The Texans practiced Wednesday at the Methodist Training Center, and afterwards, head coach Gary Kubiak and numerous players answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head coach Gary Kubiak RB Chris Brown T Duane Brown S Jon Busing TE James Casey LB Brian Cushing WR Andre Johnson QB Matt Schaub RB Steve Slaton
Head coach Gary Kubiak(on the health status of LB DeMeco Ryans) "He did not practice today. (His) ankle's pretty sore. We'll try to get something out of him tomorrow, maybe. It may be all the way until Friday before he practices but he has a pretty sore ankle. (RB Steve) Slaton did not practice either. He has a shoulder issue. (He) came out here and did a little running and rehab stuff, so hopefully he can get something in tomorrow too."
(on the health status of TE Joel Dreessen) "Joel practiced. We were pretty light today, coming off the Monday night game, but Joel practiced. (S) Dominique (Barber) practiced. (WR) Jacoby (Jones) practiced. Those guys are on their way to be being fine."
(on how long injured FS Eugene Wilson will be out) "Eugene looks like he's done for the year. It looks like he's going to have to have surgery. It looks like Eugene is done for the season. We signed a safety Brian Russell. A veteran safety out of San Diego State. He's played a lot of football in this league, so losing Eugene is tough. He played really well for us and done a hell of a job, so that's a tough loss."
(on if FS Eugene Wilson's toes are broken) "Yeah, that's the way I understand it. There's two toes that are affected that need to be surgically repaired. But I don't know the details yet."
(on why the offense has slowed down) "I don't know. Last week we missed one turn in the redzone, we kicked a field goal, you know, so that's a situation there. We missed a couple of plays at the end of the game. You know if you score 17 or 20 you've still got to win. Your team's got to win. So we had every opportunity to win both of those football games. Would we like to go out there and score 30 a week? You bet, that's our goal. But we've got to be able to win low-scoring games, high-scoring games, whatever in the heck they are, we got to find a way to win."
(on if he sees any differences in the offense) "We're adjusting as an offense. Obviously losing (TE) Owen Daniels, there's been an adjustment period for us in what we're doing. Obviously we're playing a bunch of backs as we search for the one to step up and do the most consistent job for us. But regardless of who's playing, what you're doing, you've got to find a way to move the ball and score some points and like I said, we'd like to get more than we got the last couple of weeks."
(on the difficulties of going from a team that likes to run to a team that likes to throw) "It's difficult but the fact that we play these guys all the time and we're catching these guys within a three week period, it makes it a little bit easier to adjust. That's just part of this game. It changes every week but with this short turn around coming off a Monday night, playing a team we're very familiar with obviously will help us get ready to play."
(on if he'll have confidence in K Kris Brown if it comes down to a field goal at the end of the game) "Yes, just like I said yesterday, I'm very confident in him. He'll go out there and do his job and he's working his tail off. But I've got confidence in him, the team has confidence in him."
(on the tight ends that have stepped up) "I think they're a work in progress but (TE) Joel (Dreessen) has been a consistent performer for this team for a long time. I was very impressed with (TE James (Casey) the other night, I think he's only going to get better. The young kid, (TE Anthony) Hill out of North Carolina has played a little bit, I'm hoping he plays more as we move forward but we've got a good group, you know. We've got some depth there and they're getting an opportunity because of OD's (TE Owen Daniels) situation to be a big part of what we're doing."
(on if he expects WR Jacoby Jones to play on Sunday) "I think what we do is—we've got a lot of confidence in (WR) Glenn (Martinez) so Jacoby's going to have to be 100 percent and be himself, so we'll see. We didn't do enough today for me to sit here and make a decision on something like that. I'll make that decision over the next couple of days."
(on losing lost of close games) "Any time you get beat it's frustrating but we've got to find a way to finish. We've got to find a way to finish a game. You know, whoever's got to make that play, whether it's a kick, a throw, a sack, an interception—I mean, we've been in some great games but good teams find a way to win those games. Look at the Colts, they're a heck of a football team. Look at the last three or four games they've won: they've won some 18-15 games, a 14-9 game or something—they win low-scoring, they win high-scoring, that's part of this business. You got to find a way to win. We've been there, we haven't made the play at the end to get it done."
(on losing S Eugene Wilson) "It's tough, because he has played very, very well for us and was a tremendous pick up for us last year. So we'll miss him. We'll miss him but we have to adjust again and JB (S John Busing?) will come in and do a good job and hopefully (S Dominique) Barber's healthy enough to come in and help us too."
(on if he'll play S John Busing in S Eugene Wilson's absence) "Yes, I think that's right now where we go. I think you're going to see us play probably a variety of guys but that's the immediate response and we got to see right now, (S) Dominique (Barber), I'll have to see where he's at. He did practice today."
(on what he likes about S John Busing) "He's just smart, very smart, knows what's going on. Got a great head for the game as far as being in the right spot and he's a typical guy in this league that has bounced around and getting a great opportunity here so we'll expect him to take advantage of it. I was impressed with what he did that night."
(on losing a member of the secondary before playing against the Colts) "It makes it even tougher. Obviously you'd like to have (S) Eugene (Wilson) back there roaming around but that's part of the game. We've had to adjust through guards, through tight ends, now we adjust through safeties. That's part of this league. You have to be able to adjust and move on."
(on RB Steve Slaton) "We'll see. He didn't practice today, his shoulder's bothering him a little bit. So we'll see, we'll see what happens."
(on if RB Steve Slaton is day to day) "Yes, until he gets back out here. He wasn't able to do much today, we'll see what he can do tomorrow."
RB Chris Brown(on there being little margin of error against the Colts) "Definitely. The way they play defense and the way they play offense. We have to go out there and score almost every time. We've got to have that mentality."
(on the importance of getting the running game going against the Colts) "It's definitely big, especially with the way they play offense. We have got to keep them off the field. Give our defense some rest so they have some time to go out there and regroup and they're fresh when they go back out there."
(on if he has been given any indication how much he'll play) "They haven't said anything to me. I prepare every week and practice hard and whatever happens, happens."
(on if he knew how many carries he was going to have against Tennessee) "I knew I was going to play a decent amount. I wasn't sure how much. It depends on how the game was going to unfold and we went from there."
(on how difficult it is to get a bunch of carries after limited action) "That's where you need to be a true professional. You have to go out there and prepare every week, especially knowing what to do. So when they throw you in the situation, you've got to go out and execute."
(on much his carries last week will help him this week) "I'm always prepared, every week. So, it's no different. Just go out there and make sure I'm ready."
(on if he thinks the team has bounced back) "I think so. I think we have. We've got to move forward. You've got to have a short memory in this game."
T Duane Brown
(on playing the Colts again) "Last time I wasn't really up to par, up to my standards. I really put a big emphasis on Indianapolis and blocking Dwight Freeney. He's one of the best out there and I know that in order for us to be successful as an offense I really have to do my job. I felt like he got the best of me on a few plays that were crucial and I want to correct those."
(on if his low center of gravity is what makes him so difficult) "Definitely. He's about 6'1" or 6'2" and plays with great leverage. He's explosive. If he catches you, while you're aligning your feet, he can get under you and push you back inside the pocket. That happened to me on one play and you just have to be ready for all of that. I feel like that game was a big learning experience for me. I also feel like their crowd noise—it helps them out a lot; him and (Robert) Mathis and the other guys they have. I feel like me being at home will give me a better chance of succeeding against them and competing against them."
(on how the home crowd helps the Colts ) "They feed off of it of course. But also, the cadence and getting off on the ball, they definitely get a step or two on you before you are able to get out of your stance and get comfortable and ready to go. The plays I really struggled on, I wasn't able to get out of my stance as quickly because of the crowd noise and he kind of keyed on that and took advantage of it."
S Jon Busing
(on the possibility of starting against the Colts) "I feel good, you know? I get a chance to go out there again and make some plays for this team and help them win, so I'm looking forward to that."
(on being thrown into the fire) "Yeah, exactly. He (Colts QB Peyton Manning) presents a great challenge and it'll be a big challenge for me to go in there and do well."
(on what concerns him about the game) "I'm not too concerned about it. I'm out here with them every day, even though I wasn't getting the majority of the snaps with them I still practice with them every day. So I'm comfortable going back in there and playing well."
(on if he had faced Colts QB Peyton Manning before the first game this year) "Yes, when I was in Cincy we'd see him probably once a year up there."
(on the Colts and QB Peyton Manning looking better than ever) "Yah, they're real efficient and he's the best there is at getting out there and picking you apart so you just got to be consistent in what you do and try not to make any mistakes."
(on if he feels like he's learned anything from previous matchups with the Colts) "You always try to pick up one thing every time you play them that you learn from the game so you can do better next time. This week it's just going in, watching film, seeing what he did against us last time and fixing those things."
TE James Casey(on what he wants to do if the ball is thrown his way against the Colts) "I'm hoping that when I get the ball, the better for me because you always want to get the ball and you always want to make plays and help the team. I do think there will probably be a lot of check downs because they're kind of conservative with their coverages and they get a lot of pressure on the quarterback and make the quarterback scramble a little bit so maybe—we will have to be ready for the check downs and try to catch the ball and make some plays after the catch."
(on how big a win this would be for the team) "It'd be—it'd set us back on track. We're five and five now but we're definitely not out of it. We're not giving up. We know we're right there in the hunt still and if we can come out there and play well against Indianapolis and get the job done against them we know it's going to be huge for us and we just got to—we played them really tough at their place and now we're coming home this week and playing them. If we can make those couple plays—we've played everybody tight, we've played in some tight games, if we can just make those plays at the end to win the game it'd be huge for us."
LB Brian Cushing
(on what he learned from the first game against Indianapolis) "We're going to go right back and look at last game and see where we can improve upon a couple of things – for the most part, we did a pretty good job – and just try to limit it as best we can. It's not a team we're going to shut down. You know they're going to make some plays. You've got to come out and really just try to contain them as best as possible."
(on the challenge of covering Indianapolis TE Dallas Clark) "Well yeah, it is a challenge. He had 14 catches last time. There was a lot of catches for five, four yards here or there. You want to keep that offense off the field as much as you can, and the more you can do that and the more you can get them to kick field goals, those are the little victories we need in order to get the win."
(on whether he picked up anything from facing Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning the first time) "He's as good as advertised, you know? That's what I did realize. He does a great job. For the most part, he knows exactly what you're doing all the time. There's no fooling him. You just have to be on your point, on your key, and do your assignment. That's the biggest thing."
(on limiting Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning's ability to get rid of the ball quickly) "No, because he knows where he's going. He's a guy about timing. He's throwing balls before guys even turn around. Those guys are so in sync with each other. You just have to be on top of your keys, and if you do that then you have a better chance of limiting them."
(on if Indianapolis QB Peyton Manning's unpredictability makes it nearly impossible to prepare for him) "No, I don't think it's that. I think it's just that he knows exactly what he wants and he puts that ball where no other quarterback in the league can."
(on what a win against Indianapolis would mean) "Yeah, exactly. That's a huge opportunity, coming off a disappointing loss, going against an undefeated team, arguably the best team in football, to come in at home and get that victory. That would be a huge turnaround for our team."
WR Andre Johnson
(on the offense rolling during the three-game winning streak and what has happened since) "I think we operate well when we're in a rhythm. I don't think Monday night, we were able to get into a good rhythm as far as our offense where we had a long drive and things like that. That's just my opinion. I think we operate best once our offense gets in a rhythm. You can kind of tell when we're out there playing."
(on the key to getting into a rhythm) "I think just us executing our plays. Hitting a pass here or getting a run there, just making positive plays every time we touch the ball. It kind of gets you in a groove when you have that happen, and when that happens for us, we go out and play pretty well as an offense."
(on how much the loss of TE Owen Daniels has affected the offense) "I mean, Owen's a big part of our offense. Like I said before, you can't replace Owen; everyone just has to turn their game up. So that's what we've been trying to do is pick up the slack to make up for Owen not being here."
(on if it's helpful to face Indianapolis twice in three weeks) "I don't know, I think you still have to go out and play the game. I don't really think it matters how close the games are. It's going to be a big test for us. We played them close the last few times we played them, and hopefully Sunday, we can get over that hump and get a win."
(on the Colts having won 19 consecutive regular season games) "Well, they've been playing well as a team. They've been winning. That's what this league is all about. You look at any sport – basketball, football, hockey, baseball, whatever – it's all about winning, and they've been winning. So that's what it's all about."
(on the key to getting back on track) "Well, we have to just find a way to finish games. A lot of people from the outside looking in will say it's (K) Kris' (Brown) fault because he missed the kick or whatever, but I think the good teams don't put their kickers in that situation. So I don't think Kris should take all the blame for it. We have to go out there, and when we have the ball down in the red zone, we need to get seven points instead of getting three points. So I think that's the big part of it of us becoming a good football team."
(on not being able to score on the opening possession of a game) "Well, you have 15 scripted plays. The thing about it, though, just because you have 15 scripted plays, it's not always going to turn out the way you want it to turn out. If things don't go the way you want them to go, you have to keep playing. That's why you have to play the game for 60 minutes. You can go down and score on your first drive, but you've still got to play a full game. That really doesn't mean anything. Is it good to go out and score on your first drive? Yeah, of course. But I think that we just have to play a full 60 minutes of consistent football, and if we can do that, we'll be fine."
(on not being able to settle for three points against the Colts) "Not at all. When you play against the Colts, I don't think it really matters how good your defense is. I think you can have the number one defense in football, and if you talk to guys around the league, you always look at every time they get the ball and you always think of it as they're going to score. So you have to come out and match it because their offense is that good. When you're able to go out and slow their offense down and you hold them to three points, that's a bonus for you. If you look at the last game when we played them, our defense did that for us and it helped us out a whole lot. But we had the turnover in the red zone, actually two turnovers, and we had the second turnover as we were going in, and that hurt us. So we have to especially against this game, you have to get seven points instead of getting three."
QB Matt Schaub
(on what he wants to do differently from the last game against the Colts) "We want to score more points. We want to convert on opportunities, especially down in the redzone, and take care of the football. That's the bottom line."
(on how important it is for them to get the running game going) "As with every week, we want to get the running game going. We want to take care of the football and score points and get touchdowns. Ultimately, score more points and then we'll win the game."
(on the importance of bouncing back from the loss) "It's imperative. Anytime you stumble in this business you got to turn around and bounce back next week and that's the same with any game, you know. You have a rough play or you make a mistake, you got to bounce back the next play. It's imperative that we bounce back and get a W next week."
(on if it helps that they played the Colts only a few weeks ago) "I think so, especially on a short week, playing Monday night and turning around playing five days later. I think it helps that they're a divisional opponent that we know well and that we only played them a few weeks ago."
(on the adjustments they've made since losing TE Owen Daniels) "It's by committee. (TE) Joel (Dreessen) stepped up and played very well for us. Getting (TE) James Casey back this past week helped us out with his athletic ability and what he can do. But then (WR) David Anderson and (WR) André Davis, (WR) Jacoby (Jones) has also stepped in and so we're just doing it by committee getting those plays and moving the ball down the field."
(on if the team has already bounced back these last couple of days) "I think so. Went out and got some of the soreness out from the game. You know, it hasn't been too long since we played on Monday night and so guys are still working some of the kinks out but I think the morale is good and I think we're going to be ready to go on Sunday, without a doubt."
(on if he gets more excited playing against elite quarterbacks like Colts QB Peyton Manning) "It's hard to say—I'm not really playing against him, I'm playing against their defense. But it is exciting to go against the team. They haven't lost in a long time in regular season so it's a big challenge for us and one that we're looking forward to as a team. We're definitely going to have to be on top of our game to beat them, without a doubt."
(on being pitted against Colts QB Peyton Manning) "I'm not going against him necessarily, I'm going against their defense."
(on people comparing their play) "That's other people. I'm not going to do that because I'm focused on their eleven guys opposite me."
(on if it helps that they've been in close games with the Colts) "They have been winnable and we just ultimately, those couple of plays that are the difference between winning and losing—they've been making them and we haven't. It's definitely been a close game with them for a few years now so it's about time we make those plays and get over the hurdle."
(on not having scored on the first possession all season and what they can do to fix that) "I think we execute better. You know sometimes the defense—they play too—and sometimes they have a good call against what we might be trying to do on third down or what not but it's various things from week to week, whether we're going to be scoring on the first drive. But ultimately it comes down to execution and being able to make the plays versus what coverage they're doing."
(on if scoring on the first drive would help lift the team) "Without a doubt. I mean if we can go down and score on the first possession, it would definitely help. No doubt about that."
(on if he focuses on moving around in the pocket to avoid pressure) "Every game you're going to have to move around with in the pocket. The Titans have a good pass rush but with these guys on the edge you're going to have to be aware of your depth in the pocket and where they're coming from. Because they feed off each other well, whether one goes high, one goes low and try to get to the launch point so you got to be aware of that and get the ball out once you're at the top of your drop."
(on if the team is tense about the game) "I think as team we stay loose. Guys keep each other loose and we know what's at stake. We know what we're playing for and we just have to go out and play well. I think the more tense or tight you get, I don't think that helps you any."
RB Steve Slaton(on his shoulder) "It's feeling good. I should be back hopefully tomorrow, just running around a little bit.
(on if he is just taking a day to rest it) "Yeah, it's a short week and turnaround. So we took a day off to rest it."
(on how he feels about his performance last week and how it can help him moving forward) "Just being positive and worrying about taking care of the ball. The past two games I've done a pretty good job so hopefully it can just give me confidence to go out there and keep it going."
(on the difference from the winning streak to the losing streak) "We're just a play away. It's always like that in a close game, always one play away. I think we've got to put it on the offensive side to go make those plays."
(on if they are going to have to capitalize on scoring opportunities against the Colts) "Yeah, definitely. Indy is such a great team. Whenever it's close and fourth quarter, they are able to put points on. I think that's going to be the biggest thing, putting up six instead of three."
(on the importance of running well this week against the Colts) "I think, in any game, it's going to be very important. We need that balance effect to get the safeties moving around."