Wide receiver Andre Johnson was a focal point of the media's questions to all Texans players on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the main question on everybody's mind with the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts coming to town was how the Texans will deal with the probable loss of wide receiver Andre Johnson for the game.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on if WR Jacoby Jones is ready to step up this week) "I think the kid's ready to play. He's obviously going to play a lot more with (WR) Andre (Johnson)'s situation. But that's why we drafted him and he's come a long way and he's got a chance right now to come even further. It'll be a key to our football team."
(on if he knew about WR Jacoby Jones before the NFL Scouting Combine) "Oh, yeah. We knew about him from the all-star game that he played in here. So we followed him and of course we studied him and as I told y'all I think a few times, to think that he would've made that much progress that quickly would probably be wrong for me to say we thought that would happen. He's been a big surprise and a good surprise, so hopefully we can get even more out of him now."
(on what he has said to WR Andre Johnson) "Well, there's not much you can say to a guy when Andre's been healthy throughout his career, and to not have an opportunity to play in this game you know has got to be very difficult for him. But the good news is he's going to be fine and hopefully sooner than later."
(on how he plans to use his other four wide receivers) "We're just going to play all four of them. They can all move. Probably the one guy that stays stationary is (WR) Jerome (Mathis), but the other three have to know both spots, and they will be able to do that."
(on if WR Kevin Walter and WR Jacoby Jones will start Sunday) "You know, I haven't made that decision yet. We're just going to keep working all four of them. They're all going to play. They're probably going to rotate every two plays together, (to) keep them fresh."
(on how long WR Andre Johnson will be out) "(Head athletic trainer) Kevin (Bastin)'s going to really have to talk to you guys as far as the medical end of it. How long will he be out? I don't know. I know that it's very favorable that this could be a short-term deal. I don't think we'll know until he's re-examined, which I think the re-examination's going to take place Friday. It's obvious that the chances are great that he's not going to play this weekend and we have to prepare for him not to play, but we're sure hoping that it doesn't take very long."
(on the biggest reason for the team's early success) "I just think we're playing well as a football team. Turnovers, you have to look at turnovers being a factor in what's happened here the last two weeks. We've gotten turnovers in each game and even though we've turned the ball over a little bit on offense, we've been in a plus (turnover margin). So that's always a key factor, but I just think our football team's playing well together. Everybody's playing hard, everybody's pitching in, very unselfish, and that's the way we have to play to be successful."
(on if attitude is part of it with QB Matt Schaub being a big leader) "I think it definitely helps, but when you have some success, the attitudes easily change. I think the guys are excited about what's happened the first two weeks but they're also very smart to know what's coming in here this week, so we practiced well today. They're hard on each other, as I've told y'all. They prepare very well and just need to keep doing that."
(on how he would describe CB Dunta Robinson) "Well, he's played really, really well. He has. And we talked about him last night. To find a guy his size that plays physical at the corner position is very unusual in this league and that's what he does. But he's well on his way to a heck of a season, just want him to keep plugging and be consistent every week."
(on if CB Dunta Robinson is taking a big step in getting to that next level) "I think he's got a chance to. I think that's about time and that's about over a course of the season, but I think he's definitely put himself in position to do something like that."
(on how Colts QB Peyton Manning stacks up against other greats) "I've never seen anybody better; I'm going to be honest with you. He's got total command of the game of football, not just their offense. Some of the throws he's making and the way he diagnoses a defense and the things he's getting done at the line of scrimmage, it may be a long time before we ever see that again. So you just hopefully you don't give up too many big plays, but you know he's going to make his plays. He makes them every week."
(on if his team needs to find another notch to defeat the Colts) "Oh, we've got to find another notch, there's no doubt about that. Last year in the game we played here, went as close to perfect as it could possibly go for us in keeping them off the field and being able to run the ball on offense and still, three seconds left, still in doubt who's going to win the football game. So that tells you what they're made of and that's the way they're built. They're great on offense, they don't give up big plays on defense and they've got the best quarterback in the game."
(on if what the Texans did last year is the formula for success) "I think everybody would tell you, any coach would tell you when they play them, they'd love to keep them off the field. But that's easier said than done. I think the key is just that we've got to play clean. We can't help them at all. If we turn the ball over, any time you punt it or turn the ball over to them, that's not good. So we're going to have to play exceptional as a football team in all three phases."
(on how S Michael Boulware and S Will Demps are progressing) "They're both progressing very well. Everything picks up for them this week. You're going to see them both play more and more as the season goes on, but they're doing fine, doing really well."
(on if he expects S Michael Boulware to be more involved in the defense) "Yeah, he has been mostly special teams and that really is just how things panned out and what Carolina was doing last week. But I think you're going to see him get more and more involved."
(on if he expects to see a different defense without having WR Andre Johnson) "As a coach, you wonder. People tend to play Andre a certain way and if you don't have him, how do they play you? But you don't know that 'til you show up on Sunday. But I tell you one thing about them, their defense hasn't changed. They're just sound. (Head coach) Tony (Dungy) does a great job. They don't give up big plays. They play as hard as anybody in football. We use them as a model, showing our guys. I mean their defensive players go hard and they tackle, and (S) Bob Sanders is one of the best in the business and they've got him good and healthy and you can definitely see it on that side of the ball."
(on if his four wide receivers are ready to make the most of their opportunity) "You definitely can tell there's a spotlight on them, getting a lot more reps than they've normally got. But the key is that we run our offense and we get the ball to the right spot and whoever's supposed to be in that spot makes a play. And I think all four of those kids are very eager about an opportunity is what I see."
(on what it will be like for WR Jacoby Jones without WR Andre Johnson) "Well, and it is a comfort zone for him to have Andre next to him. I don't know if you guys saw a couple of plays last week, we got a little confused coming out of the huddle and Andre got him right. That puts more pressure on (QB) Matt Schaub is what it does. He's got young guys out there with (WR) Jacoby (Jones) and (WR) Jerome (Mathis) and (WR) André (Davis), but he can handle that. So he'll take on even more responsibility with those kids."
(on how QB Matt Schaub has done overall) "He's played really well. He's been very composed handling situations, handling our football team. In the fourth quarter, he's done a great job with our football team. He's playing well and the good thing is, let's remember he hasn't played a whole lot and so he should only get better with every rep that he goes out there. But I really like what he stands for and the way he's going about his business."
(on his offensive line in the first two games) "They played pretty good. I thought against Kansas City we could've played a lot better. I didn't think we played as well as we're capable of. I thought we went down to Carolina and played really well which we had to, to have a chance to win there. But I think they're getting better because they've played a lot together and they're getting better because the team around them getting better. The quarterback's doing a good job, our tight ends are getting better, (RB) Ahman (Green)'s helping them out. So I think the football team being built around it's helping them play better."
LB Danny Clark
(on the team's past struggles) "We've had struggles here as an organization, but we're here and now and I'm excited about where we've started so far."
(on playing in a showdown for first place) "It feels good. I would rather be no place else other than Houston. We have a good situation, a great group of guys that's believing in each other, and we're going to concentrate on our football versus our opponent this week."
(on what kind of test QB Peyton Manning will be for the defense) "It'll be huge. Essentially, they're in the place where we aspire to be, World Champions, and that's something that's one of our goals as well. At the end of the day, we've got to go out and play our best football and I think it'll put us in a place where we want to be at the end of the day."
WR André Davis
(on filling in for WR Andre Johnson) "It's a matter of going out there and following the game plan. You know, I can't go out there and say, 'Alright, I'm going to be (WR) Andre Johnson and I'm just going to go out there and run whatever I want to run,' and feel like I'm trying to take it a step where I'd never been before. You run the plays that are called for you, and I think if you're able to go out there, execute it and beat your man, then I think we can all look pretty good out there, so we'll see."
(on if the offense has shown everything that it can do) "Oh, no. This is just the tip of the iceberg for this offense. I think that this offense has a lot of potential, and I know potential doesn't mean anything unless you go out there and execute it, and that's been the main thing that we've been able to do so far these first two weeks is really go out there and execute. And I think as long as we continue to do that, we'll be alright."
(on the challenge of taking on the defending Super Bowl champions) "That's what you play for. When you have the Super Bowl champ coming into town, it makes everybody tighten up just a little bit more just because you want to be more focused, because you have something to prove. Everybody's chasing after them, everybody wants what they have, and right now we're not there yet. We're just 2-0. We're not in the Super Bowl, we're not in the playoffs or anything. Our goal after this game is to be 3-0, and that's the only thing we're thinking about."
RB Ron Dayne
(on the importance of being patient with the run against the Colts) "It's real (important). We've got two great backs, having me and (RB) Ahman (Green), and we're just going to go down and run hard and try and keep our defense off the field."
(on playing in a meaningful game this Sunday) "Every game is meaningful for us. Coming off a 6-10 season and starting out 2-0, that's great, but we've still got to keep playing hard and focusing on one team at a time."
(on if the running game must step up more with WR Andre Johnson likely out) "I guess so, but we've got some great receivers that's behind him. We've just got to come together and rally as a team, and win in all phases."
(on if last year's win helps the team against the Colts) "No, not really. They won the Super Bowl after we beat them, so it didn't really matter to them that we beat them. But it was a big thing for us, so we've just got to build off of what we've been doing this year."
(on his confidence because of his big game against the Colts last year) "Well, I feel like I can go in there and run, but you can't just put it all on the run game. You've got to be able to be good in throwing the ball, blocking downfield, things like that. We've got to go in and play hard. I don't really look at my success as something that's going to help the team."
(on how key it is for he and RB Ahman Green to step up without WR Andre Johnson) "It's big. We've got to just go out and play hard and do what we've been doing. Hopefully 'Dre (Johnson) being out doesn't hurt us too bad."
S Will Demps
(on playing against QB Peyton Manning before) "As a Giant and as a Raven. I know exactly what he's about and what he wants to do with the ball."
(on if it's easier said then done when facing a guy like QB Peyton Manning) "Definitely, right now it's easier said then done. With film work and a lot of communication in the back end we'll get an understanding of where he wants to go with the ball in what coverages. He just does things that kind of confuse you when he gets in rhythm. We can't let (WR) Marvin (Harrison) get hot and we have to understand their run game. We just have to play until the end of the game."
(on the effectiveness of their play action) "I think that's what makes him so good. If it's a run play, he makes it look it's still a pass and vise versa. With him just being such a versatile quarterback, throwing on the run, launching the ball, I think that's what makes him so great. He makes it easier for everybody else on the offense to get the rhythm going. We have a challenge in front of us."
WR Andre Johnson
(on what his current situation is) "Right now, I'm just taking it day-by-day. I don't know."
(on if he has any idea how long he is going to be out) "No, I don't know. Like I said, I'm just taking it day-by-day, week-by-week. I'm doing everything possible that I can do to get myself ready to be back on the field."
(on he has talked to any of the other receivers giving them words of encouragement) "We haven't really sat down and talked yet. Pretty much this morning, we just installed the game plan and things like that. Those guys know what they have to do. I'll be their biggest fan on the sideline this Sunday. I'm pretty sure they will go out and give a good performance."
WR Jacoby Jones
(on how this game will be different without WR Andre Johnson) "Everybody knows Andre plays a big role in this team- some hard shoes to fill. So I've just got to step up and when they call my number, make plays."
(on if he feels extra pressure this weekend) "No, I don't think it's pressure. I think like I said, you've just got to step up, that's all."
(on how much his successful preseason helps) "Getting in the end zone spoils you. I know what that feels like, so I hope I get back in the end zone again."
(on if his mindset is any different this week because it's the Colts) "We're in the same routine, work hard every day in practice and get better."
(on if WR Andre Johnson has given him advice for this week) "I talked to him, I checked on him the next day when I asked him how his knee was doing. He was like, 'You've got to step up.' That's all he told me, basically."
(on if he'll be playing partly for WR Andre Johnson on Sunday) "Oh, yeah. I'm going to show him I've got his back like a spinal cord so I can help him out."
(on if he said "like a spinal cord") "Like a spinal cord. You need a spinal cord to have a back."
C Steve McKinney
(on playing a home game against the Colts for first place) "I tell you what, we're pretty fired up, man. This is exciting, to be 2-0 and playing the world champs here at our place. I don't think you could've had it set up any better than the way it is, so we're definitely excited. We're looking forward to this week of practice and getting out there and getting after it, man, feeling good going into Sunday."
(on how much the victory over the Colts last year helps) "I think it helps. I think the fact that we beat them last year gives you that little bit of confidence knowing that you can beat them. I mean they had had our number nine straight games, so you finally get that monkey off your back and now we can go and prepare for this game, knowing that we've already done it and knowing what it took to do it. So we'll prepare with that in mind."
(on if this is a much bigger test than the first two games) "I think so. Indianapolis is a good football team. They're very dangerous offensively, and defensively they're pretty good as well. So we'll have our hands full. We know it's going to be one of those games that probably comes down to the very end and we're prepared for that. The biggest key for us right now is just staying focused on what we're doing, not worrying about stuff on the outside of the team right now, just working hard this week and getting ready for them."
(on if the level of play against Carolina will be enough against Indianapolis) "I think we played pretty well against Carolina. I think we did the things we needed to do to win that ball game and I think if we can replicate that week in and week out, we're going to be pretty successful. I think a big key for us this week is with Andre (Johnson), we just have to rally around him and everybody's got to step it up a notch and we've got to play well."
(on how QB Matt Schaub has helped improve the offense) "Matt's done a great job of just managing the game and just putting us in the right plays and getting the ball out of his hands and downfield and making plays for his team. That's been a huge factor for us is just having a guy like him in here with the confidence and the coolness that he's shown and the poise to take us in situations where we're down by 14 and turn us around and win by 13. That kind of leadership and ability is definitely helping this football team right now."
(on the Colts' defensive line compared to Carolina's) "They're a little bit different in the fact they're not quite as big, obviously. Carolina's a much bigger front but these guys are extremely quick. They're quick off the ball, they're going to move around some up front and do a lot of twists and games, and you really have to be on top of it. This is definitely a week as an offensive line where it'll be extremely important for us to work well together, helping each other out in the pass protection game."
DT Amobi Okoye
(on facing the Indianapolis Colts for the first time) "Especially where I played in Louisville, which is not that far from Indianapolis, I got to watch a lot of their games. I thought in college, that our college and Indianapolis's team was similar. Now that I have a chance to go face them, maybe I can use that to help me out in a sense. I can recognize that I'm just going against the kind of offense that's similar to what I went against in college."
(on if he is feeling more comfortable out there) "Yes, most definitely. I think starting in the preseason has helped out a lot and ever since then, every game I've been trying to get better. I think I've done that."
(on what it would mean to get a sack on QB Peyton Manning) "That would mean a lot. Who in the world doesn't want to sack (QB) Peyton Manning as a defense player, especially as a defensive lineman? He is an all-pro quarterback and probably going to go down as one of the best to ever play the game. It's a great feeling if you're able to get to them."
(on what makes their offense so tough) "I would probably have to say execution. They can make two different plays, two or three different plays look real similar until a certain point and that's when all of the plays differentiate between each other. In the beginning, you don't know what you're expecting, it could be this, this, or that, and you don't know until a certain point during the play. They execute real good. They do a real good job about trying to disguise what they're trying to do."
CB Dunta Robinson
(on playing the Colts) "Here we go again. We see these guys twice a year. It's the first time this year we'll see them. They haven't lost since we beat them and the other way around. It's going to be a good football game. The atmosphere is going to be great. It's going to be a lot of fun."
(on what's the biggest challenge for the defense) "I think the biggest thing is not making mistakes. Even when he identifies what you're in, you still have to play that defense. We just can't make mistakes. That's where a lot of teams get hurt. They give up a lot of big plays to them. We have to stand our ground and make it a 12-round fight."
(on if he's surprised they have been able to get pressure with just the front four) "No, I haven't been surprised. When you have all these first round guys and all these big money guys up front, you shouldn't be surprised. That's what they get paid to do. We're not surprised on the back end. We just want to make sure we can do it consistently. We've done it the first two games and let's see if we can continue to do that."
(on if he can notice a difference in the secondary with the pressure up front) "Definitely. The ball is coming out a lot quicker and it's allowing us to make plays. I've gotten two picks already and it's because those guys up front are getting good pressure on the quarterback. There's definitely a big difference and I'm enjoying it."
(on what it's like to be in a big game) "It's my first time. It's a great feeling for players that think they should be out there; this will be your big chance to put you name out there and to get your team out there. It's going to be a great atmosphere and it's going to be a lot of fun.
QB Matt Schaub
(on it feels to be in a showdown for first place) "It's a great feeling to be 2-0. To get our first two, win a big game on the road against a tremendous opponent. We're definitely excited about the opportunity and the challenge that we're going to face this week with the Colts coming in. They're obviously the defending Super Bowl champions and a great team. We just have to prepare and be on the top of our game."
(on what the biggest challenge that they present to you on offense) "I think their pass rush. They have a tremendous front four and two defensive ends that are very quick and explosive. Their defense is one that they're going to make you hurt yourself. If we can just stay on schedule and not turn the ball over and convert on third down, we'll be in pretty good shape."
(on their defense considered soft until the last couple of weeks) "No, they haven't. They've been scoring a lot of points and their defense is holding opposing offenses to minimal points and yardage. We definitely just have to execute our plays and our assignments and not hurt ourselves with penalties and turnovers."
(on how it changes things for you if WR Andre Johnson can't play) "I think it's just a matter of everyone on our team picking up their game a little bit and raising their level of play and executing their assignment and we'll be in good shape. You can't replace an (WR) Andre Johnson. You just try to do it as a group and everyone just picking up their play a little bit more."
(on how the other wide receivers will react) "I think they'll definitely be ready. They've had a great offseason, the whole group, all those wide receivers. They had a great preseason. Each game, you saw each one of them make certain plays. We can just go out there this week and practice, execute our plays, and go in with a good plan of what we're going to do and they'll go out and execute it."
(on if he has confidence in the other receivers) "I have 100 percent confidence in them. We have a good rapport. I know where they're going to be and they know where the ball is going to be thrown. We'll get on the same page this week with the game plan and we'll be fine."
(on only seeing the tip of the iceberg as far as what the offense can do) "Definitely, it's still early in the year. We're going into Week 3 and we have a lot of playmakers on this team and guys that can help us out. If we can get the running game going and then work the pass in there, we'll be just fine."
(on the attitude of the team going into this game) "We definitely have confidence in what we can do and what we've been able to accomplish so far this season. It's one game out of 16. It's a home game for us so we're excited about this opportunity for the Colts to come in here. It's a divisional opponent, we're both 2-0, but at the same time, it's one game and we have to just prepare the best we can so we can go out Sunday and play well."
(on if he had a sense of the confidence after beating Indianapolis last year when he came in) "I definitely think so. Having ended last year with two victories over the Colts and the Browns, there was definitely a sense of excitement and eagerness to attack the offseason and get prepared to go out this year and continue that string of wins. I definitely sensed it as soon as I got here."
(on what he thinks the atmosphere will be in and around the stadium on Sunday) "Hopefully it's wild and crazy. Hopefully the fans show up and are in their seats right at the beginning and are excited and ready to go and yelling and be behind us. We're excited for it."
(on if he can feel the buzz in the city) "I definitely do. There's definitely excitement. Our team's playing well and we just have to continue that this week in our preparation and go out and cut it loose and play with confidence."
(on his impressions on WR Jacoby Jones) "He's a very confident young man and player. He goes out and he knows his responsibility and executes it. He knows what he can do and his ability. If we can just give him a chance and give him the ball, he can make plays for us."
(on if it's hard to believe that WR Jacoby Jones came out of a Division II school) "It's not hard to believe because you see guys like that each year. There's going to be a couple of guys that are unnoticed coming through college and then they get to this level and they make plays. Last year, you look at a guy like (WR) Marques Colston with the Saints. No one really knew him until he started playing in this league. There's always some player like that and we're just fortunate to have him on our side."
(on what makes WR Jacoby Jones so special) "His ability to run after the catch. He's a big guy. He can run. He can get vertical and every time we give him the ball it's exciting to watch."
(on how key the running game has been so far) "It's been huge for us. Our average might not be that high, but at the same time; we're putting ourselves in good positions on third down. Third and less then six is always a manageable situation rather then having third and 10 or 12. We're churning out yards. We're eating up some of the clock and controlling the football. It's been good for us."
WR Kevin Walter
(on other receivers stepping up) "Definitely, we have a lot of guys that can make plays. Now we're going to get more of an opportunity to make plays on Sunday. We're going to spread the ball around and just make plays, basically. We have to make up for (WR) Andre's (Johnson) absence."
(on having more pressure on the other receivers) "We all need to step up, not only as a receiving group, but everyone on offense. With (WR) Andre (Johnson) being out, he's a huge playmaker on our team. With him being out, the running backs need to play better. The line needs to play better. (QB) Matt (Schaub) needs to play better. We need to play better and we're going to get the opportunity this week to do that."
(on what it's like to get this opportunity) "It's just an opportunity. This opportunity is great and you have to make the best of it. We're going to do that. We have guys that can step in a make plays. With (WR) Andre (Johnson) being out, we need to do that to even give ourselves a chance."
(on what worries you about their defense) "They fly around to the ball. There is nothing that really worries me. I've played these guys many times, not only here, but in Cincinnati. They fly around. I feel they're pretty simple. They're good at what they do and obviously, they have momentum. They're undefeated and they're coming into our house and it's going to be great."
(on what S Bob Sanders is such a big factor) "There's no question about it, you can just watch the film. The way he flies around the football. The guy is physical. He can hit. He's smart and he knows what to do. Basically, they rally around him. He's the guy that they look to keep the defense high and he does a great job doing that."
DE Anthony Weaver
(on if he feels like he's close to being 100% healthy) "Yeah.You know, every game back I get a little more confidence back, get my football legs back under me, and I'll be ready to go."
(on how nice it is for the Texans to be relevant) "It is. It makes everything easy. Winning is the cure-all, so if we can just keep it going, the season's going to fly by."
(on what comes to mind when he thinks of QB Peyton Manning) "He's a winner. He's a guy that's won in every level he's played the game. He's a guy that doesn't get sacked a lot, so when we do get back there, we've got to try to hit him. He's just one of those guys that you've got to be persistent, because you might beat your guy two or three times and the ball's gone, but that one time when you do beat him, he might be holding onto it and you've got to take advantage of it."
(on if the defense has to pick up the slack if WR Andre Johnson is out) "Definitely. You can't replace Andre Johnson. He's one in a million. And the thing about it now, everybody has to pick up their game, and I plan on seeing that happen. And the thing about it is when a guy like that goes down it presents an opportunity for somebody else to go out there and make big plays and hopefully somebody can come out there and go do that."