After Wednesday's practiced at the Methodist Training Center, head coach Gary Kubiak and members of the Texans answered questions from the media. The following is a transcript of their respective interviews.
Head coach Gary Kubiak LB Brian Cushing WR Andre Johnson C Chris Myers SS Bernard Pollard LB DeMeco Ryans QB Matt Schaub
Head coach Gary Kubiak(on the tight end situation) "Boy, all two of them? Actually, we were concerned that (TE) Joel (Dreessen) wouldn't practice today but he did practice so he and (TE James) Casey practiced. (FB) Vonta (Leach) was sick, Vonta missed practice today so I had to move some guys around and of course (LB Brian) Cushing's on the same schedule this year so that's where we're at."
(on bringing back LS Bryan Pittman) "Obviously he's worked with those guys and he knows exactly what we're doing in protection and where we're at tight end-wise, for us to send (TE) Joel (Dreessen) out there for 60 plays as a tight end and another 20 on special teams, we're just not going to make it with him through the course of the season. So it just makes sense for us to bring Bryan in."
(on if bringing Pittman back will help K Kris Brown) "Obviously we're trying to get Kris back, righted, and for Pitt to walk in here, it's not like it's another thing for Kris to deal with. So he should be very comfortable with him. Bryan doesn't work in any other position so they basically sit there for an hour and a half and work at their trade. So hopefully it helps."
(on if he's concerned about the problems TE/LS Bryan Pittman had last year) "Obviously that's one of the reasons we went in the direction that we did, but when guys get out of football for a while, they get hungry. He came in here, did a good job yesterday, it was automatic. He did a good job at practice today so it's an opportunity for him to take advantage of so we'll see if he can do it."
(on LB Brian Cushing not seeming like a rookie anymore) "I agree. He's doing some exceptional things as a player but one of the things he's done that's been very rare is to be able to miss some time on the practice field and still be pretty automatic on the field on game day. You don't find guys that normally do that that young, so that's been impressive, his maturity from that standpoint."
(on if WR Andre Johnson has taken his game to yet another level) "I see that all the time. He's always a big time player for us and it's hard to believe that he's actually maybe got a chance to even top what he did last year as a player. I don't have it in front of me but I think he's pretty close. Leading the league again as a receiver, doing it with yards per catch that are off the charts this year. So we need to keep him going."
(on if he still gets surprised and impressed by the play of WR Andre Johnson) "It doesn't surprise me anymore, just watching practice and stuff. It's just very impressive, how hard a worker he is, never misses a beat, very unselfish kid. I think I said this after the game the other day: I've been in this league a long time and I know a lot of players that would have been screaming for me to find a way to get him two more catches and 15 more yards and when I told him I wanted to do that, he told me it wasn't important. That shows you what he's all about."
(on the issues in the second half of the game against the Seahawks) "I think one of the problems we had offensively is being able to control the game running the football. So you're sitting there with a bit lead and for us to line up and pound the football team right now, I wish I could tell you that we're confident in doing that but we're struggling so it makes it hard for us to control the football game from that standpoint. We're not going to quit attempting to do that and at least last week with the position we were in, we were able to get (RB) Arian (Foster) a bunch of carries and continue to try to get better at running the football. But we're going to try to stay balanced even though it's been very difficult because we've been throwing the ball so well. But it's important to our team that we try to stay somewhat balanced."
(on what is Dreessen's shoulder problem) "He's got a couple of issues. He's got a little rotator cuff issue, a labral issue, but nothing that he can't play with and it's going to have to be addressed at the end of the season. He's a pretty tough guy."
(on if the running back rotation will be the same this game) "Yeah, obviously (RB Arian) Foster's fixing to play a lot more. Did some good stuff, handled himself in protection, so his play is going to pick up. Who starts, how we do that, we'll see. But he's fixing to play a bunch."
(on if RB Arian Foster could start) "Yeah, it really all depends on what we're doing. We're trying to play all these guys' strengths and continuing to play all three of them but obviously he's stepped it up a notch."
(on if he thinks the players will take the St. Louis game for granted) "Believe me, that's easy for us not to do because last year, I think it was this week or next week, we went to Oakland and got our butts kicked. We've got to worry about ourselves. It's been a rough month, we bounced back last week, we got to continue to bounce forward and I liked our practice today."
LB Brian Cushing
(on his teammates saying he doesn't seem like a rookie and if he feels like a rookie)
"I don't think so. I was thrown into the mix early and got playing experience and learning experience. I don't look at myself that way I just look at myself as a player and a starter on this team."
(on if he reached a point where he's accepted he's in the NFL) "I'm sure. The more game experience you get and the more and more you play, the more comfortable you get. You start accepting things and realizing your role on the team."
(on if it helped having LB DeMeco Ryans around to get adjusted) " Those are the kind of guys that showed me the way and made things easier in understanding the system. Understanding how things work around here and just doing everything better."
(on if there was one thing that helped him adjust quicker to NFL life) "Just coming and making an impact and getting in that playbook. I think OTAs really helped, being here and practicing all spring and knowing my role. (Defensive coordinator) Coach (Frank) Bush simplifying the defensive playbook. Certain little things like that have helped me start really fast."
(on if looking back, if it hurt him to miss that time during the preseason) "I don't think so. I think if anything, I learned a little bit more because instead of practicing, I was studying that much more. You never know; it might've been the best thing in disguise."
(on how important it is to shut down Rams RB Steven Jackson early) "It is. You have to set that tone, especially a guy like that: big, strong and the focal point of their offense. He's there every time. If you take him out of the game, it's going to be a lot easier."
(on how fun this season has been for him) "It has. This first season has been great. The biggest thing is just to continue going. I'll enjoy it, looking back, when the season is all over."
(on what makes Rams RB Steven Jackson so good) "I think it's his combination of size, speed, strength and the things he can do. He's obviously their best player. Week in and week out, he shows it. Year in and year out, he's shown it. He's a very capable back. He's capable of running away from guys and running over guys. He's one of the best running backs in the league. "
(on if any of the guys have told him what it's like to play against Rams RB Steven Jackson) "He's big. That's what they keep saying. He's a big guy. He's bigger than you would think. You get on that field and he's surprisingly big, but it's one of those things, he's another good running back. We've been playing good players and good running backs every week. The biggest thing is like I said, he's the best player and we're going to have to shut him down early."
WR Andre Johnson(on not getting complacent when playing a team you should beat) "You can never feel too good about yourself. The thing about being in the NFL is it's hard to win football games. You can't look past anybody. You still have to go out and do what you have to do as far as executing your offense, your defense and on special teams to win games because if you don't go out there and do that then you're going to end up on the losing end. That's something that we don't want to happen. We are aware of everything, we're aware about them and there's not a team that we're just going to go out there and overlook just because they've only won one game."
(on if they look back at last year's game against Oakland as a reminder) "It was brought to our attention but it's something that, if you were here last year, it's something you definitely think about. You don't want to be in that same situation again this season. Like I said, we just have to go out, play our game, and make sure that we go out and execute our offense. The whole team, execute like we know how to in order to win the game."
(on if it was part of the game plan for him to get the ball so much in the Seahawks game and if he hopes that continues) "I can't make anybody do anything. It was just a game plan that we put in and almost everything that we were calling was working for us. We have a good game plan going into the game this week and we just have to go out and make sure that we do the things to make the plays work. We have to go out there and make the plays. All the coaches can do is call the plays and we have to execute. That's pretty much it. We did that last week and hopefully we go out there and do it again this week."
(on if he notices a change in the attitude in the locker room now that players being held accountable) "I really think that the whole year's been like that. I think everybody has been giving it up for each other and things like that but I just think it became more of a big deal now because of the situation we're in as a team. I guess now guys are more vocal about it. We've been talking to you guys about it. I think that's the biggest thing. But I think before, guys were still giving it up for each other, we just didn't make the plays that we needed to make to win games earlier in the season."
(on the danger of overlooking the Rams) "You can't overlook anybody in this league, like I said before. You can't overlook them. They play hard; you look at them on film, they play hard. They were in some games where they just lost them at the end where they didn't make the plays and we've been in that situation before so we can definitely understand that. If you go out there and you overlook them and you go out there playing around then that's when you get yourself in a bad position and like I said, that's not something we're going to do. We're going to go out and approach it just like we would any other game."
(on if he feels like he's taken his game to yet another level) "You just try to make the best of your opportunities. I was given a lot of opportunities on Sunday and I was able to make a lot of plays to help the team win the game. But I'm just going to do the same thing. I have the same mentality and I'm just going to go out and just give everything I've got for my teammates and my coaches."
C Chris Myers
(on RB Arian Foster getting his first shot on offense last Sunday) "He had played the previous two weeks on special teams but then to get in on offense, it was fun to see a young guy come in there and run the ball and be decently successful in it. Obviously he has a couple of mistakes he'd want to take back but it's something for him to build upon and we've got confidence in him."
(on what RB Ryan Moats brings to the team) "It's just exciting to see what different backs have to offer you. And every single one has to learn through experience how to read the holes in this offense and so on but to be able to have him in the huddle and have another guy that's a weapon in the backfield is nice.
SS Bernard Pollard
(on if he worries about the team overlooking the Rams) "They're a good team. There's just some things where they're beating themselves, but we've got to go in and be ready for anything. It doesn't matter—there's no sorry teams in the NFL. They might be 1-11 but at the same time they can come out and probably beat any team in the NFL. They ran toe-to-toe with New Orleans and we're not worried about their record. We're worried about going in there and competing versus them. We're competitors and we're looking to get a win."
(on what makes Rams RB Steven Jackson so good) "He's a power back. He has vision. To see a guy that's 6-3, 240-something pounds and see him run the way he runs—that strikes a lot of fear in defenders. But at the same time, we've got to go shut him down. We can't worry about what he has rushing or what he's capable of. We've got to go in and understand they have a rushing game—he's second in the league in rushing—and we've got to shut him down as well as shutting the passing game down, too."
(on CB Dunta Robinson saying he looked like he was running in quicksand) "You know what? As long as I got in the end zone, that sand can be on my feet, my ankles, my butt, it doesn't matter. It was just so much fun to be able to score a defensive touchdown and cornerbacks, they're all going to talk mess right after but nevertheless, we got a win."
LB DeMeco Ryans(on if the team will overlook the Rams) "We're not overlooking anyone. We're hungry to get wins ourselves. We don't have the place to overlook anyone because we're trying to get it ourselves so I'm not worried about them or how we went out last year against Oakland. It wasn't a good performance by us but I know we are a lot more mature team than we were then."
(on if everybody feels the same way as he does) "Oh yeah. Our approach is to go win this game. We're not taking them lightly. We know they're capable of playing good. Like the saying goes: 'Any given Sunday, anything can happen.' So we're not taking anybody lightly."
(on what issues the Rams cause on offense) "Just watching (Rams RB) Steven Jackson running the ball, he's a beast. He's a big guy about 240 (lbs) running the ball. He's quick and he's powerful. He's a tough guy. We know we're going to have to bring him down. We're going to have to stop him. We'll have to try to bottle him up and put it in the hands of their quarterback and make him beat us throwing."
(on if they look like a one-win team) "Nah. They play hard. They're just coming up short in a lot of games."
(on why Rams RB Steven Jackson leads the Rams in receiving) "He's just a special player. Every team has those one or two special players and he's definitely a special player in this league, and he's their go-to guy. When you got a special player like that you try to find a way to get the ball in his hands, whether it's receiving or rushing."
QB Matt Schaub
(on not approaching this game like it's a guaranteed win) "Yeah, absolutely. You look at that game last year (at Oakland) coming off a couple big wins, and then going out there and stubbing our toe. Parity in this league is so fine and so close that everyone has talent. They're a talented football team; I think it just hasn't shown up in the win-loss column, but we have to be on top of our game and play well. They're a very good team and can make a lot of plays."
(on how much getting a win changes the morale of a locker room) "Every time you win, things are positive and you know you've kind of turned things around so to speak. It definitely helps to get in the win column and get off the losing streak, but we've always been positive and remain that way. We're not letting a lot of negative things creep into the locker room. We remain positive and it shows. We came out and played well on Sunday."
(on if he thinks they can keep up the explosive offense) "Now it's about just continuing that same trend and continue to play well and just execute our stuff. The defense played great, the offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and guys made a lot of plays."
(on if they had a plan before the game started to go to WR Andre Johnson so much) "You always have a plan and you have the script, so to speak, laid out. It's another thing to go out and execute. The defense has to cooperate with what they're doing as well. And we got some favorable looks with some of our calls and he did a great job getting open and the guys up front did a heck of a job keeping the pocket clean to allow me to throw it."
(on the leaders stepping up in the game against the Seahawks) "Yeah, that's throughout the year. That's not just last week. But in tough times it's those guys that have to lead by example and demonstrate to everyone else that we're going to go get this thing done and that's what that situation called for."
(on if it's important to start well against the Rams) "It's very important, especially this week, not only for ourselves—you saw the other day how starting fast and getting a score early really jumpstarted things for us on offense, but as well on defense. It gives them a lead to play with and so it's very vital and very important, especially going on the road to their place. Control the game early and kind of take the wind out of their sails."
(on the team's struggle with the running game) "We got a lead there and once we got in the fourth quarter we're trying to work the clock a little bit and if we can get a couple of first downs running the football, keeping the clock going, we can keep our defense off the field and eat some clock up. That was the situation where we have to rise to the challenge and get those first downs and we weren't able to do that for a few of those series."
(on if he ever gets surprised by the play of WR Andre Johnson anymore) "Not anymore. I've been here long enough and seen all that he can become. I view it on a day-to-day basis in practice so it doesn't surprise me because I expect him to go out and do a lot for us and he continues to do that. He just continues to play extremely well for our team."
(on if he's still impressed by the play of WR Andre Johnson) "Yeah, he always impresses me with some of the plays that he makes but it doesn't really surprise me."