Quarterback Matt Schaub ranks fourth in the NFL in completion percentage this season, hitting 66.6 percent of his throws.
The Texans play their last road game at Oakland on Sunday and look to extend their team record to five consecutive wins.
Head coach Gary Kubiak
(on being 3-7 at one point and how did he get things right) "Well, I didn't get them right. The players did. We just started playing better football. I think we were 3-7 when we walked out of Indianapolis, which was a game that we could have very well could have gone either way. I just don't think we ever got frustrated from a standpoint of we knew we were doing the right things. We just were coming up short in a few ball games and everybody stayed committed to what we were doing and just believed in the direction we were heading. So the credit goes to them."
(on if he feels that RB Steve Slaton was one of the biggest steals of the draft) "It's obviously heading in that direction right now. To get a kid (RB Steve Slaton) like that in the third round that has carried the load like he has and look toward the future at what type of player he can become - it's panning out as one heck of a draft with (OT) Duane (Brown) and what he's done. But that's what you have to do. If you're going to get a young organization going, you can't miss on those players. And fortunately we've been pretty darn good in the draft, so we've been lucky."
(on the roster moves and injuries) "First off, I'll start with the injuries. (G) Chester (Pitts) didn't practice today. X (LB Xavier Adibi) didn't practice today. Chester should be fine and ready to play, and actually we believe now that maybe Xavier will have a chance. So, that's a little bit different than I felt yesterday. He's day to day. The roster moves: We brought (CB) A.J. Davis from North Carolina State on our practice squad, a corner, (CB) David Pittman, a corner, is on our actual active roster. We let (QB) Craig Nall go. He did a good job for us. Of course, (CB) Antwaun (Molden) goes on to IR, and then we activated (WR Darnell) Jenkins onto the active roster. I'd like to see him here before the year is out. I think he's got a chance to be a fine football player and an excellent special teams player. So, we'll see, but he got activated."
(on how important it is to win the last two games) "The only one I'm worried about is this one. It's been a good month, and we've been playing some good football. Now, we have to come off of a big, big win and settle back down and go play good on the road. So, we're worrying about this one. We're going to have to play as good as we've been playing if we're going to go win. Our guys know that, but they've been pretty darn focused and practiced well today, but we're just going to take the same type of effort."
(on people talking about the team not giving up on the season unlike other teams) "Every play is important to this organization. As young it is and the direction we're heading and where we're trying to get to, there's not a play that's run that's not extremely important to our future. Our players play that way, and that's the message they get from us. They've responded, but they're all important. None bigger than this one."
(on if he notices a difference in the way they prepare with a four-game winning streak) "No, they've always prepared pretty darn good. Naturally, they've got some confidence right now and a little bounce in their step, which you would expect from what they've done the past month. The thing I notice is we have a lot of young players, but they're starting to grow up as far as pro wise and how they handle themselves and not always waiting on me to blow the whistle, so to speak. They're ready to go and putting pressure on each other to get ready to do their job, and that's what you have to have if you're going to get better. The pressure has to come from a lot of other places other than me or coaches on a daily basis. It's got to come from players."
(on if he is surprised that Oakland doesn't have a better record) "They have a lot of talent. They have a young quarterback. Anytime you're trying to bring up a young quarterback, those are pains you go through. But they have a ton of ability. Two of the teams they've beaten are leading their divisions: Denver and the Jets. They do things that give us problems. They are excellent against the pass and they run the ball very well and they have two great returners. So, I know I'm saying the same things, but if we don't play the same way we've been playing, then we'll have trouble beating them. So, we'll have to play well."
(on the key to third-down conversions on defense) "Well, our corners have played very good in the last month. They are breaking up passes, breaking on the ball. I think we've done an excellent job with that. I think we've made people get rid of the ball pretty quick, even though the sack numbers aren't up. But we have made guys get rid of the football and we've gotten some teams in some longer yardage situations, more so than we did earlier in the season."
(on if third-down conversions on defense are as big as turnovers) "That's a big key because all those wins are pumps basically. Every time you win on third downs, you're getting the football back, so that's obviously going to help you."
(on how big it is for CB Dunta Robinson coming back after he got injured last year against Oakland) "I tell you, for him to walk on that field this week after the way he's played this year and come back, has got to be probably something special for him to think about. I remember him lying there, and then putting him on the cart last year during that game and it was devastating. And now he goes back and he's already, what, four or five weeks going back into his normal role. So, he deserves the credit for making it back that way and he's playing really well right now."
(on what he's noticed about CB Dunta Robinson since he's come back) "I see his confidence coming back. I watch him, he's working real hard at his trade. He studies a ton of film. He went back and studied himself before the injury. He studied himself after the injury. That's important to him. We all understand it's an important time in his career, and he has really responded. He took over, what, four or five weeks ago, and since then our football team has played a lot better. So, he deserves a lot of that credit."
(on if CB Dunta Robinson being around raises the rest of the secondary's level) "No doubt. Yeah, because they have so much confidence in him and what he's doing. You know, he's an aggressive kid too. He may be small, but he brings some aggression to all our players; the way he tackles as a corner. There are corners in this league that can cover. Then, there's some that will tackle; he'll do both."
(on being able to have three corners covering and how big of a difference that makes) "Well, it's a big difference whenever you can lock people down like that. It frees you up to bring more than four and to go get the quarterback. You're putting those guys on an island, but they've responded. It's like the biggest play in the game, we put them in zero blitz with no help, and (CB) Dunta (Robinson) makes that tackle to make it fourth-and-three. So when you have confidence in your guys to do that, it helps you defensively."
TE Owen Daniels
(on what does being an alternate Pro Bowler feel like) "It feels good. I'm proud of that. It's an honor just to be mentioned and have a chance to maybe go if something happens with those two guys. I think it just shows that I'm getting some respect around the league and I'm definitely happy with it."
(on WR Andre Johnson offering to take all the WR's to Hawaii and if that includes him) "I don't know. I'm not technically a receiver (laughs). So, but, maybe I'll try to wiggle my way into that."
WR Andre Johnson
(on how much credit he gives QB Matt Schaub for his Pro Bowl selection) "I give him a lot of credit for it. It basically just shows the time that we put in together, all the work that we've put in together is just paying off."
(on what this team is playing for right now) "We've never had a winning record around here. Guys around here want to win, so that's definitely something we're shooting for. But every time we've been in this situation, you know, since (head) coach (Gary) Kubiak has been here, we've never just shut it down. I think, at times, before coach Kubiak, we did. But you know, coach Kubiak, he doesn't let that attitude linger around here. And the guys don't let it linger around, so we're going to play 'till the end."
(on how much the end of the season helps going into the offseason) "We know what we have. Can we get better? Yeah. We know that we can get better. Can we improve the way that we played this year? Yeah. We just have to go back and look at the things that we've done throughout this season. You know, we can't fix it now. It's all in the past. Just finish these two games out playing the best football that we can and hopefully next season we can start the season off much better than we did this season."
(on if he expects to get more attentions from the Raiders after his game last week) "You get attention every week when you go out and make plays. That's part of the game. But you just try to make the best of your opportunities. That's the way I look at it. You're going to get attention when you go out and you do what you're supposed to do on the football field. Other than that, the opportunities I get on Sundays, I just try to make the best of them."
(on if he thinks the Raiders will have CB Nnamdi Asomugha go one-on-one with him) "I don't know. More than likely he probably will, he'll probably follow me across the field. But he's a great player. He's finally gotten into the Pro Bowl. He's a guy I voted for. I thought he really deserved it and it's going to be a big challenge for me."
(on how much it means to the offense that the defense is playing so well right now) "Well, I think that they've been playing great. I think the thing about it is we want to be on the field to give them rest so they can go out and stop the other team's offense. We hate to have three-and-outs, because it doesn't give the defense much rest. So I think they like to see us on the field, and we like to keep them sitting on the sidelines."
(on in the past if you only scored 13 points you would have gotten beat by two touchdowns) "Yeah, it's never been like that around here, so it's definitely a positive sign. You know, I think it's just showing that we've learned a lot about ourselves and we're becoming a good football team."
(on if it was a steal to get RB Steve Slaton in the third round) "Do I think it was a steal? Well, you know, we had a lot of running backs come out. The whole time during the draft they were saying that you would get a running back late that would be a real good player. Sometimes things just turn out that way. We were very fortunate that he came to our team. I watched (RB) Steve (Slaton) play a lot when he was in college. I've always been a fan of his and he's helped us out a whole lot."
(on how much it means to the offense to finally have a 1,000-yard rusher) "That means a lot. (RB) Steve (Slaton) came in and he's, as a rookie, just came in and stepped right in and just picked up. So, we were very, very impressed with what he's done. He's going to continue to get better just by this being his first season. I'm pretty sure he's learned a lot, and hopefully he'll just keep doing what he's doing."
(on if he is surprised RB Steve Slaton has held up so good this year even though he's a smaller running back) "Well, you know, that's the big thing. He's not a very big running back. But he can go out and deliver a blow and he also can take one, so that's a very good thing that he has. He's a real tough guy, and I'm happy that he hasn't had any injuries or things like that bother him throughout the season."
CB Dunta Robinson
(on returning to the field where he injured his knee last season) "I really haven't thought too much about it. I probably won't think about it until I step on the field for the first time. The thought probably won't go past the situation that occurred last season. It won't be something that sticks with me for long. I'll walk out, I'll think about, and then it's time to play football. But I really haven't thought about it much. I still have never seen the film on the injury. It's just not something that I want to revisit."
(on keeping his mind clear of the injury) "Yeah, I just keep my mind clear of that situation. I try not to think about it at all and I think hat's the way I'll be come Sunday."
(on how you don't look past the Raiders) "Well, you know, you just have to realize the league you're in. You can't take any team for granted in this league. We definitely won't take this team for granted. We know that they have a lot of tremendous athletes and you go back and watch what they did to Denver, who was a pretty good football team, and they beat them pretty good. So, going in and expecting a win and thinking it's automatic, that's not something we're doing. We're still going to put our work in this week and of course, we're going to go down there and expect to win the football game, but we know that it's not a given."
(on TE Zach Miller being the Raiders leading receiver) "I think he has 50 or 51 catches. So, if you watch him on film, they use him a lot. Most of the time when they use their receivers, it's usually deep balls. So we know, as corners this week, as a secondary, we have our hands full. It's going to be a track meet."
(on what sticks out about the game against the Raiders last year) "Just injuring myself. That's kind of it. I woke up that morning and I told myself—well, it just felt different. I said, 'Ok, something is different. Either I'm going to have a spectacular game or something really bad is going to happen.' And of course, option number two is what occurred. So, it's not something that I'm going to go down there and expect to think about. It's a football game. I've played enough football this season not to worry about that too much. And I know I won't. It won't be a thought in my mind come Sunday."
(on head coach Gary Kubiak saying that his return to the starting lineup has been a spark for the defense) "You feel good hearing that. But my job is to go out there and make plays. I'm not trying to be a guy that—you know, I'm not trying to be an inspiration. I love to play football and that's the bottom line. I just go out there very Sunday and I just try to play as hard as I can play. Whatever comes out of it, most of the things that have come out of it so far have been good things. So, that's my main focus is going out and trying to help my team get as many wins as possible and right now we're on a pretty good run."
(on if he feels like he's back to his old self) "I still feel like I have a ways to go. You know, I feel a lot better than I did when I first stepped out on the field against Detroit. I came straight off PUP. I didn't even take the two weeks. I was right out in the fire. But that's how I wanted the situation to go. You know, I feel good now. I feel better each week I step out on the field. I know that it's just going to continue to get better as long as I keep working hard and, you know, keep going out and staying focused and just keep trying to do the things that I've always done. And that's just to go out and play the best I can and up to my abilities. So, with that being said, I do feel a lot better and each week I fell better than I did the week before."
(on how it feels to be part of this winning streak) "You know, it's a pretty good feeling thus far. But we still have two games left and we can still have a losing season. We can still end it 8-8 or we can end it 9-7. I've been 8-8. I've been 7-9, but I've never been 9-7. So, that's the most important thing and that's what myself and as well as the rest of my teammates, that's what we're trying to do - have our first winning season ever."
(on if he feels the rest of the secondary has improved every week) "Yeah, I think so. There's no more shifting. Early in the season guys were in, guys were out. We were never able to get that chemistry. I think for the past couple of weeks, it's been set. Our three corners have been set. Our two safeties have been set. You know, with (S) Nick (Ferguson) going down last week with the injury, but that's the only reason he missed, because he was injured. We haven't been moving guys all around the field and we're getting that chemistry with each other. It's been a lot of fun going out there and playing with those guys. Especially playing with safeties, what we call super vets. Nick's been in the league for 10 years and then (S) Eugene (Wilson), six or seven. So, it's been a lot of fun. We just have to make sure that we go out and try to get the same job done and try to stick together the way we've been doing."
LB DeMeco Ryans
(on how it feels to be named an alternate) "Not good (laughs). No, it's cool. It's still cool to be recognized by your peers as still a top guy in the league. So it's cool to be an alternate, but I would love to be a starter. That's what we strive for each year, to go out and play your best to be a starter."
(on if the fact that he's been fighting nagging injuries all year takes the sting out of not being a starter on the Pro Bowl team) "A little bit. I wasn't at full tilt during the season. I played with a lot of nagging injuries. So, it is kind of. You still have the respect of guys, even though going out there and not being 100 percent."
(on how does it feel to be getting respect after beating the Packers and the Titans) "It feels good. It feels well deserved. We know we have a good team, but it's just a matter of us going out and winning the games that we're supposed to win. We still dropped some games that we should have had. It's kind of disappointing and it hurt us now. But it's good to finally get the recognition, for those that are giving us recognition. It's good for us to have that here and it's something that we want to have for this team, for this organization going forth in the future."
(on what has been the difference defensively) "I think guys are just playing more aggressively. Guys are being more accountable. We're minimizing mistakes that we were having earlier in the year and we're finding a way to get turnovers and make big plays on defense where as earlier in the year those things were going the other way. A lot of teams were making a lot of big plays on us and scoring on us like crazy, but we found a way to get off the field on third down and that's helping us out a lot."
(on the team blitzing more and being more aggressive) "I think we're blitzing more. It's the same play calling, but I think guys are just playing it more aggressively and being more accountable for what they're doing. We talk about it each week, 'Everybody just go out and everybody just do your job.' That's the message that we send and that's how our guys are approaching it."
(on what he means when he says accountable) "Guys aren't worried about getting beat on this or getting beat on that. It's just, 'Hey, I know I've got this man. That's all I have on this play. Let me focus on my job and what I have to do here.' On me, if I have the back man-to-man, I'm not worried about anything else or helping anything else out. Let me just cover my back. With everybody doing it, with all 11 doing that, all of the pieces fit together."
(on if they are learning to trust each other more) "That's it. You just trust those guys. You have trust of the guys in the back end and in the front that their going to do their job. If I have an A gap or a B gap, I just know that (DT) Travis (Johnson) is going to be in his A gap and I can just run through my B gap."
(on how much has it meant to have S Nick Ferguson and S Eugene Wilson at safety that brings some experience and smartness) "I think it's good. It's good that we finally had some consistency back there. We were rolling guys in and out there. It's hard when you continue to roll different guys in. You don't get that gel together as a good defense because if you don't have the same guys, you don't get that continuity. So, it's good to continue to have those same guys and with their (S Nick Ferguson and Eugene Wilson) experience that they bring. It's tremendous having Nick and Eugene, guys who've played on winning teams. They play good ball and they know how to win games."
(on if it is easier to trust each other on defense when there is continuity in players) "Yeah, I think it helps out a lot. Like I said, when you have the same guys out there you get used to playing with certain guys. Wherever you are, if you play with the same guys for six or seven weeks then you know what type of player that you have behind you. You know how those guys perform."
(on people expecting the team to go out there and beat the Raiders) "Yeah, we expect our team to go out there and win. We're not looking at Oakland as a cake walk or anything like that. Even though a lot of people may expect us to win this game, we still understand that Oakland, they can get it done. If we go out there and we don't play our game, they can definitely get it done. They have some great playmakers out there. It's still the NFL. Everybody has their day. Everybody has their day to shine. We just can't let them shine on us."
QB Matt Schaub
(on if he thought at 3-7 that they would get to where they are now) "Without a doubt, because we know what we can do in this locker room if we play good football and we play together as a team. And we started to come around and do that there when we were sitting at 3-7 - I think starting with the Cleveland game. It just built from that game."
(on how good it feels to see WR Andre Johnson make the Pro Bowl) "It's huge. Anytime you have guys in the locker room that are recognized as some of the best in the league, you feel proud for them and just to be a teammate of his and (DE) Mario's (Williams) as well. We've got a lot of guys that are playing really good football and even though there are guys, (TE) Owen (Daniels), (RB) Steve (Slaton) and (G) Chester (Pitts) and those guys are alternates, they're Pro Bowlers in my mind. There's a lot of guys that have had some good years this year."
(on turning the ball over early in the season and if he thought at that point it had killed them) "There's no way in the heat of the battle to start thinking about that type of thing. You just forget about it and you move on to the next play."
(on if he takes some personal satisfaction in WR Andre Johnson making the Pro Bowl) "Yeah, I do because I feel like I am kind of in control a little bit of how many catches he has and I joke with him about it a lot. But to see him get that honor, I take some pride in that because I feel like I helped him get there. I'm just thankful for him being on my team and on my side."
(on not having as many holes going into the offseason and next year that the team has had in the past) "It's a little early still to think about next year, to think about the offseason because we have a job to do the next two weeks starting with this week against Oakland. But we know what we have in this locker room and what we can do when we're playing good football and playing together as a team, and I think we're starting to realize that, starting to put it out there on the field every Sunday. So, the more we can become a consistent football team the better we will be."
(on why is the motivation still here on this team and not other teams that are out of the playoff race) "Well, I think we have the right guys in this locker room and we have the right coaches for the job. We're all rallying around each other. We have a job to do to go out and win and play football. We all enjoy all 53 of us going out there on Sunday and playing together and playing to win. If we're to be out there, we want to go out there and fight and play 60 minutes of football."
(on if taking the momentum into the offseason is a motivating factor right now) "A motivating factor is just to go out and play against another team and to show what you can do and demonstrate what type of football team you are. We're not thinking about the offseason or next year. We're thinking about this week and the Oakland Raiders."
(on what it would say if the team finished with a five or six straight wins) "It would just show you how far we've come this year starting 0-4 and then sitting at 3-7 with six games to play. And sure we persevered through some tough times, but we battled it back and this is what our football team. This is the direction we're heading."
(on if the way he has played has shown the critics that he is tough and shown what he can do) "I just want to go out there and be out there on the field fighting with my guys and I just go out there and play. I don't worry about trying to prove anything to anybody. I just want to go out there and play and help my team win. And anyway I can do that, I'm going to do it."
RB Steve Slaton
(on if it is disappointing to not make the Pro Bowl) "It's disappointing, but at the beginning, I didn't think I'd be even mentioned for it. So, it's just a positive just to be an alternate."
(on LB Keith Bullock saying that he didn't really do anything in the game besides busting a big run on them at the end of the game when everyone knew he was going to get the ball) "I just feel like they're upset because they are a great defense and they have been holding everybody else down so well. But our team came to play for sixty minutes and we came out of there with a win."
(on if someone would have told him during training camp that he would have the year that he's had what would he have said to them) "It's been a first dream of a season. You set your goals as high as you can, but the way everything panned out this year for me is truly a blessing."
(on what is the most interesting comment that he has heard) "A lot of people have just kind of given me compliments about the way I've played this year. That's the biggest thing is getting respect from your peers. I think that's one of the best things I've heard all year."
(on if the whole team has gotten more respect since they started out 0-4) "Yeah. I think with the little win streak that we're on now I think we're definitely playing to our potential."
(on if he wants to fast forward to next September and to be playing for something again) "I'm going to little bit of time off. I think it would really be rushing it to fast forward anything. So, I just want to enjoy the time off and for the offseason it's going to be building for the next year. You're going to need that preparation to better ourselves and get rid of the little things that we messed up on."
(on how he feels for people to be saying that he was a steal in the third round) "It's an honor that your peers (say that). That's the respect you want most from the people that you play with, your teammates. For them to feel that way, I'm happy."
(on if he was disappointed he didn't get drafted in the first round and if this season eases the pain of it) "Everybody wants to be in the first round. So, I was a little disappointed, but I just strived to make up ground and to show the reason why I should have been in the first round."
(on if it was a little bit of motivation to show that he deserves to be here) "Yes. I say it's motivation. I think every level I've been on I think I've always had to I guess come from the bottom to get to the top."
WR Kevin Walter
(on when he will make the Pro Bowl) "Next year. Next year. Hopefully I can continue to make plays in these next two games and then next year, start fresh and just continue to get better."
(on how you don't overlook the Raiders) "You can't. Every Sunday is going to be tough. These guys, they have some fantastic players on their team. They've been struggling all season. We can't go out there and take them lightly. They're going to be out there fighting just as hard as we're going to be fighting. So, we have to go out there and play our game and execute and we should be fine."
(on if he takes pride in people starting to talk well of this team) "You definitely take pride in that. You know, because you work real hard. And no one really knows how hard we work besides us. But we work hard, and the beginning of the season, we go out there and it just didn't work out our way. These past few games, we've won some big games. Especially last week was the biggest. Going against the best team in football right now and we won. It's huge. We jut have to continue to build on that and play good football."
(on if they took pride in the way the played against Tennessee last week) "Yeah, definitely. We knew we had to go out there and punch them in their mouths. We knew it was going to be that type of game. We knew they were going to try to do the same thing to us, and I think we did a good job of that. You watch on film, from the lineman to the receivers, everyone punched them in the mouth. You can't take any crap from what they were trying to give us, and I think we did a good job of that."
(on the turnaround of the team) "It feels good. You know, we have guys that aren't going to give up. Everyone is going out there and playing hard each Sunday and you know, not turning the ball over. In Green Bay, we turned the ball over a little bit, but it worked in our way. I think if we continue to not turn the ball over and go out there and make those explosive plays, make more plays than the other team, we're going to win. We have a tough team. We have guys that aren't going to give up. It's all about going out there and making plays and we have guys to do that."
(on if it's tough that they only have two games left) "Yeah, it's crazy. You think about, it's Wednesday right now. You have a week and a half left of the season and then the season's done. Then, you have to take a little time off and work hard for next season. But we have to worry about Oakland this week. It's going to be a hostile environment going up there, the Coliseum. Those guys are going to be crazy. We just have to start fast and finish strong against them."
RT Eric Winston
(on the offensive line playing well) "I think everyone is kind of on the same page with what they like. Being a good offensive line is as much of playing well as it is getting along off the field. All of us, we're kind of all about the same age and we're all about the same kind of maturity level. Even (T) Ephraim (Salaam) is probably down there with us a little bit. So, we all get along real well and that really helps because you're not really afraid to say anything. You know, I'm not afraid to say anything to (G) Mike (Brisiel) or to (C) Chris (Myers) if I don't think something is coming out the right way. Or they're not afraid to say something to me if they think I need to change something. So it definitely helps with everything. But as far as continually improving, I think it's definitely helped with that."
(on if the last two weeks gives them momentum and consistency going into the offseason) "Oh, absolutely. That's the one thing I think we haven't had around here is consistency from one year to the next. We were able to kind of build on it during the year and then for some reason a coach leaves or this or that. Then all of a sudden we start into a little bit of a new direction. But hopefully we can keep the same everything going because it's definitely I think working. I think it's shown how well it's worked over the last six, seven, eight weeks with the run game and how (RB) Steve's (Slaton) really come along in it. I really think it's just going to get better. I think we're really not to the peak of where it can be either."
(on how key the success of the team right now is for next year) "Oh it's huge. Anytime you're in the position we are, you always want to keep building. You always want to keep getting better. There are teams out there that are falling off and there are teams out there that are going to keep getting better. How young everyone is on this team, everyone is trying to solidify their own spots on the team, but as well as build something and build a core group of guys that are going to be on here for a long time. And that's a lot of fun. I think anytime you step on the field you want to win, so we're not looking at any other opportunity."
(on what does he credit to this team still playing like they have a playoff chance) "I think it's a little bit of everything. I think it's the coaching staff just doing a good job of kind of staying off of us a little bit and just letting us play. I think the weight staff is doing a great job of just keeping us fresh and keeping us strong and getting out there. I think the guys are doing a great job of competing. That's what it really comes down to, because at the end of the day it's you versus them. Whether you're going to extra games or you're not, they're still keeping score. And that's what it's really all about."