the passing game, so that's something that we definitely want to do. They have tremendous team speed and a good front seven, so it'll be tough, but we just have to go out and execute and play our game."
(on how special this game is for him) "Well, it's special in the fact that we get an opportunity as a team to bounce back from a tough loss last week and go out on the road in a tough environment and go after our third win."
(on if he'll say what it really means to him to go back to Atlanta)"I'm not going to let you know about that; I'll keep that inside. But it'll be special to go back and play against those guys and see those guys because we spent a lot of time together, but at the same time, it's another football game. We have to approach it that way and go out and do what we need to do to get a win."
(on if he keeps in touch with many Atlanta players) "I keep in touch with a few of them. I was close to a few of those guys, so I still keep in touch with them. But now it's the season; conversations are few and far between, especially this week."
(on how closely he's able to work with the backup receivers and the adjustment this week) "Well, we interact. Even when everyone was healthier in the season, they still get reps in practice because they have to be prepared to play, and so I'm comfortable with them. We got a lot of work in training camp and I know what all those guys do well and they know the routes and their adjustments and everything, so we're on the same page and feel good about what we can get done."
(on his level of confidence in WR Andre' Davis) "Well, I feel like he can definitely step in there. He's a veteran in this league and he's played a lot of football, so we're confident that he can go in there and he knows what he's doing and he's going to be in the right spot and he can make those catches."
(on how close he was with QB Michael Vick) "We were close. Obviously, the starter and the backup quarterback have to be really close, especially when you're around the facility and preparing for the game, so we spent a lot of time at the facility together watching film and making sure we were on top of the game plan."
(on how he felt about all the things that happened to QB Michael Vick this summer) "Well, it was very unfortunate, because he's not that type of guy. It's an unfortunate circumstance, but one that myself and a lot of people didn't know about."
(on if he wants to avoid this being a trap game) "Well in this league, anybody can beat anybody on any given Sunday. You know if you look at their three games, they were right there in all three of them and could've won easily all three of those, so we have to approach it- they're a good football team, and they have a lot of talent. They have veteran leaders on that team that'll get them on the same page, so we just have to be prepared to go in there and have a good battle."
(on who on their defense he wants to keep an eye on) "Well, they have a guy, DeAngelo Hall, he's a great player. He's a great athlete and he's one you have to pay attention to because he's a special athlete; he can do some good things. And Keith Brooking, he's the heart and soul of that defense in the middle, so we have to be aware of what he's doing."
(on if he's disappointed DeAngelo Hall didn't get suspended) "Well, no, not at all. I can't control what happens with that; that's the coach's decision down there. But he's a great player and you always want to go against the best and get a team's best shot. He's a great player, and we're looking forward for that challenge."
(on if there's anything he can improve upon through three games) "Definitely. I think there are a few times each game that I got kind of loose with the football; I tried to be a little bit too aggressive and not take what the defense gave me. A key instance, after a big return last week, I tried to force the ball in the end zone and it got intercepted. I learned from that and we'll get that corrected and move forward."
(on if that's caused by a lack of time on the field at this level) "I don't think so. No, I don't think it's lack of time on the field. I think it's just getting a little too anxious and trying to force the ball instead of just taking what they gave me. We had a big return and tried to make a big play to follow it up."
(on getting a balance with the running game) "We definitely need balance. It's going to be a big key to help us out if we can run the football successfully and get us into manageable second downs and third downs and keep the chains moving."
(on if he wants to convert third downs) "Oh, yeah. You've got to stay on the field. Third down's the most important down in football. You've got to stay on the football field and keep your defense fresh on the sideline."
(on how strange it'll be to return to a stadium he used to play in) "I don't know. I've never been in that situation, so ask me after Sunday's game and I'll let you know."
(on if he doesn't feel like it might be different) "No, not at all. I'm here and I'm used to what I'm doing here, and so I'm not going to feel any weirder."
(on if he knows where the visiting locker room is there) "Actually, I don't. I know it's on the opposite side of the stadium from the home one, though."
CB Dexter Wynn
(on if the attitude has changed after the loss and big injuries) "No, not at all. I mean, like I said, the good thing about our team is I think we've got good depth. So going into the next week, we do got guys banged up but we got a lot of guys that got a lot of experience and know how to play the game of football. We're going to go in, keep doing the same things we're doing and keep executing."
(on how much of a test this is to face this adversity after starting well) "Well, like I said, injuries is the name of the game. Football, every week you come in the next week something different, somebody else is banged up. So like you said, you've got to be ready when you're called upon, whether you're first, second or third team. When you go in, when you get called upon, you've got to be ready to perform and make plays out there."
(on bouncing back from the loss after four straight wins) "Yeah well, I mean, it's the NFL, you're going to lose a game here or there. You try not to lose games but when you do, every week in and out is heavy competition like I said, other guys get paid just like we do, so you've just got to go in, study film and just try to do the best you can."
(on Atlanta's offense) "Well, Atlanta's known for running the ball. They run the ball, they run the ball and then they come back with play action. They've got great backs, too, great backs, (Warrick) Dunn and (Jerious) Norwood and they also got some great wideouts so we'll have our work cut out for us."
(on the opportunity to return punts this week) "I'm excited. Like I said, that's what I do. I'm very comfortable with it. It's misfortunate for Jacoby (Jones), but until he gets back up and healthy, I'm going to do my thing out there like I did last year."
(on if he plans to borrow any of WR Jacoby Jones' touchdown celebrations) "He has a couple good ones, but I think I got a couple of my sleeve as well."